Looking Back on 2021: My Year in Review

Tampa Sunset January 2021

Wow, how are we at the end of 2021 already?! It’s hard to believe all that happened in the world, all I accomplished, and the memories I made this year. 2021 was a year for the books. COVID still reared its ugly head, but we fought back like heck with masks, quarantining, and vaccines! President Joe Biden was inaugurated into office, Larry King died, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Superbowl, Texas got a crazy snowstorm, Chris Harrison left The Bachelor (after quite the controversy), and so much more!

As each year comes to a close, I like to reflect on what the past 12 months looked like and remind myself all that I accomplished. Often I can get so bogged down in the goals I didn’t meet or the things I said I’d do that I haven’t yet that I look past everything I did achieve. And this year really was incredible on so many levels. I’ll share just a few of my 2021 reflections before we head into the new year. 

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1. Sam and I got Married

The best part of 2021 by far was marrying Sam in one of our favorite places, surrounded by our closest family. Aside from a few special family members who were unable to make the trip, those who truly shaped Sam and I into the adults we have become were there with us.

Family Wedding Photo
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We were married under the oaks in Jekyll Island and the best part of our wedding was sharing Jekyll Island with our family. Everyone loved the area and truly enjoyed the trip… the actual ceremony was only 3 minutes! I highly recommend Jekyll Island Club Resort for your wedding venue. If you’re visiting Jekyll, check out my post on the Top 6 Best Things to Do in Jekyll Island.

Sam & Lily - Driftwood Beach - September 2021

2. Willow and I Cuddled…a lot

Over the past two years, Willow has become such a joy and source of happiness in our little family. There’s nothing I enjoy more about my morning routine than cuddling with Willow on the couch right when I walk downstairs. 

We started out the year thinking she’d need knee surgery, and so far she’s been able to hold off with exercise modifications. We don’t know how long she’ll be able to go without surgery, but if that’s what 2022 brings we’re ready for it and for even more recovery cuddles!

Lily & Willow

Some of Willow’s favorites of 2021 have been playing fetch ALL.THE.TIME, playdates with her best friend Lola, vacationing to Pensacola, and running to Starbucks for a Puppachino. 

3. Work Goals

I’m incredibly grateful to have kept my job throughout the pandemic. With all the craziness going on in the world, people seem to want to retire right now – it’s been hectic! Read A Day in the Life of a… Retirement Consultant! for more of what an average day looks like for me.

2021 has consisted of working way too many hours and struggling to find the work/life balance, but I’m getting there. Setting work boundaries and even more importantly, following those boundaries, has helped a lot. Willow has been a great office buddy during the long days too and encourages plenty of breaks and playtime!

Willow Under Desk

While I’ve worked a ton, I’ve also met so many career goals and have had wonderful conversations with my manager and mentors. I’m looking forward to continued conversations and goal-setting in 2022 and a couple bigger changes. Currently, I’m working towards leadership experiences and exploring additional opportunities within the retirement department.

4. We Bought a New House

I spent most of 2020 convincing Sam we needed a different house, and in 2021 we got to move into that house.

At the end of 2020 we broke ground on a lot we purchased in a neighborhood I had been eyeing for quite some time. The neighborhood is quiet, has bigger lots, more parkland, and so many walking paths and bike trails. There’s quite a bit more neighborhood development left to go, but so far we are loving the area. 

Sam and I spent a few months deciding on the layout, picking out materials, and choosing a siding color. We had so much fun watching our home go up during the first half of 2021 and I absolutely love the changes. 

Sam, Lily, Willow - House Photo June 2021

For one thing, I have an office on the first floor where I can scope the street. For warm summer days, the back deck has plenty of lounge space and a lovely view of the woods nearby. On cold winter nights, the fireplace keeps the house oh so cozy. We do need a few items…like furniture and pictures on the walls, something I’m still trying to convince Sam we actually need.

Eventually, my vision involves a finished basement and more landscaping (I’m not the garden expert I was hoping to be). For now, we’re still working on organizing the place…one pile of stuff at a time.  

5. I traveled A LOT

This whole remote work thing sucks when it comes to never seeing my coworkers, but it’s been a blessing for travel. I took 23 flights in 2021, all on Southwest Airlines (thank goodness for the Companion Pass!).

Our first trip of the year was a 3-day trip to Tampa, FL, which was a tease. I craved more sun. So I used a full week of vacation and we headed to Fort Lauderdale two weeks later. 

We also snuck in a short visit to Sam’s parents in San Diego in February. By March the remoteness of COVID was taking a toll on my mental health and Sam had racked up so much overtime to convert to time off so we rented an AirBnB in Pensacola and spent two weeks in the area. I worked the entire trip, but we used every spare minute to explore. 

Gibraltor Rock Hike - March 2021

After Pensacola we watched a baseball game in Dallas, fell in love with Phoenix, visited Sam’s parents again and attended weddings in Denver, Memphis, and Lake Tahoe. We flew out to San Diego for Sam’s parent’s annual holiday party and we’ll be spending Christmas and New Years back in one of our favorite places, Phoenix. What a year of travel! 

Phoenix Hike - May 2021

We’ll be slowing down air travel just a little bit in 2022 to focus on some personal goals, but don’t worry Southwest, we’ll see you plenty! 

6. Workout, Workout, Workout

I’ve also spent the last year upping my workout game. In 2021, that meant biking Madison-area trails and hiking steep mountains. But it also meant working up a sweat in our basement, thanks to a cheap spin bike and some dumbbells.

I have taken countless Peloton Intervals and Arms Rides, along with strength classes throughout the year.  When my local Y re-opened, I hit the treadmill, elliptical, and weight machines to get stronger and prepare for my latest goal: Rock n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon 2022.

Lily - June 2021 5k

I started gearing up for 13.1 miles by running outside, but the frigid temperatures pushed me indoors. While running on a treadmill with a mask gets tough, the Y offers vaccinated individuals the chance to workout mask-free on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Plus, listening to loud, pop songs I’ve heard 10,000 times already through my AirPods Pro makes the long treadmill miles more manageable.

See ya later, 2021!

Thank you for joining me in 2021 as I embarked on this little blog project. Stay tuned for my 2022 goals coming shortly after the new year. I’m very excited for the year ahead and look forward to sharing 2022 with all of you! 

Have a Safe & Happy New Year! 

-Lily 

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1 thought on “Looking Back on 2021: My Year in Review”

  1. Great blog, Lily, and I loved the wedding picture of the whole famn damily!

    Love you,

    Barbara 🙂

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