A Christmas Miracle & Lessons Learned in 2021

Happy 2022! Welcome to my first of 50 blog posts this year. Thank you for reading! I can’t tell you how excited I am to connect with you all on a regular basis again.

At the beginning of each year, in addition to making goals for the coming year, I like to think back to the previous one and write down the lessons I learned. A few lessons I learned in 2021 include:

  • Wait at least 2 weeks before making a large decision about anything in my life. I will probably change my mind.
  • Always have a book next to the bed that I’m really excited to read. Right now I’m reading A Year of Loving Kindness to Myself: & Other Essays.
  • Use Notion to organize my entire life (trust me: it’s free and easy and this is not an ad!)
  • Get dressed even if I don’t leave the house the whole day (work from home life). People told me to do this throughout 2020, but my stubborn Aries came out and I didn’t do it. I get it now.
  • Decorate for all holidays. It’s worth the hassle and makes me happy.

One of the biggest lessons I learned is to release expectations and go with the flow. Easier said than done, right? While this is going to always be a work in progress, it came up big time at the end of 2020 when my husband, Billy, and I got our first dog. He was the cutest, sweetest puppy and we couldn’t have been more excited! Once we got him though, we quickly realized that I was allergic to him. There were many tears and conversations about whether or not we could keep him, but we ultimately decided after a week that we couldn’t. We ended up finding the best family to give him to whose son had been wanting that type of dog and they were able to pick him up on Christmas Eve and give him to their son on Christmas morning. A true Christmas miracle!

Very soon after we released our expectations of what we thought our lives would be like as dog parents and gave him to his new family, a neighborhood cat started coming around every day. I grew up with cats, so this was a thrill for me. We quickly found out that he’s an outdoor cat who has an owner a few houses down from us. His owner loves that he comes over to our house and it now feels like we share this amazing kitty with our neighbors! He’s brought such joy to our lives and even my husband, who did not like cats previously, is so in love with him. We call him Peaches and he spends so much time at our house that we got him a cat bed (among many other things), where he watches TV with us every night. Releasing expectations allowed us to bond with Peaches (Instagram video of him being adorable here) and now he’s truly a part of our family. We feel like he adopted us and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Peaches thinks he runs the place…(and he does)

In addition to my own lessons, I asked others what their biggest lessons this year were. First, I want to share a beautiful heartfelt answer from Kirsten Allen, who said her biggest lesson was:

“Don’t take anything for granted. Be a good person and live each day in a way that brings you joy.”

When I asked if she would elaborate, here’s what she said:

“Ok, the short answer is that my dad suddenly passed away in May. He was 59 and healthy. It was a shock to everyone.”

“The long answer… I’m incredibly fortunate because we had a wonderful relationship my whole life, and especially in the past few years. He was big into rock climbing – a pioneer in the southeastern US and climbing wouldn’t be what it is today in this region without what he and his friends did to establish access in the 70s and 80s. He also worked until the day he died to ensure proper mentoring in the younger generation. He and I were climbing partners for the last 5 or so years. He taught me a lot through that and I learned even more about him as a person. I was so lucky to take a 3 week road trip with him out west in sept 2020. We lived in the van that we built out and that I have now inherited. On that trip, we had many conversations about life and death and I know without a doubt he left this world with no regrets. I feel like because of that time, I have more closure than others around me do and I’m so grateful for that…”

“Basically, he was a really good person. If you met him, you were a friend, and friends were considered family. I’ve tried to emulate that in my own life. I’m working every day to go to bed with no regrets and to make sure the people in my life know what they mean to me. I’ve learned to be more open about my feelings and gratitude than ever before. We aren’t promised tomorrow.”

Kirsten and her dad

Thank you, Kirsten for sharing your profound lesson with the Happsters community. Sending you and your family so much love during this difficult time.

Other powerful lessons that were shared include:

  • “The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I need to advocate for myself in all aspects. You need to ask for the jobs you want, the love you want, the things you want. I used to wait and wish they would just happen to me. Once I took charge of that, that’s when the magic happened!” – Steph Clark
  • “In order to learn and grow, I needed to put myself first for the first time ever! Even if that means letting go of relationships that didn’t serve me any longer.” – Mary Maheux (Instagram: @bigmommamare)
  • “I think the biggest [lesson] I have learned was patience and to truly live in the present. I lived my whole life worrying about the future and sitting too much in the past. It always really put a toll on my mental health. Once I realized that and practiced being more patient and truly living in NOW, and accepting sometimes things can’t be changed and just work with what life has thrown at me, my mental health and mood has gotten so so much better.” – Hannah Albert (Instagram: @flowitoutcreations)
  • “I have learned that finding the humor, absurdity, and silliness in a situation is the easiest way to dispel any feelings of frustration, irritation, or anger. I’ve embraced not having control in the best way. All I can do is be present, be loving, and do my best and what will be, will be. Que sera, sera!” – Annie Kell
  • “If you believe in your dreams, you have to do something about it and not wait for them to show up! Loving yourself will allow more to flow in.” – AnnaLynn Waterman
  • “You do not have to hold any guilt for other people’s actions and priorities. Helped me so much in dealing with my relationship with my dad (or lack thereof!)” – Anonymous
  • “It’s okay to ask for help. And it’s okay to feel all of your feelings.” – Anonymous
  • “It’s okay to set boundaries and stick to those boundaries regardless if it’s family or friends. It’s okay to walk away from things and my absolute favorite “No” can be a complete sentence!” – Anonymous
Life lessons quote

What’s a lesson you learned in 2021 (big or small)?

3 thoughts on “A Christmas Miracle & Lessons Learned in 2021

  1. My biggest lesson for 2021 is not to be too hard on myself. I had moments when I would break down because I’ve been putting in the hard work but it goes unrecognized, I still get yelled at, or not even acknowledged with a hint of gratitude. It helped that I started journalling on January 2021. It has given me peace of mind and a reminder that in my eyes and in His eyes, the day was well spent!

    Please send high-fives to Peaches for me! 👋

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