It’s 100% psychological, but I’m so glad to finally enter 2021.
What a crazy time it has been. On a personal front, I left my corporate job in January 2020 to work on Shuni full time (great timing, right?). Then we had a global pandemic, a lockdown that devastated the economy, a collective eruption of emotions about a legacy of collective social trauma, a heatwave and unrelenting wildfires in California, and a presidential election. There is certainly a lot to look back on, but mostly, I am feeling so much excitement about the possibilities of the future.
Here are my reflections and intentions for the new year:
What are the events that I will remember from this year?
There is so much. In particular, I’ll remember:
- The day Alameda County first went into lockdown. I felt shocked and afraid seeing empty streets and the ransacked grocery stores.
- The month of California’s heatwave and wildfires. I felt the grief of this year most intensely then. We had days without daylight and the sky looked like it was on fire. One Saturday in September, the air quality was so bad that the horses could only walk. We rode slowly and bareback around the arena.
- The day Shuni made our first dollar, it’s pretty cheesy, but I took a walk outside and listened to this song by the Blaze. This startup journey has included struggle and doubt, but at the same time, so much learning and growth, and then also moments of certainty and fulfillment in knowing that we are making something of real value.
- The morning Joe Biden won the election. The results came in at 9 in the morning. Almost immediately, I heard a loud “whoo-hoo!” next door, and then a “whoo-hoo!” a bit further down the street, spreading more and more as all our neighbors heard the news.
What challenges did I face?
- Loneliness & environmental limitations: being physically alone for a year, no travel, a heatwave, a wildfire.
- Grief for all of the pain in the world this year. Grief for relationships that couldn’t survive this year.
- Struggle & uncertainty in deciding to go on the startup journey. There wasn’t a map, but I had to move forward anyway.
What small wins can I celebrate?
- This is a big win: I stayed sane and took care of myself this year. I spent time in nature. I grew radishes, tomatoes, strawberries, and chili peppers. I learned some new recipes.
- This is a big win: I stayed open and connected with my community throughout this year.
- This is a big win: through Shuni, I helped facilitate transformation in real lives.
What am I grateful for?
- I am grateful for the people I spent this year with, both socially distanced and virtual.
- I am grateful for the community support I received this year. My neighbors in Berkeley, who cared for each other through smiles and social distancing. My fellow entrepreneurs, who supported each other through tactical advice and emotional support. My friends at Skyline Ranch, who took care of each other and the horses all through a pandemic, a lockdown, an equine viral outbreak, a heatwave, and a wildfire.
What lessons did I learn?
- If I go through the things I am most scared of, I’m always surprised by what I can survive. I come out stronger on the other side.
- I haven’t read Ray Dalio’s Principles yet (though I follow him on Instagram). I keep thinking back to one particular principle he shared: embrace reality and deal with it. I feel like I learned this over and over again this year. It’s so tempting to pretend to live in an alternate reality because it seems so much easier. But then we continue to do work that doesn’t serve a real purpose, stay in relationships that aren’t truly nourishing, and we don’t solve problems. Taking time to reality-check has been worth it!
- Trust the power of relationship. Some people will leave; let them go. Some people will show up in extraordinary ways. Trust that they exist.
How did I grow?
I have become a lot more sure of my own strength and resilience, as well as that of my community.
What new habits do I want to take into the next year?
Proactive self-care and setting healthy boundaries.
Where is there space for change right now?
I want to practice putting more of me “out there.” Historically, I’ve redacted thoughts because of the fear of making mistakes or potentially making someone uncomfortable. I’m working on getting more comfortable with people who don’t agree with or like me. I’d like to practice learning and making mistakes in public.
What do I want to let go of in 2021?
Spending energy on things that aren’t aligned with my real values.
What am I hopeful for?
I am so hopeful about our collective creativity, our forward motion. We figured out zoom yoga and zoom happy hour and discovered a novel mRNA vaccine in less than 12 months!
What values do I want to embody?
Bravery, authenticity, integrity, creativity, and compassion.
How do I want to grow?
The exciting thing about growth is that it feels like anything is possible, and it’s difficult to predict exactly what change will look like. I’m excited to take a look back next year!
How will I take care of myself?
Some things predictably make me feel good, so I’m reminding myself to do them more often:
- Writing in my journal
- Going for a hike or just a walk near water or something green
- Spending time with animals and people with good vibes
- Eating a good meal
- Take a little time to meditate or do yoga
Thanks for reading! If you want to write a similar reflection, here’s a free worksheet.
Tags: Personal, Wellness