I don’t know about you but 2021 was another rough year in what I hope is not a string of rough years. We, as the collective human race, have had to deals with some…stuff. Yes, we had some big challenges, but we had some big wins too. It can be difficult to see the wins when we are constantly bombarded by the negative messaging that reminds us about how hard and terrible things are right now. Yes, things are hard. Yes, there are some terrible things out there. However, there is good too. I want to take time during my traditional year end reflection to do a good old list post of some of the positive things that happened over the past 365 days.
Ok, before you you start down the “toxic positivity” path – yes, I know that we cannot ignore the things that are terrible. In order to fix them, we need to see them, discuss them and take action. Also – yes, I know that it is ok to not be ok. I’m not saying it isn’t, I’m just saying that you can’t ALWAYS focus on the negative and difficult things. That makes you no fun. And, if you know me or follow me at all, you know that I LITERALLY see the world through rose colored glasses (actually hot pink glasses but I’m not here to be picky). So, I tend to skew to the positive and its my blog so I can write about whatever I want.
The Year of Restore
Before I get to my list of 21 positive things from 2021, a little background. 2021 was the Year of Restore. That was my word of the year. Restore. You can read about the goals I set for myself in this post here. The Tl;Dr version is – I wanted 2021 to be the year I restored some good things in my life, creativity, balance, health, etc. Well, as expected, I was successful on some and not others. So, this list of positives includes a few of my successful restores.
21 Positives from 2021
Now it is time for the list. Drum roll please… wait, one more disclaimer. There were so many good things that happened this year that my list is not all inclusive. Obvs. I am not going to talk about Covid vaccines or some of the other big things related to the crappy things because enough people are already talking about that. Go read their stuff. This is my list of things that have given me a positive vibes for 2021. Ok, now, I need a drum roll please…
Personal Positives – My own personal wins
- I made a bunch of things! I wanted to restore create pursuits this year and I did. I learned how to crochet and made a bunch of cool things. More on that in a future post.
- My family celebrated some great milestones. From our 27th wedding anniversary, to milestone birthdays and new births. There were some awesome celebrations.
- The kids (they are young adults in college) had academic wins this year. Way to go kiddos! Mom and Dad are proud of all your hard work.
- I hugged people I have not seen in years and in some cases decades. I can’t tell you how amazing it was to hug people again. Even some I had not seen in almost 30 years. It was amazing to talk to people in person instead of on Facebook or Twitter.
- The husband and I took an actual vacation. Just the two of us. It was to Iowa, but it was still wonderful to escape and explore together.
- I went to festivals, heard live music and saw art again. The extrovert in me was so happy to be surrounded by creative people and their creations again.
- I played. My gnome warlock and I got a workout this year. It was great to play and go on adventures. In other words, I took time out for fun. Yay me!
Professional Positives – Big wins on the professional side
- This year my team and I did STEAM programming for over 1000 kids! From virtual summer camps to in-person STEAM workshops, our programs were back and we were loving it!
- Our Artificial Intelligence Summer Camp team won and Impact Argonne Award for Extraordinary Effort. So proud of the amazing team and our campers. Read more here.
- Our team received funding to start a STEAM afterschool club for local middle school students. We kick it off in January and I am so excited about what these kids will do!!
- Became part of a state-wide effort centered on Career and Technical Education. This will also have a huge positive impact on our Illinois students as well as business and industry. Here is a bit more about that project. Again – so excited!
- STEM Fest!!!!!! For the 12th year in a row, NIU STEAM held STEM Fest. After a virtual event in 2020, STEM Fest was back, in-person, and in the heart of campus. I am so proud of the team for making it a huge success!! Want to know what goes into planning an event like that – read this. Learn more about STEM Fest 2021 in this article.
- My team and I had a chance to regroup and refocus on our Why. I am looking forward to what we will do in the new year.
- I feel I have grown as a leader. Through successes and challenges, I am a different leader than I was 12 months ago. I have learned a lot and will continue to learn through the adventures to come.
Planetary Positives – Good things from planet Earth and beyond
- The Mars Rover, Perseverance, and it’s little buddy Ingenuity landed on Mars February 18, 2021 and have been up to some amazing things!
- Wired Magazine reported that cheese in not actually bad for you! Yes, the article sites a 2018 study but they published it in 2021 so I count it as a 2021 win.
- Medical Science continues to explore and test treatments for ALS. (That one is for you Larry! Miss you.)
- Scientists wirelessly connected a brain to a computer. Yay… I think.
- The James Webb Telescope successfully launched on December 25, 2021.
- Vertical farming, farm to food pantry initiatives, and urban farming continue to grow to address hunger and food scarcity.
- Despite what the news might say, many people came together and found innovative ways to connect with each other, help, support and learn from each other. Many of us learned something from strangers on TikTok or YouTube. We reconnected with family, friends and colleagues though hybrid events, in-person gatherings or virtual game nights. We collectively chose to focus on what was import in our lives and found good in things. Way to go humans!
So, there are the 21 things that have given me positive vibes for the past year. I asked this question on Facebook and Twitter and have received some great stories of personal positives from 2021. Based on that, I would say the Year of Restore positively had some successes. I did not meet all of my goals but I met some of them. The ones I didn’t meet, my friends family and the human race met them for me. So, goodbye 2021. I think we were able to meet the biggest goal I had for 2021. It sucked less than the year before.
As we approach 2022. I wish you all health, joy, humor, creativity, connections, and balance. As well as the strength and support you need to overcome any of the challenges you may face.
Happy New Year, from HotPinkTech!