Best of 2021

Best of 2021

“Despite whatever I was doing, there were still people creating, taking action and making a difference”

The other day, I was filling out some paperwork at the dentist. As I reached the end of the form, I finished with the usual – name and date. 

But there was a split second where my brain hiccupped. What year is it again? 2020? 2021?

Whether it’s my mid-20’s creeping up on me, or the pandemic haze I have been in for almost two years, there was literally a moment where I questioned what year I was in. A year I had been in for basically 12 months now. 

After getting over my minor internal-embarrassment, I started to dissect my past year. What happened in 2021 that can help me differentiate it from 2020? 

Looking back at my own experiences, not much had changed in comparison to the prior year. 2020 was exciting yet scary. I graduated from college, began my career, experienced a monumental social movement in the midst of a highly anticipated election, and survived a global pandemic while the entire state was literally on fire.  

What did 2021 have to offer? Exciting new job opportunities, some borders opening for travel, and the world seemed to settle into a new version of normal. 

Looking beyond my own life, I reminded myself that despite whatever I was doing, there were still people creating, taking action and making a difference. 

Here are a few highlights from 2021: 

1. Kamala Harris is sworn in as Vice President of the U.S. 

Whether you agree with her politics or not, Kamala Harris’ win makes a significant impact for multiple minority groups. She is the first black person, first Asian descendent and first female to be sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. According to the Pew Research Center, 4 out of 10 black Americans believe political representation will make an impact on racial equality. Having a woman of color so high in office is a step towards progress for many movements that have spent decades advancing towards equality.  


2. COVID-19 Vaccinations 

The beginning of this year was the start of the vaccination roll-out. Although some countries still lack the access and resources to get vaccinated, Americans are privileged enough to have the choice of getting vaccinated, with multiple options. By February 1st, AJMC reported that more Americans have “received at least 1 dose of a vaccine against COVID-19 than have tested positive for the virus.” Now, many Americans are already getting boosters. 

telehealth, telemedicine

3. Telemedicine growth

Ironically, with a global health pandemic, one of the hardest things to safely access is medical assistance. Whether it’s physical or mental help, maintaining good health while quarantining has been a challenge. Telemedicine is one of the great advancements that has come from the pandemic, but it still wasn’t accessible to everyone. The Commonwealth Fund reported that this year 22 states enacted new policies for insurance providers to provide more accessible telemedicine coverage. 

silhouette of woman with ipad

4. Apple releases new tablet: 10.2-inch iPad 2021

Even Android users can’t deny how versatile the iPad is. Apple’s newest generation has an increased performance with a new processor and twice as much storage space. This means no matter how many apps your family wants to download onto your tablet, you’ll still have space to run whatever software you might need for work. Insider even ranked it as one of the best tech tools to emerge this year! 

remote work

5. Remote work expands 

One of the few advantages that came out of being quarantined is remote work. Although it can be monotonous working all day in the same place you’ll most likely spend the rest of the night, remote work has increased job opportunities for those that previously lacked access and resources. Single parents can spend less on childcare, carless workers don’t have to stress about the commute, students can better balance work with school, and the list goes on. For me, I also see it as a more progressive way to produce better work. Everyone has different styles of production, and remote work provides flexibility to work at your own pace in your preferred environment. 

6. Better wages

To follow the previous highlight, workers, specifically low-income, were able to see an increase in wage and working conditions. During the beginning stages of the pandemic, low-income workers were the people most likely to lose their jobs. With businesses reopening, the job market is booming with places trying to hire enough workers to operate. Due to supply and demand, workers now have the leverage to lobby for better pay, benefits and conditions. The main downside for these workers is to teeter the line safely since they are also the most susceptible to the effects of increased cost of living. 


7. Cryptocurrency 

Although cryptocurrencies have been around for over a decade, 2021 was a breakthrough year for crypto investors with Bitcoin hitting an all-time high of $65,000 according to NerdWallet. People are racing to invest in this currency because it’s seen as the future of money. Getting in earlier projects a higher profit long-term. With low fees, little government affiliation and increased security, more and more people are opting towards cryptocurrency. And the more people that use it, the easier it becomes to access through various entities. 

8. Mental health awareness: #FreeBritney

For the past 12 years, Britney Spears has been under a conservatorship following mental distress back in 2008. Although the details of her full arrangement is private, it has been reported that she lacks autonomy over actions ranging from her finances to simply leaving the house on her own. After years of taking unwanted medication, performing without choice, and having no control over her own life, Spears won her case to end her conservatorship. This freedom largely came from her following and their ability to advocate in favor of Spears’ mental health on her behalf.

Although the people in our society, both as individuals and as a whole, have faced diverse highs and lows throughout this year, 2021 was big for many people. Looking back now, I might not have had huge life-changing events throughout the year, but there was still progress and change. 

A lot of my own progress came from having a mental shift. My job is to see an issue from multiple perspectives and then use that insight to develop a solution. Working on something like Theralyitcs where we rely equally on the experiences of therapists and patients, two things I currently am not, I have had to expand my knowledge to better understand their needs from their own perspectives. 

2021 has been a good year in the way it’s taught me how I want to spend the next. Going into 2022, I am committing to better understanding and connecting with ideas outside of my own. I want to live intentionally, present in the moment. 

Let us know in the comments your favorite 2021 moments and what you hope for in the year to come!

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