For the past 3 years, I have chosen one word to guide, inspire, and remind me of how I want to move through the year. For 2021, I couldn’t narrow it down to one word, so I chose two — reflect and celebrate.

2021 is winding down and one of my guiding words is literally reflect, so I thought I’d take some time to look back on how those two words showed up for me this year.

Reflect. At the beginning of the year, I set the intention of making reflection a regular practice. I think that I’ve done a pretty good job of integrating reflection into my thinking. It was my go to practice for navigating two big life experiences — building my business and turning 50. 

April 2021 marked the 1-year anniversary of Sandy Gunn Coaching & People Consulting. Deciding to leave my job after 10 years to start my own business and then transitioning to self-employment were huge events for me. It seemed natural and important that these events would occupy most of my reflection time. I reflected on every aspect of my business — my marketing & business development, my content creation, my administration, my budget, my collaborations, and my clients. I reflected on how I was showing up as a coach and a consultant. I reflected on my journey to self-employment. And I especially reflected on the shifts (big and small) that come with transitioning to self-employment. This reflection time has given me clarity, confidence, and conviction to continue moving forward on this journey.

The months leading up to my 50th birthday also gave me plenty of nuggets to reflect on. In general, milestone birthdays have always been a time of reflection for me. But 50, well 50 was a big one. For many reasons, I felt conflicted about this particular birthday and to resolve my inner conflict, I had to make reflection front and center. It took me a while to unpack the fears, judgements, and meaning that I was putting on turning 50. Reflection helped get me to a place of acceptance and a realization that the best parts of turning 50 far outweigh my fears and judgements about it.

I’m proud to say that reflection has most definitely become a habit. It also feels like a state of mind —  like a subtle feeling of calm. Reflection feels good. And it is my go to way of noticing, learning, appreciating, and growing.

Celebrate. I wanted 2021 to be a celebratory year. This was partly driven by my 50th birthday but mostly it was because we are still in a pandemic. For my mental well-being, I knew that it would be important for me to find celebratory moments throughout the year.

My birthday was in February (aka pandemic restriction time) so there were limits on how I could celebrate. That didn’t stop my partner, friends, and family. Without going into all of the details, I can say that without a doubt, my 50th birthday celebration was one of the most thoughtful, memorable, and special birthdays I have ever had.

But that was only one day of celebration (okay, it was more like one week). And while big celebration moments are important, there was something special about finding the small “c” celebrations this year. Things that I put into the small “c” category are everyday joys, connection points, funny moments, and gestures of love. I learned to celebrate moments like daily crossword puzzle competitions with Fin, regular walks with my friend Shauna, lunch time meet-ups with Tara at London Drugs, daily classes at Rumble Boxing, and watching Odi chase his ball. These ordinary moments are the things that lift me up, energize me, and make my life meaningful. They are all around me and they happen everyday. These are the things that I want to make a habit of celebrating. 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll share my word for 2022. What is your practice for moving intentionally into a new year? Do you have a word for 2022?