Reflections of 2021: Duality

 · 
1 January 2022
 · 
3 min read

Writing this feels like talking first thing in the morning to someone before having rehearsed your voice - it feels coarse but you know you'll get the hang of it.

2021. A repeat of 2020? In some ways yes, in other ways not so much. While the world started to fall apart a bit less and try to piece itself back together, Sydney entered a lockdown for 3.5 months in the middle of the year (starting the week of my 30th birthday). It has left a gaping memory hole for many of us, using it as a milestone for the year ("was that pre- or post-lockdown?") when reflecting on the year.

Some bits and bobs:

  • Trips. Since the borders were closed (domestically and internationally at various points), I took some trips including the Blue Mountains (Jenolan caves), Orange, Bowral, Woy Woy, and Canberra
  • Local. Started to find my "local" for things (i.e. local cafe, local cheap and cheerful spot)
  • Volunteering. Both in the design community through the IXDA Sydney chapter and with OzHarvest
  • 2 30-day challenges. Steptember (10K steps a day) Inktober (one sketch a day), just proved to myself that I could because consistency is something I struggle with
  • Online courses. 2 this year: Wine and SmartPurse
  • Diet changes. Gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free on weekdays and exercise (levelled up in Lyra) which has opened my eyes to what my body can achieve
  • Moolah. Took the reins of my finances for better monthly budgeting and saving for long-term goals
  • Experiences. Had one of the most incredible meals of my life at Berowra Waters Inn
  • Confidence. After 2 years at the same job (and 4 years working in aviation) I'm finally starting to feel comfortable in a domain that I wasn't formally trained in
  • Turning 30. Instead of celebrating what my life had been in the last 30 years, I mourned paths not taken
  • Gin. From visiting distilleries to mixing cocktails
  • Crafts. Made ceramic vases, clay coasters, necklaces, paintings, candles, a modern wall mobile

Lessons Learned:

  • Time. With my online classes, I realized I have about 4 hours on Sundays where I like doing deep learning
  • Plants. Learned I couldn't keep outdoor plants indoors, despite my best efforts
  • Friends not living in the same place. While last year made everyone virtual, this year was a better measure of how people stay in touch. Nobody felt the pressure to stay in touch, which made connecting more meaningful and organic.
  • Mourning. I didn't realize I was mourning a life left in the States. It comes in waves and it's not all bad, but processing change takes time.

While the intended theme for the year was "being" (repeat from 2020), "duality" is what this year felt more reflective of. Duality for finding novelty but supporting local, duality with another lockdown to complement the start of a decade, and duality in fulfilling life's expectations and still doing them your way.

Much like 2021, I don't have any professional goals. Outside of work, I'm looking to "strive but heal" through building a south asian tribe, volunteering with impact closer to my heart, and continuing on the diet and exercise journey to build strength.

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I acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians on whose land I live, play, and work. I pay my deepest respects to all Indigenous Elders past, present and emerging.

© Feb 2024 Vinita Israni
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