Things I learned in 2021

Ah, 2021. It was the worst of times. And the worst of times. But The Year That Must Not Be Named did usher in a number of lessons for me, some of the cosmic variety, some simply to be filed away under Huh…Who Knew?

Here, then, in no particular order, are a few things I learned in 2021:

  • Never, ever declare “THIS is going to be MY year!”
  • Donning a business mullet (i.e. workwear only on top) for Zoom calls may not work out as planned
  • A refresher course on the Greek alphabet (thanks COVID!)
  • How to pronounce charcuterie
  • That I’ll have few occasions to use the word charcuterie
  • 51 is actually the new 51
  • A tattoo can be a very compelling visual aid in a work presentation
  • Dr. Pepper and vodka (aka Dr. Vodka) is a lot better than it sounds
  • I can’t go for more than five minutes without saying hi to my dog
  • I can’t go for more than five minutes and ten seconds without telling my dog that I love her underbite
  • Researching various accents is a great way to procrastinate
  • I have a limitless ability to create fake band names and annoy friends with them
  • I can now say, “All the boys write in sugar” in Italian, thanks to my language app
  • An “Oxford exclamation point” isn’t a thing, no matter how much I wish it were
  • That book really won’t write itself
  • The right decision is better than the easy one
  • We are not our jobs, our grades or our things
  • Time is short
  • People are precious
  • Kindness matters
  • Gratitude rules

Of course, my actual, fer-realsies list is longer. Think of this as the appetizer. Now tell me, dear friends, what did you learn this year?

51 thoughts on “Things I learned in 2021

  1. I’ve learned a few lessons too.
    1. My beloved dachshund starts asking for dinner starting at 4:45 and keeps inching towards me with each passing minute.
    2. Make your real friends family members.
    3. Look in the mirror and see what you ARE, rather than what you are not.
    4. Drop the negative people in your life. Everyone has bad days, but not everything each and every day is negative.
    As for you, you get hugs… always. And maybe a pick-me-up song. 😜

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Love your list, Tracy! After the time change and especially since the solstice, my cat has been working on her plan to move dinner time up by one minute per day. She thinks I am fooled by the darkness.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I learned you can do more than you thought or imagined. For example, how to create a book trailer seemed out of reach, but Canva made it easy. I also learned that it takes time to reach your target audience. Hearing crickets at first served as the motivation to keep listening for what my readers expected instead of beating the drum of my message. Above all, I learned it’s all about writing a book readers will love.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. 1. If I feed Koda at 4:30 because “we’re making dinner for ourselves” he will ask for dinner at 4:30 tomorrow. 🙂
    2. Never, EVER say, “I think the worst is over.”

    Love the list, Kathleen.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Ah, 2021, my personal worst year ever. It taught me:
    1. If you generally like your job, don’t take it for granted. You never know when you might get caught up in a RIF. (thanks COVID)
    2. Your grand plans can be wiped away in the blink of an eye. Find another path and keep moving.
    3. We need more people, and TV shows, like Ted Lasso.
    4. Be curious, not judgmental. (See #3)
    5. Tomatoes aren’t too bad on a sandwich or burger, after all.
    6. Still not a fan of pickles.
    7. Jason Mraz is an unending source of joy and light.
    8. The Chicks on the Case are, too.
    9. Watching the birds and squirrels in the yard never gets old.

    Here’s hoping for a better 2022. Sláinte!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. J.C., this made me tear up!

      I’m so happy that The Worst Year Ever (Ever) had some joyful counterparts like Ted Lasso (amen), Jason Mraz, tomatoes and backyard wildlife. And how kind you are to include the Chicks. ❤

      YOU, my friend, are an unending source of light. Grateful for you. Here's to better. We're counting on you, 2022!

      Liked by 5 people

    2. Well, my day is made that you mentioned #8, J.C. And also Ted Lasso (I have actually been following their filming progress for the next season). So sorry that 2021 was such an annus horribilis for you (as it was for so many of us, sigh), and sending back cheers for 2022. You are high on our Chicks list for 2021 as a special bright spot. We’ll wrangle 2022 together!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Happy 2022, everyone!

    Kathy, wishing you much love and cheer in this New Year. 💖

    Lessons for me:
    1. Writers are so kind.
    2. It really is okay to ask questions–lots of them.
    3. Be bold…but take breaks when needed.
    4. If you’re sipping from a mug on Zoom and want to show it off, make sure the image faces the camera.
    5. Lap blankets bring cozy joy.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. I learned—well re-learned—that my pal Kathy Valenti is hilarious, charming, and resilient.

    And I learned how to take a deep breath and find perspective in all areas of my life.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I think it’s better than boys writing in sugar! I also learned how to say that elephants are my favorite animal. When I was learning French, I was taught how to ask if the ambassador would like an aperitif and that I like rock and roll. All very handy, no?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Love your list, Kathy! So funny (I mean, not the basis for all of the items–just the way you present them) because they’re so true. In 2021 I learned: 1. The closer I get to thinking I’m almost done with my WIP, the longer the ms. gets. 2. Even though I keep claiming I’ve learned Very Important Things, I tend to regress. 3. I need to get out more (someday). And 4. I love and appreciate all of my friends (especially in the author/reader community) and family so much!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Those Very Important Things are sometimes Very Hard to Remember. And I think WIPs are the opposite of rearview mirrors: the finish line is farther than it appears. I can’t WAIT for your ms!!

      And so, so true about our friends, family and loving community. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Love your list Kathi.

    I’ve learned if you don’t like doing whatever task it is, then stop.
    I also learned that you can’t do it all.
    But mostly I learned to live life.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. This brought such a smile to my face, Kathy, because it’s so very true–yet told in such a charming and witty way! For me, I learned:

    1) Wonderful things can come your way at very unexpected times;
    2) Turkey leg confit is far better than the traditionally-roasted style;
    3) You can have just as much fun drinking Martinis wearing winter clothes outdoors as you can sitting in your living room; and
    4) The mystery writing community (authors and readers) is made up of the most marvelous people in the world! (But I already knew that one.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ahhhhhhhhhhh… I love all of these!!

      I have also learned to enjoy happy hour al fresco (and out here, al freddo), and now I’m VERY curious about turkey leg confit!

      Double yes on this amazing community. That’s a lesson I never tire of (re)learning.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. In 2021 I learned everything that doesn’t kill us still hurts like hell!
    I understand your reluctance to pronounce it so I will: Kathy this is going to be your year!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Kathy, so sorry I’m late to this party. Long day. I love your list! And I know 2022 will be YOUR year! I’m a little overwhelmed right now so can’t think of what I learned. Maybe one thing would be, bid goodbye to imposter syndrome?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a wonderfully thoughtful post–love it and love all of these comments.

    The biggest thing I learned was that you don’t know what you can handle until you have no choice but to handle it.

    Hope 2022 is better for everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

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