Reflect on 2021 by answering just one simple question

Milena
3 min readDec 31, 2021

--

Dig dip, learn your lessons, step into 2022 empowered

Many say that the New Year is just an arbitrary date with no meaning. And sure, it probably is. But regardless, it is an excellent reminder that our precious planet made another trip around the Sun. You and I are also one year older, wiser, and ready to think and reflect to get ready for something new.

Soren Kierkegard famously said:

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

That is the importance of reflecting on our experiences is immense. Until we bring awareness to what has happened to us and for us, our reactions, struggles, successes, good, bad, and the ugly, we will be bound to repeat the same mistakes, run in circles, feel bad for unknown reasons, and stay stuck wherever we are.

Reflection is not about dwelling in the past and being nostalgic, self-critical, and nitpicky. It’s all about understanding our experiences, integrating them, and moving forward wiser.

It’s not only about collecting the experiences. Benjamin Hardy, Ph.D. said that many people have a substantial amount of experience, yet, tiny amount of learning as a result. Reflection can help you bridge the gap between the two.

I like to set a whole afternoon or even more time, to reflect on the past year. I like to cover it from many angles:

  • What experiences were challenging?
  • What experiences brought me joy?
  • What made me laugh?
  • What have I embraced?
  • What have I pushed away?

… and many more. But if you’d like to streamline the process and dig deep in a short amount of time, this is my favorite reflection question:

What was this year (2021) REALLY about?

On the surface, it may seem that the year was about confusion, pandemic, vaccination, working from home, having some resemblance of frail social life and various activities. Maybe you were sad, happy, joyful, liberated, anxious, depressed, hopeful, hopeless, or all of the above at once.

But if you dig a bit deeper, what do you find? What was this year REALLY, REALLY about?

  • On the surface, it may seem that it was about hard work (because that’s what you did most of the time), but when you think a bit deeper, you may realize that it was about breaking through the obstacles.
  • On the surface, it may seem that it was about struggling and loneliness, but when you think deeper, it was about finding a sense of self
  • On the surface, it may seem that it was about loss and pain, but when you think deeper, it was about personal transformation.

Even if you struggled and suffered and grappled with problems, you probably learned new things about yourself. You probably changed, adapted, accepted, became more humble. You probably grew in weird and unexpected ways.

So what was 2021 REALLY about for you?

Think about it, learn from it, integrate it, write your own story.

Once you’re done thank 2021 for all gifts, blessings, challenges, and lessons. Let is go and make a bold step forward.

Your turn. What was 2021 REALLY about for you? What have you learned? Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s learn from each other.

Before you go…

If you are on Medium you are probably obsessed with creativity, just like me. I made a FREE ebook “100 ways to be creative today”, with 100 creative prompts, most of which require 5 minutes or less, $0, and no special skills. Go HERE to learn more and grab it.

--

--

Milena

Engineer. Creator. Sustainability researcher. Obsessed w/focus, mental health, sobriety. On the quest to find gentler and more meaningful ways to live and work.