Looking back: 2021

The first draft of this post was massive.

Now if you’ve ever seen the early drafts of my work – “Short” stories included – this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I’d raised the bar even for me.

I found myself talking about *Everything* including deeply personal stuff, better set down in a personal journal- which I might take up again this year – as opposed to a public post.

At 1500 words, I decided to start over. Speaking of starting…

I started off 2021 so optimistic. I imagine we all did.

Which is not to say that I don’t think we’re in a better place now, than we were back at the turn of the year, but we sure got off to a rocky start.

But that’s normal when you’re just beginning to rebuild.

I think that’s been the theme of the year for me. Rebuild.

Your mileage may vary, of course but, looking back, there was a lot of recovery for me this year.

Health, Mental Health, Happiness, Creatively…

There’s a lot in there that’s interconnected and work in one area will have positive impacts in the others (and in other areas of life that I hadn’t listed…Massive, remember), but there was work to be done.

And, like with all necessary work, it was hard, but it wasn’t a slog – and it’s not done.

Like any other year, 2021 has had its share of ups and downs during which times the work is correspondingly easier or harder, sometimes in tandem (Yes, I know that doesn’t make much sense but there it is).

There were health issues – some of which required a bit of breaking down before we could begin to move forward again. All of which had impacts on other areas of life, just as the subsequent recovery had impacts for the better.

I started out 2021 with the purpose of looking up and out. And that turned out for the good. I got to watch (more than a little misty-eyed) the Perseverance Rover Land on Mars.

I learned about looking inward. To appreciate and show gratitude (harder than it turned out to be) to my past self – without whom I wouldn’t be here today. This is something I strive to do every day.

Finally, I learned to look neither forward, nor backward, but to look at the present. I started noticing – and taking note of – things that bring me delight. I write them down and doing so has enabled a subtle shift for the better. I see more clearly (Sidebar: 2021 also brought a new pair of glasses – with a new prescription – SO much better). I am looking for things that delight me and, in the Buttery, Man-Voice, words of Dave Robison : You find what you’re looking for.

Not only did I find it (My #DailyDelight list has 59 entries in it – and I started this back in the middle of October. That’s more than one delight per day), I find that I’m more open to unexpected delights when they show up. 2021 has ben a stand out year for the discovery of new Music, New Television Shows, New Books, Movies, Comics, etc.

I’m more likely to notice something cool when I’m out walking – that pair of deer in the field 100 feet away, the awesome sound of hundreds of pairs of wings all hitting the air at the same time, spring peepers (I love my peepers).

2021 has been a year of rebuilding. We’re not done by a long shot, but it’s worth recognizing and appreciating what we’ve done and seen along the way. It hasn’t been easy and it hasn’t been painless, but here we are.

As I type this up, realizing that I’m nearing the end, I find that I’m filled with just as much optimism about 2022 as I was about the approach of 2021. Perhaps for different reasons – I can say with confidence that I’m not the same person I was at the beginning of the year – but Looking forward, inward, and at the present, even as the future approaches.

Celebrate what’s gone by – without it, you wouldn’t be here.

Celebrate the present moment – it’s all around you, unique, and full of awesome, if you look for it.

Celebrate the future – In the words of one of my Musical discoveries, Accept (Yes, I know they’ve been around for a long time, but this year was the year I truly gave them a listen): The Best is Yet to Come.

Thanks for reading. Be safe out there. Be Excellent to Each other – and yourself.

I’ll see you on Sunday.


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