Looking Back to move forward – Part 2

You thought that Tuesday’s post was just a teaser… but no, I wanted to take some time to really reflect on the questions posed… Again – I don’t intend to share my thoughts on all 6 questions (7?) but I do want to record a few thoughts… 

What was the best thing that happened to you in 2020?

By all accounts, 2020 has been a year for the history books.  We all saw our lives transform in unexpected ways.  Like so many, I found myself without a job for half of the year.  I found myself donning a mask to grab groceries.  I cut back on my social activities with friends.  I increased the amount of online shopping I did…. I went back to school.  I watched as the giant figured out adulting.  I moved in with my partner and we have started to build a life together.   I still travelled some… but closer to home and less frequently because – Covid.  I found a new job that is fun and fulfilling and I find myself surrounded by some amazing humans who appreciate my contribution – as well as my profanity and sarcasm.

Life slowed down.  I took advantage of being out of work and truly vacationed for the first time in a long time.  I enjoyed more walks with the dog.  I embraced a new found love for video games.  I colored more.  I crocheted more.  I picked back up my cross stitch that I never found the time for before.

Even with all of the sadness and fear that showed up in 2020, I can’t say that I experienced a complete dumpster fire.  I recognize that I’m blessed beyond measure and am filled with gratitude for that.  I know others may not have been as lucky.  

What are you planning to work on in 2021?

Thinking about the things I’m hoping to accomplish in 2021, the list is long but not at all unique.  

Career Goals I am fortunate to have landed at a company that believes in looking forward.  Each member of our tight knit team works collaboratively to generate a 3 year plan.  This plan is then evaluated by our leadership to not only help each person achieve their goals, but also evaluates how the goals align with the company goals.  I love this.  As I’m still new to the role (just passed my first 90 days) I’m setting stretch goals around performance and knowledge with a view for what that might lead to down the road. 

Education Goals After a long journey with numerous starts and stops, I’m finally closing the books on a college education and am on track to graduate in May with my Bachelors of Applied Arts and Science.

Well-being goalsThis runs the gamut really.  Working with my partner-in-crime to focus on health, fitness and fueling our bodies correctly, we are both working to continue to improve our health.  It’s not just about physical health though.  Part of well-being is our mental wellness and that can take many forms.  It might include planning date nights – even though those will likely look different until we get past Covid.  It might include setting aside quite time to read or write or craft.  It might include leisurely naps on a sunday afternoon or vegging out with video games.  It’s about keeping this slower pace we were forced into this year and really listening to what our mind and body is telling us.

Financial Goals – Last year I set a savings goal and am happy to say that I accomplished it.  This year I’m amping that up a bit as I really drill down in my budget to see what is a must have and what is a nice to have.  There are some big things I (and we) want to accomplish in the future and I’m happy to say that I’m in a place to work towards those goals.  Shameless plug here – find a budget system that works for you.  There are tons out there, but for me what has proven to work this year has been YNAB (You Need a Budget).  When you sign up, you’ll get a 34 day trial to see if it works for you.  I don’t actually get anything from the referral and I pay full price, but I believe it in.  Hard.  If YNAB isn’t your bag, that’s cool too but if you’re still living paycheck to paycheck, your current budget system may not be working.

Word of the Year

For the last few years, I’ve joined countless others in choosing a word to focus on for the year. I don’t do this instead of goals, but it generally picks me as a common thread throughout my goals.

This year, the word speaking loudly to me is Intentional.  Being intentional is something that takes effort and practice but to me it is powerful.  When you are intentional about the choices you make, you are in control and not a victim of your circumstances.

There are tons of tips online about how to be more intentional… but personally, it boils down to a few things:

  1. Practicing Gratitude choosing to find the good.  Sharing appreciation.  Being grateful for everything you have instead of what you are without.
  2. Controlling the cluttermoving into a new house, we were forced to make decisions about what stayed and what moved on.  Being intentional about keeping the clutter to a minimum seems like an odd thing, but if Marie Kondo or my mother have taught me anything, when your house is in order, your life is in order
  3. Unplugging regularly it’s so easy to get swept up in the latest and greatest new social media or what’s happening in the world, but it’s the quiet, still moments that really help you to focus on you.
  4. Exercise mental and physical exercise to recenter and build strength.  Maybe it’s meditation or yoga or going for a walk with the dogs.  It’s time well spent and something I can easily self-justify that I don’t have time.
My Wish

So as the year comes to a close, my wish for you, dear reader, is simple. Give yourself permission to feel again.  Be hurt or angry or joyful without the guilt.  Then choose your next step.  Release old hurts that no longer serve you.  Embrace with gratitude the beauty that surrounds you.  Treat others with grace… treat yourself with grace.  Love hard.  Believe in yourself.  Honor your goals.  Stand Strong.  Be gentle with yourself.  So the things that scare you a little.  Find comfort in the things that you can do with your eyes closed.  Know you are loved.  Know that you matter.  Know that you are important.  Most of all, have fun.  Often. 

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