Like 2020, 2021 was no joke. Covid-19 kept us in a pandemic state, travel continued to be disrupted which meant many of us weren’t able to be with loved ones for another year, and we suffered through the deaths of loved ones (whether from the virus or not), not to mention all the coups, attempted coups, wars, riots, assassinations, droughts… It’s been a year of much upheaval.
When I started 2021, I had plans, dreams of what the year would look like and where I'd be at the end of it. What happened instead turned out to be far different from what I'd planned - and yet, I can’t say that I’m surprised or disappointed with where this journey has taken me. I’m so glad that I chronicled this #musingongoodness2021 challenge.
Now that I’ve come to the end, it’s time to look back at the original challenge and close it in style.
The Original Challenge
“This January 2021, start the year with an empty jar. Each week, add a note with a good thing that happened. On New Year’s Eve, December 31 2021, empty the jar and read about the amazing year you had.”
So here are my highlights from each pair of months!
January and February 2021
The highlight of those months would have to be “I’m in Brazil with my younger sister” because going to Brazil was not in my plans, though it was a welcome development. I remember sitting beside her in the car as we were driven from Fortaleza to Sobral. Throughout most of that first 4-hour drive, we held hands and every so often I’d look over at her and think, “Am I really in Brazil with you?” For those of you who don’t know, my sister has been living in Brazil for the last seven years pursuing her medical degree. Though she’s been able to visit home almost every year, none of her Jamaican circle has been able to visit her in Brazil and witness the life she’s been living. It was unique for me to see her in her element - fluent in Portuguese, an integral member of her church family, and a wise, confident yet humble woman of God.
March and April 2021
The highlight would be, “I visited a clinic and didn’t have to pay!”
The last time I had to go to a healthcare facility in a foreign country, I racked up a bill of over 10,000 United States dollars and the diagnosis was inconclusive and the remedy was rest. So you can imagine my reluctance to go to a clinic in Brazil for antibiotics because I had cellulitis. Then I discovered that Brazil’s free healthcare covered tourists as well! I have never taken antibiotics as promptly as I did with that course.
May and June 2021
It wasn’t easy choosing a highlight for these 2 months. I went to Jericoacoara with my sister and had an amazing time. But that cooking class with Chef Samantha George and my friends is what I want to highlight.
Being connected across continents so effortlessly was sublime. I chuckle every time I think about that class and Chef Sam’s patience with us. Chef Sam taught us how to make “Pick-up Saltfish and Johnny Cakes”. We were supposed to make the codfish ceviche-style but when we found out what ‘ceviche’ meant, we all balked at the idea that vinegar was enough to cook fish (and I couldn’t even find codfish at the Brazilian supermarket so I had bought shrimp). She conceded and allowed us to cook it in a pan. I eat sushi for crying out loud! - yet I didn’t want to try shrimp ceviche since I was the one preparing it.
July and August 2021
“When God answers slowly” and “When God answers quickly” were two posts that were written within a week of each other. When I wrote the first one about how long it was taking to sell my car (lovingly referred to as the #carsalepending saga), I didn’t know that the car would be sold by the next post. That was an unforeseen set-up and payoff that still makes me think, “You’re so poetic, God.”
September and October 2021
“An Anniversary to Remember” refers to when I resigned from the investment company I had worked for to embark on this sabbatical and career reinvention. This journey has seen me fly over 23,000 miles, fulfil dreams that I thought were dead, reignite hope for other dreams, and expand my faith in and understanding of who God is. When I was packing up my desk at the end of September, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
November and December 2021
And finally, my brush with Covid-19 would be the highlight for these months. I still marvel at God when I think of this one. Not only was I in denial that I had Covid-19 (3 days of fever, muscle pains and coughing wasn’t proof enough) but I took care of my five nieces and nephews for 4 days while their parents were in Italy. God took care of me while I took care of the children. He strengthened me, helped the children be more biddable and gentle with me, sent dinners via a loving neighbour, and protected me from any breathing issues. I had been having asthmatic issues and using my inhaler almost every night leading up to Covid-19, but throughout the illness, I didn’t have to use my inhaler once!
I wouldn’t have had an amazing year without my entire family’s support. I thought I was alone and needed to survive alone but God stripped away all my self-provided support little by little until there was nothing left but Him and His care for me through my family and loved ones.
I especially want to thank my sisters, Priscilla Fletcher and Kathryn Lynam, who worked tirelessly and voluntarily as my proofreader and copyeditor for all the posts that you’ve read so far (including this one).
And finally, I want to thank you for joining me on this journey. I hope that it was as much of a blessing for you as it was for me.
Any Other Business
So what's next for me - The Planner? I'm not sure yet, but 2022 is already shaping up to be very different (professionally) from 2021. How that will pan out, I'll have to see. I’ll send you periodic updates about what’s happening.
I would like to hear from you. If there was anything that you were inspired by or challenged by from my journey, let me know in the comments.
See you soon!