Updated: Jan 3
Let's just address it... 2021 was not a great year for many. COVID continued -- and it continued to take lives. It continued to take away our sense of normalcy. It continued to cause division among people as the vaccinations rolled out. I've heard a lot of heartache from my patients and my friends about their experiences in 2021. Overall, I think it was just a hard year.
For a better 2022, here are the 3 lessons that I came out of the last year.
Nothing ever will go as you plan and expect it to.
On a personal note, I started out this year with a teaching position and a new business. I had dreams of starting a residency program for nurse practitioners, buying a property, etc. I was stoked. Then I found out that I was pregnant and my plans had to shift. I planned a home birth, but then I hemorrhaged and ended up in the hospital. I planned to breastfeed a happy, healthy baby. My baby was premature and has significant health issues which have put me on a total elimination diet of eating quinoa, broccoli and salt daily. And nothing else. I had to cancel our Thanksgiving and every food-related celebration to keep my daughter healthy.
I didn't expect to hire a new nurse practitioner at Paperflower (Hi Jon!), and I certainly didn't anticipate this practice to expand as much as it has. It's been a complete honor, and also very difficult for me to try to balance as I am also learning to be a mother.
I didn't expect COVID to continue. I didn't expect that my dreams to travel would go away.
I also didn't expect that I would love being a mom so much. I didn't expect that I would find so much joy and love in teaching or that I would even be effective at it. I didn't expect to meet and connect with a lot of the people I have this year, which I am very grateful for.
As a person who absolutely hates surprises and loves planning things in advance.. I've really learned the art of flexibility.
Flexibility is key.
There is more to life than work, and it's important to acknowledge this.
A lot of us are swept up in our jobs, careers and aspirations. My entire life has been focused on obtaining my education, becoming a proficient practitioner and reaching my goals. Sometimes I'd become so engrossed, I'd really lose time. My life looked a lot like: wake up, go to work, come home, eat, sleep, do it again. When I started this practice, I put an ungodly amount of hours into planning, website building, networking, marketing, learning insurance, and while it was worth it, I lost a lot of precious time.
The birth of my daughter has highlighted the importance of slowing down and becoming mindful of the now. Even in the moments when everything sucks, I want to be present. I don't want to be planning my next project, reliving my workday, being stuck on my computer neurotically answering every email, calling people and reviewing labs all night.
For many of us, COVID has probably shown us the importance of separating home and work life. A lot of us began to work from home which reduced commute times and pushed us to evaluate our workflow within our homes. This gave many of us the opportunity to draw a solid line between our home life and our work-at-home life.
Boundaries between work life and home life are necessary.
People are incredibly resilient.
I'm constantly in awe of the strength and generosity of the people I encounter. This year, in particular, I have met a lot of people who have really touched me. I've had patients who have lived through and survived circumstances that would have crippled most people and here they are, thriving. I've been able to watch patients grow and progress and pursue their dreams. I've watched friends overcome adversity. I've met students who have overcome so much to be the first in their families to have a college education.
I've met people who would give anything to help others.
I've performed evaluations for people who have overcome torture, kidnappings, beatings, and/or crossed deserts with no food or water and made it to this country to fight for their lives for safety and asylum.
I've watched my little baby come into a world that has not been kind to her -- and here she is, growing and smiling. I've been reached out to and supported in my hardest moments by strangers, patients and friends.
Sometimes it's easy to look around you and feel hopeless. There are so many negative, horrible things going on. But there is so much light, too.
It just takes hearing someone else's story to humble yourself and remember how incredible people can be. It's amazing how much we can overcome.
I'm very grateful that my job allows me to do this every... single... day.
At the end of it all, I'm really not bummed to see 2021 go.
Here's to hoping for a solid 2022 for all of us.