21 Things I Learned in 2021

Have you missed me? I haven’t posted for over a year, but don’t get excited–I’m not planning on making this a consistent thing. My friend Mairin, founder of Solivagant Legal, wrote this blog post about 28 things she learned in 2021. That inspired me to write my own post, but I’m only going to do 21 things because, well, I’m not as wise as Mairin!

Some of the things I learned last year were more general, while others were more life lessons for me. You might read some of them and think “Really, Allison? You didn’t know that?!?!,” but give me break. I might find it absurd that you don’t know DMX’s Christian name or have no idea what tightlining is, so let’s just agree that we all have our own areas of expertise.

Ready, boo?

  1. When you rent, your landlord can turn your world upside down with little notice. Of course I knew theoretically that there’s no guarantee that a renter doesn’t always get the option to renew an apartment or business location, but I’d never experienced that until 2021. I’d always been the one to initiate the breakup, you know? Last summer, I ended up in this situation with both my apartment and my business location after the company I was renting my office from was bought out. and my landlord put my apartment building on the market. It was a trying time for me–and part of the reason I signed a two year lease for my new office space–and now I’m a little skittish. Sure, I’m decorating my new apartment and I really love it, but I’m not buying any big pieces of furniture, and I saved all my moving boxes. I’ve got my guard up!
  2. It’s easy for a family to become obsessed with a new family member. My niece was born during deep COVID in 2020 and even though we were instantly in love with her, we understandably didn’t get to see her a ton in the early-ish pandemic days. 2021 gave us many more opportunities to see her perfect little face, which made my parents and I so happy. When my parents first started babysitting her, I’d drive an hour and a half to be part of the new Babysitters’ Club, and if I couldn’t make it, I’d call my mom after to ask her to recap. I wanted to know every new sound and move our little queen made, and I’d get lots of pictures and videos that I could look at/watch a million times. My parents were and still are the same way. We love this little girl so so so much.
  3. Decaf coffee contains caffeine. I might have known this before 2021, but it didn’t affect me until this year, so I’ll taking it as a lesson. I have a rare vestibular disorder and my vestibular attacks are triggered by several things, including caffeine. I’d been drinking decaf coffee since late 2018 when I realized caffeine was a culprit, but decaf didn’t bother me. This year though, I could feel the caffeine and my health was suffering because of it, so I had to cut out decaf. That was a sad day, but I’ve recently found a replacement which–don’t worry–I’ll tell you about soon.
  4. Hot water opens stuck jar and bottle lids. Okay, okay–I might have heard this one before too. God knows my mother has been telling me for long enough! But I’ve actually listened lately and have successfully opened two items that I thought would be sealed forever. Thanks, Mom!
  5. I can have a totally different relationship with someone over text than in person. Can we all agree that texting is not an ideal form of communication? Tone, responsiveness and length of a reply can all make a conversation (or lack thereof) seem totally different than intended. A “K” or thumbs up can seem rude, which may not have been someone’s intent. A crazy late response can make it seem like the recipient doesn’t care about what you texted. And when someone leaves you on “read” when you expected a response? That will make a girl like me livid. When text mishaps repeatedly happen with the same person, especially when they’re someone I don’t see in IRL often, they feed into how I view my relationship with them. Then I see them and realize it’s not at all like that! In the future, I’m going to try to avoid concocting a negative story based around a flawed communication medium. How’s that for a New Year’s resolution?
  6. The Law of Attraction requires thoughts and feelings to work. I’m no stranger to manifestation and the Law of Attraction, but I hadn’t thought too much about it in recent years. I got back into it this fall and learned something new (or maybe something I’d forgotten along the way). The Law of Attraction doesn’t just require you to think positively and visualize the things/future you want if you want it to work. It requires you to feel good too. From what I understand, everything is made of energy and things vibrate at different frequencies. If you want good things to manifest for you, you need to get on that feel-good frequency to attract them. It’s certainly easier said than done, at least in my experience, but it makes sense to me that feeling is as important as thinking. I’ve been putting a lot of effort into focusing on the things that make me feel happy so I can tune into that feel-good frequency and I have noticed a difference.
