5 things to reflect on before 2021 becomes 2022

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s because my world and the world around me seem to slow down a bit.

Each year, our family takes to the hills – to the Colorado mountains to be more precise – and spends our days skiing, snowshoeing, reading the books we got from what one of my daughter’s friends calls the great Culhane book exchange (otherwise known as Christmas), playing games, watching movies, and generally lazing around with an emphasis on being together.

For me, part of this week also includes setting aside time for a bit of reflection and some intention setting.

And as I’ve relaxed, meditated, and played, the past year has begun to integrate and my intentions for the coming year are gaining more clarity.

One of the things I’m noticing as I reflect on the year is how many people and situations have shown up to help me live more authentically… to feel more engaged and open, even in the midst of a global pandemic and several national reckonings.

As I’ve dug a little deeper, I have realized what living through this year has taken: It’s taken courage to fully experience my feelings – both good and bad.  It’s taken both making and keeping promises to myself – neither too many nor too few.  It’s taken embracing all that comes with reckoning with the past and trusting into a better future. It’s taken a commitment to introspection and change so together we can create a more socially just society. It’s included vulnerability, delight, curiosity, empathy, shame, gratitude, apprehension, loss, nostalgia, insecurity, and resilience.  

This year has taken courage to say no… and yes, in a balanced way.  It’s been about giving up the lure and arrogance of busy and embracing worthwhile instead. 

This year has been about learning more about letting go of jealousy, hubris and comparison and instead working on treating myself and others with empathy, compassion, forgiveness, respect and gratitude.   

This year has been about not trying to wish time away or let life rush by but rather choosing to live into both the messiness and magnificence.

Reflection is how we set the stage for what comes next.

Here are 5 prompts to help you do just that:  

  1. List a favorite moment, interaction, realization, flavor, discovery, epiphany, and person from the past year.
  2. If you could magically choose to change one decision you made in 2021, what would it be?  Why?
  3. List 10 highlights and 10 lowlights from 2021. 
  4. What are 10 things I’m grateful to have experienced in 2021?
  5. Who are 10 people who made a difference in my life in 2021?

As I look forward to 2022, I can’t wait to roll out a couple of new group writing programs, sing out loud & clear, watch as our daughter and son lean into their next chapters and astound us in the process, celebrate another year of marriage to my supportive husband, meet new and cherish old friends, play with our silly puppy, interact with new and longtime clients, teach a Guided Autobiography class for women through the Older Adult Services program at the Denver Public Library and, most importantly, take the time to be grateful for whatever life has in store. 

Thank you being a part of my blogging community this past year and for inviting me into your inbox.  It’s both an honor and a privilege. 

Wishing you a new year filled with whatever makes your heart sing.