2021: it’s a wrap!
2021 for sure was a bizarre year – with ups and downs; successes and failures; tears of joy and sometimes heartache. But I grew so much! And what better moment to celebrate everything that happened in 2021 than… Now? Stick till the end, Lot – there is a surprise coming! So, buckle up and let’s check the rear-view mirror!
Year-end summaries were usually painful for me. Looking back, I think the biggest change in me is the sudden wave of calm optimism… Not like over-hyped and unreal optimism. The healthy one. Just like with healthy egoism, living with that healthy positiveness is something wonderful. The one regret I have though, is that it came to me by the end of 2021. But wait, what is this saying? Better late than never, right?
Finding joy in the smallest things – the tiniest! Cup of coffee with a friend that will soon become my not-so-distant neighbor? Cooking dinner for my movie-travel-pub quiz soulmate? Getting drunk on Christmas with my family? Doing a jigsaw-puzzle or building Lego while watching a dorky show on Netflix? Or spending a quiet weekend at home, regenerating social batteries?
Little things. This might be the most cliche thing in the world, but I like cliches. They are charming and to be honest? We are living in such uncertain times, having something so tiny and silly makes me smile more often. Oh, why was I wasting my time moping around?!
But I know that it’s easier said than done – 2021 wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s been pain and suffering, loneliness and anxiety. Sometimes I felt like someone was crushing the air out of my lungs. Of course, therapy helped – having found a doctor that by now knows me better than I do, was a blessing. But there are demons that are going to stay forever.
Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s time to turn them into a motivation to keep fighting, keep pushing through. And sometimes the demons will win – because we are only humans and it’s okay to lose or fail. Not every failure carries a lesson, too. This is probably the most valuable thing I realized this year. And not every Kobayashi-Maru is the worst.
You know what, Lot? I just remembered one thing from work (of all places!). We had a lot of anniversaries in 2021, including the 5th year of my department. And the words that I kept hearing over and over again were endurance and resilience. In different combinations, but with the same ring to it: keep on fighting. It’s probably one of the phrases we hear people say. Doctors, bosses, parents, friends… It was a good year. I kept on fighting.
I wanted to break free from the limbo and I did – which was my only wish this year. I made it late, but… Seems like 2021 is the year of miracles after all. So, in the spirit of all the good things coming, let me tell you what I really loved about it.
The best thing about 2021 was moving to my apartment. Oh Gosh, what a painful and bumpy road it was… The bank, the notary, the construction… Renovating, choosing the tiles and flooring; kitchen planning at Ikea (effing hell it was). The bathrooms; figuring out how to set up my office. What kind of pillows I want on my bed; what lamps up there…
At first, I hated making decisions. God, how happy I was, when my mum helped me decide on a lot of things. She is the real MVP here, really. We used to fight a lot, but I guess that happens when two strong characters have to share a bathroom for such a long time. I wasn’t a perfect daughter, no. But we both made mistakes. And now? I cannot wait for the spring so we can meet up at Przedwojenna and get a drink!
But to be honest – I would never do this without her. And I will be forever grateful for all of the help. And my dad? He is a champion as well. The amount of work he put into helping me finish up… For real: blood, sweat and tears. That is something I will never be able to repay. But that kind of debt… Is something I can live with. Oh, the irony. I wanted to do this by myself… I felt so bad, when all wanted to help me, as if they don’t have their own problems?
Look at me now. Baking cakes and making sure they are fed well. Or that they have something to drink 🙂 It brings me so much joy – the little thought that I can contribute to Christmas dinner or a party. That is yet another thing that makes me an adult. That and paying bills on time, haha.
The apartment deal consumed most of my 2021, but I also had a great vacation with my crew! Traveling through Croatia and Montenegro was magical. I managed to share part one – Montenegro – with you Lot, and I am still working on the Croatia part.
These two weeks were so calming for my tired, anxious mind. Okay, I didn’t come back with typical sun-kissed skin, but I definitely had a lot of vitamin D in my body. We’ve seen so many wonderful things! The mountains in Montenegro are magical, like from The Lord of The RIngs! Their seaside is not really my speed, but nevertheless – exciting.
Truth being said, I never had a vacation that full – literally 14 days on the road. Tiring, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. For the food, sun and the camping! So, where do we go next year? 🙂
HUNGRY FOR KNOWLEDGE.
