So that I could start the new year off fresh, I am being intentional about ending 2021 with reflections.
Tayja’s high school graduation and start of college, my taking a digital storytelling class, my committing to regular blogging and my hard earned improved health are my highlights of 2021.
The loss of family members to Covid-19 and not being able to travel to be with dying family members because of Covid were the low points.
“2021” was a pivotal year for me. I turned 60. I took control of my health.
I had neglected myself for most of my life. The 2020 Covid shutdown changed my mindset and I ramped up my commitment in 2021. Health is wealth. I am banking on me.
I am eating cleaner, getting over 10000 steps most days, going bodyweight exercises or lifting a couple times a week, seeing a large assortment of specialists, and getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
I took control of my work life. For the last five years, I have work at an independent 6th to 12th school. My official job title is facilities worker. My assigned duties are to keep an eye on the cleaning contractors who are on campus from 6ish to 10ish, make sure the people who rent the gyms, theater and classrooms at night have what they need, and lock up the campus at night. I also have been the primary sub for both upper and lower school, coach middle school basketball and mentor young coaches.
In 2021 I assigned MYSELF to teach one of the older teachers all things digital so that he can have the digital literacy to teach his 7th graders digital storytelling. I stepped up to mentor two new, young middle school teachers. I volunteered to be the advisor for the schools new non-binary affinity group. I picked up an average of 4 substitute teaching days per week. I join the faculty book club, “critical conversation”, queer affinity and non-white affinity groups AND attend the meetings. I attend anything that the black and brown students do after school. I eat lunch with any kid of color that I see eating alone.
I took control of my spare time. I started taking classes in things that interesting me including, Audio Storytelling, Digital Storytelling, figure drawing, August Wilson’s American Century Cycle and black history. I listened to 3 or 4 audio books every week. I added several nonfiction books to the mix. I read several trashy novels just for the pleasure of turning and smelling the pages.
I think that reading most of the plays in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle, a collection of ten plays that chronicle a collective century of the Black American experience -with each of the ten plays set in a different decade spanning the 20th century – had the most impact on me out off all the books this year. I will re-read the collection and finish the couple I did not make time for in 2022.
My container garden produced six different colors of potatoes, eight types of cucumbers, seven varieties of tomatoes, garlic, shallots, red, white and yellow onions, kale, collards, strawberries, blueberries, basil, spearmint, thyme, sunflowers, artichoke, broccoli, cauliflower, pees, beans, marigolds and wildflowers.
I took control of my spending with an eye towards retirement and maxed out my IRA and increased my 401 contributions.
My joy in 2021 came from watching my youngest child crush their senior year of high school and soar into their first year of college, visiting with my two oldest kids and finding creative ways to do “date nights” with my wife in a time of Covid.
I am grateful that my wife could work from home and my worksite took Covid seriously with enforced masking, social distancing and mandatory vaccinations and weekly testing. We survived 2020 and 2021 without bringing the virus into our home. I count that as my biggest win and my biggest worry of a difficult year.
My biggest regret in 2021 is that I lost my habit of drawing every day. I will revive the habit in 2022.
Enough about me. Tell me about your year.