My Year In Review: 2021

It’s taken me until 2022 to do this. But as I feel like 2022 is just a second sequel to 2020, I’m doing this more out of tradition and ritual. It’s always interesting to look back on these many years later.

What, for you, was the high point of 2021? Were there any other highlights?

Though 2021 was a lot less traumatic, it was extremely depressing. It’s hard to look back on and think of highlights. But there were a few…

  1. Getting to see a charity event I’d helped plan actually happen (like most things it had been postponed in 2020). It was the first in-person mass participation event our charity had staff at, so that was really exciting.
  2. Hosting 2 virtual events – the first being my friend’s 50th birthday (with a surprise guest her husband had organised!) and then that same friend’s ‘bookiversary’ open mic spoken word event.
  3. Meeting some wonderful new friends and contacts through a course I’m doing as part of my creative writing certificate run by UCLA Extension.
  4. Kind friends who let me stay in their homes in July so I could get a change of scenery, see my Mum for her birthday and socialise with friends I hadn’t seen more safely.

What, for you, was the low point of 2021?

Early into 2021, I sunk into a very scary place that was caused by stress, childhood trauma, feeling completely devalued at work, and also triggered by other health issues that have been going on for several years that have had treatment delays or been difficult to treat due to the pandemic.

There was also Storm Arwen, that was closely followed by snow and Storm Barra. The devastation the storms caused is still felt in the NE Scotland.

If I hadn’t had some really great friends who dragged me through, plus the new lease of life I got from hosting the virtual events and starting to write again – I don’t think I’d be here to be honest.

Tell me some things you learned this year.

Once again, I was reminded I have incredible friends. My little Aberdeen bubble have been a lifeline through a long 4 month lockdown where we couldn’t go out our local authority area, and taking care of me through sedations and vaccine side effects! I learned that I’m much more skilled than I had realised, and that many people who are paid more have less knowledge than experience for their jobs. I learned that I’m still good at epidemiology. I learned of more friends were transphobic and homophobic, but was also amazed to discover people I thought might be but weren’t. I also learned so much about screenwriting, picturebook writing and Facebook fundraising.

Who would be your “person of 2021”? It could be someone you know or a famous person who’s inspired you.

I have been so inspired by some of my classmates at UCLA Extension. Our Picturebook 1 course group was just the best.

What was the best film you saw this year?

Until last month I would have said In The Heights, but then I saw Lin Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut film which trumped it.

So Tick, Tick… BOOM!

And what was the worst?

Hell or High Water. I had to watch it for a class, and I really got quite annoyed by several of the tropes portrayed in it. I think I ended up fast forwarding through bits so it would be over faster!

What was the best book you read?

I really struggled to read books this year, due to ongoing health issues that made it really tough to concentrate or stay awake enough to take in what I was reading.

However, for one of my courses I ended up reading over 100 Picturebooks in a 10 week period. Some of the faves I read were Rabbityness by Jo Empson, Red and Green and Blue and White by Lee Wind and Paul Zelinksy.

For adults, my favourite was probably Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

What was the best TV show you watched?

It’s A Sin.

Closely followed by Ted Lasso and Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Honourable mentions to Brooklyn 99, Saturday Night Live (the writing is on fire this season), Marvellous Mrs Maisel, The Big Scottish Book Club, The Mandalorian, Wandavision and The Babysitters Club.

What, for you, was the sporting highlight of 2021?

Max Whitlock winning another Gold, and Simone Biles being so courageous to share about the reality of the ‘twisties’ and how many athletes stood up for her when ignorant journalists and celebrities spouted off in their ignorance. Her Bronze on Beam was a Gold in my eyes.

What was the best album or song you heard in 2021? What song did you play most?

At the end of the year, I finally got a copy of Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me album on vinyl. It is just so lush. I also really enjoyed Foofighter’s Medicine at Midnight album and the Tick, Tick… BOOM soundtrack.

The song I played the most on spotify was apparently When the Morning Comes by Hall and Oates again!

What is the podcast you’ve listen to most in 2021?

Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend

What are you looking forward to in 2022?

I am really hoping that this year I’ll be able to spend time with my younger sister and brother, and that I’ll be able to get a job with a higher salary and be able to sell my flat and move to East Lothian or Newcastle. We have a second charity challenge event planned in Wales. I’m looking forward to the UCLA Writers Studio workshop class I’ll be taking at the end of February. Maybe seeing friends in Manchester in March and if it goes ahead as planned, going to the World Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool for a couple of days with a friend.

I never got to smoosh my friends’ babies in 2021 or get a passport, so… we’ll see!

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