What a year! After a tumultuous and depressing 2020, 2021 was supposed to be the year that raised us from hell. While there were definitely some lows, I feel like the good outweighed the bad this time.
In all honesty, the very beginning of the year was tough for me. I was still experiencing severe anxiety over COVID-19 and barely going anywhere. I isolated myself from friends and doing things, and was really lonely and just… down. The New York Times put it perfectly – I was in a never-ending state of languishing and feeling completely joyless. I honestly didn’t know how to get out of my funk.
But like a knight in shining armor, the vaccines were rolled out and I felt like I could finally breathe again. In early spring and all the way up until the fall, I felt like I had my life back (somewhat). I was finally able to do some of the things I had hoped for!
In May I traveled back to Martha’s Vineyard with my family and had the best time! I wrote an extensive travel guide on Oak Bluffs, and it’s totally become one of my favorite places. Right after that I took a quick and very interesting trip to Kalamazoo, Michigan which I will never forget (hint: do not go hiking at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park in a maxi dress and sandals). And then August through September was a complete whirlwind! I started off visiting two of my best friends in Chicago, followed by a beautiful wedding in Atlanta, then immediately flew to New York City for the US Open. I finished off September in Mexico with my family, which was the most relaxing time ever – then back to Chicago for 24 hours in November! Although I sometimes felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, it was so wonderful getting back to traveling because it’s a major passion of mine and brings me so much happiness.
For the majority of the year, I finally felt fulfilled, satisfied, and happy. I created wonderful memories with my friends and boyfriend, spent endless time with my family, remained healthy, and crossed off two major professional goals at work. One of the lowest points was neglecting my fitness, which has kind of shaken me a bit. I had done so well with it in 2020, and am hoping I can get back that discipline and stick to a workout routine. Even with that, though, I feel like this year wasn’t so bad for me and am grateful – as I know it was the opposite for many others.
The worst part of the year, however, is that after experiencing so much freedom for months and months, that same anxiety I was feeling at the beginning of the year is starting to creep in. The new variant is wreaking havoc, and making it hard for me to feel safe doing anything most days. My mom and I took a quick trip to Starbucks this week and saw that all the chairs were out of commission and you could only order to-go. It was pretty harrowing to hear her say that it felt like the beginning of the pandemic… even though it really does for me.
But I’m tired of worrying and being fearful all the time, and instead I’m looking at 2022 with positivity and optimism. I feel that deep down it’s going to be a great year for me in all aspects of my life, and I can’t wait to experience that! The virus is going to be here for a long time, and I have to learn to live my life alongside with it. I’ll be cautious, of course, but we only have one life to live and I’m tired of drowning mine in negativity.
I’m looking forward to trying out new restaurants in Cleveland, reaching my goal of reading 30 books, strengthening my friendships and relationship, being with my family, going to the US Open again, visiting more U.S. cities, and (fingers crossed!!) heading back across the pond to Europe! I’m so excited about this year, and I hope you all feel that same energy.
Thanks for the memories, 2021 – but I’m ready for ya, 2022! Cheers!