Reflecting on 2021

Reflecting on 2021

Congrats! You’ve made it to December, which means you’ve just about made it through this year! Let’s pause for a moment to honor that. 

This has been an incredibly hard year, and while we’re approaching the time of year everyone starts listing their accomplishments, we want to take a moment to say: it’s okay if all you did this year was get through it. In fact, that’s wonderful! Getting through it is the best accomplishment you can have, and we are SO proud of you. 

This year was a huge period of transition. 

As we continue to navigate through the Covid pandemic, we’re sure to face more and more of these periods of uncertainty and transition. But this year was a major turning point for us with the distribution of the COVID vaccine! And with that vaccine we were able to transition back into a more connected life again, and reduce that isolation the pandemic brought with it throughout almost all of 2020. The vaccine allowed for us to be back in close contact with friends and family and other loved ones and neighbors, safely, and with less anxiety. And we were able to start becoming present members of our communities again, with restaurants and shops and community centers being able to open up and hold in person events again. 

However, the pandemic has not ended. 

Throughout 2020 we were very unsure of the trajectory of COVID-19. Until the vaccine, we weren’t even able to predict when we would be able to interact with loved ones “normally” (indoors, unmasked, largely without worries) again. Then, we got news of the vaccine and many of us had to wait until we or other loved ones could get vaccinated–making the in-between stages stressful, or even frightening. Safety measures and our knowledge of them seemed to change so quickly that it was hard to know what the “best” decision to make in any situation was, especially with mixed vaccination statuses. 

And while the vaccine has certainly increased safety for public health, it is not a cure to the pandemic itself. There are still other strains of the virus, and not everyone is able to be vaccinated, so caution is still necessary. It also means we’re still in a position of transition right now–where we are able to partly be “back” as participants in the real world, but not fully, as we still have to consider COVID before any decision, even if it’s safer now with the vaccine. 

What did this year look like for you?

In many areas, this year was the beginning of a bright spot after 2020! While we are still having to navigate questions of public health, we have been allowed to rejoin our communities so much more with the vaccine. 2020 was generally a year of profound isolation, but 2021 seemed to be the year we started to heal by connecting with one another; getting together again with family and friends we’ve been unable to see since the beginning of the pandemic, rescheduled milestone events like weddings and other celebrations, even just being able to get together with friends we don’t live with, indoors, unmasked! 

It’s okay if your feelings toward this year are complicated.

A year is a long time, and while we often joke about “bad years” it’s important to honor the complexity of our experiences.And that means recognizing that even in very difficult times, we’re capable of big joy! Don’t write off either experience. Acknowledge them both, and thank them for what they are teaching you about your wants, needs and values. 

To help you reflect on the last year, here are 9 questions to ask yourself or to use as journal prompts: 

  1. What did you learn about yourself this year?
  2. What surprised you about yourself this year?
  3. When you think back on the last year, what moments stick out most to you? Why those moments?
  4. What was the best thing that happened all year?
  5. What was the most upsetting thing that happened all year?
  6. What happened in the last year that you’re grateful for?
  7. How have you changed in the last year?
  8. What would you from a year ago be happy to learn about your life?
  9. What do you want to see happen in your life in the next year?