A friend asked me to describe 2021 in one word. I immediately said 'challenging' and really wished I thought about this more since I then wanted to say 'interesting' and 'rewarding'.
Last year was challenging for many — some more than others. The reason I said challenging was due to serious health issues as I had emergency surgery to remove a ruptured appendix. Not only was this unexpected but it was incredibly painful and life threatening. And with a long recovery, it threw me out of whatever cadence I had at the time.
Today, I feel fine and am training for a half marathon. The staff at Whanganui Hospital were amazing and I can't thank them enough for the care I received. Even the follow-up phone calls from the surgeon were most welcome.
2021 provided many interesting moments as we explored the East Cape early in the new year and it was then when we are away from our usual daily patterns that magic occurred.
With limited use of technology, we took the time to search for shooting stars, enjoyed long walks in the bush and on beaches, and caught up with long lost friends.
Interesting too as I studied for the first time in several years. The last time I studied it was in-person at Te Wananga o Aotearoa. I miss the camaraderie, learning, various teaching styles and feelings of sometimes wonder and other times sadness in gaining a deeper appreciation for the Māori worldview through te reo and tikanga.
The study last year was different as it was all virtual and I gained my APR which is a global benchmark and accreditation in public relations, which is my chosen profession. I want to remain current and relevant and understand that what I am recommending to my clients adds value, is ethical, strategic and works.
Learning more about the strategies and tactics we do every day was interesting as it made me think. I thought about how I work and who I work with. I reflected on the award-winning work I have done and the challenges I have encountered. It was good to review processes and learn new tools to plan what 2022 may look like.
2021 was rewarding as I experienced facilitating one of the best meetings of my life, moved to a deer farm, started planning our wedding and celebrated 30 years of living in New Zealand. These milestones as well as staying in touch with friends and family here and overseas, trying to stay current with local news and organising Small Talks have provided meaning and times to be grateful.
What will 2022 bring? Hopefully, safe international travel among other things. We will, hopefully, have a new mayor since I feel the current one has been absent and has not been the champion we need to succeed. Our last election saw an unopposed mayor get back in and I do not believe that demonstrates democracy.
What is the one word you want 2022 to be? Vaccinated? Joyful? Supportive? Courageous? Different? Whatever 2022 holds, I wish that we remain healthy, happy, and safe.
I am grateful that I have the chance to write an occasional column in Midweek and only wish to submit thoughtful pieces.
In my last column, I wrote about what I believe the biggest crisis of our time is — and that is ignorance. I want to thank my brother, BJ Cunningham PhD, for giving me this idea. I also wish to thank several friends who have added their thoughts to this piece by suggesting that ignorance is arrogant and uneducated.
It's great to hear what you think about my column, please get in touch — firstname.lastname@example.org.