While looking ahead to a ‘blank slate’ of 2022, I realized that I should also reflect on 2021 and the ups, down, hills, valleys, and everything in between. The post will probably seem a little bit ‘rambling’—but that is due to just writing what I’m thinking and not really organizing my thoughts beforehand.
We were still in the grip of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic during 2021. While there have been several vaccines approved (the Pfizer one received full approval from the FDA and CDC towards the end of the year), there is unfortunately still a good portion of the population that is refusing to get vaccinated.
Come early March, we will be entering year three of the pandemic—hopefully we’ll be seeing the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ by summer????
I’ve still been isolating at home (only leaving the house maybe a couple of times a week—one to get the paper on the weekends, then an occasional walk either at Boomer Lake with my camera or through the neighborhood with Chaos) for the most part this past year. Like everyone else, I would like for things to return to a ‘new normal’—but I also understand that it will take awhile for the ‘new normal’ to emerge and everyone to get on the same page.
I’m not planning on doing any type of travel this year (thanks omicron variant and anti-vaxxers), but hopefully maybe able to do a small trip sometime between 2023 and 2024.
Since the number of cases is still skyrocketing due to the omicron variant—I plan of trying to get my booster shot sometime within the next two weeks.
The only huge crisis we had this past year was with Rolex—when we took her to get an allergy shot, she developed the rare side effect of hemolytic anemia. So, the past few months have been a roller coaster as we try to help her overcome the anemia. So, far she’s had two blood transfusions and is on numerous medications—we’ll hopefully see if she can be weaned off of two of them entirely next month (I’m assuming one of the meds will be lowered again this month).
Chaos doesn’t care of strangers (which is both good and bad), so when I do have to take him into the vet—he has to be given meds to mellow him out. I’m hoping to possibly start taking him for longer walks (to where we might encounter other people) this coming spring.
In terms of my career—I think I’ve figured it ‘out’ (at least a little). I’m going to go in the direction of remote/contract/online science/medical communications/education with the end goal of creating my own freelance business (melding copywriting [medical/science communication/education, health/wellness, and personal/professional development] with blogging [hobbies, travels, and personal/professional development]). Therefore, the blog/website will be getting update throughout the year as I work my way in that direction.
I managed to land a ‘volunteer’ medical content writing position with a company in Canada during the summer—so I’m getting my ‘feet’ wet in the regards of summarizing scientific papers and other topics for the general public. In addition, I put in my application for a couple of freelance writing position and then a medical writers position—didn’t get any of them, but I was proud of the fact I went ahead and applied for each of them, being a total ‘newbie’ in the online medical writing world.
I’ve joined another accountability group—which is good, but since I’ve really ‘narrowed’ down what I want to do (remote/online writing and/or data analysis), I’m having problems finding the job postings. I’ll be working on those assignments, and giving updates throughout the next few months (which will include ‘linking the blog/website’ to my LinkedIn account).
Those were some of the highlights for the year, so how did 2021 go in general?
In terms of steps—I had a rough goal of at least 1,825,000 steps (breaking down to basically 5,000 steps per day). I managed to get 1,979,594 steps for the year, with the following monthly breakdown:
The months with the lowest number of steps happened to be during the summer, when it was a little too warm (or humid or both) to be outside walking either on my own or with my dog.
While I’d set the goal of completing nine workout programs throughout 2021—I managed to complete three, and then spent the rest of the year concentrating on more ‘intentional movements’ than fitness programs.
I also had set the goal of reading a minimum of 80 books (30 non-fiction and 50 fiction), and the actual total number of books that I read last year was a minimum of 127 books (12 non-fiction and at least 105 fiction). These included new and rereads (all of which were within the fiction category).
I met the goal of at least fifty fiction books (actually doubled it), and almost met half the goal of non-fiction books (thirty).
