2021 | end-of-year survey

I saw this end-of-year survey on Stephany‘s blog, and then my friend Lisa posted her own version, and I enjoyed it so much and found this recap so intriguing that I am jumping on the bandwagon.

1) What did you do in 2021 that you’ve never done before? Ran my fastest half marathon, completed a 365 workout streak, started Power Zone Training, went to the ER (could have done without that).

2) Did anyone close to you give birth? No.

3) Did anyone close to you die? Luckily, no. Although I did hear that someone I was friend’s with as a teenager, passed shortly before Christmas. She was much too young to die.

4) What places did you visit? Ha. That sounds like a trick question – however, I know that I’ve probably stayed closer to home in 2021 than most people. I went down to SoCal (to the beach!) for 2 nights at the end of December (to see my in-laws and a friend), but that was it for 2021. Sad.

5) What would you like to have in 2022 that you didn’t have in 2021? A reunion with my family.

6) What dates from 2021 will be etched in your memory forever? Probably January 6, as we watched in horror the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. April 7 and 28, when I got vaccinated. August 17, when my Peloton was delivered. September 9, my 20th California-versary.

7) What was your biggest achievement this year? A 365 workout streak and a new PR in the half marathon.

8) What was your biggest failure? I am not a fan of the word failure, but if there is one thing I wish I could have done better in 2021, it’s to be more assertive sometimes. I’ve gotten so much better, but still have moments where I want to actually feel more confident than I do.

9) Did you suffer from illness or injury? Luckily no, unless you count the on and off issues I’ve been having with chest pressure and (atypical) heartburn.

10) What was the best thing you bought? My Peloton. Hands down.

11) Where did most of your money go? You mean besides rent? Food. Our grocery spending is – and will forever be – one of the largest parts of our budget. I suppose, I am finally okay with it.

12) What did you get really, really excited about? Getting vaccinated. It seemed like the only sure way out of this pandemic. Alas, it hasn’t been that straightforward.

13) What authors did you discover in 2021? Isabel Wilkerson (Caste), Lisa Wingate (Before we were yours), Matt Haig (The Midnight Library).

14) What do you wish you had done more of? Reading, crafting.

15) What do you wish you had done less of? Worrying, feeling FOMO, doom-scrolling.

16) How did your spend Christmas? We spend a quiet Christmas at home again, just me and Jon.

17) What was your favorite TV program? Schitt’s Creek. It’s the only show we watched in 2021.

18) What did you want and get? I wanted my family and friends to stay healthy and everyone to get vaccinated (the only one who hasn’t been vaccinated yet is my nephew.)

19) What did you want and not get? I wanted to see my family in person really bad (thankfully, we had plenty of video face time). I had hoped that they could come visit or that I could fly home. I probably could have. I know many people who did make the overseas trip, but I didn’t feel ready to get on a plane.

20) What was your favorite film of 2021? Uff. Did I even watch any full-length movies last year? I think the only movie I watched was “A Boy called Christmas” over the holidays, which I enjoyed very much.

21) What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 45 last year (WHAT?), and I had a very low-key birthday. The biggest birthday surprise was short visit from my friend Tanja the following day.

22) What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If people (and governments) hadn’t been so damn selfish and we would have had some consistent, sensible Covid-rules and regulations (across the globe, really) to get this goddamn pandemic under control.

23) Who kept you sane? Jon. He’s the only person I’ve really been around in 2021 (not counting virtual encounters) and I am once more thankful how we’ve weathered the pandemic together.

24) Who did you miss? Everyone else, is a pretty good description.

25) Who was the best new person you met? I did not meet anyone new in person, but I connected with a few new blogger friends (Hi Elisabeth! Hi Nicole! Hi Anne! Hi Dominique! Hi Jenny! Hi Suzanne!) that I’ve come to appreciate so much. It’s been so great to realize that there are still people with personal blogs out there who just write without an agenda, but for the sheer fun of it and to connect with others!

26) Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021. Perspective changes everything. I had my fair share of frustrating and energy-zapping days in 2021. I am sure I have been crabby for a good amount of time (but Jon was the only one to see it and kindly ignore it), but I also know that I didn’t really have it that bad (all things considered) and I have tried to constantly put myself in other people’s shoes to redirect and change my perspective. Works 99% of the time.

27) Show us one of your favorite photos from the year. 

I don’t know why, but this picture immediately popped into my head when I read the survey question. I remember this morning in September vividly, as it was the first day after a few “very smoky days” (from the wildfires) here in California, where I was able to get out early for a run and the sun was shining and I could see blue skies and breathe fresh air again. This view made me particularly happy, and it made me pause and reminded me that after a few dark days, the sun and blue skies always reappear (and look at me pulling off a nice metaphor to end this survey on a high note!).

What was your biggest achievement in 2021? What was one thing you had never done before? What valuable life lesson did you learn?

  1. Awe, what a nice end-of-year-survey !

  2. I love your optimism. I think my 2022 (or really, let’s call it what it is, 2020 part 3) phrase should be, “Be like San.” I’m naturally a pessimistic and cynical individual (have been since childhood, so it’s a difficult thing to unwind). Lately, in dealing with some personal struggles, I’ve come to realize that things usually land somewhere between worst case scenario and best case scenario, and all I can do is my best and hope that things will work out.

