I started doing this 9 years ago. I enjoy how the practice helps me hold onto the important memories. Being able to read through my reflections from the past 9 years brings it all back! This practice also gives me a chance to be honest about what I’ve struggled with and confront unhealthy patterns I want to change.
If you want to do this also, please refer to my Guide for Year End Reflections!
In no particular order, here are the top 10 things I want to remember for the good-feels they brought this year.
I used to write out 10 disappointments, which was challenging. It helped me dive into the smaller things that I regretted. But I really struggled to come up with a full 10. So I started focusing on the 5 biggest disappointments and what I could learn from them.
HE LOOKS SO BIG!
THIS WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE.
To start with, I am super proud of the things I accomplished in 2021. It was a pretty big year in many ways. I challenged myself and took on some things that really stretched me. I recognized some of my self-sabotage patterns and was able to push through them and succeed on some things. I can see growth in my life and I can see healing happening. So I want to celebrate that.
Being honest, though, it has still been a really hard year. I’ve felt spread thin and exhausted. I made some progress in 2021 toward slowing down and doing less. But not enough. I still spent a lot of time and energy reacting to opportunities; taking them because I was worried I’d become irrelevant if I didn’t. I still lived under a sense that I have to be toiling and striving in the work I’m passionate about in order to be worthy and make my life count.
Many things I’ve said were “important” to me have kept getting pushed to the back. I don’t want to live my life saying “someday I’ll do that”. I don’t want to be reactive but proactive. I don’t want to resent doing for others because I did it at the expense of taking care of my own needs or interests.
My sense going into 2022 is that I’ll continue to let go of more self-imposed obligations. That I’ll learn to leave lots more room for cultivating joy and hope. For reading my books and taking better care of my body. My sense is that in 2022 I’ll be more selective and proactive about what I give my time and energy too.
PEACE OUT, 2021!
Since 2012 I’ve gone through some specific reflections questions at the end of each year. I don’t set resolutions for the new year, but these reflections do help me recalculate and decide what I want to continue on with and what I don’t.
It was a year I merely wanted to survive. So I resisted any expectations for myself. Still, I did things I was proud of and took opportunities when I could. So I took a minute to list out significant things I did in 2020 before I went through my reflection questions. In a way, these could be considered my highlights.
Even if I had accomplished nothing other than the basics, that still would have been amazing to me. Because “the basics” with a baby, a toddler and a teen are challenging enough as it.
Yet 2020, brought additional challenges, like:
These could be considered my 5 disappointments. But they aren’t necessarily things I had control over.
I think the pandemic and racial justice uprisings go without saying. Also, having my adoptive parent tell me anti-Asian hate wasn’t a real issue and didn’t really effect me was a game changer.
Mental and emotional survival. Community work. Taking care of my family. That pretty much sums it up.
Typically I think of things I wanted to do but didn’t, which would include my own physical health and fitness. Again. But maybe I should also include things that were good for me to forget. For example, at the top of the year I quit my remaining volunteer roles as the church we’d been attending. I knew my work was going to be in the community but not through that particular church.
I could write a novel. We all could. But really, I’m ending 2020 with a sense that I don’t want to go back to the old normal. Not if that means being back into a fake community with people who aren’t willing to speak up against racial harm and violence or wear a mask to help prevent unnecessary deaths.
I look back at this year and I think it’s clear that I have way more trauma than I previously realized. I have a lot of inner work and healing to do. I need to prioritize that if I’m going to be a healthy parent to my kids and a helpful community leader.
So that is how I’m approaching 2021. With an increased commitment to deconstructing and reforming my faith, my identity, my community and relationships. I’ll continue therapy and working through better coping mechanisms.
All I can do is take what I’ve got and do my best with it.