Monday, 3rd of January, 2022
Wrapped up in a blanket on my sofa, Friends playing in the background, the Christmas tree lights warming up the place, I’m re-reading my New Year wish for 2021 and I can’t help but think how lucky I truly am to be surrounded by people I love at home and at work, proud of what I achieved over the last 12 months and the fact that my friends, family and I we are healthy and safe.
Most of us found 2020 challenging (to say the least) but not many thought 2021 was going to be equally bad if not worse than 2020.
The year didn’t quite start off on the right foot. Locked inside again, like a caged animal, I knew, as the majority of the planet did, what to expect, which somehow made it less tolerable than the first time I experienced a lockdown. This time nobody tried a lot of new things, nobody aspired to become a home chef, we were all sick and tired of this situation.
I felt restless, eager to get out and I still carried the weight of the previous lockdown (s), as most of us did and I turned into healthy eating and exercising. I feel as humans we desperately needed it.
Yoga with Adriene 30 day revolution definitely helped to keep me mentally stable in January and somehow after that the year just flew by.
Although I spent almost half of the year in lockdown, looking back I feel I achieved a lot and grew workwise and personally.
On a personal level, although I admit I didn’t manage my work-life balance well and didn’t have much free time for myself, I rediscovered my love for running, I met the ambassador of Austria, I started dating again after years of avoiding it, I met amazing humans, I caught up with friends I hadn’t seen for years and I made new friends I already love, I took part in a week long sustainability challenge which helped me realise how much more I can do to protect the planet, after years of thinking about it and wanting it I finally got braces so I can fix my smile, I had a great summer and Christmas with friends and loved ones and lastly, I flew again, this time to beautiful Leuven with my best friends and sisters. God I felt so alive and happy to be able to travel again!
On a professional level, well I spent most of my time working and though exhausting at times, I learned A LOT, way more than I expected in a year. I ran focus groups, designed surveys, interviewed people, wrote and published articles and reports, organised an (online) event, I closed off a project, produced a serious board game, created 2 modules, hosted a transnational project meeting and almost met the Pope, amongst other things. I love my job and my colleagues, despite the heavy workload!
At some point in the year I went through a major anxiety crisis, during which I almost stopped eating completely and I was in pain because of it for a month. After that, I promised myself I’ll never let it go that far.
I don’t regret anything but I do wish I savoured and enjoyed everyday life more than I did and stressed less. Because it doesn’t really matter what you or I or anyone else achieved.
I feel everyone needs to hear though that if the only thing you did in 2021 was trying to survive, that’s an achievement in itself and you should be proud of it.
I’ve been reading Derren Brown’s Happy again, which I’ve recommended to all my friends already and it reminded me that as humans we don’t need much to be happy if you ignore the artificial needs marketing firms have been creating for years. We just need health, love and to keep growing.
My New Year wish is, consequently, similar to last year.
Keep growing and learning as a human, try new things, keep moving on but above all enjoy moments, love and be loved, and make memories with special people. And travel every now and then.
And I hope I make it back to my second home I miss more and more as time goes by, the UK and give all my friend there a tight hug.