Sidebar: Things just keep on moving
Goodbye 2021! And lets hope it’s not 2020 part II—seriously, I’d like to live in precedented times for a bit—us Millennials have had enough of “once in a generation” experiences, thank you very much.
But whatever 2022 has in store, I guess I’m ready lol
And thankfully this past year was not as tumultuous as the one before. It felt like things were stabilizing or at least felt more manageable. I returned to the office five days a week; was triple vaccinated; finally saw my mom!; celebrated my 12 anniversary in Tampa (the Paris of the US); had a lot of great moments with this community; and had a lot of work wins—including the census results, which showed that Chicago grew as a city.
I can’t even put into words how major the census was for me—first, because census sounds super dry and boring but also because all the big and small details that went into this with such a small team is hard to capture. At a personal level, I was absolutely terrified never having project managed before—let alone a $2M project. But the city is good for another decade and good luck to whoever picks up the mantle in 2030!
Anyway, it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t pause to think about lessons learned this past year. I know it’s important to give yourself grace during a pandemic but life keeps moving even under these circumstances. And in reviewing my year I realize there are three main takeaways that I want to share. Areas that I grappled with this year and helped me make decisions on my next steps:
1. If things are difficult, stay the course because you know it’ll be worth it—not because you feel obligated. This can apply to so many things so use it where it helps. But I know that often in this work we are in difficult environments (difficult offices, cases, etc). We’re often told to muscle through it but you should really only muscle through it if you have a sense/vision/plan that the outcome will be worth it. Otherwise, cut your losses and find something better.
2. Health is wealth. like, duh. I should have learned this in 2020 but sometimes it takes more than one lesson. First, if you haven’t had your annual checkup —go do it. I’m so glad I did (though I only went because I wanted medicine for my migraines) and it turns out I have super low vitamin D (like crazy low). I also need to work on stress levels. And this has made me assess my approach to both nutrition and how to truly de-stress—which btw journaling did not help! I had to stop because I realized that it was just me listing my grievances of the day and I would go to bed upset. So, back to the drawing board on that.
3. Your decisions and goals don’t have to make sense to other people. For me this also applies to many things—being in a long-distance marriage, being in a high-stress job where people disagree/critique everything (wrongly or rightly), sticking to public interest when other things could be more lucrative—I know other people would make different decisions but these ones are working for me and that’s all that matters. Please go into 2022 completely unbothered about people’s opinions on your choices!
I hope next year is your best year yet!