The non-fiction books I read during 2021 included:
- Secrets of Six-Figure Women: Surprising strategies to up your earnings and change your life by Barbara Stanny
- Badass Habits: Cultivate the awareness, boundaries, and daily upgrades you need to make them stick by Jen Sincero
- Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski
- The Joy of Missing Out: Live more by doing less by Tonya Dalton
- The Renaissance Soul: How to make your passions your life–A creative and practical guide by Margaret Lobensteine
- The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living by Meik Wiking
- Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed
- The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan
- 25 Ways to work from Home by Jen Ruiz
- Write to Speak by Mike Acker
- I want to do all the things: finding balance as a polymath, multipotentialite, and renaissance soul by Arcadia Page
- The More of Less: Finding the life you want under everything you own by Joshua Becker
In terms of fiction books read during 2021 (new and re-reads), I managed to read (a minimum) of 105 fiction books, and they included:
- Loved You Once (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #1) by Claudia Burgoa
- A Moment Like You (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #2) by Claudia Burgoa
- Defying Our Forever (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #3) by Claudia Burgoa
- Call You Mine (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #4) by Claudia Burgoa
- Blackout After Dark (Gansett Island #22) by Marie Force
- Catalina (The Alders #10) by Avery Gale
- I re-read the first nine books in the Alders series by Avery Gale
- The Shadowdance Club (7 book series) by Avery Gale
- Masters of the PrairieWind Club (11 book series–as of Feb 2021) by Avery Gale
- Billionaire Unexpected–Jax (The Billionaire’s Obsessions #16) by J.S. Scott
- Loving Arms (Slick Rock #30) by Becca Van
- Reckless (Slick Rock #31) by Becca Van
- Exception to the Rule (Beautifully Imperfect #7) by Becca Van
- My One Night (On My Own #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- State of Affairs (First Family #1) by Marie Force
- Re-read the entire Fatal series (16 books) prior to State of Affairs coming out
- Tempted by Love: Jack “Jock” Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #1) by Melissa Foster
- My True Love: Jules Steele (The Steeles at Silver Island #2) by Melissa Foster
- Love Under Two Warriors (Lusty, Texas #42) by Cara Covington
- Ride Out the Storm (SSI #6.5) by Monette Michaels
- Wild and Loving (Slick Rock #32) by Becca Van
- Royal Line (Tatter Royals #1) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
- My Rebound (On My Own #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- How Much I Love (Miami Nights #3) by Marie Force
- As We Are (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #5) by Claudia Burgoa
- A Scent of Magick (McKendrick Warlocks #3) by Rhyannon Byrd
- Come Together (Butler VT #7) by Marie Force
- Inked Obsession (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- The Green Mountain Series (7 books) by Marie Force
- First six books in the Butler VT series by Marie Force
- Vortex: A FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter
- Wiretaps and Whiskers (The Faerie Files #1) by Emigh Cannaday
- Catnip and Curses (The Faerie Files #2) by Emigh Cannaday
- My Next Play (On My Own #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- Breaking Badger (The Honey Badger Chronicles #4) by Shelly Laurenston
- Yours to Keep (The Baker’s Creek Billionaire Brothers #6) by Claudia Burgoa
- Inked Kingdom by Carrie Ann Ryan
- Inked Devotion (Montgomery Ink: Fort Collins #3) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- Temptation after Dark (Gansett Island #23)
- Finally You (Luna Harbor #1) by Claudia Burgoa
- Enemy Heir (Tatter Royals #2) by Carrie Ann Ryan and Nana Malone
- Mated in Darkness (Talon Pack #10) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- Love Under Two Explorers (Lusty, Texas #43) by Cara Covington
- My Bad Decisions (On My Own #4) by Carrie Ann Ryan
- The Morgan Brothers (5 books) by Avery Gale
- State of Grace (First Family #2) by Marie Force
- Snow Dragon (Dragon Knights #16) by Bianca D’Arc
- Gatekeeper (Dragon Knights #17) by Bianca D’Arc
- Falling for Fallon (Masters of the Prairie Wind Club #12) by Avery Gale
- Billionaire Unnoticed–Cooper (Billionaires Obsessions #17) by J.S. Scott
I’m pretty sure that there are probably another 20-30 books that I re-read during the year, but didn’t keep track of–what can I say, I’m a book worm and I would rather spend my evenings reading than watching TV.
