2021 Self-Reflection: Part 1
I think it's always a good practice to reflect on your year as a whole so you don't miss some of the great moments just because you've had some rough moments or miss how much you've grown because it happened six months ago. So, when I found this set of 21 reflection questions for 2021 online, I knew I had to do it.
Summarize the year in three words.
expanding, exhausting, enlightening
What are you proud of this year?
Truthfully, I’ve not had some great moment of pride in the last year or at least not in the traditional sense. I am proud however, that I’ve tried to fight my desire to live on autopilot. The start of this school year has seemed 100 times harder than all of last year and autopilot would be an easy way to exist but not live. I can’t say that I’ve been great at it but I have been aware and tried to fight for reasons to get outside of my “surviving” routine.
What was your biggest lesson learned?
“If you’re not willing to risk the little things going wrong you’ll never get the chance for the big things to go right.” (The Good Doctor) This concept hit me about six months ago and it has made me bolder and more intentional in certain areas of my life because the risk of disappointment is far less painful than the risk of the missed opportunity.
What do you wish you did more of this year?
I wish I had learned the above lesson earlier so I could have acted on it earlier. I trust God’s timing completely but now that I’ve found a weird sort of freedom outside of my comfort zone, I realize it would have been useful far earlier.
What would you like to accomplish before the end of the year?
I literally have no idea since the year ends in two days. Would I be a pessimist if I said I accomplished all I could in 2021?
What do you wish you did less of this year?
I wish I had stressed over work less. I’m not sure that is possible because I don’t know a teacher alive who isn’t at their breaking point. I’ve seen coworkers sit down in the floor and cry, have panic attacks and decide to leave education in the middle of the term because they can’t make it another moment without a breakdown. Teachers are so used to taking everything thrown at them and pressing on for the sake of the kids but I’m not sure how much longer that is feasible. Education has created an atmosphere of martyrs who have been told that rest is a reward and that respect and dignity are luxuries we just can't afford. That's a problem and personally, I have a real issue “turning it off” when I walk out of the building and I know it is affecting my health but I just can’t seem to stop.
What is something unexpected that happened this year?
I think the most unexpected moments of 2021 have been small but lovely interactions. I’ve had friendships grow, comfort zones expand and possibilities broaden. All of these moments happened in quiet, little ways which is really nice. I kind of hope this trend continues in the new year. Little moments that put a pep in your step and a smile in your heart.
What is your favorite memory of this year?
I’m not sure I can pick just one memory but a large portion of my great memories revolve around watching my nephew grow and learn. He is at that age of learning to walk, feed himself, talk and is really coming into his personality. It has been so fun to see all the changes taking place and picking just one is near impossible, though I must say that watching him try to run with his hands in the air is pretty great.
What steps have you taken towards a long term goal?
The only long term goal I feel I have the power to work towards right now is purchasing a house. Now, ultimately my steps have been fruitless because the housing market is absolutely bonkers but I’ve done everything possible outside of actually purchasing a house. I’ve made several offers but nothing yet. It's a bit like online dating. You just keep looking hoping for something that checks enough boxes to make the next step. Ha! Truthfully, I am trusting that the Lord has a plan and that perhaps the new year will bring a new home.
What do you want more of next year?
I want more intentional joy and love. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true. I also know that will require me to not function on autopilot and to create moments that cultivate joy and love. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like yet but I’m excited to find out.
So, what does your 2021 reflection hold?