2021 Recap & what I learned

It’s that time of the year once again; time for a 2021 recap. As the year is ending, I love looking back and taking stock of my work and personal life; what I enjoyed, what I learned and what was I excited about. Part of it I do it on the blog – you can read last year’s recap here – and this year is no different. This year I’ve also summarized it this reel on Instagram.

2021 definitely looked the same yet quite different to the previous year. A lot of the things were the same as in 2020 (I’m talking about you, Covid and endless lockdowns) whereas many others were different. For me, 2020 had been a big year of culmination in terms of career growth. A year where a lot of the work paid off and settled in. It was the calm after the storm. The time to reap the fruits from a lot of the hard work and that allowed for settled growth. It allowed me to further polish my work persona and also have the space to enjoy it. And life is funny like that, because in 2021 I decided it was time for a change, to more or less start from scratch, and build myself back up, by way of chasing a career change.

Looking back at 2021, there are a few specific things that stood out for me and that I learned and appreciated.

 

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What my 2021 looked like

Career change. This has to be my highlight of the year. I am proud that I had the courage to step out of my comfort bubble (that I had worked for and built in the past few years) and pursue a new path. I pushed through it despite some moments of doubt, and I am excited to keep diving into it come 2022. Being in a new role, there is a lot to learn, a lot to prove and to keep building up. I wrote more about my journey so far in a few past blog posts; some thoughts on the change were shared here, and some tips and how exactly I went about doing the move here in case you want to read more about it. I am sure 2022 will bring a few more lessons learned as I continue with my journey.

Time off. The value of time off is increasing more and more as time goes by and I am happy that this year I’ve probably had the most vacation/ time off work ever. For the first time ever, I took all my vacation time because I was switching jobs. Thanks to that, I took a full four weeks off in between the jobs and that was a blessing. It gave me some time to rest, visit family and just disconnect a little. In August I also had a couple of weeks off work by taking a educational leave, when I attended an intensive German course (something I loved and hope to be able to do more of this year).

Travelling. Despite Covid – and thanks to the vaccine – we were still able to travel quite a bit this year, which makes me very happy. We went to visit my family in Spain a couple of times. I also visited Paris for the very first time – very shortly though – and I completely fell in love with the city. We visited family in Ukraine back at the start of the year, did a beach holiday in Croatia in summer, and closed the year with a lovely weekend getaway in Barcelona.

Running a 10km race. I’ve been a runner in the past, but in the last 4-5 years I mostly deprioritized it. In 2021, I promised myself I would get back at it and I am super proud of doing it, and building my running routine back up. In July, I ran my first ever race – a 10km at the Adidas City Night Run (which I absolutely loved) – and totalled 176km ran this year. Keeping into account my running season is only during warm weather (so just a few months a year), I am pretty happy with it. I also wrote more about my running journey in this post if you want to know more about it.

Career advice series. I discountinued the Weekly Reads series on the blog earlier this year, but that allowed me to focus on more career advice posts. Throughout the year I shared quite a few posts focused on essential career advice – from how to get ahead at work to how to manage projects effectively – there is quite the variety and the pearls of wisdom sprinkled through. It’s a bit of a starter pack to put a name to it. Truth is, I am actually really proud of all the posts I wrote this year. I distilled the most essential advice that’s teaching you the key things to be aware of as you navigate your career, whether you are at the start of your journey or look to take control of it. You can read them here on the blog, and also see them with nicer visuals under this Instagram hashtag #CareerTipsWithTCE.

Lots of walks and coffee breaks. With work from home being the norm this year, the almost daily walks had to be part of the yearly highlights. They’ ve become an essential instrument of keeping daily movement in check, breaking stressful days, and just adding a good moment to the day. I added coffee t most of the daily walks and they became almost a habit. Towards the end of the year I signed up for a monthly coffee subscription to make sure that as the days get colder, grayer and darker, I still get out of the house on the daily, and it was a perfect choice.

 

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What I learned in 2021

This year, I once again got reminded that health and having your loved ones close is the best gift. While I try to cherish that as much as possible, the feeling of time running has left a deeper mark on my thoughts this year. The time we have left with loved ones – especially living away from family and in a pandemic time when travelling is not as easy as it once was – or even time left to achieve things – the time to start again and do things over. It’s the first time that I start to feel the heaviness of the time passing and while it’s quite scary, it’s a reminder to live every day with more intention.

So this is what I am taking with me in 2022. Intention for how spend my energy each day, the attitude that I live each moment with, the care I put in how I treat my mind and body, and the love I show to those around me.

So this is it, my 2021 recap and what I learned. Thank you for reading and do let me know your 2021 highlights and/or lessons learned in the comments section below. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy and healthy start into 2022!

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