While I had decided on doing a ‘no spend days/no spend weeks/limited spending month’, the only month that I really succeed at it was January. I ‘slipped’ and spent more money throughout the year than I really should have. I’ve pledge to restart the challenge this year, and to do better than I did last year (not aiming for perfection—but aiming for progress).
While the goal for 2021 was to finish at least twenty e-courses, I managed to finish nine throughout the year. I’d found that if I managed to watch several in a month, I ‘took’ the next month (or two) ‘off’ (probably unintentionally—letting ‘Pam’ win an unspoken argument). The courses that I ‘watched’ and ‘completed’ included:
- Powerful storytelling today: strategies for crafting great content
- 3 ways often overlooked to get traffic to your blog
- Finding your inner creative
- Personal Branding: Your Copywriting Secret Sauce
- Create a simple digital marketing plan
- Crappy Copy: 8 digital copywriting mistakes you should avoid
Two Cheeky Scientist Association Advance Programs:
- Clinical Research Coalition
- Intellectual Property Pack
Then on Udemy:
- Understanding and developing Emotional Intelliegence
The goal for 2022 will be to at least double (if not triple) the number of e-courses that I watch/finish.
One big accomplishment I that managed to get done during 2021 was the creation and updating of my comfort/stretch/risk/die diagrams. The first one that I did in February/March was an ‘assignment’ from a coach, when it became obvious (to her) that I was struggling with figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.
Since that first one—I’ve modified it four times, adding in a ‘bounce zone’ between the comfort and the stretch zone, and have watched the comfort and stretch zones (along with the bounce zone) grow, and the risk zone shrink.
I also created a personal/professional board game as well to help me ‘figure’ things out—and I’ve discovered the ‘biggest’ drawback on the game is that everything is ‘open-ended’ (such as review immunology or review cell biology).
I managed to teach myself basic cross-stitching this past year, and even finished three abstract design pieces. I started to do a more ‘nature’ based piece, and will probably try to turn it ‘abstract’ as I didn’t like how the cacti were turning out. I managed to spend quite a bit of time over the year up at Boomer Lake with my camera (one thing I still need to do is curate and delete all the really dark and/or blurry pictures I’ve taken over the past few decades).
Overall, 2021 was an okay year—not great (I mean there is still the pandemic), but also not a totally horrible year either. I’ve made progress in terms of personal and professional development (while some may see the past two years as ‘unemployed’—I view them as investing in myself)—maybe not as much as I’d originally liked, but still managed to do quite a bit. I’ve decided the career direction I’d like to pursue (remote/contract/online science/medical communications/writing and possibly data analysis), with the long-term goal of creating my own freelance business.
Therefore, heading into 2022, I’ve decided that:
I’ll have an overall BINGO card for the year (similar to what I tried to do for 2021), in addition to having BINGO cards for non-fiction books, e-courses, and intentional movement.
If I read a non-fiction book or complete/watch an e-course that isn’t on either of the current BINGO cards—I’ll write them down to put on an additional BINGO card.
The goal is to have at least a single BINGO on each of the cards (Bonus to have a totally checked BINGO card), and to have at least one BINGO on the overall yearly BINGO card as well.
I will transition into a remote/contract/online science/medical communications position. To help achieve that goal—I’m aiming at writing and publishing at least six scientific blog posts/articles by the end of the year. Each will be a minimum of 1000 words and will probably cover different topics I find of interest (or sub-topics within a specific ‘niche’).
In addition, I’m planning on writing at least two small literature reviews (being somewhere between 1000 and 1500 words), on one or two science topics, in addition to the larger project I’ve had bouncing around in my head for the past year.
I will also finish updating/modifying the blog/website to showcase the addition of science/medical writing in addition to my pieces on personal/professional development, hobbies, and travels.
Overall, I plan on 2022 being the year of ‘change’ and ‘growth’—growing as a science communicator, changing/transitioning into a ‘new’ position, and also finding my online ‘tribe’.
How was your 2021, and what do you have planned for 2022?