Where oh where do I begin? I’ve sat down to write this post at least 4 times throughout the past week, and the words just haven’t come. 2021 has been…something, and it isn’t going out without a fight. Here we are, just 3 days away from 2022, and COVID-19 is raging yet again, leaving us to hibernate at home like we’ve done so often over the last almost 2 years.
My word for 2021 was EMPOWERED. I was ready to have more control over my life after spending most of 2020 having barely any whatsoever, and overall, I think I lived this word well. Most notably, I took control of my future by diving head-first into a full-time graduate program, working towards a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.
I didn’t set any major goals for the year, but I’m proud of the things I set out to do and then accomplished:
- completed an entire year of 30-day fitness challenges (I have a 52-week Peloton workout streak going!)
- cut WAY down on procrastination (all of my grad school assignments were turned in with days to spare)
- increased my music therapy direct service caseload (started a new telehealth contract in August)
- wrote and recorded many new L&L songs, and created another full year of monthly session plans
Another huge highlight of 2021 was my entire family getting fully vaccinated. We felt safe to travel quite a bit, including to San Diego, Aruba, Cabo, Cancun, Kansas City, and Chicago, along with MANY weekend soccer tournaments all over the midwest. We have a lot of travel planned for 2022 (Marco Island, Hawaii, Turks & Caicos, Disney World!) but time will tell if COVID-19 holds us back from taking any of those trips.
As productive and successful as 2021 was, it was also very challenging. On top of running two businesses (including a sizable new contract), I was attending three classes a week and spending many hours reading, writing papers, and studying. Becoming a full-time grad student also presented many new hurdles for our family, the biggest of which was time away from my kids. My class schedule didn’t allow me to pick them up from school every day the way I have for the last few years, and we had to rely much more on after-school care, grandparents, and my husband (who picked up a ton of slack, and for whom I am truly grateful!).
Truth be told, I was very much looking forward to the end of my first semester, when I finally had a chance to slow down and catch my breath. A few weeks into this break, I’m really not sure how I managed everything during the last several months, or how I’ll be able to do it again come mid-January.
My schedule will become more and more tricky as I get further into my program, especially during my practicum and internship, so I’m already bracing myself for the challenges that will pose. My daughter has especially struggled with having more time away from me, so I want to make sure she has all the support she needs in order for us to thrive over the next couple of years.
Choosing my word for 2022 was easy. There’s only one word to describe how I’ll continue to go full-steam ahead, despite all the curveballs life has been relentlessly throwing all of us: PERSEVERE. I know (from previous experience) that there will be times when I feel like throwing in the towel on grad school, or I don’t have the energy to be an effective music therapist, or I let my kids have too much screen time because I’m just plain exhausted. And I DON’T know how COVID-19 or any other out-of-my-control circumstances will affect my life and plans—that uncertainty in and of itself is exhausting.
So my plan is to persevere. Just keep going. I want to do the best I can, but I’m not going to set any specific goals for myself. I gave myself permission at the beginning of 2021 *not* to feel the need to be perfect, and to give myself so, so, so much grace; that permission slip will be extended right on into 2022. We’re all going to need more grace for ourselves, and everyone around us, this year.
Are you a “word of the year” person? I would love to know what your word for 2022 is, if so, or if you have any specific goals or New Year’s resolutions. In the meantime, I’m wishing you good health and happiness as we wrap up this crazy year and head into a fresh new one. Thank you as always for reading, and Happy New Year!