21 Lessons I Learned in 2021

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When December 31st rolls around I usually feel pretty reflective about the past 12 months. I like to look back on the year and see where I’ve grown, and what areas need more attention. I like to take some time to visualize where I’m at and where I want to be in the coming year. This year I thought it would be fun to share 21 lessons I learned in 2021.

Coming up with this list was a bit emotional for me. A lot has happened this year. I’ve had a lot to process, like all of you have as well. Things have changed, some for the better, some unexpected, some I’m still grieving from. Nonetheless, I’ve made another trip around the sun, and for that, I’m thankful.

a typewriter with a piece of paper in it with 2021 on the paper

Here we go…. 21 lessons I learned in 2021.

1. Rest is important

I’m not just talking about getting a good nights sleep. I’m talking about turning off the noise of the world. Shutting off the TV, putting my phone away, and sitting with my thoughts. Giving my brain a break. This hasn’t been an easy thing for me to do, but it’s so important for my mental health and it’s an area I’m going to keep focusing on in 2022.

2. I won’t ever win an award for being busy

We glorify busy in our society and I’m kind of over it. I don’t like when my schedule is so packed that I don’t know which way is up and I’m bound to drop the ball on something. I’m not a good Mom or wife when I feel like our schedule is impossible to keep up with and I have myself stretched too thin.

I’ve learned to say no to things and also to cancel a commitment if I feel like it’s too much at that time. Sometimes I look at my week and ask myself if I’m capable of getting everything done. If the answer is no, I look to see what can be canceled or shifted around to help me feel better about the schedule. This has helped me a lot!

3. Sleep is queen

Even though this is an area that I continually struggle with, it was suggested to me several times this year to focus on getting more of it. Sleep is crucial for our health, our metabolism and our healing. It’s not lazy to prioritize sleep, either!

a woman sleeping in a bed with white sheets

4. I’m not a perfect Mom, but a damn good one

My kids have seen me navigate some hard days this past year. Days I’m not proud of. Days out of my control. Some days I hope they’ll forget because stress got the best of me. I’m not perfect and they know this. They know that no one is perfect besides Jesus, and their Mom needs a lot of Jesus.

Even though I’m flawed, I’m a good Mom. I will fight for my kids and I will fight hard. I make mistakes, sometimes I cuss too much and they might eat too many gluten free chicken nuggets but those 3 kids lay their head down on their pillows at night and they know they are fiercely loved by me and their Dad and that is something to be proud of.

5. The most important relationship in my life is the one I have with myself

I worked on me this year. A lot. And quite honestly, there is quite a bit more work to be done, but I feel like I have a much better handle on my wants and needs now.

Sometimes as a Mom we can lose a piece of ourselves, I saw that happening this year and I’m working on finding myself again while still being a Mom. Finding the balance and learning (slowly but surely) that I can’t have guilt over taking care of myself. (Reducing guilt is something I’m still working on)

I spent years hating myself, my body, some of my choices, and it was time to let it go. For the most part, I have, and I feel at peace with my journey and where it’s brought me. I don’t know if I’m feeling that way because 40 is right around the corner or what, but it feels nice to not beat myself up so much anymore.

a woman with a maroon flowered shirt on with her arms crossed and smiling

6. Saying no is liberating

Not only is it liberating, it’s necessary. I cannot, and will not, do it all. I am one person and I cannot control everything and everyone in my life. I have to say no sometimes. I want to say no sometimes!

My time is precious, as yours is, and it was time I took control of it. If I don’t want to do something, I’m getting much better at saying no from the start instead of saying yes and then hating myself for spreading myself so thin, or committing myself to something that leaves me feeling depleted.

7. Boundaries are essential

Ooof. Of all the lessons I learned this year, I think this one took the cake. I’m not so good with boundaries but I’m getting much better. I am an empath and an enneagram 2 and when I tell you I feel a lot of feelings…. I feel A LOT of feelings. I used to let everyone else’s emotions control mine, and I’m working super hard at staying in my own lane and being responsible for myself and my emotions only.

I’ve had to set boundaries with people in my life, my work, my time and my priorities. Boundaries are hard to enforce in the beginning, but the more you practice using them, the more free you feel. I didn’t realize how captive I felt by what other people expected or needed from me all the time until I started expressing what I needed and what I was capable of more confidently.

8. Everyone is busy, you make time for the people who matter

None of us have unlimited time, and our time is precious. We have to choose to carve out time for the people who matter. The connections, the friendships and experiences that are filled with joy make our lives so much sweeter, and having people to do life with make it a lot more fun!

9. I have a love/hate relationship with social media

I just do. Not much more to say about it other than if it weren’t for my business, I’d be on it a lot less! I love connecting with people I don’t get to see everyday, and meet people who are like-minded, but it can be real time suck and that’s what I hate about it.

two women playing on their phones on instagram

10. Taking care of myself looks different all the time

Some days I need to be alone. Some days I need my people. Some days I need to cry. Some days I need laughter and hugs! It’s not about massages and pedicures. It’s about what feeds my soul, and that looks different all the time.

I have learned that I have to take care of me if I want to do a good job taking care of my family. This means I have to let go of some guilt (which is a lesson I haven’t mastered yet) and prioritize my own needs first sometimes.

11. I learned to appreciate my marriage and all it’s flaws

Divorce has impacted my immediate family during the last year, and it’s been incredibly eye-opening to have a birds eye view of how much it can effect not just the two people who are going through it, but the families involved as well. I don’t wish the heartbreak of divorce on anyone, and watching a loved one experience it has taught me a lot, and broken my heart because there is nothing I can do to fix it.

