2021 Self-Reflection: Part 2
I can't believe that this is the last post of 2021! How did this year fly by, yet, the days seemed to take forever? I think we are all still in a haze of trying to process the last few years and they seem to just clump together. I wonder if that is how the years of World War II seemed to those in the thick of it. It is nice to know that time keeps marching on even when we don't feel like doing so ourselves. I hope you get the chance to reflect back on your year while enjoying your triumphs and learning from your mistakes. After all, life is all about growth.
What have I learned about myself this year?
I know I keep sounding like some fluffy, yaya, self-help Instagram account but I really have learned things about myself this year that I can appreciate and love in a way that I’ve never thought possible. Nothing grandiose or billboard worthy but just small things that make a big difference in how I approach the world. I'm so glad we never lose the opportunity to grow and change.
What’s my favorite squad adventure from this year?
Obviously, our “Very Harry Christmas” was the best trip ever! It might have to be an annual tradition because I love HP and Christmas so combining them is the best. But I will say, I probably laughed more and felt more silly and care-free on our Sloth Adventure.
Am I happy with my overall year?
As tired and overwhelmed as this year has seemed, I am also aware that these feelings are a ripple effect from my job and actually, I am pretty happy with my year. It hasn’t been a year of big moments or anything spectacular but rather small moments of joy and little bits of growth that I have discernment enough to know will be impactful in the future. I’m learning to happily enjoy seasons of preparation. That alone is a miracle.
What was the most challenging part of this year for me?
Creating boundaries has been very difficult for me because I tend to lean towards people pleasing. I’ve tried to create boundaries for work and with people that create a toxic, self-serving environment around me. That was a really hard one because I often feel obligated to help someone without thought to myself. You can't help or be friends with everyone which is disappointing.
What do I intend on doing differently next year?
I intend to make intentional efforts towards fixing my stress levels, sleep quality and energy levels in the new year. I’m not really sure how I’m going to do that but I’ve got to do something beyond the cheap fixes of an energy drink and just dealing with it. I spent the last few years getting the mental/emotional "insides" healthier but now I've got to work on getting the rest of me in gear beyond working out and eating decent.
What was my favorite purchase of this year?
My favorite purchase this year was my ticket and all the accompanying items for my Hogwarts trip with the girls at the beginning of December. We had so much fun and money spent on an experience is always money well spent because of all it represents. Even trips that don’t go well, are memories made if you are with people you love. We started a tradition last year of doing experiences together instead of buying Christmas gifts. Best. Idea. Ever!
What was your biggest distraction this year?
I think this could be my answer for many years but I think my biggest distraction has been my expectations and plans for the future or more precisely how I think I’m “behind” in regards to those things. So often I can’t help but be hyper focused on what I feel like is a failure when in reality it is the lack of control that really gets to me. There are so many "big things" on hold for me right now which is sometimes fine and sometimes irks me beyond belief. Ultimately, I know God's timing is perfect (Isaiah 60:22b) and I've definitely grown in that area of trust but I still get frustrated which probably means the Lord isn't done teaching me about patience.
How did you help others and receive help this year?
I think I helped and received help in similar ways this year through my squad and my work crew. We tried to keep things stable, “normal” as possible and fun. This year we have all really tried to be intentional about encouraging each other, making fun out of whatever life presents us and sticking together through what seemed impossible. The word that comes to mind for both these groups is lifeline.
What inspired you the most this year?
Intentionality. I tried to be intentional in dropping the hanky and stepping outside of my comfort zone because it turns out that the experts are correct. I won’t meet someone doing the same things I’ve always done. Also, this stepping out has grown my confidence, perspective and hope beyond what my cynical self believed was possible.
Also, I HAD to be intentional about making time for my family and friends. If I had not literally scheduled time to be with those I love, I would have gone to work and gone to sleep for most days this year. Partly out of exhaustion and partly because on some days my stress dreams were actually a bit of a relief compared to the whirling concerns of the day. These moments of hanging out regardless of mood and energy level have literally carried me through some weeks.
Intentionally trying to pour encouragement into others has been a blessing as well this year. It helped shift my perspective and created a ripple effect of blessings to others. My sweet hall decorated, dressed up, cheered on and more trying to inspire and excite our kiddos. Some of these babies are in such desperate need of hope and encouragement and I’d like to think we provided a few moments of laughter and joy for them but we had to be intentional about it.
Did you accomplish your goals for this year?
I set myself five goals this year, trying my best to not set ones that were outside of my control. I wanted to become more intentional about having a gentle spirit or at least being more approachable because I know that is not always my natural gift. I think I’ve definitely made progress in this area though I doubt I will ever finish growing in this area. Also, I wanted to refocus on being healthy. Like many, I kind of threw my hands up in the air during the last two years because everything else seemed more demanding. However, I decided that I really needed to get my head back on straight. If I’m honest, I’ve had moments of success and just as many moments of failure concerning my health journey this year.
I also had the desire this year to stretch my comfort zone even more than the last few years. I also feel like the Lord has taught me so much in the last few years that I would be very foolish not to jump out and test my wings so I wanted to post more “thoughtlessly” on social media. Not as in, being thoughtless, but rather to try and not overthink or micro criticize myself. I have definitely grown in my awareness of my critical ways and I have been intentional in how I handle those moments when I recognize them.
I also wanted to step out in “dropping the hanky” this year. Really being intentional about how I approach attractive men and my love life in general. This was a goal that seemed next to impossible a few years ago because I didn’t feel capable or worthy of any such interaction. Over the last few years, the Lord has grown me in so many ways and this is definitely one of them. I can happily and somewhat shockingly say that I have dropped the hanky and done so with confidence and expectations. Am I being chased by men down the street? No, thank goodness but I have seen a difference in how I interact with the world and I’ve had some pretty amazing moments that I think will continue to blossom in the new year and that’s pretty exciting.
Finally, I wanted to truly celebrate my 35 birthday like someone who isn’t afraid of age. You can read my true feelings on why 35th birthdays should be celebrated in a bigger way than 30th in my post on turning 35. I loved turning 35 and I’ve enjoyed being in my thirties far more than my twenties.
So, overall, yeah, I think I did complete my goals for this year. It wasn’t exactly as I expected but I’m happy looking back.
What is your quote for 2022?
Don’t forget that baby steps still move you forward. (Psalm 130:5) I tend to want to jump to the end but I want to live next year with the expectation that the little moments could be a really big deal.
I hope you have a wonderful end to 2021 and I pray that you start 2022 with exciting expectations for all the Lord has planned for you. Let's wait with expectation and be prepared to step out when called!