Here we are at the end of January and I’m finally putting “pen to paper” on some reflections of 2021. I don’t have a specific template that I use year-to-year, but I do find it worthwhile spending some time reflecting on the prior year. Life can sometimes pass me by in a groundhog day type-of-way (especially with little kids), so this practice really anchors me. This year, I’ve created a “Good List,” highlighting some of best things about 2021.
It goes without saying that the highlight of 2021 was the birth of our son. Adding another member to our family brought so much joy after a really tough 2020. We welcomed him at home at the end of October. As cliché as it sounds, he was the piece of the puzzle we didn’t know we were missing and it’s hard to remember life before he arrived.
Homebirth called to me in the middle of my pregnancy and I listened. It took hours upon hours of researching, asking questions, and looking inward to come to the decision to birth at home. The experience was sacred, empowering, and gave me a confidence in my body and decision-making abilities that I hadn’t previously had. (BTW—this isn’t to say a homebirth is the only way to have an empowering experience and isn’t meant as a judgment to any type of birth, all birth is beautiful in my book and I’m simply sharing one person’s experience!).
My husband was on paid parental leave for the first 2+ months of our son’s life. This time, while not without its excepted challenges, was a true gift. You can read more about my reflections on a recent Instagram post here.
Cultivating a Reading Habit
For the majority of my post-college years, I completely lost touch with reading books. I can’t say it wasn’t without trying (anyone else have a stack of books collecting dust on their nightstand?), but I needed a challenge to kickstart myself back into this habit. So, I set a goal in 2020 to read 20 books. Depending on your veraciousness for reading, this may seem measly or insurmountable, but it worked out to be just enough for me. For 2021, I upped my goal to 25 books and can say that I successfully achieved that goal (one of the few). More importantly, this little challenge for myself over the last few years has revitalized a love of reading and created a lasting habit. I plan to stick with the goal of 25 books for 2022—this seems to be the number that gets me regularly reading for enjoyment, crowds out bad habits (I’m looking at you Instagram), and keeps me engaged in what I’m reading (as opposed to reading just for sake of a challenge).
Intentionally Getting Outside
Inspired by the 1000 Hours Outside movement, I wanted to get outside more in 2021. The benefits of time outside are too numerous to name, and I want to instill a love of the outdoors in my kids. This goal really challenged me to find time to get my feet in the grass and my face to the sky on those long winter days, the busy workdays sitting at a desk, and just generally when I’m not feeling it. I didn’t spend anywhere close to 1000 hours outside in 2021, but I spent a heck of a lot more time outside than I would have without getting intentional about it.
It had been a really long time since we had taken a week-long vacation and our first since having kids. After hunkering down for over a year (thanks COVID), it was so refreshing and rejuvenating to take a family vacation. We hiked, ate good food, read some books and disconnected from work obligations. It was also the last big hurrah as a family of three.
Well, there you have it! I’d love to know—what was on your Good List for 2021?