looking back // 2021.

last year was a year of some really high highs and some really low lows, and i am going to begin this post with complete transparency: i have no plan for how this recap is going to look and am going to see where it takes me. so sit back, relax, and let’s take a look back at all the things that happened in 2021.

watched an inauguration and got her second covid vaccine! memphis, tennessee. january 2021.

a quick rundown on the year.

i normally begin these recaps with a rundown of how well – or not – i accomplished my goals for the previous years. in the past these goals have included hiking, writing postcards, traveling, reading, and cooking goals, among others, but 2021 was different. i went into the year with only 1 goal: to find a new job and move to a new city.

if you have been reading this blog with any kind of regularity, you will note there have been no announcements about jobs or moving. i left my full-time job in may to begin searching in earnest for my next adventure. it took me some time to narrow down where i want to be – i ultimately decided on new york – and what i want to do – jury is still out on that one – and even knowing how difficult it would be to find a job in a new city it turned out to be more of an uphill climb than i anticipated.

we’re kind of the best. memphis, tennessee. august 2021.

because this post is about reflecting on the year that was, i’ll say simply that i have a plan in place for moving and will share updates as and when they become relevant. but in the meantime, let’s continue our walk down the 2021 memory lane.

it was a quiet year for the most part. between my mother’s ongoing recovery, leaving my job, and the continued pandemic, i laid pretty low. i landed some really great dog sitting jobs and a fantastic part-time facilitation gig, both of which kept me afloat through the latter half of the year and allowed me space to be really intentional about my next steps.

i read a lot – more than i ever could have imagined – and wrote about those adventures just last week. i highlighted some of my favorite places in memphis as i prepare for my move, and i have more planned for the coming weeks.

travels were much more localized, with the exceptions of new york in july [my first flight since march 2020!], baltimore in september [that’s a long drive], and chicago in december. i also managed two trips to chattanooga and loved being back in my favorite place and seeing some of my favorite faces. i would have loved more travel but was on a very tight budget after may and concerned about covid, so i am happy with what i accomplished.

fall walks with stella. memphis, tennessee. november 2021.

and there were some not great times, too. i struggled to find a therapist i really clicked with, and i have missed having that outlet. i had to take about 4 months off from running and hiking to take care of some lingering foot and ankle issues, which didn’t help with my mental health. all of the dog sitting meant i was really nomadic for the better part of 6 months and rarely felt settled during the latter half of the year.

at the end of the day, however, i have shelter, food, water, clothing, and a village of family and chosen family who are always there for me, so i’d say i’m doing as well as can be expected.

portraits by maggie. bentonville, arkansas. august 2021.

month-by-month highlights.

i started doing these month-by-month highlights a few years ago and found i really enjoyed the opportunity to reflect over each month of the previous year. here are the 2021 highlights.

besties. arkansas. january 2021.

january: every year maggie’s family goes on a hike on january 1 to ring in the new year, and i joined them for 2021. it was so great to get out of memphis for a few days, to spend some time with one of my favorite families, and to spend the first day of the new year outside and unplugged. i loved it so much i returned for the 2022 hike!

my sanctuary. memphis, tennessee. february 2021.

february: we had a major snow and ice storm in february, blanketing the town for a week and offering me views i’ve not seen in the south since i was 5. i loved bundling up each day and venturing around cooper-young and taking lots of photos.

with lamp and cushions added. memphis, tennessee. april 2021.

march: brother troy made me some beautiful bookshelves for the middle room of my house, and after some delays due to the february weather he was able to get them over to memphis and installed. they look amazing, and i have loved living with them all these months. also i got my first covid vaccine!

hooray for science! memphis, tennessee.

april: got my second covid jab and also spent the end of the month in little rock with the carroll family. mama tiziana taught me how to make gnocchi!

may: the first weekend in may i went to little rock and maggie and i spent a day adventuring around hot springs national park and garvan gardens. may was also when i left my job and took two whole weeks for myself to unwind and take care of myself, with a quick visit to chattanooga for a veena-alex-jesse reunion.

celebrating the return of trolley night. memphis, tennessee. june 2021.

june: june feels like a little bit of a lost month, but it did bring with it the return of trolley night and some great rooftop evenings spent with lauren and jen. apart from that i mostly hibernated at home and reveled in not having to work summer conference.

best friends. new york, new york. july 2021.

july: hopped on a plane for the first time in 16 months and spent a fantastic 4.5 days traipsing around new york. and because i flew out of nashville, it provided the added bonus of seeing the wright and hughes friends and kiddos for the first time in nearly 2 years.

enjoying a walk around the square. bentonville, arkansas. august 2021.

august: drove up to bentonville for a buda besties reunion. it was the perfect combination of going out and doing things and also sitting at home and eating cheese and watching tv and laughing. love those friends something fierce.

in our happy place. edgemere, maryland. september 2021.

september: drove to baltimore to spend a week with jane, with a quick day trip to dc. it was great to settle into jane’s routine and be able to go for as many walks and hikes as possible. plus i got to see laura and andy in baltimore and matt and maggie and kiddos in dc.

enjoying the downtown views. chattanooga, tennessee. october 2021.

october: my planned 20th high school reunion had to be postponed in 2020, but we were able to celebrate last year. it was so rejuvenating to spend some more time in chattanooga, to see some of my favorite classmates, and to have some time to catch up with claire and her mother as well.

broke this guy out in celebration. memphis, tennessee. november 2021.

november: the lion king came to the orpheum, and it was such fun to see it live for the first time and to have my mother with me for it. she stayed awake for the entire show, which as we all know is the highest praise a show can receive. also the braves won the world series!

look at those happy faces. memphis, tennessee. december 2021.

december: this is a combination of sharing marathon weekend with my mother and also my visit to chicago to see sarah.

2021 certainly had its moments. now to see what 2022 will bring.

happy new year!


past year-end roundups: 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018 / 2019 / 2020

2 thoughts on “looking back // 2021.

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