It seems like yesterday that I was writing a post similar to this about 2020: https://lauralieff.com/top-ten-things-i-learned-in-2020/
In that post, I talked about how patience and bravery defined 2020 and how everyone was forced to slow down, try new things, and think about what matters most. I also talked about the importance of being able to count on people and the undeniable healing power of the outdoors – all of which will always be vital to our existence.
At that point, the vaccine wasn’t available to the public yet, nevermind any discussion about boosters, Biden hadn’t been sworn in, and the phrase “supply chain” wasn’t part of our daily lexicon. I wrote that my heart went out to the frontline heroes at hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, and daycare centers, among many other places, and that’s still true. Wearing masks all the time and constantly dealing with people who are continually on edge is not easy.
Now that 2021 is almost over, it’s interesting to look back at what has changed and what has remained the same. A few things that changed: We lived mask-free for a few months, took two trips, had an actual birthday party for Fleet, and I published a book. A few things that did not change: Health is still everything, Covid is still running rampant, I’m still tutoring from home, and patience is still a virtue. Also, there continues to be an employee shortage everywhere. It’s shocking that no one wants to work – how are they surviving?
While “unprecedented” was the buzz word of 2020, “supply chain” was definitely the buzz phrase of 2021. There is no question that supply chain issues characterized 2021 – so much in fact that Jack White’s current tour is called “The Supply Chain Issues Tour” – because every single business (small or large, across all industries) has been affected by it.
So, in the grand tradition of year-end lists, here are the top five things I learned or was reminded of in 2021:
5) Nothing stays the same. Because I strongly believe that being as prepared as possible for any situation (working, hiking, doing something fun with Fleet, etc.) is essential, the “nothing stays the same” concept has required many self-reminders. Clearly everything has been in flux for the last two years, so having the ability to pivot is now as important as preparation.
4) Everything has become a learning experience. Waiting for shipments (books, snowboards, stuff for Fleet and the pups, snowskates, etc.), dealing with cancelations, remembering to bring a mask, and never being sure that what you plan will actually happen has become business as usual. But teaching Fleet new things and watching him process and learn continues to be incredibly rewarding. I recently read that learning from your child is “more about the joy of watching them amplify what it is you believe in.” No truer words.
3) Publishing a book is a pain in the ass and 100 percent worth it. Wookie Is Not His Real Name went live the morning of March 1, 2021. That night, I came across this quote from award-winning writer Imbolo Mbue: “When you write a book, you put your whole self into it – and there’s nothing you can do about it after that, beyond knowing you gave your heart.” Wow she was right. The positive response I’ve received from this book means everything to me – especially since I gave that piece of writing my whole heart.
2) Potty training is exhausting! We started potty training Fleet one week ago and it feels like we started one month ago. It’s for a greater good, of course, but it’s a lot.
1) Do what’s best for you and your family – even if it’s hard, hurts other people’s feelings, or seems selfish. We live in a world where things are constantly changing and keeping perspective has never been more important. What matters to me is what’s best for Wookie, Fleet, my mother, Sedona, and Zephyr. End of story.