reflections on 2021

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Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours, I 59

Oof, 2021. Or, perhaps more appropriately, 2020 part two — a continuation of the prior year. Does anyone else feel like it just kind of happened?

Sure, we celebrated the holidays and turned another page on the calendar, but 2021 is missing that feeling of finality that I usually get with the closeout of a year and the start of a new one. Maybe that’s why it’s taken me until midway through January to finish my year-in-review, or perhaps it’s because the past year was not as much fun to review.

There were indeed bright spots, reasons to celebrate, and moments that stood out (including a 30-day van trip and a COVID-19 vaccine) but, overall, I kind of struggled through a good amount of the 365 days. Or, as one of my best friends would say, I had a wobbler. It was challenging to feel motivated, and many days, exhaustion and overwhelm got the best of me. I suspect I’m not alone in this, as the past few years have really taken their toll on many of us.
One area where I had a really tough go was my career. I felt very stagnant, and it was the first year since I joined the professional world in which I didn’t feel like I grew. In fact, it almost seemed as if I went backward. However, positive news came at the end of the year through a job offer at one of my dream companies, so things are looking up in that arena.

Overall, I find myself yearning for change, which will obviously come with a different job at a new company, but I’m not sure that will fully satisfy me. I miss variety, the kind that happens with travel or meeting new people or even going into an office. Hopefully, these things will come as the world heals, and 2022 will be a better year.

As far as 2021 goals were concerned, I set a few lofty ones (big hairy audacious goals, or BHAGs) for myself. These were complemented by some more attainable, smaller goals to help with momentum and keep me motivated — even though I still felt like I was lacking in that department. It is comforting to see this list and know some good things came out of it despite the year not being quite what I would have wanted.

celebrations: one year in California; COVID-19 vaccine; four years with my love; three years of marriage; five years at Schwab; husband’s 40th birthday; two weddings; Ellie’s 9th birthday; another year of good health for our little family

adventures + just for fun: 30-day cross-country van road trip; summited Mt. Tam (east peak); completed really difficult puzzle; botanical gardens + magnolias; Cal Academy; Kite Hill, Tank Hill, Sutro Reserve; camping + hiking at Tahoe; many day trips + exploring Oakland/Berkeley; continued exploring SF; many wine country trips; joined new wintery (Harvest Moon); Denver trip; San Diego/Somis; Asian Art Museum; Hedge pop-up; Van Gough exhibit; Rockies v Giants; blanket comedy; hosted first guests in SF; kayaking; Salesforce Park; exploring Palo Alto; Somis for NYE; Heath Holiday Fair; Banksy exhibit; Feast of the Seven Fishes; A Christmas Story in-person show; NYT daily mini crossword; created + shared Spotify list; welcomed three foster pups into our home; completed many months of Insta book reviews; spent in-person (!) time with family and friends

growth: completed/passed all coursework, first sequence/class and written exam for 200-hour yoga teacher training; World According to Sound virtual series; Night of Ideas (virtual); continued Blogging for Beginners course; online coaching; magnolia education session; Monterey Bay aquarium live (multiple); Mari Andrews virtual book event; botanical gardens women’s speaker series; Alice Waters virtual book event; Unteathered Soul podcast series; plant-based festival; joined book club; 1440 Multiversity solo wellness weekend; 31 Days of Gifts program; Brene Brown virtual book event; first mammogram; took more active role in investing + retirement; finished “A Year of Positive Thinking” book; meditation practice; made a few friends in SF; surpassed house down payment savings goal; completed many months of no-buy year

mind + body: 78-week workout streak; consistently exercised every week for an entire year; crow pose (yoga); side plank with leg lift; endured some achilles and foot pain; wore bikini in public; worked on pushups and planks; incorporated strength-training into fitness routine; vegetarian at home

peloton milestones: 1,054 workouts; more than 13,200 minutes; rold 1,798 miles; 17 PRs; celebrated 200, 300, 400 and 500 rides; 52-week streak; celebrated 200 and 300 stretches, 100 and 200 meditations and 100 strength and yoga classes; completed #3for31 December challenge + many more Peloton community challenges; many early Saturday morning live rides with Schweloton group; increased average cycling output month-over-month (for most months); rode at least 150 miles each month (except September/roadtrip); successfully completed my first Pelofondo (35 miles); joined hardCoRE on the Floor

career: new team/expanded scope; dealt with challenging situation with team member; received annual key contributor award, hired two new team members; created new roles; led very stressful project; Agile training; change management course – certified change practitioner; offered + accepted Staff Product Manager, Employee Experience role at Peloton (!!)

continued: exploring SF steps; Three Good Things weekly blog post (most weeks); daily gratitude (most days); exploring new food + recipes each week; daily, weekly, monthly habit tracker

tough stuff: losing a dear aunt much too early; continued uncertainty + challenges with COVID; struggled with work + career

2021 by the numbers:

  • 19, 423 total activity/workout minutes
  • 13,200 Peloton activity minutes
  • 7,400 miles driven in van
  • 7,772-foot peak summitted
  • 1,798 Peloton miles ridden
  • 365 New York Times daily mini crosswords completed
  • 51 blog posts written
  • 39 books read 
  • 26 nights spent camping
  • 22 states visited
  • 7 national parks visited
  • 3 dogs saved
  • 2 weddings attended

A look back at past years’ reflections:

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