It is the last day of the 2021! Another year has come and gone and what a joy it is to still be here! To be alive is a blessing and regardless of what happened or didn’t happen this year, I hope you take a few minutes to revel in this fact – You are here!
As I have done in the last two years, this is a round up post where I share a few highlights of the outgoing year.
This section about books is intended to serve two purposes – first as a round up of the books I read in 2021 incase you need some book inspiration, and second, as a love letter and reminder to my book club community, that comprises of 7 people I have come to love fiercely of our 2021 journey. As a group, we set out to read and discuss 12 books in the year i.e. one book every month but ended up at 11 this year as we decided to take a break in December. Below is a round up of the books we read this year:
- Atomic Habits by James Clear – I really think everyone should read this book at least once every year; it is such a great practical book about building habits that lead to big changes. I wrote a blogpost here about the book and I encourage you to take a read if you’ve never read the book. I’m definitely rereading it at the start of the new year.
- Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi – This is a beautifully written fiction book that tells a story around subjects like depression, mental health, religion and science. I wrote a blogpost here about the subject of addiction.
- Deep Work by Cal Newport – This is also one of those books that should be read over and over. As I write this blogpost, I have a made a note to read it again this year. I wrote a blogpost here with a summary of the book. It is such a great self-help book and I recommend you to read the book/blogpost for tips on how to create high value work as you start the new year.
- The Secret Life of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin – This is the most hilarious book I have ever read. It explores themes around polygamy, rivalry, sexuality in a Nigerian home. It was such an entertaining book and made for great discussion.
- Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes – I am a huge fan of Shonda Rhimes and was very excited to read her book, however, I think we read this book at a time when many of us were experiencing some mid-year fatigue so the engagement was pretty low. Overall it was decent book that gave some insight into Shonda’s personal life and her decision to say Yes for a whole year to things she would have normally said no to. Looking for some inspiration to try new things? this could be a good read for you.
- It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover – This is such an emotional, beautifully written and thought provoking book that touches on love and the devastating effects of domestic violence. Writing this takes me back to the day we discussed this book in our book club meeting and the honest conversations we had. Great book!
- Followers by Megan Angelo – I have a huge smile on my face remembering this book because it was so out of my comfort zone; which is the beauty of a book club by the way, as you get to read books that you’ll naturally not read. In this book, Megan Angelo looks at the hazards of our hyper-connected world, our dependence on social media and the addictive nature of fame. The book contains some interesting concepts.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I have always had this book on my list of books to read since I listened to Paulo Coelho on an episode of Oprah’s super soul conversations. The Alchemist tells the mystical story of a shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest led him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. The story aims to teach about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
- An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – This book made me feel so many things; as a group, we all had interesting reactions reading this book. It was such a sad, painful book – I had a lump in my throat every chapter and had to take pauses in between. Many times during the course of the book, I wished I could punch the writer (hahaha), that’s how stressful the book was. It really was an emotional book and the writer did such an amazing job taking you through all the emotions as you read the book, the writing is soooo good, it almost feels like you are watching the story happen. We all couldn’t wait to discuss the book – it was that good. It is a well written story of tragedy, love and despair. I 100% recommend.
- In Five Years by Rebecca Serle – This was also a really good fiction book that tells the story of a woman who spent one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again. It tells the story about the power of loyalty, friendship, and the unpredictable nature of destiny.
- The Judge’s List by John Grisham – I didn’t get into the book as much as I wanted to as I’m not a huge fan of mystery/thriller stories; that said, John Grisham is such an excellent writer and it was a well told story. The book tells the story into the investigation of a Judge who was suspected to be a serial killer.
There you have it …. the eleven books from my book club this year. I hope you found one to add to your reading list in 2022. Big shout out to my book club family for such an amazing year, looking forward to another great year of reading in 2022!
FEW THOUGHTS/QUOTES FROM 2021
- One of the key things I learnt this year was the power of conversations. It is interesting how when you open your mind to conversations with people, you realize how alike we all are. How we all (mostly) have the same fears, desires and aspirations, even though they manifest differently. For me, this has opened up my heart to a level of compassion I didn’t imagine possible – it has taught me to stay kind and empathetic; to sometimes see beyond the words that people say and understand the depth of their intention….
- “I come as one, but I stand as ten thousand” – Maya Angelou – such a powerful quote that took on a personal meaning for me this year. It speaks to the importance of people and the strength of relationships. I wrote a few weeks ago about the gift of people here – this quote summarizes it for me. This new year, I hope you have people in your life to lift you up when you need it.
- Nothing happens to you, it happens for you – Read that again
- “Happiness is a journey, not a destination; happiness is to be found along the way not at the end of the road, for then the journey is over and it’s too late. The time for happiness is today not tomorrow.” ~ Paul H Dunn
- “It begins and ends with you”
My general perception going into 2022 is to ‘design a life that I love‘ and I am looking forward to taking bold choices that enable me do that. If I want one word to describe 2022, it would be Intentional. I am committing to living each day with intention and being deliberate about creating experiences that fuel my joy. This year I want to live and love more loudly. I want to experience love in all dimensions… I want people that I love to experience the love I have for them – not just imagine it, but feel it.
I was looking through my notes and I found a few affirmations I had penned down earlier in the year and I thought to share. Affirmations are statements that can stand as everyday reminders as we go through life. Below are a few of my favorite affirmations:
- I am worthy of what I desire
- I am standing for myself within myself
- I am standing for my highest and greatest good
- No matter what happens, I will not lose
- Nothing happens to me, it happens for me
If affirmations are your thing, you can take a few minutes daily to remind yourself of any of these statements that resonate with you, feel free to personalize them as you see fit.
MY WISH FOR YOU IN THE NEW YEAR
Wrapping this post up with my wish for you in the new year:
- I wish you a year filled with all of the joy you desire
- I pray you see yourself daily the way God sees you – whole, perfect, beautiful and worthy
- I pray the desires of your heart comes to pass and you experience peace that surpasses human understanding
- I hope you dare to dream daily and you have the will to go after your dreams
Wishing you a beautiful 2022!