2021 In Review

Published in Personal - 4 mins to read

Another new year is just beginning, which means an old year has just finished. I think it’s a good opportunity to reflect a bit on the past year, and everything that I accomplished about but didn’t spend enough time celebrating.

Firstly, in terms of goals I set for myself, I succeeded in the majority of them. I did yoga every day in February, I ran not one but four marathons, got my 50 parkrun t-shirt and did over 2000km for the year, I wrote 365 blog posts, I read more than 12 books, and I became fairly comfortable with Golang. Of course I didn’t quite reach the mark for some of the goals I’d set too - I never climbed V5 in the gym, at no point could I do 30 pushups in a minute, and I didn’t write 365 journal entries. But that’s totally OK - I think the goals that I set were helpful, and pursuing and attaining them made me happy. I’m proud of myself.

Speaking of being proud of myself, last year was a year of huge change for me - I got a new job, I moved to a new city, I started living on my own for the first time, and I got into a serious relationship for the first time in about 7 years. While all of these things have had their ups and downs, overall they’ve been massively positive, and venturing so far out of my comfort zone and into the unknown has bolstered my confidence to keep doing so in the future. In many ways, this year feels like the year I made it, when I finally stood on my own two feet and was capable of dealing with whatever the world threw at me.

A big part of that was looking after my mental health, which I managed to do relatively successfully last year, whether by design or by fluke. I went the whole year without having a major depressive episode, something which has probably only happened once or twice in the ten years preceding 2021. I dutifully took my meds all year, likely drank less alcohol than I have in any year since turning 18, did more exercise, had plenty of honest conversations about things, went floating, spent time outside etc etc. I didn’t see a therapist all year, which feels like some kind of bizarre achievement, even if I did at one point try to before being thwarted by the NHS' notorious waiting list. It is of course frustrating to not really understand whether what I have been doing is actually working or if I’ve just been lucky my brain chemistry hasn’t decided to throw itself totally out of whack, but either way I’m grateful and plan to keep doing more of the same on that front next year.

I did plenty of cool things this year too, despite the ongoing pandemic. I discovered a love of long distance trail running races and did a handful, I started mentoring someone, I did presentations at work to large groups of people for the first time since school, I played tennis for the first time since being in Mexico, I found success on dating apps where previously they’d done nothing but damage my ego, I went to my first festival since Reading 2014, I tried food from several different countries that I’d never had before, I joined a running club for the first time, I went to the live recording of a TV show, I got seven new tattoos and my first piercing, and probably a slew of other new or novel experiences that I’ve forgotten about. It was great, and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to have had all those experiences.

Overall, I think this year has been a big success, and has definitely been one of my favourites so far as an adult. Hopefully that trend continues into 2022 and beyond.