Looking Back, Looking Forward: 2021 Edition

As 2019 drew to a close, no one could have imagined what 2020 would bring us. A year marked by a new strain of coronavirus known as COVID-19. We struggled, we fought, we persevered. And when 2020 was drawing to a close, we all hoped for a return to normal in 2021. And yet, as 2021 is drawing to a close, my province is showing an alarming spike in new cases of yet another variant of COVID-19. In fact, case numbers are far higher than ever before, and testing is incredibly backlogged, so the numbers being reported are not even accurate because results that are in queue aren’t even showing up in the reported numbers yet. A single dose of vaccine isn’t sufficient, double dose isn’t enough, now they’re recommending a booster, and in some cases, even a 4th shot is being recommended

And that is just a framework of the broader state of affairs. Personally at this point last year I was in a deep depression – having booked 5 days off work for Christmas/New Years but then due to the restrictions in place at that point, I didn’t even travel anywhere farther than brief walks around town. I didn’t visit family, I had no guests, and I spent far to much time with my thoughts.

But winter eventually gave way to spring. I moved in with a couple of guys, and began pushing my photography business again. Rotating restrictions of various levels definitely put a damper on growth opportunities, but I still tried to make the best of it, usually catching several local car meets, and going to visit my parents whenever possible. Late in the year I was able to partner with a new local restaurant to provide my photography services for an on-going basis, and thanks to some pro-bono work I did for a friend, I was able to make several key connections that should be very beneficial come spring & summer of 2022

Mid summer I was gifted a brand new bass, and along with that came an opportunity to change careers, which I decided to pursue in September. I was also able to finally purchase a car again after many years of walking, biking, or asking for rides. The freedom is wonderful, and will definitely allow for more opportunities for my business, as well as just being able to do my own thing when I want to. The new job was fun, I learned a lot, but it definitely brought some challenges. And unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. Part of it was me – I didn’t have the full skillset they were looking for, but part of it was the company itself. They had recently begun restructuring and were still refining the operations aspect of things, and as a result they decided to streamline their maintenance team which meant my position was eliminated.

In the last several months I have also begun to help get a ministry off the ground, one that wants to reach out to the hurting and broken people that often get ignored in this part of the province – year after year this corner of the country leads the way in charitable donations, many of which are tied to the strong Christian roots here. Sadly, often money is given but too many of the people in the pews don’t actually go out and serve those in need. Yes, we need those people who have been wise with money who can then in turn provide the necessary financial support. However it seems many are content to give financially but shy away from doing the actual work, serving in soup kitchens, meeting people who live on the street, connecting with the Indigenous people, meeting people in remand centers, or working in shelters to serve the down and out. So a group of men and women in the area want to step into that world and do the work. Along with that I’ve become a member of the Christian Motorcycle Association (and yep, that means I’ll have to eventually get a bike, or at least be able to borrow one – so that’s in the works)

However, that same day I was asked if I would return to my old job at TimberFalls, which I will be starting in the New Year. I think a bit of time away helped me appreciate the positive aspects of that role that I had started to miss, and I believe it helped the store realize how valuable I was to them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that stuff, I suppose. I gave a bit of pushback on their offer and extended a counteroffer which they accepted. Along with my previous role, I will be getting more training, as well as a bit more of a structured schedule, and more control and input to any photography I will be doing for them.

2021 was indeed a wild ride. A whole lot of changes happened, especially in the last half of the year. And to be honest, if all these changes had happened a year ago, I would not have been prepared mentally, emotionally, or spiritually to handle it. I would have found a way to sabotage the success (or even the possibilities of success), instead I’m still looking for more growth and changes to come.

I have no doubt 2022 will have plenty of it’s own challenges too. Some will be anticipated, and of course, some will be completely unexpected. Along with the challenges will be a lot of positives as well, some I can anticipate already, and I’m sure there will be many surprises that I didn’t see coming. That’s life, after all – the good, the bad, and the in-between. I’m not gonna head into the new year naive and blindly hoping for a smooth easy year. I’m also not going to go in tense, wary, and expecting the worst. There will be times of rest, and times of hardship. There will be times of smooth sailing, and times of stormy seas. They will happen. And they might really throw me off balance. But I’ve made it this far, and I’m not about to start coasting anytime soon.

So come on in 2022, let’s see what you’ve got for me.

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