Happy new year’s eve!! In my usual blogging tradition, I want to share a reflection post on this past year. Writing has always helped me process my thoughts, and I love ending each year reflecting on the last 12 months and looking forward to what’s ahead.
2021 was an uplifting year, and a big reason was because it was a heck of a lot better than 2020! When I think about the depths of COVID almost 2 years ago, I can’t help but be grateful for the positive outlook that 2021 brought.
Pandemic aside, I also found that 2021 was a lot more stable than past years as my late-20s have brought a lot more security than my early/mid-20s (looking back at my 2018 and 2019 posts, I can’t believe how crazy my life was!). So a theme of this reflection post is talking about personal growth within my current situation, and less so about big life changes like in past years.
One of the highlights of my year was moving into my own studio apartment in the Haight. Having a change in scenery from my last apartment (where I lived for the previous 3.5 years) was a hugely uplifting this year. The Haight is definitely my soul neighborhood as it still has remnants of the hippie movement in the 60s and I’m also blocks away from Golden Gate Park. There were so many weekends where Joe and I strolled through the park and checked in on the gardens – they truly became our second home.
I’m SO glad I prioritized my living space, especially with working from home. This whole experience was so gratifying knowing that I can support myself and enjoy living alone. Also, decorating the apartment was one of my funnest projects yet! See my apartment tour video which Joe and I had a blast making together. 🙂
I’m grateful the outlook on travel was better this year compared to 2020. While there were still limitations with borders being closed, Joe and I got to travel to a lot of places as we were willing to fly this year versus limiting travel to places we could drive last year. The highlight trip was spending a month working remotely in Sayulita, Mexico – one of the best things I’ve ever done and definitely a motivation to reshape my life to do longer-term travel.
Another highlight was Big Island, Hawaii in May as well as Maine in August. Joe and I also met each other’s families for the first in upstate New York and Texas. We also did some road trips around California like Valentine’s Day weekend in Carmel and a ski trip to Tahoe.
I’m crossing my fingers travel will continue to get less restrictive in 2022 as I have even bigger plans for next year! 😉
One of the best decisions I made this year was quitting alcohol. It’s been 7 months and I haven’t looked back. I talk more about why I made this decision and how it’s impacted my life HERE.
Joe and I recently passed 2 years of dating, and he continues to be the best part of my life. I believe now the “honeymoon phase” is a fallacy as I truly feel like our relationship has gotten better with time. I saw across many couples, the pandemic was “make it or break it” for the relationship. For us, I feel like our relationship is much stronger and happier after everything we’ve been through. We are both positive, open-minded people, and at this point we love spending as much time together and finding ways to bond despite the limitations around us.
Like every couple, we are definitely not perfect as we still have disagreements, but we know each other so well at this point that we are able to communicate through everything as we both always strive for peace. I’m so grateful we enjoyed all of last year’s moments together, and I cannot wait to see what year 3 brings. ❤
Work life balance
One thing I struggled with this year was managing stress with work. Work-life balance has always been very important to me, and in the past I’ve always tried to make it a priority by staying busy with hobbies, friends, travel, etc. But a combination of getting more responsibilities at work and also the pandemic has made me feel like my #1 priority is work as I don’t have as many other things going on in my life, and I’ve been struggling with feeling that sense of balance I had before.
While it’s easy to blame things like work culture and the people around me, I know I have a lot of internal work to do to have a healthier outlook on my job. I’m a very type-A person and I’ve struggled with managing stress my whole life, but I know it will be beneficial to introduce new passions into my life and be easier on myself in general.
My biggest setback this year was getting injured in my lower back in June. I went from working out 5x a week to nothing, and it has quite honestly changed my life. Since my last post on the injury, I’ve gotten more help from specialists. Long story short, there are some structural issues with my back which means the injury likely not going to make a full recovery and I’m going to have to live with this the rest of my life.
That was tough news to swallow, and I’ve gone through the five stages of grief. I always prided myself on being an active person (this blog started as a running blog after all!). But with this news, I knew I had to make some lifestyle changes to protect my lower back for the rest of my life. Fortunately, some changes have been for the better.
For instance, I built a standing desk and I’m standing a LOT more than before, which feels better for my body and turned out to be a positive lifestyle change given my desk job. Also, I’m walking a lot more now! Since I can’t do pilates or yoga anymore, my main source of working out has been walking 4-5 miles a day. SF is outdoors-heaven, and I’ve grown to love all the time walking and hiking in nature. Also I’m a podcast nerd now. 😉
After quite the journey, I’m in “acceptance” mode now. I feel grateful this injury still allows me to live a relatively active life in the grand scheme of possibilities. I’m only 28 years old and I wasn’t expecting to have issues at this stage in my life, but everyone will have their day. This injury has made me grateful for my mobility, and it’s a motivator to stop procrastinating and enjoy life while I’m still healthy!
Last but not least, I’m grateful for my community of friends in San Francisco. I was introduced to this group 4.5 years ago when it was just a girl group. We’ve seen each other go through so many life changes: career changes, new apartments, moving in and out of SF, and slowly integrating our partners into the group 🙂 …I’m so glad we’ve stayed close-knit during the pandemic as it’s a blessing to have a group of friends who are always down to get together.
At this point, most of our get-togethers are to celebrate a milestone (e.g. birthdays, wedding festivities). It’s gratifying to see how far all of us have come compared to 4 years ago, and I’m excited for more celebrations in 2022.
I hope you find peace today and have something to look forward to in 2022! ❤