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Reflecting on 2021

2021 was a weird year. 

In some ways, I feel like I accomplished next to nothing. 

A candid moment? 

I didn’t make as much progress as I’d like in a lot of areas of my life over the last twelve months. I have a full post coming this week on how I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time in the waiting room in recent months, but there it is – the honest truth about how I feel about my actions over the last year. Because of that – and being an Enneagram 3 – I was inclined to call 2021 a bust. But when I took the time to look back, it really wasn’t a busted year. It was one of growth and introspection. 

A few highlights from 2021:  

  • I moved to Los Angeles
  • I’m officially halfway through my MFA program
  • I wrote two pilots and a feature. 
  • I became a Pure Barre instructor. 
  • I finished my time at UNC and started a new full-time role here in Los Angeles.

I also explored L.A., made some new friends, and in the last few months of the year, began to dig deeper into my belief system and reinforce my relationship with Jesus

But I sat on my hands when it came to a lot of my big, scary goals. It may not look like it from the outside looking in, but I spent a lot of hours sitting on the sidelines instead of actively working towards the big things I want in life. It was easier to stick my head in the sand instead of put myself out there. 

My word for for 2021 was ‘Settled.’ I wanted to be “settled in Los Angeles, in a new apartment, a new community. Settled in my own skin, in who I am, in what I want. Settled in a world that likes to throw chaos at us hard and fast.” I suppose I did settle into Los Angeles and into my new apartment, but I struggled to find community (thanks, pandemic) and in the final weeks of the year, I started to really see how unsettled I’ve been in my own skin, in who I am, and in what I want. Instead of feeling settled, I settled into a routine, into the habit of being “busy.” I put myself and some of my big dreams aside in the name of checking off to-do lists and doing what people expected of me, what I felt like I had to do instead of what lights me up inside. And what did I get for it? 

Tired. 

I got tired. 

I stopped exercising. I stopped eating as healthy as I had been. I put a lot of my long established good habits on the shelf to prioritize waking up to start working too early and staying up too late. I can feel the toll it took on my body and as the calendar turns, I’ve had enough of checking boxes and feeling like I have to reply to a work email at 6AM because it’s in my inbox even though my office is not at all a place that encourages working at all hours. My “work FOMO” is self-induced. 

I stopped journaling and having quiet time first thing in the morning a few months ago. I didn’t read my Bible or my devotional for months upon months. I went from getting a solid seven hours of sleep to getting six if I’m lucky. I had a hard time falling asleep and a hard time sleeping in on days when I could. 

I settled into execution + survival mode and it wasn’t good for me. It suffices to say I burned out. 

Yet the last couple of months of 2021 were profound in a lot of ways. A dream I had over the summer pushed me towards seeking answers that were largely found through podcasts that in turned help me dig deeper into my faith – and help me not feel so “crazy.” 

More on that in the coming days too. 

And since I’m being honest here, I didn’t even remember what goals I set for myself in 2021 until I went back to look. Here’s how they fared. 

  • Read 24 books: The one goal I met and even surpassed. I read 25 books in 2021. I’m upping this goal to 26 in 2022. Reading has been a great way for me to wind down in the evenings, but it’s also a great inspiration for me. I’ll share some of my favorite books from the past year in an upcoming post. 
  • Grow my coaching business: I kept a small (small) roster of clients throughout the year, but my growth was stagnant in large part to both my lack of focus in the business and my changing interests. I’m so grateful for the clients I coached this past year. They helped me identify how my passions have changed and helped me get excited for what’s ahead. So while I didn’t grow my business, I did learn a lot about where I want my next venture to take me. 
  • Launch my project: Nope. I did launch a workout program that I’ve since discontinued, but the project I wanted to launch last year never came to fruition. At first it was because I was hemming and hawing over what to name it and then I let life back burner it. But timing is everything and I really believe 2021 wasn’t the time for this. I had to learn a few lessons – and burnout – first. 
  • Cook differently: I started the year fully aware that I needed to be 100% gluten and dairy-free. I was even diagnosed with celiac in April. And yet, especially the last two months of 2021, I continued to eat things I knew were destroying my gut and causing all sorts of digestive discomfort. I settled into “quick and easy” at the expense of “what I need.” Lessons have been learned and the cabinets and fridge have been purged. 
  • Find a new gym: I started at CycleBar Culver City in February and loved it, but when I started my new job, teaching barre, and the fall semester of school (the first one in person!) I had a hard time finding class times that fit my schedule so I dropped my membership. I tried a gym in Hermosa Beach that I loved, but their schedule didn’t work with mine so I ended up using my apartment’s gym when I could. I miss the gym community and hope to find one in 2022.  
  • Cultivate community: I’ll give myself a half pass for this. My first several months in Los Angeles were peak pandemic days, but I did form friendships with my classmates and some of my barre people. I’ve really missed community these last few years though and I’m prioritizing this in 2022. 
  • Find an internship and/or an agent: I didn’t do a darn thing here and this is a big part of my frustrations with myself when it comes to the progress I didn’t make. I have to look in the mirror and point a finger at my reflection when looking for someone to blame. And yet, I don’t think I was ready for either of these things in 2021. So perhaps it all worked out… 

And with that, I’m wrapping up this post and leaving 2021 behind. It wasn’t a bad year. A lot of good happened throughout it. A lot of growth and introspection happened. Now, as we move into 2022, it’s time for me to put some of those lessons into action. 

It’s time to stop being so settled. 

Thanks for being such a potent teacher, 2021. I learned a lot from you. 

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