  3. I love this post. The highlight of the past few months has been finding more “real” blogs, and I’m pretty sure I found Stephanie either from a comment on your blog or from one of your links. Getting vaxed and getting to spend time with my family in person were the two biggest highlights of 2021 for me.

    1. Ah, thank you. I am always glad when our blogger circle expands :) and I definitely relate to getting vaxed and spending time with family are big highlights of 2021!

  4. What a great summary post (and that picture of the cake…just made me happy – the extra touch of the icing sugar made me smile).

    You completed a 365 workout streak – that is outrageously amazing!!

    In answer to your prompts:
    What was your biggest achievement in 2021? Probably starting my blog. I’ve wanted to do it for over a decade and finally forced myself to get over the inertia. And it brought great people like you into my life :)

    What was one thing you had never done before? I’m cheating a bit here, but I’ll say go downhill skiing with my family. I went skiing once almost 20 years ago, but it was basically like doing it for the first time and we ended up with season’s passes for this year and it feels like a big deal because I hate winter and am an introvert but I chose the bigger life and booked the family lesson last year and it feels like a big deal!

    What valuable life lesson did you learn? I don’t know…that life is a roller coaster. 2021 was really tough, but honestly, the whole decade since I became a mother has been a roller coaster. From a challenging delivery (a few months after I finished my Master’s degree) to not being able to breastfeed, to living below the poverty line to bootstrap a small business to having a pregnancy where I lived in fear our second baby was going to have major health challenges (didn’t know right up until the moment of birth) to having my basement jackhammered in the middle of a deep freeze while my husband was in Japan…it just feels like life has been one GIANT roller coaster. And I guess I’m slowly learning that it’s okay to be sad and grieve the hard things. And yes, I have so much privilege in my life. Healthy, vibrant children, a home, a wonderful hometown, financial security (the bootstrapping paid off!)…but life can still feel really hard. And I need to stop feeling guilty about admitting the hard parts of life – it’s not fair to me OR to others observing my life from the outside looking in.

    Sorry, I’m hijacking your comment section here. But I’m still wrestling with how to not always feel like I have to be happy all the time and allow myself permission to say “X” is hard right now and I think I’ve made some important strides in the right direction in 2021.

    1. I am so, so stoked you started your blog and we connected. It’s been so fun to get to know you.

      Did you know (probably not) that I grew up going skiing in the Alps every winter? So, you can imagine that I am stoked that you went downhill skiing again last year. What a wonderful thing to do as a family!

      I definitely agree that life is a rollercoaster and that it’s hard to see the good things when life is hard and to worry about things getting worse again when things are good. I am generally someone who focuses on the positive things, but it’s absolutely ok and even necessary to acknowledge and even lament when things are hard.

  5. Hi San!

    I loved reading this. That photo is absolutely beautiful.

    What life lesson did I learn? I guess that we are all more adaptable than I thought we were! Particularly me, I am a pretty rigid person. As for the biggest achievement, I can’t think of anything other than I just kept going.

  6. Happy New Year, San! So nice to catch up and read a year-end re-cap. If you have to be in one place for most of 2021, California is a pretty darn nice place to do it!

    1. Thanks friend. Happy New Year to you too! And yes, it could be much worse than CA ;)

  7. HI SAN! This was so fun to read! I love your accomplishments and the photo you chose is gorgeous!

  8. I loved reading this recap. So fun.
    The comment on the last picture is so great. Isn’t it great when one thing immediately pops up?
    I guess my biggest achievement ( as a solo preener during a pandemic) was to be employed throughout. While it stressed me every once in a while I was above all very grateful.

  9. I loved that you did this survey! It’s such a fun way to look back on the year. Yay Peloton! Yay vaccines! Boo to not seeing family. I really hope you can see them in 2022!

  10. Well I have to say NaBloPoMo was one of my highlights of 2021! So thank you for that… it sounds like a lot of people connected with new bloggers this year, which was more important than ever considering the limited in-person interactions.
    I love the photo and the story behind it. Yes, it was a hard year but there are always those shining moments.

    1. I am so thrilled you participated in NaBloPoMo and that you had so much fun. We had a nice little posse going :) Let’s do it again next year!

  11. I hope that you are able to see family in the coming year. It’s really hard to make decisions when things are always changing but hopefully you get to the point where you feel comfortable getting on a plane! We will be going to AZ in February to visit my sister. It was a hard decision to make as the boys won’t be vaccinated, but Paul will wear a mask and I’ve heard mask compliance is very good on airplanes, so we feel like it’s a worthwhile risk to get out of the cold and see my sister and her family. But the risk decision is different for everyone! It helps knowing that once we get to AZ, it will be very low risk for us as we won’t eat indoors and will be around vaxxed adults.

    1. Thank you, friend. It is really difficult to way all the decisions/risks, as you probably no better than anyone else juggling a job and two kids! I think your travel plans are great and you’re doing it the safest possible way!

  12. Hi San,

    You already know my fingers and toes are crossed for you to see your family in 2022. Sigh.

    I could essentially cosign your entire list with the exception of TV. I loved that your Peloton made the list at least twice. I am, similarly, a huge, HUGE fan of the folding bike I got in month 2 of COVID life. Such a game-changer for me.

    And also?
    15) What do you wish you had done less of? Worrying, feeling FOMO, doom-scrolling.

    YES. 1000x YES.

    I love that we have all connected (albeit with me late to the party as per usual…) and can’t wait to continue that in 2022.

    Take care, as always.

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