Year End Reflection: 2021

I started blogging in 2005. Sixteen years ago, I opened my browser and began to tell my story. I often joke about starting a blog when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Sometimes, it feels that way.

Revanche’s post reminded me that I missed another blogging anniversary. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed it every year. How has so much time passed since I first shared my words with the world?

In those early days, I typed whatever flowed into my head. I didn’t check my grammar or read my words out loud. I pressed the keys as fast as my fingers would permit me.

Today feels like one of those days when I want to treat my blog like a journal. 2021 is coming to an end, and as it does, I can’t help reflecting on what a roller coaster of a year it’s been.

Last year at this time, we were homeschooling for the first time. We also started our search for a new house. While buyers were making cash offers without contingencies, we decided it was time to move.

After initially ignoring all of the signs of buying the wrong house and reflecting on the past mistakes of buying a house in our 20s, we took a slow and careful approach to house hunting.

Buying a house in 2021 turned out to be quite a wild ride, but in the end, we found a sweet and cozy spot with more green space. Out here, just an hour away from our old place, the air feels a little cleaner, and my lungs can expand just a little wider.

While we were moving and unpacking, my dad became almost entirely bedridden. He spent his days laying on a mattress staring at the walls in my old bedroom.

A few weeks after that, he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. I suppose our move is a blessing in disguise. We now live less than twenty minutes away from my childhood home, so I can help manage and protect my parent’s finances. I can also declutter my parent’s house because they have way too much stuff and not enough space for all of it.

Walking my dad through this diagnosis is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I take deep breaths before I walk into each doctor’s appointment and try to center myself, but hearing the grim news still brings me to tears. I try to be brave, but sometimes it’s just not possible.

Thinking about death isn’t easy, but it can be good for us. It helps me reflect on the stuff that matters. It reminds me why I walked away from my high-paying job and why I don’t want a career anymore. Thinking about death encourages me to stop buying stuff and choose a life of voluntary simplicity instead.

It reminds me to give big hugs and reach out to friends and family members who need me. I wish I didn’t receive the harsh reminders, but I’m thankful for the reawakening they provide.

Lately, I’ve been dreaming a lot about money. In the swirl of my subconscious, I keep reaching down to the ground, searching for coins. When I wake, I take it as a reminder to stay focused and grounded. Writing about money for so long can skew one’s perspective on all that matters.

Most days, I choose to be grateful despite the awful circumstances. I’m taking time to ask myself what I need and setting aside moments to focus on the good stuff. I’m thankful that I can tell my dad how much he means to me. 

In between taking my dad to medical appointments, my husband and I transitioned our kids to a new school and began the busyness of everyday life. It sounds strange to say, but sometimes I miss the forced quietness of the global pandemic. 

The time helped us cozy up together with nowhere to go and nothing to do. With life in a semi-state of regularity, we’ve returned to busy weeknights of basketball practice and weekends full of games. 

Last December, I wrote about our upcoming minimalist Christmas. This year it feels even more important to be intentional with our time.

2022 is quickly approaching, but I’ve decided to skip a big New Year’s resolution in search of new goals each month. I can’t muster up the strength to push through a significant initiative. Instead, I’ll take 2022 in tiny bites—one little goal at a time.

Despite all that is going on in my life, I strive to focus on joy. The road map of my life has been full of peaks and valleys. I can plan for days filled with sunshine, but we all know life doesn’t always go as planned.

The key is to find a sliver of light in an otherwise darkened room. This post sounds gloomy, but I know if I look hard enough, I’ll find one. I always do.

4 thoughts on “Year End Reflection: 2021”

  1. Even if I’ve never managed to hit the date, or remember the anniversary every year, there’s such value in taking time to reflect. I’m grateful you’ve been here in this space and I’m sending you hugs as you navigate this particularly hard time. I do feel a weird sense of nostalgia for the quiet of the lockdown period, especially staring down the barrel of ramped up socializing and new routines. That moment had some perks.

  2. I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your posts. Even though my kids are grown and I’m retired and so I have a different lifestyle from you, I do find your writing to be thought-provoking. I often forward on your posts. So thanks for writing!


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