Last year was hard. The novelty of isolation wore off. Life was supposed to return more to normal, but it never really felt normal, and maybe never will. I was a bit less motivated to make changes, and that’s ok, because I am pretty happy with my routines and habits. I lost two loved ones to cancer in 2021, and a focus of the year was on helping to love and care for them as they were dying. This experience strengthened my already deep awareness of my own mortality, and the need to have a purpose in life beyond my own happiness and contentment. Kindness and inspiring and serving others continues to be top of mind for me, as described in this poem I wrote after my father in law passed away on December 31.
My word of the year in 2021 was “accept.” This meant accepting myself as I am. Accepting things I cannot control. I think I was able to incorporate this word into the outcomes and changes I made during the year.
2021 Personal Goals
I made some improvements here, and will always have work to do on accepting that I am not always included when I want to be, and not being included doesn’t mean people don’t like me!
Explore Creative Expression and Limit Screentime
Besides the writing I accomplished, I didn’t really limit my screen time and still spend too much time on Instagram and Facebook. I don’t spend a lot of time in one sitting, but I do look for a few minutes a few times a day, when I could be reading or doing something more creative. I enjoy looking at Instagram in the evening before I go to bed, but would be better served by taking social media apps off of my iPad so I can just go to the Kindle app and read a book instead.
Lose 5 Pounds
My average weight is definitely a few pounds less than it was a year ago – probably not a full 5 pounds, but I am happy at my current weight and would be happy to maintain this weight.
It is important to me to help others and share some of my good fortune with those in need. In addition to pro bono work, I continue to mentor a high school student and donate to a variety of nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping those in need and making the world a better place.
2021 In a Nutshell
- Struggled *less* with self-esteem and worried to *a bit less* about what others think of me
- Continued volunteering with college readiness mentorship program
- Ran a bit fewer miles than 2020, but still ran a lot (881 miles vs. 975 in 2020)
- Ran in a relay race on the GAP Trail and a trail race
- Participated in PZ Pack Peloton Power Zone Challenges, and increased engagement with Peloton App (92 hours)
- Lost a couple of pounds and maintained healthy weight
- Got the COVID vaccine!
- Learned how to make better pizza in my new pizza oven
- Continued having my husband working from home
- Joined writing group and wrote some free form poems on my own
- Traveled to Asheville, NC with my husband to celebrate our 30th Anniversary
- Traveled to Chicago for my daughter’s college graduation
- Saw Brandi Carlile live at Wolftrap
- Participated in an impactful retreat with a women’s school consultant mastermind group
- Attended the wedding of my college BFF’s daughter in North Carolina
- Got a tattoo
- Traveled to California with my husband, and visited with my children and my parents, as well as college friends
- Traveled to Florida to visit my in-laws and spend time with my husband and kids
“If it aint broke, don’t fix it.” I feel like many things in my life are in a good place, so I don’t really want to change much, just get better at a few things I struggle with. There is enough that is out of my control – it is reassuring to identify things I can control and positive impacts I can have on myself and others.
Be a more positive and kind person
In this era of political discord, false information, climate change and COVID, it is very easy to have a negative outlook. It’s important to have well-placed anger; however, anger takes a lot more energy than happiness. I am inspired by Michelle Frechette‘s consistently kind and positive approach, shared abundantly on Twitter, and by her #365Compliments goal. I consider myself to be a kind person most of the time, but I really disappoint myself when I fall short and speak or act without thinking about how it might come across or make someone feel. I am going to continue my pursuit of “Ultimate Kindness” this year by taking Michelle’s compliment-a-day idea (sincere compliments only!) and only posting positive things on social media.
My word of the year for 2022 is CREATIVITY. I used to be so much more creative before the internet and computers! Looking back at some of my stationery pieces from the late 90’s/early 2000’s (I need to digitize/catalogue some of these!), I feel disconnected from that person whose creativity I admire. I would like to rediscover that part of me.
I started writing in 2021 with the Bewliderness Writing Group. This is a casual online writing group, with no feedback or analysis. It is very freeing to just write what is on my mind, based on a prompt from a poem. This also leads into some more focused writing which I am publishing on my personal blog. Since my explorations into learning to play an instrument have largely failed, writing seems to be something I can do without having to learn a new language or motor skill. I would also like to do more creative things this year – perhaps start knitting? And, once COVID makes it safe, I plan to return to the theatre to experience creative expression on stage from the audience – in plays, musicals and concerts and to visit the wealth of museums in the DC area.
Maintain existing exercise and nutrition habits. Pay more attention to water and sugar intake
While I have struggled with my body image for most of my life, I am honestly content with my body. Last year I had a goal to lose 5 pounds. I lost a couple of pounds, and am happy with my weight. I started doing intermittent fasting during 2021, and also added some dietary supplements to my routine, all of which I feel have helped me maintain my weight, and in general feel better. (I used guidance from the Galveston Diet which includes intermittent fasting and daily Magnesium, Vitamin D, Omega 3 and fiber supplements.) The one thing I haven’t paid much attention to is my sugar intake, and I also need to be more attentive to drinking more water. I have often professed my love for jelly beans – I also love cookies more than the Cookie Monster! I have found a slightly decreased desire for these foods since I have been taking the supplements, but once I start eating sugar I find it hard to stop. I need to change my beliefs about myself – that I am powerless when it comes to candy and cookies. If I can’t have it around, I should throw it away and avoid it in the first place. I think I will feel much better if I keep track and limit sugar intake to under 25g per day. I have a habit of filling 3 water bottles every morning. During the holiday break, I got out of the habit, so am happy to be restarting that, which makes it easier to consume enough water throughout the day.
It probably seems morbid to be motivated to put my things in order after the death of close loved ones, but that’s one of the reactions I have had. I don’t want my family to have to dig around to find things, to have to deal with piles of stuff that they don’t want or need and that I no longer need now anyway. I am going to tackle a different room/closet/cabinet each month of the year and be disciplined about getting rid of things.