2021 was also full of classes from the Academy of Young Diplomats, hosted and created by European Academy of Diplomacy. I completely forgot I sent my application for this program and once they reached out to me, I was under the impression that I blew the interview. To my surprise, I got in! And it was a really challenging, yet very satisfying ride.
I’ve met a wonderful bunch of bright, intelligent and funny people – and their drive pushed me to do my best. That included writing a policy paper for the first time in my life. I had to write a recommendation to the UN Secretary General – whether the Biden administration should go with sanctions or not for Russia in regards to Nord Stream 2. Not my jam at all, but I managed to write a pretty decent paper, that was deemed accurate in terms of arguments, but too journalistic – and that was my biggest win!
I could participate in a lot of great lectures with leaders from around the world and that is something really special. Plus, I did something for my ever-hungry brain! Never stop learning, right? Few weeks ago I received my diploma, confirming my graduation. Wonderful feeling!
And… As my mum stated on the vinyl record she bought me as a graduation gift: “Use in life”. Diplomacy is an underappreciated thing in human relations. I don’t want to talk about its importance in politics and shit, but like real life. Sometimes it’s so hard to contain anger or rage, but… Next time, let’s try diplomacy. Negotiating. And you know what? Start with yourself.
Summer and early autumn were really great in 2021, because I spent a lot of time with my family! My cousins, to be exact. We were hanging out at home or in the city, in our favorite bar. We were drinking and eating and just bonding on top of everything.
I think the pandemic made us, humans, realize how extremely important family is. Being locked away for so long in 2020 and partially in 2021… My heart was aching. I could not imagine having another lonely Christmas or Easter. That would be too much.
And since everything re-opened, I witnessed my mum re-blooming! She fell in love with going out and coming home super late. I am not even half that social as she is, but I also know how important this is for her. So, through the entire summer, I… Didn’t try. I did. I stayed up late and went out with her, I kept on missing out on CSI… Because it’s Do or do not. There is no try, right?
Wise words from a wise franchise. Yoda was mindful and aware and that is something that I want to continue to be in 2022. That also means compromising sometimes and if it is between spending time with my family or coming home to watch CSI… The choice is pretty simple.
Ahh, 2021 was a year of comebacks too. And unexpected things – like the Dune podcast and entire crew… So sweet and funny and welcoming! Most importantly though – that is a tribe of people like me. Passionate, with a drive and just enthusiasts! As for comebacks, I think that for a minute there I lost my spark.
I was posting regularly every week here, with no exceptions. Until last week, when I realized that it is okay to take breaks. The world will not fall apart if I choose my mind over writing. And I want to applaud myself for being persistent and pushing through, but at what cost? I almost lost that spark that makes me special.
So, having met Alber and Emilio and everyone else at Dune Podcast crew? Made me realize that there is nothing much stronger than pure love for what you do. But that also taught me that it is important to take breaks. And if you feel bad about it… Then we need to talk. What’s also important is recognizing your value. And I would’ve never done that without Albert in my corner.
And without his wise words ringing in my head late at night, I would still be stuck in that loveless limbo, thinking that I will never be good enough to be a priority. Thinking that I am only suitable as an option. And that is mentaltiy I am leaving behind in 2021. I believe that this thought, the waiting and hoping were something that subconsciously held me back in many things, not only love. That ends now! 🙂
2021 wasn’t pretty when it comes to concerts and my heart is still weeping! But 2022 is looking better, so give me a minute to gush over the 2 shows I saw this year. Both with my mum, who, by the way, attended 3 shows! For the first time in years, she heard more live music than me. And that is awesome!
So, the first gig was part of “Letnie brzmienia pod Impartem” (“Sounds of summer”) and it was Krzysztof Zalewski. Mum and I were in the 2nd row? Like, what? It was amazing and so energetic and wonderful! His songs hit me differently live. Sure, I liked his music, with Wszystko bedzie dobrze especially, but now? I am listening to all of it.
And we started things off in our favorite bar, Przedwojenna. With our favorite snacks and our favorite drinks. I think if I was to choose a symbol of 2021, that would be Przedwojenna. I even had my small birthday party there! 🙂 It became a focal point for the summer and all family gatherings.
