The Year 2021 In Retrospect

January 03, 2022

Just when we thought 2020 was bad enough, the year 2021 has its own fair share of challenges and heartbreaks.

Like everybody else, I welcomed the year 2021 with high hopes. While our lives were seemingly stalled by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we were beginning to learn how to navigate the new normal in 2021. Little did I realize that the year 2021 would prove to be an even more challenging year. Well, it was for me, at least.

The year 2021 in retrospect

The Year 2021 In Retrospect



    Seeing the good in things


    I do try my best to see the good when things are not going my way and it helps a lot in lessening the burden. It’s not easy, of course. After all, we all want our days to be sunny and bright. However, sadness is a part of life and we should learn how to live with it.

    Anyway, let me just share with you the highlights of my year 2021. I don’t have any heart-wrenching story to tell but one important lesson I’ve learned over the years is to never invalidate our feelings. We should celebrate the little things that make us happy and allow ourselves to acknowledge the small things that make us feel bad.

    Personal Life


    First off, I just want to express how grateful I am because my loved ones are all safe and healthy in 2021. However, during the second quarter of 2021, I tested positive for COVID-19. It came as a shock to me because of all the health and safety precautions I take when I’m outside, which is mainly for work.

    I couldn’t figure out how I got it but it was maybe during lunchtime when I had to remove my facemask to eat on my desk. Thankfully, I only had mild symptoms and nobody in my family was infected. I still could feel the effects of COVID-19 though because I still lose my breath easily.

    Late last year, I was glad to finally have the chance to go home to San Antonio (Nueva Ecija), my hometown, after not being able to visit for almost two years. Our two kids were very happy with the change in environment, enjoying their days with their grandparents and spending their time outside playing with dirt and stones. They were having a blast just being curious toddlers.

    In 2021, I lost an aunt and an uncle. My aunt was my father’s eldest sister. She was undergoing dialysis but during the last month of her life, she couldn’t get a schedule because of too many COVID-19 cases in their city. As such, she died because of complications of her diseases.

    An uncle, the husband of my aunt, also died in 2021 because of complications brought by COVID-19. He was hospitalized but his condition deteriorated until finally succumbing to the disease.

    There were also personal realizations last year as well as things I wish I hadn’t experienced but, in the end, I think they were necessary. After all, life is about discovery, learning, and change.

    Professional Life


    Early in 2021, I was happy to be reporting back to the office. Despite the pandemic, I still had a job and that’s a lot to be thankful for. We were initially doing a blended arrangement, which meant reporting to the office three times a week and working from home the rest of the week.

    I was also happy because I had a lot of projects in the pipeline. I saw it as a chance to contribute more to the company and apply the things that I’ve learned from my superiors. More importantly, it was an opportunity to handle projects independently which I liked because it meant career growth and new knowledge to be gained.

    However, just when I thought things were going great at work, we had a reorganization in the middle of the year. That meant that some of our projects had to be stalled but that was fine because it was mostly business as usual for our team.

    That wasn’t the last movement though because I received even more shocking news at work during the third quarter of 2021; I was being transferred to the branch. I had my hesitations because of the proximity of the branch to my house. Not only that, it was in a very crowded location so I deemed it too risky in terms of health.

    After careful consideration and looking at the spike in my transportation expenses, I decided that the most practical thing to do was to render my resignation. I’d just focus on my freelance jobs and brand collaborations while I look for a full time job.

    Blogging and Social Media


    The year 2021 has been good to my blog. In 2020, my blog traffic plummeted at a level I last saw when I was just starting out. I did a few tweaks, focusing on optimizing my old posts and coming up with evergreen articles.

    Sunrise
    Photo by Micah Boerma from Pexels

    I reaped the benefits of good SEO practices and enhancing my old articles as I saw my blog traffic increase month after month in 2021. It was a level far beyond what I had imagined and it surpassed the monthly goal that I set at the start of the year.

    I also rebranded my blog and social media pages in 2020 to accommodate a wider range of topics and it paid off. It opened a lot of brand collaborations for my blog at the start of 2021 and continued on for the rest of the year.

    I wasn’t expecting all of those brand partnerships and for that, I was nothing but grateful. I was finally earning well from my blog and it was a good way to supplement my income from my day job.

    But beyond the money, I was happy because I was doing something that I love and that is writing and photography. I was gaining new knowledge and skills in content creation, things that I never thought I'd be able to do because of my age.

    In the middle of 2021, I joined a blogging competition (Write To Ignite Blogging Project)  with the aim of winning. I didn’t join for the experience of it, I entered the contest with the top prize in mind. I wrote my piece, entitled An Unlikely Conversation, in a different style because I knew everybody would be writing it the same way, which is what happened.

    I veered away from writing in a tear-jerking manner because that’s what everybody would do. In fact, I deliberately wrote it in a light-hearted tone because, hey, everybody’s been through a lot in 2021. I figured they’d find it refreshing to read something that’s not too heavy and emotional.

    I had to admit though that the style of how I wrote my article was inspired by the book “The Perks Of Being A Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky (it’s one of my favorites) because of the parallelism of some of my experiences with that of the novel’s protagonist.

    In the end, I only made it to the top 40 but I didn't make the cut to the top 20. Nonetheless, I still thought it was a winning piece.

    I loved writing essays and personal posts on my blog, mainly because I miss the good old days of blogging when it was just all about the art of writing. There was no SEO to think about, design and site speed to worry about, and social media accounts to grow and maintain.

    Back in the day, I’d just write a topic that would pop in my mind and I’d get interaction on my blog without exerting effort. I can also change my blog URL on a whim and still get found on search engines without doing anything technical.

    Speaking of social media, I received depressing news in the last few days of 2021. It was an email from Facebook telling me that I had a community violation. I went through the appeals process but both of my Facebook and Instagram profiles have been suspended while my case is being reviewed.

    I can create new social media accounts but I get sad knowing that I’m losing all the memories and photos contained in my accounts. Plus, I’m not sure if I have the patience to grow them again to a level that would allow me to collaborate with brands. It’s saddening because they are my only source of income and projects right now.

    Society and Events


    We also witnessed the year 2021 claiming the lives of popular personalities in showbiz, politics, and business. I know death is a part of life and there are personalities who die each year. However, the sadness of losing well-known people is heightened because of the already dreary atmosphere cast by the pandemic.

    Here are some of the famous Filipinos we lost in 2021: former president Benigno Aquino III, Jose Abueva, Marvin “Ate Shawee” Martinez, Zanaida Quezon Avancena, Director Bert De Leon, singer Claire dela Fuente, Tony Ferrer, Chito Gascon, Raymund Isaac, Domingo Landicho, Ricky Lo, Mahal, Manuel Morato, Orestes Ojeda, Lito Osmena, Royette Padilla, Shalala, Dinky Soliman, Brother Eli Soriano, Jan Catherine Sy, Andrew Gotianun Jr., Ramon Sy, Bienvenido Tantoco, and Victor Wood.

    Epilogue


    I’m thankful for all the opportunities and blessings that I received in 2021. I’m still praying for the safety of my friends and loved ones in 2022. I want 2022 to be a good year but as one of my friends always says “a day at a time.” 

    Let's take things slow, savor each moment with our loved ones, and be happy for the little blessings that come our way.

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    Looking back at the year 2021

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    1 comment

    1. Thanks for sharing this Dadi Ivan. I'm glad that you had a lot of opportunities and had a chance to visit your hometown. Let's hope for a better year ahead of us.

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