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A Personal Year in Review: 21 Unexpected Things that Happened in 2021

I follow a Youtube channel called Ordinary Extraordinary and if you haven’t checked it out, I highly suggest you do. It follows a family’s extraordinary journey with their two children who have superpowers. They’ve traveled around the world to ensure their kids get the best care possible. They have a tradition where they reflect on the year and share unexpected things that happened during the last 365 days. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I felt this was a good idea as MANY unexpected things happened for me personally, but also for my family. So on New Year’s Eve, as I am sitting here in my little spot on my couch, the house is silent, here are 21 Unexpected Things that Happened in 2021.

1. I was accepted into George Washington University’s MPH program, one of the best online Master of Public Health programs in the country.

2. Our family lost my loving grandmother after heart surgery.

3. I became more mindful of the food I was cooking for my family, so we started growing our own food.

4. Speaking of gardening, it’s become one of Mark’s favorite things to do outside.

5. Unfortunately, I had to decline the Master of Public Health program due to financial reasons and out-of-state tuition.

6. I became a writer. A legitimate, published writer. By writing this blog and also contributing to Jacksonville Mom, I became a writer- living out a dream my grandmother had for me. It also solidified my love for writing. I believe this is one of my callings.

7. Travis earned a promotion and switched teams at work. This opened up many doors and created more friendships at work.

8. My anxiety about Mark starting school has dwindled away FAST. School has been SO SO SO good for him. His language has taken off. He actually looks forward to school now.

9. We didn’t get Covid (yet).

10. This year, we’ve had more Covid tests than most people (Mark: 5 Me: 3 Travis: 0).

11. Mark started soccer in June and loved his adventure over the summer.

12. Mark and I journeyed north to our family home in Ohio for a few days, impromptu of course. We both got to experience and play in the snow for the very first time.

13. I started this blog with nothing more than an idea and the dream to help others.

14. We managed to have our biggest year yet with Mark’s Mission!

15. We didn’t go out on the boat much this year, but the few times we did go out, we enjoyed the warm weather and the cool water. We didn’t water ski or wakeboard, we just cruised around.

16. This kind of aided in solidifying Mark’s water addiction. He would practically jump out of the boat (while we were stopped, with his life jacket on, and with a parent or grandparent RIGHT at his side).

17. We realized Mark would have another major surgery and have dealt with the logistics of that. Logistics meaning, us losing our secondary insurance, trying to determine if I can stay at home another year while Mark undergoes his follow-up care such as intensive therapy, 4-5 visits every week for almost a year.

18. Mark made a bunch of new friends, both in soccer, in the neighborhood, and at school.

19. I’ve been working on my internal struggles with perfection, comparison, and confidence. I’ve started standing up for myself, realizing my worth, and putting my foot down when necessary.

20. I started my journey to establish Make Your Mark as a nonprofit (one of my other callings)! I was accepted into the Master of Public Administration program at UNF and finished my first semester recently. This is significantly far from my Master of Public Health journey. Overall, it’s brought a major sense of empowerment and self-achievement to my mentality.

21. I started sewing again. Something I haven’t done in almost 20 years. Which is a strange thing to say, really.

2021 has been full of adventures. The highs certainly outweigh the lows, but it doesn’t mean they matter less. Looking back, for every moment I felt anxious, nervous, or even depressed there really was a moment of good. It doesn’t mean it was an extravagant moment of good that made the bad disappear, but it certainly was enough to remind me that better days are coming. Needless to say, it was a very humbling year.

I wanted to share good, bad, and ugly when it comes to unexpected events in our lives in 2021 for no reason other than… its life. We experience good days and bad. Ugly is thrown in there every single day too. Despite what social media says or shows, life happens. If just one person can somehow use this to help them in their life, then it is worth it. Even if it is to remind others that perfection exists, just in our own version of perfection.

So Goodbye 2021. Thank you for the lessons learned, the detours offered, and the new roads I’ve taken. Overall, you’ve been alright, but my goodness, I want to see what 2022 has to offer.