We understand it’s tempting to look back at 2021 and focus on the tough stuff – the challenges, but we want to set you up with a far more powerful interpretation as we transition to the new year. From our vantage point, there’s much to be grateful for, even hardship itself helps us evolve and shift perspective.
We invite you to take a ride through our 21 Gifts of 2021. Reflect. Share with a friend. Remember, if you’ve emerged on the other side of all that’s happened, there’s some growing, healing and learning in that – well done you!
Gift 1 – Knowing what it’s like to keep your own company
For those of us forced into some version of solitude or simply required to dial down our ‘in-person’ social life, there was something wonderful about learning to be still and to be ‘with ourselves’ again. Time to think, reflect, imagine, re-assess. How can you make these spaces more available in 2022 and beyond? – By choice this time
Gift 2 – Confronting living with another person 24/7
OK, for those of us that ‘wish’ we had solitude, perhaps we were given special people to spend countless days and weekends alongside. And we had to work it out. Did you grow closer or further apart in this time and what’s left to confront around this? Is 2022 your year to work it out?
Gift 3 – Becoming digitally savvy
If you were lucky enough to be able to work from home, odds are you did some significant upskilling in 2021. Zoom, Teams, Google Hang Outs. We have a view that the world of blended workplaces will become a feature of the new work world, so well done if you were able to make a big learning leap in this domain – we think you’re set up for the future of work.
Gift 4 – Restoring sleep patterns
The absence of ‘after work’ activities, hobbies, sports and the occasional late night out afforded us all the opportunity to sleep more. 8 hours of glorious zzzzzzzzzzz’s. If you were a person who focused on this, what changed in your world? We know sleep to be a fundamental pillar of Wellbeing, so if you ‘overlooked’ this, maybe the festive season is a chance to repattern? It is totally worth it!
Gift 5 – Re-assessing priorities
If you were in lockdown, there were many things confronting about that experience – we acknowledge this. BUT, rising above these, we sense the importance of reflective time with ‘big questions’ to re-assess priorities – “How satisfied am I with this job?” “Is this meaningful to me?” and “How do I really want my life to be?” If you have re-assessed or continue to re-assess, what a gift! We can spend an entire lifetime in a monotonous comfort zone, or we can step out, embrace and live the life we choose.
Gift 6 – Discovering the neighbourhood
If you relished 1 precious hour per day to be ‘out and about’, perhaps you noticed the local rose gardener, met a neighbour, or appreciated a new path, a creek, a bush track, a well-kept house, or some other neighbourhood feature? These small observations can offer perspective and have us remember the beauty in our own backyards.
Gift 7 – Encouragement to innovate
Some may call it encouragement and others may call it ‘forced’. Regardless, what new practice of yours was borne of necessity? For us, we recorded all of our Programs with a remote team. We learned all camera functions and recording features and learned to be ‘one-man bands’. Without restrictions, we would have never learned how – and now we find ourselves being more efficient in our craft. What’s your innovation?
Gift 8 – Feeling freedom in a free state
Not everyone was restricted and not everyone was in lockdown – we get it. We know that when we talked to the ‘free states’ in times of lockdown, they were especially grateful for their freedom. More power to them! We live in a great country that affords us many freedoms. What freedom do you appreciate?
Gift 9 – Missing someone you love
The old saying ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ feels more true for 2021. Restrictions had many of us unable to see and touch our loved ones. These restrictions still persist for some. As border closures, and local restrictions lift, perhaps you can channel all of that energy into a visit, a call, an act of service, and for those of us who lost someone precious in 2021, a way to honour such a passing – surrounded by those you love.
Gift 10 – Missing something you love
Going to the movies, the beach, seeing your parents or kids in another state, eating out. How lucky we are that these privileges are now available again. And, given what we’re seeing with COVID in the northern hemisphere, perhaps now is a time to ‘appreciate’ all that you missed, reactivate your sense of doing what you love and enjoy every moment of it.
Gift 11 – Discovering a hobby
Did you discover a new ‘thing’ in your private time? A new activity, a new game, a new group? What does this new thing bring you? How can you continue to build the muscle of learning and doing enriching activities?