  7. You should always check your credit card for cashback rewards. I’m big on credit card miles. I haven’t paid full price for a flight in a longggggg time. But I’m guilty of neglecting to check my credit cards to see what that current cashback rewards are available too. In 2021, I learned to start doing that more often and it’s helped. Who doesn’t love a little cash back?
  8. Moving to a new, non-bordering state is a bitch. My snowbird move each year was never a walk in the park, but it was usually more annoying than difficult. Moving full-time to a whole new state though? Different ballgame. I was lucky enough to have a lot of help from friends and family with booking a moving company, physically moving items out of my apartment, meeting my movers at my new apartment when I couldn’t be there, and everything in between. And even then, it was time-consuming, expensive and stressful. I’m still in the settling in process in my new apartment and am eager to cross all the new resident stuff off my list, but this phase is much easier than the move itself. I’m so glad that part is over.
  9. Ignoring the news and social media is a gamechanger. Getting off social media wasn’t something I thought about until one day when I said to myself, Enough!. The catalyst was the amount of COVID-related articles and posts, because at this point, I just don’t want to think about the pandemic any more than I already do. I was also sick of the negativity, divisiveness and obsession with celebrities in our society and realized I didn’t need to subject myself to it. I haven’t had a television for almost 20 years and I don’t get any newspapers. If I could figure out how to make the new alerts on my laptop toolbar and my phone stop popping up, I would! My goal is not to truly understand the “ignorance is bliss” way of life, but to stop giving my attention to things that don’t make me feel good (see Lesson #6) or don’t have any value to me (Pete Davidson is hilarious, but I don’t care who he’s dating). I still do business Facebook and Instagram posts but I haven’t looked at anything besides the first post in my personal Facebook feed (because I see it when I go to check messages) since before Christmas. I’ve scrolled a little on my Instagram–which is a business account–and watched a handful of stories, but Insta was never really my thing. I have to keep a personal Facebook account to run my business pages, and I wouldn’t delete any business FB or Insta accounts, but I’m good with keeping things as is. When it comes to news, maybe my head is in the sand a little, but that’s great for exfoliation.
  10. Salt candles will sweat in humid climates. Of course it makes sense, but I’ve had the same Himalayan pink salt candle for years, often in top floor apartments that felt like hell’s kitchen during the summer months, and it never started sweating until I brought it to Charleston! It’s been under 60 degrees for days, and the damn thing is still molting its salt skin.
  11. To flatten out turned up ends of an area rug, roll it in the opposite direction. My father taught me this during this fall’s move into a new AB Beauty location. It really works!
  12. Trentinoin can be topped with petroleum jelly to make a souped up eye cream. I heard about this in a few YouTube videos from estheticians and dermatologists, and I ran it by my own derm last month. She gave me the okay, so I’ve been applying a thin layer of Vaseline over my undereye Trentinoin. I’m surprised I can even use Trentinoin under my eyes, as a lot of people find that too irritating and I’m historically a sensitive little entrepreneur, but I’ve never had an issue with it. The idea behind this layered eye cream is that because petroleum jelly is an occlusive, meaning it basically locks in what’s beneath it, it helps the Trentinoin absorb better. This isn’t a good option for people prone to milia, those with sensitive eyes or anyone who’s just started on Trentinoin, but may otherwise be a great eye cream alternative. If you have questions, feel free to comment and I’ll try to help.
  13. Golden Milk is a good alternative to coffee and tea. I like warm drinks, but as mentioned, I can’t have even decaf coffee. Hot chocolate is also out, due to the caffeine, as are caffeinated teas. Un-caffeinated teas make me crazy nauseous, so also not an option. For the longest time, the only other warm drink I could think of was hot apple cider. I like it enough to drink it once in a great while, but not as an every day thing. I did some research and discovered Golden Milk, which you can make with several different ingredients, as long as it includes the golden-hue providing turmeric. I use turmeric, cinnamon, a dash of black pepper and agave nectar. It tastes great and supposedly has some good health benefits, so I’m happy to have found it.