Second show happened in December and it was extraordinary! It was a spectacle by Ralph Kaminski – his version and interpretation of Kora, polish rock icon of the 70s, all the way to the 2000s. And that concert changed something inside me! I fell back in love with Polish music. Of course, I always was and always will be die-hard fan of Czerwone Gitarty, so it’s not like I wasn’t listening to Polish tunes.
But this gig clicked something in my brain, like something fell in its rightful place. And I am rediscovering the beauty of Polish music – its poetry of lyrics, the powerfulness of sounds… I can’t stop now. All thanks to Ralph! I think my mum will be proud of me now, haha.
Though now that I think about it – she loves the young generation, the new alternative sounds in Polish music. I am still rather drawn into classics of the 70s, 80s and 90s. But with an open heart and mind for the new artists on our market.
I know I probably missed out a lot of great things that happened, but I am (positively) anxious to tell you about things that are coming in 2022. First of all, there will be plenty of awesome movies coming: The Batman, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, Death on the Nile, The Unbearable weight of massive talent and SO. MUCH. MORE! But that will come next week – I will tell you what movies will come and when.
As for the concerts, Cosmos willing (thanks for that one, Albert!), in February I will finally see HANS ZIMMER in Prague! Oh God, this will be the perfect start into the 2022 tour. Then in May I have OneRepublic, that’s been rescheduled like a million times. In July there is Coldplay and August will smell like Ed Sheeran. These are the big ones.
I am secretly hoping for “Letnie brzmienia” to come back, because my mum already told me she’s buying all the tickets for us, if I will buy the pre-game snacks and drinks. And as you can imagine, I am absolutely down for it! All for the summer breeze in my hair.
Travels… Hmm, let me see. Marta and I are definitely planning something for June (like week long maybe?) and sometime later for 2 weeks, but where and what? Still in progress. But whatever it might be – I am sure that it will be amazing. After all, I have the best travel buddy!
When it comes to learning new things, my heart started beating faster for piano again. It’s like… Skipping a beat every time I think about playing again. So yes, I am in the process of looking for a keyboard and opening a studio at Vandalore. Wish me luck! Perhaps I will post some tunes or something that I will learn over the year. But yes – this will be my development journey in 2022. Plus some kind of certificate at work.
What else? Oh, my doctor gave me greenlight to run again! Best news of the last week of 2021. He is actually going an extra mile, tracking my activity through a sport’s app, which sounds a lot like the future. Anemia is back, but the iron deficiency is caused by stress. And the best way for me to decompress is… To go for a run. So, with caution and paying attention to my body, I can run away.
I don’t want to hope for a better 2022. I will do everything in my power to make it happen. And I don’t need to make all of my dreams come true. All I know is that 2021 was tough and I survived it. Ups and downs, but always with sunshine at the end. Lots of tears, blood and bitterness but… That is how we learn to appreciate the sunlight. And rainbows and that sweet summer breeze.
As for my wishes to you… Huh. Close your eyes and think about that moment you felt good in 2021. Maybe it was a smile your loved one gave you. Or maybe that great book you read in the spring? Oh, I know! It was that dinner your mum cooked for you. No, that’s not it. It was the moment you realized something important.
Regardless, I want you to remember that warm feeling inside you when it happened. I wish you this: may this feeling never leave you. It might not always warm your soul up, but it’s there. I wish you the strength and courage to ignite it every time you need it. Be the spark that lights the fire!
And when it comes to gifts… Like I promised, a little surprise:
2022 MOVIE JOURNAL is available here!!!!!
Enjoy the 3rd year of this horizon-expanding experiment I started in 2020. As usual, there are a couple of twists when it comes to the rules, but hey – I want you to have fun with it, as always! Oh, and just remember one thing – rules are fun and they exist for a reason. One of them is to make sure they are bendable.
Happy New Year, my wonderful Lot. I love you!
You know how much I love autumn, right? So, here is a confession: LET IT BE SPRING!!!!! Oh God, how I want the trees to be green again. How I want to wear sneakers and run around the city with my friends and family. Spring, I am sorry I never truly appreciated you. Here is my promise to you: I will never take you for granted.
Oh, and Summer? I love you too, buddy. I always did, but hey. When you arrived, my thoughts were already circulating around Autumn. This year it will not happen like this. You have my word.
2021? You were a tough one, but I still appreciate you. Why? Because you taught me a lot, including that not everything is a lesson and sometimes you just fail… I feel ready to be alive again; I feel ready to spread this message: life is to be lived, not agreed with!