Gift 12 – Meeting someone’s pet or partner
If you were lucky enough to be on Zoom or Teams for the majority of your days, chances are you saw into the worlds of your colleagues and friends in an entirely new way. The partner walking past with a loaf of bread, the pet in the lap, children joining calls? Having seen more of the whole person and their life, what has changed for you? It feels like we humanised ourselves as ‘colleagues’ and this is a welcome flip!
Gift 13 – Our Health and Frontline Workers
The gift of our Health Workers, Frontline Workers and our Public Health System is a standout of 2021. This year was a time of new appreciation for the people who keep our lives, communities and economy on track, often in a less visible way. 2021 reminded us of the roles we rely on to make harmonious communities!
Gift 14 – Gladys
You might not agree on this point – that’s OK. Our point is that the leadership, courage and self-sacrifice demonstrated by Gladys crisis after crisis was something to behold.
Gift 15 – Home delivery
How amazing that we live in a country where fresh food and groceries were available 7 days per week, no matter what ‘life’ arrangement was in place. Gratitude for the producers who kept producing, despite labour shortages. Gratitude for the supermarkets who shifted strategy to deliver to homes. And for all the drivers who helped nourish our bodies (even if a little too much) by delivering goodies to our front door.
Gift 16 – Precious moments at home
Maybe, like us, you were unable to see the young people in your family. We instituted a special call every weekend to ensure connectivity and a sense of good mental health. We wrote stories together, painted together and led cooking classes with our friends and family as meaningful ways to connect. Now that school is back and life’s busy-ness has returned, these are our most precious memories – what are yours?
Gift 17 – Building resilience
You might not have realised it yet, but you’ve probably built a lot of resilience this past year. If you’ve felt someone else’s pain, if you’ve stopped for moments of gratitude, if you’ve been able to reflect and find the positive in what was ‘difficult’ these are hallmarks of resilience. Our tip is to continue to find the positives and lean into ‘what’s possible here?’, even when times feel tough.
Gift 18 – Family recreation and picnics
Families walking the streets, playing in parks and loving their outdoor time. Life slowed, relationships with children and loved ones were visibly joyful…. And then came permission to have picnics. We’ve never seen parks so crowded with ‘groups of 5’ enjoying the first glimpses of freedom and the first feel of spring. What can you take from this time into your 2022? The simple things can be the best.
Gift 19 – Being more connected to the global village
In 2021 we had a far greater appreciation of what was happening in our global village. We observed country by country move through the Delta strain and adapt life and plans for the sake of public health. Supply chains have still not restored themselves from such disruption. Having an appreciation of life more broadly than our big backyard can help us develop an appreciation for the quality of life and the choices we are able to make. What do you appreciate about where you live?
Gift 20 – Friends in far places
We have friends all around the world and speaking with them about their experiences, challenges and COVID waves was a true highlight of the past year. It made us realise that things were not so bad and when we entered times of lockdown, there was a sense that we would come out again, following waves in the Northern hemisphere. Perhaps now is a good time to check in with one of your good friends that lives beyond your state boundary? A check in call to see how they’re doing and if they’re-entering restrictions again, how can you support them and practice gratitude for your relative freedoms?
Gift 21 – Tolerance and understanding
Over the past year we have confronted many different perspectives as each person explores their own interpretation of COVID, vaccination and what’s right for the collective. Whilst it is easy to polarise, distance ourselves from those with different opinions or label certain parts of our community in certain ways, ultimately the time we are in is one for conversation and more tolerance and understanding. The gift of listening to understand, the gift of asking questions to explore perspectives and being okay with someone else having the freedom to have their view is worthy of cultivating. We wish this gift for our political leaders.
So, in wrapping our list up:
- What’s present for you?
- What are three things you are most grateful for in 2021?
- Who are you most grateful for – and can you let them know that in the next couple of days?
- What lessons from 2021 will you roll into 2022?
- What decisions can you make that lead you closer towards the life you most want to live?
We look forward to tuning in to you in 2022. Seasons greetings to you all! Wishing you a safe and social festive season.