wellness

"It's important to celebrate the little wins": 15 women on the life lessons they learnt in 2021.

What a whirlwind 2021 has been: COVID-19 and its variants, long lockdowns, big political and social conversations, and even an earthquake or two.

So for many, 2021 has been fraught with challenges and experiences that have helped them re-evaluate what's important in their life and what really isn't. 

We asked 15 women to bestow upon us the best life lessons they learnt this year, ranging from the light and jokey, to the more serious.

Watch: Eddie Jaku's advice for a good life. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

"I had my third baby in April, and it meant I had a four-year-old, two-year-old and a newborn. I realised I had to let some things go in order to keep on top of what my kids needed. Splitting yourself three ways isn't easy. Priorities are important. My life lesson has been to work out what matters the most and focus on that. Friends who love me will always be there, even when you're going through a tough time."

"If 2021 taught me anything, it's that working from home is the best option for me. It means I can be there for my teenage kids, do a load of washing while waiting on an email, and be in my comfy pyjamas. Next year I will be asking my boss if I can work from home for three days per week."

"With so many impacted by COVID this Christmas, I was fortunate enough to spend it with my family and that is something I don't take for granted. What I've realised is that future me shouldn't just wait until those special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas to see loved ones or treat myself: make the memories while you can, especially amid the uncertainty of our COVID-normal lives."

Image: Getty.

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"There were a lot of friendships that weren't serving me this year. In particular, a couple of 'friends' whose children were bullying my son, and refused to believe it. I let them go and our family is so much better without them."

"2021 taught me just how amazing dogs are for your wellbeing. During lockdown, I would visit my local dog park and the boost of energy I got from seeing these happy dogs was awesome: so much so, that I decided to adopt one of my own, which is the ultimate highlight of my year."

"I've seen just how important and special it is to celebrate the wins. This year my family experienced a huge curveball which has really knocked the wind out of our sails. Since that, we've begun celebrating all of our wins, big and small. Whether it's a promotion at work, a nice walk in the park, or a new hobby, it's been nice to acknowledge the good times, as well as getting people together and making happy memories."

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud: The best and worst moments of 2021. Post continues after audio.


"Despite the enormous amount of space taken up by anti-vaxxers, and the anxiety those terrible rallies in Sydney and Melbourne gave me during lockdown, it appears they only make up a tiny minority of the community. With NSW in particular over 95 per cent vaxxed, and with all other states and territories having amazing numbers, particularly the ACT, it does bring some relief. It has increased my level of faith in those around me."

"Like many, 2021 was a bit of a dumpster fire year for me. Hate to write off a whole period of time, but it was fraught with challenges. One of the main ones being I didn't find the love I have been looking for. I've been single for a significant amount of time, and I still will be single going into 2022, which does make me sad. But what I've learnt is that blanket New Year Resolutions such as 'find a partner' can be unrealistic and even quite overwhelming to achieve. So the life lesson is to preach more self-love and acceptance, regardless of my relationship status."

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Image: Getty/Mamamia.

"Sadly, I lost my mum in 2021. But from it, I discovered that funerals for 10 people can actually be less stressful and more intimate than your regular free-for-all ones."

"I found 2021 taught me some big lessons in learning not to waste time and energy on people who have been toxic, unkind and haven't put the same efforts into friendships and relationships as I have. Life is too short, and there are too many good people to focus on instead."

"2021 has taught me that hard work can pay off. I spent the majority of the start of the year trying to land a job in the industry I had studied at university for, with little initial success. It was pretty demoralising, especially amid lockdowns as it made me feel nervous that fewer opportunities would be available. It wasn't until September that the right job came along, and I worked my butt off for it. The whole experience taught me the need to be kind to myself and persevere. Not everything you want in life will come at once, or maybe not at all, but when something does 'go right' it's important to acknowledge it, celebrate it and show gratitude for it."

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"For me, 2021 was a true lesson in 'non-attachment'. It's shown me how to be flexible and fluid with plans. It's still important to make plans and have things to look forward to, but I now know I just have to roll with it if those plans change or fall through. I think I'll call it: 'learning to pivot'."

Image: Getty.

"I learnt how important it is to show up for your friends and make effort to be with them when possible. The pandemic was hard on all of us and showing your people how much you loved them with a simple text, phone call or by making the time to see them made a world of difference."

"I've been reminded just how grateful I need to be for my health. Whether it's the threat of COVID (especially when vaccines weren't yet available earlier in the year) or the fact a family member of mine was diagnosed with stage four cancer, it really has put things into perspective."

"Don't sweat the small stuff. Plus, I don't need to spend as much money as I used to on clothes, jewellery and other materialistic things: the pandemic and lockdown really taught me that."

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

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