Photography: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

It goes without saying that 2021 was a year filled with trials and tribulations for many (if not all) of us, but as the saying goes: hard times are often blessings in disguise. As much as we’re excited to say, “Thank you, next!”, let’s take a look at some of the things that have taught us all priceless lessons in the past year. Ahead, 11 people spill the beans on their year in review and what made it a different and unforgettable year for them.

“The year started off being a bit of a drag as we went through our third phase of lockdown, but as time went by, I saw it as a blessing. I was contemplating on pursuing my Master’s degree at the start of the year, so when this happened, I took a leap and went for it! Thankfully, without much to do, I was able to discipline myself and set aside time to complete this without much procrastination. As a result, I’m walking into 2022 with only two semesters left and I’m proud of myself for coming this far.” – Cheryl Naidu, 28, Doctor

“My biggest highlights from this year were the arrival of my baby, moving to our three-storey office and shifting our focus for Wunderbath from retail to online. I don’t have any regrets, but I was on my toes the entire year because of the continuous MCO. Perhaps the only thing I kind of regretted was being so worried at times for the things that were out of my control. In a nutshell, I made it happen and my biggest takeaway from 2021 is to just enjoy the ride and continue to thrive during chaos.” – Evelyn Marieta, 36, Wunderwoman of Wunderbath

“I learned the art of self-love that social media has been raving about this entire year. Work had always been my priority, but after losing my job, I was left with nothing but to focus on my well-being. I learned many things this year – from how to forgive myself to how to be more compassionate towards those in need within my means. This is the first year that I’ve spent so much time just observing things around me and asking myself many in-depth questions about life, which really got me thinking about life itself. Reading, chilling, people-watching and meditation helped me clear all those queries and I hope to walk into 2022 with a positive outlook on life.” – James Chin, 32, Social media analyst

Photography: Content Pixie/Unsplash

“Simply put, 2021 was a year of cleansing for me. ‘Cleansing’ in this context meant that it was a time for me to get rid of all the unnecessary things from my life – from unwanted products to deeper things like the grudges that I’ve held on to for a very long time. This was only possible thanks to the additional time that we all had in our hands during the MCO. I was working from home, but after the first two series, I became a pro at juggling my time and this time around, I spent a lot of time pondering, reading and even talking to others about how to get rid of these unwanted things. Starting a fresh has never felt this good and I’m ready to dive into 2022 on a clear slate!” – Jason Lim, 23, Customer service representative

“Among the things I’m proud of this year is being tasked with more leadership responsibilities at work, reading more than I ever did in a year and starting and improving in combat sports. I also adopted my first furry friend in life, a naughty cat called Mia. That said, I had my fair share of lows as well. It was hard for me to see my loved ones lose their jobs and fall sick, unable to travel and have their life plans disrupted because the past two years have truly felt like a long bad dream.” – Jeremy Yap, 28, Senior Graphic Designer

“2021 was a very challenging year for me as I lost my dad to Covid-19. It was so sudden and until today, I still feel the void in my life. It also taught me to break away from my workaholic self and spend more time with my family. Prior to that, work was my life as I’d assumed that my parents would always be by my side. But the clock was ticking, and I didn’t realise that everything would happen so suddenly. As a result, I had to make a conscious decision and discipline myself to prioritise time for my loved ones too.” – Lee Mei Kuan, 34, Marketing executive

Photography: Lesly Juarez/Unsplash

“My best highlights from 2021 include meeting a lot of new friends via charity work and helping others during the pandemic. I connected with people that I don’t think I’d have met if it wasn’t for me doing work to spread kindness. Another thing I learned is to live through challenges, adapting and staying positive despite nearly losing my life due to medical negligence. Overall, I really have become a better person. At the same time, I regret not taking the opportunity to work out and lose weight during the lockdown. I also regret making a decision on a surgery procedure which resulted in a medical emergency.” – Racheal Kow, 40, General manager of Bravo Events

“I’m going to be walking into 2022 with goals, but with minimal expectations maintained. The highlight of my year was seeing my sister get married and being able to physically attend the wedding in Dorset, England, despite the many external issues at play. The lowlights of the year were honestly me getting in my own way; fear, procrastination and a sense of digression in my work ethic. I’m not entirely sure of what I should expect in 2022, but I guess it’s onwards and upwards from here.” – Sanjeeva Suresh, 26, Writer

“The biggest highlight for me in 2021 is to finally have a team for Hanya. It was a one-woman show to two-women show and now, a full team of women while I secured an office space and completed the renovation of my house. I was happy to be able to give back to the community during MCO when we did a food bank for two months (in Kedah, my hometown) and were able to feed so many families. We also gave out approximately 1,000 bags of rice. My biggest regret is definitely something very personal that I’m not ready to share with the world yet. It's something that made me grow up, realise my strength and bring out the strongest and toughest side of me. I regret that it happened, but I’m glad that it did and I managed to grow up thanks to it.” – Tan Veen Dee, 33, Co-founder of Hanya

Photography: Nicola Styles/Unsplash

“One of my proudest moments this year was coming out of my comfort zone to lend a helping hand to the various NGOs in this time of need, which made me realise the things that I’ve taken for granted in life. As much as café hopping, OOTDs, trendy clothes and funky hairstyles are things that I’d usually spend money on, this act of charity opened my eyes to the amount of money I was wasting when I could use it to help feed the poor. I’m not a saint and no doubt, I’d still treat myself to the things that bring me joy, but I’ve also gone a step further to put some cash aside and donate it to various NGOs so that it could be used to help someone in need out there. Sharing what I have is the greatest lesson I’ve learned from this entire experience.” – Veronica Pereira, 28, Student

“I lost my baby this year and that made me realise how fragile life is and can be. It was a miscarriage and as much as it wasn’t a planned pregnancy, I was excited to welcome a new life to my family. I guess it wasn’t meant to be and I fell into depression after losing my baby, but I’m thankful that I had my partner by my side while it happened. All the doubts if he was the right one for me were answered during this time and I also learned how to let go of many things which have stopped me from getting into a serious relationship with someone. The one thing that I’m looking forward to in 2022 is tying the knot with him and starting a new family with the one person who truly has been by my side throughout this time.” – Yap Pei Jun, 35, Office manager

Compiled by: Yang Mei Ling & Vasenta Selvanayagam
Featured image:
Willian Justen de Vasconcellos/Unsplash

( Answer in less than 20 words )
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
This is some text inside of a div block.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.
No items found.