Happy New Year! 2021 (and 2020) seemed to take both an inordinate amount of time as well as no time at all. I am sure that the pandemic is the biggest concern. I cannot believe that it has been over two years since the rumors of a virus in November 2019.

I feel fortunate that the pandemic hasn’t impacted Rachel and me as much as others have been. Rachel lost her job in 2020, about the same time burnout nearly pushed me to leave mine.

Also, I lost my mom in 2020. Over a year and a half later, I haven’t felt like I’ve gone through the grieving process. Part of it has been physical distance. With Rachel and me living in Ohio and my parent in California, making the trip has been difficult in the best of times. The pandemic only exacerbated the distance. Of course, my dad recently moved to a different state. So, I feel even more disconnected from my family.

In 2021, job stresses finally took their toll, prompting me to leave my job in July. While it was a difficult decision, it ended up being a beneficial one. As part of my separation, I received about six months’ salary.

This windfall allowed Rachel and me to take a much-needed vacation in August to Hocking Hills. It was easy to keep our distance from others with the wide-open spaces. The only times where we felt a mask was necessary was when we had to pick up food.

After our trip, instead of diving into the job application process, I intentionally slowed down. With the help of a few people, including a career coach, I was able to nail down precisely what I wanted (and didn’t want) in a new position.

I was pretty fortunate to find multiple positions where I could be happy. Eventually, I narrowed down my choices to one where I may work until I retire. With the increase in income, we are in a more stable position. Rachel no longer needs to search for a job, we were able to replace some of our furnishings, and finally, we paid down debt.

The pandemic is still wearing on us. We rented out a small movie theater for a few special events. It made us feel “normal” for a bit again, if only for a short while. We might be inclined to go to more family events—unfortunately, members of the extended family who don’t believe in vaccines. In the meantime, we’re staying in our bubble and trying to find ways to keep ourselves active.

New Year’s is often the time where many make resolutions. I am choosing not to. At the very least, I’m opting not to make them public. It turns out, the more people you tell about your goals, the less likely you will reach them. Instead, it is more important to have one or two people who will hold you accountable.

Also, many people who fail their New Year’s resolutions often wait until the following year to try again, if they do at all. Instead, I like doing weekly and quarterly reviews. Celebrate what’s been working and adjust the things that aren’t working.

So, while I won’t go into specifics, I will say that I’m working on education and fitness during this quarter.

I hope that everyone has a good year, and I hope we can also put this pandemic behind us.