No one has a perfect marriage. I am certainly not a perfect human being and I know I can be difficult to live with, but my husband chooses me every day. And I choose him, and he’s not perfect either 🙂

Watching our loved one go through divorce has actually brought my husband and I closer. We’ve had many heart to heart talks about what we need to do to continue to nurture our marriage and be sure that we are being the best partner we can be to the other person, even during the tough times, because it’s a given that we’ll go through them again, like we have many times before.

12. You can grieve relationship with people who are living, and those who have passed

I lost 2 of my Grandparents this year. I no longer have any living Grandparents are there is something about that that brings a sadness to me I’ve never experienced. I miss them terribly. I’d give anything for one last phone call, one last hug, one more time to tell them how much of an impact they made on me.

Not only am I grieving those I’ve lost to heaven, there are relationships that I’ve lost with people still living that involves a different kind of grief. A dear friend of mine years ago said to me, “Sometimes we have to grieve people who are still living.” I have never forgotten it, and it’s so true.

Relationships change. People grow and move on. Circumstances out of our control may change relationships forever and it’s hard when you aren’t prepared for it. Some people are only meant to be in our lives for a season and it’s more comforting to cherish the memories you have instead of focusing on their absence in your life now.

13. It’s ok to want to make money

I set some pretty big goals this year. I crushed some of them, and I’m still working on some others. I’m going into 2022 with an unapologetic attitude towards creating more revenue streams and knowing my worth.

For far too long I haven’t thought I have much to offer and I’m finally realizing how wrong I’ve been. This girl has goals and I’m not afraid to go after them anymore.

14. I want to be a stay at home Mom and build a business… and that’s ok

As much as I want to make more money, and grow a successful business, I also want to be here when my kids get home from school and I want to volunteer for class parties and be present with them when they aren’t at school. Being a Mom is my number one priority and where I want to be, but I also love my work and with boundaries, I can have both.

Plus, my kids see me helping people with Spark Media Concepts and my blog and they are proud! They often say, “Are you going to share this recipe with the world, Mom?” and that makes me feel good that they know how much I enjoy helping people and they are cheering me on.

a woman sitting at her MacBook writing on a notepad

15. Feeling settled feels good

We’ve been married 16 years and moved into our forever home this past year making this our 8th, and final, home. It’s been over 5 years since we’ve truly felt settled and I cannot tell you how good it feels to know we are here, we are home and we are not moving again! The kids have a wonderful street filled with friends as well so that makes it all the more sweet to be here.

16. My health is in my hands. Not my doctors, not the government and not my family/friends

Functional medicine has changed my life, for the better. I have never felt more at peace with my health and knowing that even when things feel out of my control, I can always dig a bit deeper to get to the root cause.

My health is my responsibility so it’s up to me to not only listen to my body, but advocate for what I think it needs and how I need to care for it.

17. Being angry about things I can’t change just keeps me stuck

Some things just can’t be changed and it’s a choice to dwell on it, or allow myself to accept it and move on. I’m learning to move on a lot quicker because I’m getting fiercely protective of my joy.

18. Visualizing the life I want keeps me focused

I had never gone through the process of visualizing what I want my life to look like until I did Beyond the Body this year. I have 3, 6 and 12 month visualization voice memos on my phone that I use to keep me on track and grounded and focused on my goals.

Without them, I think I’d still be floundering a bit. I wouldn’t have this fire inside me going into a new year. I’m so thankful for this practice of visualizing the life I want and what I need to do to achieve it.

19. Stress makes me crazy, but it’s gonna take a long time to figure it out

It’s a problem. Stress that is. I’ve figured out some healthy ways to cope with it, but it’s not something I can fix overnight. I’m working on it. I’m not giving up. But, boy oh boy, this is as hard for me as sleep is.

20. Hiring a life coach was the single best thing I did this year

This summer I met Lyndsey Chambers on Instagram. A friend of mine sent something she’d posted that she knew I was dealing with (likely guilt and stress). I devoured her content. I messaged her. I felt this gravitational pull to her because she was willing to just talk things out with me in my DM’s before I ever knew she had a course that could help me.

Then I learned about Beyond the Body, her 8 week course. I didn’t join the summer session, but when September rolled around I swallowed my pride and invested in myself and dove into her coaching and it has changed my life.

Lyndsey is a blessing. She has given me courage, hope and permission to lead an extraordinary life that brings me joy and makes me a better person.

I could go on and on and on about her but you don’t have all day;) I will say, my husband saw a change in me and so did my business partner, two of the people I’m closest to in my life. I found a fire I haven’t had in a long time and it feels really really good.

2 women with the backs to the camera with the sun shining on them

21. It’s time to dream bigger

I haven’t really ever dreamed about adventures I want to do or places I want to visit. As I was holding the hand of my dying Grandpa this December I was thinking about his life. He retired in his 50’s and traveled the world with my Grandma in their RV.

They LIVED. They raised their family and then they went out and explored this world. They had friends literally all over the country. They didn’t know a stranger and they made friends wherever they went.

Their life inspires me. Their love and the way he missed her when she passed this summer made me focus even more on my own marriage because I hope we love each other like that in our 80’s.

I don’t want to wake up one day and wished I would have done more, seen more, connected more. And I don’t want to wait for retirement either. I want to live life now, with my family, making memories they’ll carry with them forever.

Now, I just have to figure out how to get my husband to agree with buying an RV (the kids are already on board!)

2022, I’m ready for you and all the lessons you have waiting for me to learn. 2021, thanks for teaching me more about myself and allowing me to grow through grief, sadness, joy and change.

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