a year in review

I always feel compelled to write an end-of-the-year post. As if the year wouldn’t really end without one. As if anyone is sitting around, waiting to find out what I learned and how I grew and how I failed over the last 12 months. (Just because they don’t always get posted doesn’t mean I don’t write them. They exist.)

I’ve been sitting and staring at this one for a while. How do you sum up a year like 2021?

In bullet points, probably.

  • I got three doses of a vaccine that at this point last year was barely a dream. I cried tears of joy every time.
  • I read 37.5 books (at the time of writing this) and blew my goal of 25 out of the water.
  • I bought a new bookshelf to hold all of my new books and it’s already almost full and I’m not done collecting yet.
  • I formed deeper and stronger relationships with people and for the first time since high school I feel completely secure in them.
  • I let myself let go of relationships that were so, so draining. I learned how to put myself first, sometimes.
  • I listened to so much music. I discovered new artists. I kept the same one at the top of my list for the fourth year in a row. I went to a concert and cried with my best friend.
  • I moved into my own apartment and bought a blue velvet couch and a fake Tiffany lamp and every day get to experience the pleasure of living alone in a space that’s mine.
  • I was really, really lonely and learned new ways to enjoy and cherish my own company. But sometimes I just watched sit coms and let myself feel my loneliness.
  • I talked about sitting on the river a lot, but didn’t actually do that as often as I wanted.
  • I dreamed about wearing head-to-toe sequins 350 times, probably.
  • I grieved – for and with people. I sat by helplessly while the people I love most in the world had their hearts broken. I had my own heart broken. I tried my best to help all of us carry all of it. I marked birthdays and anniversaries with whispered prayers.
  • I celebrated one year at a job in my field of choice – the first time I ever got to reach that milestone.
  • I left that job and less than a month later all of the work that I had done and cared about was deleted and it hurt me and then I felt guilty that I was hurt.
  • I rejoined healthcare during a pandemic and in my first week we laughed that things were quiet and then we all started kicking ourselves for that. The healthcare job is hard, like I knew it would be.
  • I got a lot more confident in myself, and in what I offer to the world.
  • I allowed myself to be much more vulnerable and honest with myself and with others
  • I laughed, so much.

2021 was a hard and complicated year. Nothing happened. Everything happened. It feels nice to look back on it like this. It feels like I’ve oversimplified the bigness of it. Or exaggerated the smallness. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad either. I have learned and grown and failed and succeeded and changed and stubbornly refused to. Maybe every year isn’t life-changing, earth-shattering. Maybe I thrived, but maybe all I did this year is survive. How lucky I am to be able to reflect like this, anyway.

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