We’re two months into 2022, and here I am posting a recap of my ten best moments of 2021. Not a big deal, I know. But I’ve observed that many writerly types tend to post these kinds of recaps at the end of something as a way to look back in gratitude, or right at the beginning of the next something in order to look forward with hope. The first week of February doesn’t really fit in to either of those categories, but I’m not really sure that matters.
I mean, is there ever really a bad time to look back in gratitude, or to look forward with hope?
I’ve kept a “Counting Blessings” list in one of my journals for the past several years. Every year I start a new list, and every week I get to decide what to write down as my blessing for the week. On the really grace-filled weeks, it’s a struggle to narrow it down to just one blessing. There are other weeks – the grittier ones – where it’s a struggle to even come up with one.
Both ends of that struggle spectrum are important to acknowledge. Slowing down enough to look back in gratitude and forward with hope –
even especially when it’s a struggle – helps me strengthen that living life with intention muscle. It also serves as a constant reminder to show up to this life authentically as my imperfectly beloved self.
Just like last year’s list, I didn’t write these in any order of importance or significance. But just like every year’s list, each of these moments played an important part in keeping gratitude and hope alive for me in 2021.
My Ten Best Moments of 2021
1. For the Love of Book Studies…and Connection
Group gatherings went through a major shift in 2020, which left so many of us wondering if connecting with others would drastically change going forward. I decided to combine my love of reading with my love for connecting with people one-on-one discussing topics that go beyond just small talk. And so began a yearlong journey to read through different books with friends, one book and one friend at a time. Some of the books we went through ended up on my favorite books from 2021 list, which you’ll find in a soon-to-be-published post I’m still working on, so stay tuned!
What started in 2020 as learning to get comfortable with Zoom and other video-y things by teaching fitness virtually with friends, led to a 2021 filled with classes through the Miami-Dade Public Library system. It still blows my introverted recovering perfectionist and people-pleaser mind that this milestone is even a thing. I’m so thankful for all the connections made that wouldn’t have been possible without that first step of faith back in 2020. Looking forward in hope to a 2022 filled with encouraging others through this functional fitness gig God has seen fit to task me with.
3. Becoming a Podcaster
Speaking of learning things and milestones, I learned how to be a podcast co-host in 2021! My friend and fellow rambler and writer Ana Nuñez and I are still learning what this whole podcasting thing is all about. We Have Questions explores the intersection between culture and faith, holding space for questions through multi-generational perspectives and conversations.
4. Buying a House
The face you make when you realize you’ve never done a wire transfer. It’s also the face you make when you realize you’ve forgotten to write something important down. We’ve lived in our current home for about 10 years, and had moved in with the plan to buy it within three years. Because of details too numerous to mention in this little blurb, we were finally able to purchase our house in March of 2021. I can’t believe this didn’t even register as a blessing, like somehow living here for a decade made me forget to include this on my list. It took a scroll through my photos – trying to find a picture for another blessing on this list – to remember this milestone. Buying a house is a big deal, no matter how many unexpected twists and turns the process takes.
5. Another High School Graduate
Have you picked up on the unintentional theme of this list? Milestones. And high school graduation definitely qualifies as one. All things senior year concluded in May of 2021, and we are so proud of Amanda – excited to see all that God has in store for her!
6. A Golden Opportunity
While I’ve had opportunities to perform in a few church productions, and even serve as a vocalist on the worship team over the years, it had been a hot minute since I’d done any of that. Like over a decade since that last Easter production I was in. The Aureus Theater Group is a performance group for people 18 and over with the drama group my daughters are a part of. Aureus means “gold” and I certainly felt those refining fires being a part of this group for the first time in August of 2021. I learned so much, and had a lot of fun.
7. A Deployment
Both my husband and son were deployed on assignment in New Orleans to assist with Hurricane Ida insurance claims. Their work as Independent Insurance Adjusters has taken them out of town before, but this was the first time their assignment away was measured in months instead of days or weeks. It was tough, but we made it through. Their escape for a quick trip back home for birthdays helped, as well as knowing how important their work was in helping so many victims that had been severely impacted by this storm.
8. Milestone birthdays
2021 was a year for quite a few milestone birthdays – the big 5-0 for me, and a 16th, 18th, and 21st birthday for the kids. My husband celebrated his 53rd, which technically isn’t considered a “milestone” birthday. I’m a firm believer that any and every birthday you can celebrate is a milestone, so I guess our whole family celebrated milestone birthdays this year.
9. Calling All the Monsters
“I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed.” That Eminem song lyric mysteriously started playing on repeat in my mind, which then inspired me to dress up for Halloween for the first time in a really long time.
10. Milestone Anniversary
If you revisit #8 of this list and my milestone birthday explanation, you’ll know why our 26th wedding anniversary made the list. We were recovering from illness on our actual anniversary in December – which thankfully was just a cold, and not a repeat of our December 2020 rona visit. The Harry Connick Jr. concert this past Friday was a fantastic belated celebration!
You know what to do – what are your best moments from 2021? I’d love to hear from you!
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Becky is a Miami native, and has lived here all of her life. Married to her husband for over 20 years, they lead a very active lifestyle along with their three teenagers and Riley, their rescue dog. Becky loves to teach, and has had the awesome privilege of home educating her children for over twelve years. When not teaching academics, Becky loves to equip, encourage, and empower women through the teaching of her group fitness classes. Becky and her husband lead various ministries, and their family loves to serve the community through the countless opportunities provided over the past twenty years+ in their local church. She enjoys filling her "free" time with reading, writing, watching movies, and just spending time with the family. Becky has a passion for living her life with grit and grace, and encouraging others to do the same.
Used with permission from Becky Gonzalez.