  14. Scripting works. I went down a rabbit hole of manifestation videos on YouTube last fall and came across a few on scripting. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s right up my alley. Scripting is when you write a letter/email from your future self to whoever you’d like, but you don’t actually send it. In this email, you write from whatever point in the near future you want, and you talk about something you presently don’t have but want. Vying for a promotion at work? Write (but don’t send) an email to your sister as if you’d been given that promotion, and how happy you are about it. Ready to meet your dream guy or gal? Write (but don’t send) an email to your best friend about how you met your partner and how great it feels to be with them. You get the point. There are various recommendations about how often you should read the email, but most say you should stop after a month, as you need to cross over from asking for what you want (which is what you’re doing via the email) and being in the accepting mode. I scripted the new apartment I wanted, read it daily for about a month then pretty much forgot about it. I went and read it again recently–after I found my apartment–and I shit you not, so much of it “came true.” I’d completely forgotten about the details I’d scripted and when I looked back, I couldn’t believe how many were exactly what I had scripted! I’ve tried this again for some other areas of my life and I look forward to seeing how the scripting magic works for those.
  15. Being quad dominant is a thing. I have naturally muscular legs, which I haven’t always loved on my petite frame, but you can’t fight genetics, baby. I lost some weight this year and didn’t like that my best ASS-et was looking smaller, so I started doing a lot of lunges and squats. Unfortunately all that did was make my already big quads look huge. I did some (panicked) research and realized I was what they call “quad dominant.” I found some glutes exercises that don’t build the quad muscles and they’ve been making a difference. Once I stopped the squats and lunges, my quads thankfully went back to a size that looks more proportionate on me. Phew!
  16. Most people aren’t going to live up to my expectations (professionally). Sounds harsh, but hear me out. I’m not referring to anyone who works for me. I’m talking about the people I’ve hired or gone to in the past for personal things, like cleaning services, medical appointments, property management, etc. It’s not that I think I could do everyone’s job better, but in my opinion–I’m sorry, in my experience–it’s not difficult to answer a direct question in an email, be prepared, or show up on time for a job. I came up with something I call the Barbera Principle, and it is this–70% of people are bad at their jobs. Go ahead and try to change my mind.
  17. Packing paper trumps bubble wrap. My friend Carol, who could really be a moving consultant, told me this during my recent move. I’d always been a bubble wrap kind of gal, but Carol said packing paper was the way to go. And right she was! My stuff was moved from my RI apartment into a UHaul, unloaded and moved into a trailer which was driven to SC, unloaded in SC and loaded into a moving truck, then brought into my new apartment–and nothing broke! Carol is a smart woman.
  18. I’m old because I wear a side part and skinny jeans. I’ve never been into trends, and a bunch of people born between 1997 – 2012 are not about to change my mind. You think I’m going to do a middle part with this bone structure? Get the hell outta here! And bootleg jeans? Already did those in the 90s, honey. I’m a staunch believer in wearing things in a way that flatters you personally, not what’s en vogue. So I’ll continue to do what I want, as per usual 😉
  19. This technique to make downturned lips look better. Lisa Eldridge is a genius. I’ve been doing makeup for almost 14 years and I wasn’t aware of this technique until 2021. It makes total sense!
  20. A handheld lemon squeezer is really the way to go. A temporary character in my 2021 world gave me flak for using bottled lime juice in my tequila, and he was right. Fresh lime juice, courtesy of one of those handy dandy squeezers, is much better. If only fresh fruit juice could heal Peter Pan Syndrome, that temporary character could have been more permanent…
  21. I love being around people. I’ve long considered myself an ambivert, meaning I equally enjoy alone time and being around others. I don’t know if it was the decrease of socialization due to COVID or the years of working alone that caught up with me, but last year, I realized I’m definitely happier around people. Even having a conversation with a nice grocery store cashier instantly gives me an energy boost. This recent discovery works well with my 2022 goal of having more fun.

I know there are so many things I’ve already learned and forgotten, but I’m happy with this list. 2021 had its chaos, sadness and rough days for me, but there are always lessons to be learned.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

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