Looking back. Moving forward.

It’s nearly time to bid adieu to 2021 and of course I’m leaning into the cliché of taking time to reflect back on the year. Although the marking of a year is somewhat arbitrary given that time never stops or even pauses, the rhythm of pausing to celebrate the past 365 days in order to move on does seem to add value to my life each time I do it.

Thus: my year in review.

Personally, my year was average. I did not do very well with goal lists (consistent reading/writing each month, creating new art, practicing my violin or the piano, exercise, etc.) after January 31. I also did not learn how to do an aerial cartwheel (one of last year’s goals). I did read a few books, tried my hand at oil painting, traveled to Chicago, Washington D.C., Michigan, Indiana and Arkansas, continued my Duolingo streak, tried new food (namely a Chicago dog), purged my closet a few times, and spent quite a bit of intentional time with family and friends.

Professionally, my year was extraordinary. My day job as a communications manager at a local university expanded with extra COVID task force responsibilities and a deluge of happenings to cover. As in every other area of life, it seemed as though people wanted a re-do of 2020 plus a full schedule in 2021. I also taught dance classes the spring semester, through the summer and into the winter. Any other free time I had, my small business, Philo Collective, used up. I never calculated the average number of hours I worked each week because I thought it might make me cry, but I’m sure it bordered on 60+. Most everything I did this year was really fulfilling, but it brought equal parts joy, anxiety and exhaustion on a daily basis.

So, I’m speaking into the world that 2022 will be different – not magical or life-altering, just different. I will be better at creating margin in my life so that work feels less like a pain and time off feels more like a vacation. I will build healthy eating and exercising habits not to lose weight, but so that I can feel more confident and energized doing all of the things I put my body through each week. I will communicate when I am overloaded and I will accept help when it’s offered. I will give more compliments (both to those I know and random strangers), pay it forward even/especially when it feels like a sacrifice, and say “I love you” more frequently to the people for whom it means the most.

Above all, I will make faith my priority so that when roadblocks inevitably come my way, I am as prepared as I can be to press forward through another great year of life.


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