Tsali Trail, US Forest Service, Cheoah Ranger District (photo by me)

It’s time for another Year in Review post. And, like last year, I want to acknowledge even small accomplishments because it was a hard year; in some ways, harder than 2020 because of the broken record-esque situation we’ve found ourselves in. But looking back, there’s a lot that I’m proud of, and recording those things here is one way to celebrate!


Physical fitness is important to me, and it’s easy to quantify accomplishments when it comes to things like miles and steps. But also, I’ve found that movement + nature is the best cocktail for maintaining and strengthening my mental health, so there is so much value beyond what can be measured.

  • Walked at least 10,000 steps every day of 2021 (I’m currently on a 377-day streak because I started before the new year)
  • Ran 602 miles
  • Hiked 104 miles over 33 hikes
  • Logged 133 strength sessions
  • Got a new primary care physician and actually had an appointment! This is a huge win because while I’ve been to specialists for various things, I hadn’t seen a PCP in about a decade.
  • Managed to avoid getting COVID, thanks to getting vaccinated in 2020 and boosted in 2021, plus wearing masks and doing my best to limit exposure.

Family & Friends

My family has also stayed healthy this year. The biggest thing in my family life is that my husband, Richie, is losing his eyesight. I’ve only blogged about it once before, but don’t let that fool you: it’s often on my mind. Especially this past year, as his vision had become noticeably worse when it comes to day-to-day tasks, which has caused some adjustments at home. Some examples:

  • He (mostly) doesn’t drive anymore
  • He can’t see text on TV, so I have to read signs and close-ups of text conversations out loud (it’s incredible how often shows and movies do that). It also means no foreign films with subtitles (we were grateful for the dubbed version of Squid Game)
  • He doesn’t run in the dark anymore, which means we don’t make it out to our run club as often as we used to
  • When we hike, he sometimes has to hold on to me for downhills because he has trouble processing the angle
  • He is terrible at cleaning things now [insert long con joke here]

If you want to learn more about what he’s going through, I highly recommend you read his blog.

The other big family news is that we welcomed another niece on Groundhog Day 2021! We managed to get to Phoenix for a quick trip before Christmas (and before Omicron) to meet her and play with our four year-old niece and it was so wonderful to see them in the flesh! FaceTime is great, but it’s nothing compared to playing dancing robots and going to ballet and ninja class.


Thanks to COVID and it being an election year, 2020’s review had a lot of accomplishments related to community and country, which made me very proud. 2021, not so much. But I do want to pat myself on the back for the work I did for Durham’s Participatory Budget process. I co-facilitated a committee of community members that reviewed, scored, and ultimately pitched grant applications from local nonprofits providing COVID relief in impactful and novel ways. Our recommendations were then put to a vote so that all citizens of Durham can have a say in how the City’s budget is allocated.

After a 14-month hiatus (with online-only events), I brought back group runs with Bull City Beer Runners in June. Group participation has been explosive since then, and more and more members are stepping up as leaders.

Personal Development

I read 17 books in 2021, including some really incredible ones. I started the year reading Dune, read Homegoing and The Midnight Library with my book club, and completely devoured Mother Trucker and Please Scream Inside Your Heart—both nonfiction, which isn’t usually my thing.

I also completed a Certificate in Human Centered Design from IDEO. I accidentally enrolled in the accelerated course, so I ended up not getting to spend as much time on my project as I would have liked, but I still found it really valuable.


I’m fortunate to feel a sense of purpose at work, so working hard is just how I roll. But, like with my health and fitness metrics above, it’s nice when efforts are quantifiable. I was thrilled to exceed all of my sales goals for the year, and I also won a peer-recognition award for my efforts in the second quarter.

I did some consulting in 2021 as well—sort of a continuation of work I had done with a client in 2020. It was nice to flex those muscles while also feeling validated in my decision to go back to work for someone else.

So, there you have it. I don’t tend to make resolutions (I prefer reverse resolutions), but felt a dearth in the friendship arena of 2021 (hmm, I wonder why), so I want to connect with my friends more in 2022.

Happy New Year, friends!

One Reply to “2021 In Review”

  1. Michele Bailey says:

    Dear Nina, while I’m privileged to get in-person (actual in-person, virtual in-person) insights into your life, I’m now pledging to read your blog regularly in 2022. Selfishly, because it will keep me closer to you, but super-selfishly, because this blog and it’s site are inspiring and make me feel good and hopeful.

    As Stephen Colbert says, “It’s a new year, and I feel pretty good about 2023.”

    In the meanwhile, may 2022 not be as horrific as it might be.

    Love always,
    Misha B

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