Life Lately: A Look Back on 2021

What a Year…

I always have to make myself sit down and write this post, since it’s always challenging to reflect on a full year and put it into a few (moderately) concise paragraphs! I definitely had a lot of lofty goals and plans for myself this year (both personally and professionally), and they’ve taken me on a wild ride along the way.

Looking back, I have to attribute a large part of that to actually physically writing my goals down at the start of 2021, then checking in on them periodically, and of course being surrounded by people who are much smarter than me and constantly help and encourage my endeavors.

This post is a great way to share some of my personal and professional pits and peaks of last year, but please know that this blog post is only a small snippet of my year– and one where I only focus on myself, and not the pits or peaks of my loved ones, which of course affected me as well. I said that in 2020’s recap and it’s worth saying again now too.

It gets really easy to fall into the comparison game (more on that below) when it comes to everyone sharing their yearly recaps. And as someone who struggles with comparing myself to others and then feeling down on myself, I don’t ever want my posts to make you feel that way.

So as you read all of this, please remember that behind all of the joyful, vibrant photos and seemingly positive text, there’s a girl in her late 20s whos still just trying to figure it all out. I have (many) emotional ups and downs that don’t necessarily make it to this post, or my overall Instagram and blog throughout the year. But here are a few noticeable ones I wanted to share.

The Pits

How can we not start with the Covid of it all here? It still dominated this year (though I did feel a little bit of a reprieve this summer, but it was still very much present), and looking back on it all I just feel fatigued and sad. The deaths, sicknesses, and time spent a part from loved ones still persisted and it all still feels heavy. It’s even crazier that I can’t look back and say that we’re done with it either.

I am thankful though, that getting the vaccine allowed me to live out the year to the fullest capability that we were able to– with careful get togethers with our family and friends, and even a few trips. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already looking forward to this late spring/summer when it hopefully lessens up a bit like it did this past year… right??

Switching gears to something not nearly as serious, but that I really struggled with (and honestly continue to) is comparing myself to others and simultaneously always trying to push and outdo myself. My job as an influencer/blogger is still my biggest dream come true to have, but it’s structured so that the more you work, the more you can earn. And the more followers you have and the more likes you get, the more you can earn. Being an enneagram 3 (the ‘Achiever’), my work therefore can become addicting, and there are points where I find myself feeling down on how much I’m doing, or how well I’m doing it all.

There were also instances last year when I was turned down for opportunities for whatever reason, and I felt discouraged or like I had imposter syndrome. Thankfully though, when things like that happen I usually sulk for about one day and then it immediately turns into motivation (again, blame my enneagram number for this). And in turn, I actually ended up exceeding my business goals for this year– which is such a God-given result.

I know that comparison and rejection comes with every life role and job though, and I still wouldn’t change anything about the career I’ve been fortunate enough to live out every day. All of this has me thinking about what you all what to see from me, and what you like the most that I share.

Instead of trying to stretch myself too thin and do allll the things (lifestyle, fashion, decor, beauty travel, and wedding topics… on my blog, Instagram, newsletter, Titkok, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.), I feel like I should zero in on the top few content categories you like most, and top two(ish) mediums of sharing that?

I’m not sure though, and am working through this more as I set my priorities and goals for this year. Please feel free to reach out with any feedback at all here! I’d LOVE to hear what you enjoy seeing from me, or want to see more of!!

But Covid and the work stresses aside, I made it through another year of being an anxiety-ridden, people-pleasing introvert, who over-commits and has an unnecessary amount of guilt for saying no to things (omg a sentence with all of my best attributes… just add split-personality Gemini to that to top if off 😉). This is something I DEFINITELY need to work on in 2022. I’ve realized that my best form of rest and recharging comes from being alone, and my circle of my family and friends are my number one priority. This was hard to navigate last year.

So we’ve covered Covid, rejection, and anxiety… why not dive into some of the highlights?! 😂

The Peaks

Learning how to ski. Getting vaccinated. Celebrating one year of blogging full-time. Vacationing in St. Martin. My first springtime living in NYC. Signing with a blog designer and developer. Celebrating my 27th. Spending our first summer as a family in Maine! Summer trips to Newport and Chicago. Going to GREECE. Launching my new branding and website design (!!). Going on my first cruise. Johnny’s brother getting married! Fall walks through Central Park. Freaking out about getting engaged. IT HAPPENING. OMG. Celebrating all holiday season long… and deciding on a venue and date!!!

Wow, those are the first highlights that come to mind, without even looking back at a single photo. They’re all moments, trips, milestones, (and even some life-making highlights) that are vividly engrained in my memory. I am so thankful for the challenges and growth I experienced in all of them.

And in short, when I look back with a bird’s eye view of last year, God was ALL OVER IT. Like, everywhere. In the people He led me to, in the realizations I had, in the failures and successes of my business, in the ways He set me up for my future, and so much more. It’s evident because I truly couldn’t have done nearly any of it on my own.

I had a major realization recently because I was in a funk that had me questioning my gut feelings. I kept having instances where my innermost feelings and “gut” ended up being flat out wrong. I caught myself thinking, “what can I rely on when I can’t rely on my gut?” It took me about two beats to realize, uh, God.

So much of my life so far hasn’t ended up the way I expected, or how I initially thought it would pan out. Instead, despite the highs and lows, it’s been better. Because it’s already been written in ways that have twists and turns that lead me to exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’ve been learning that my gut feelings, and manifestations, can only take me so far. It’s my consistent reliance and faith in God that has the ability to (and will) see me through.

My word of the year for 2020 was ‘faith.’ I had big dreams of living out my first full year in NYC, growing my blog’s business to impact more people than ever before, and getting engaged to the love of my life. The word served me well and was one that I felt time and time again in all areas of my life.

This year, I’m aiming to work smarter and not harder and prioritize my relationship with God, close family, and best friends above anything else. When I think about what I want this year to look like, I keep coming back to thoughts of just simply enjoying it. I think about simple things like taking bubble baths, watching reality TV, reading the Bible (get you a girl who can do both), traveling to incredible places, drinking wine with my friends, sleeping in late (my fav), and celebrating the happiest season of our lives so far… with my fiancé. 😊

I talked about this last week with my Christian life coach, Alexandra, and the one word that felt just right for 2022 is ‘rejoice.’ It means to ‘feel or show great joy or delight,’ which I think is just about the happiest phrase ever. I have so much I’m grateful for, that I need to remember sometimes to not take life too seriously. 😉 Here’s to romanticizing even the most mundane things and finding the joy in a world that seems to get more chaotic and unpredictable every year (lol). You in?!