I often find myself feeling down as we draw to the end of each year, so to try to combat that, I write a list of the good things that have happened. I compiled the first of these lists in 2020, and have promised myself I’ll do this each year.

Dear future Hannah, here are 100 good things that happened in 2021:

  1. My Dad’s knee surgery goes ahead, and I move into his flat in Milton Keynes to help out while he recovers. The plan is for me to stay for a fortnight, but I end up staying for nearly seven weeks. We realise this is the longest time we’ve spent together since I was 5.
  2. PT sessions and various exercise classes via Zoom. Lots of stubbed toes, lots of giggles.
  3. I realise I have an Alexa “voice” and am troubled by my own behaviour.
  4. Resolving to do at least one thing that makes me feel good every day.
  5. My parents get their first vaccine doses!
  6. I am delighted by journalist Alex Godfrey’s story of the origins of the painting Martin Scorsese’s mother shows off in Goodfellas.
  7. Kirsty Hulse’s “Come the F*ck on Then!” webinar.
  8. Watching Penguins: Meet the Family (BBC) with Dad, then forcing Dad to sit through numerous other nature documentaries featuring penguins.
  9. Zoom rehearsals for the monologue I have written (The Sleep Stealers), are an absolute delight. I am blown away by the love, care, and hard work both Malita (the director), and Lucy (the actor) put into bringing the words I wrote to life.
  10. On Laura’s recommendation, I attempt to play Stardew Valley which I am terrible at, but I enjoy the distraction.
  11. Mum manages to ensure all 45 of my houseplants survive the seven weeks I’m away at Dad’s.
  12. My friend Jude sends me a painting that her son Dylan has made for me and I do a happy cry.
  13. I get to watch a performance of my monologue, The Sleep Stealers (online). I’m so grateful to the actor and director, plus the whole cast and crew of Chickenshed for making this thing happen in very difficult circumstances.
  14. Mum and I visit Kew Gardens and marvel at the Redwoods, the largest of which is 40 metres tall.  
  15. Kirsty Hulse’s six week Confidence Now program, is without a doubt the very best gift that I bought myself this year.
  16. A boozy, giggly google hangout thinger with Surena.
  17. I do a talk at an online meet-up called Drink Digital, plus a Q&A panel with Mark Johnstone, and Gisele Navarro. It was lots of fun and people said nice things.
  18. WTSFest was amazing (thank you Areej!). Across 3 days I watched six talks, from six incredible speakers, all from the comfort of my sofa. Tiffany Da Silva gifted me with a particularly glorious lightbulb moment during her talk when she encouraged us to ask ourselves: “What do you want your legacy to be?”.
  19. I become certain that freelancing is no longer tenable because no one will ever hire me again, and then I suddenly get a bunch of freelance work.
  20.  I delight in the new leaves sprouting from my excessive number of houseplants. I have to repot a few which I find tremendously satisfying, because it’s not often that you get to mess around with mud as an adult.
  21. I covid-bubble with my friend Steve which means we can see each other indoors for the first time in what feels like forever, and we drink too much gin, and we watch a film which is actually pretty terrible, and it is wonderful.
  22. Both of my parents are double-vaxxed!
  23. I create a teeny tiny story using Bananagrams tiles.
  24. Dad turns 80. I write him a story (which happily, he loves), he receives countless hilarious video messages from friends, and we spend a glorious day with our friends Dale and Wendy.
  25. After four months I am finally able to get a haircut.
  26. Giant Flying Murder Heads.
  27. I meet Jaz and we go for a lovely walk along Twickenham riverside.
  28. I celebrate my birthday with Laura via Google Meet. Unbeknownst to me, Laura has persuaded a couple of my favourite people to crash our call. Best birthday surprise ever.
  29. I have a further belated birthday celebration via Zoom, and my friends buy me a Triceratops necklace which makes me ridiculously happy.
  30. I act as a mentor in the 2021 WiTSEO mentorship program and it is a wonderful experience.
  31. I go for a walk in Bushy Park and see a kestrel and cygnets, and it is peaceful and lovely.
  32. I disappear down an X Files rabbit hole, and as a consequence X Files Club is formed. We meet fortnightly via Google Hangouts to discuss the episodes we’ve watched.
  33. I get my first Covid vaccine!
  34. I spend a bunch of time overthinking fun.
  35. My Dad and I meet our friend Diana for a long, lazy lunch at a restaurant.
  36. Isaline Muelhauser invited me to speak at her online meetup. Rather than give an industry-focused talk, she instead encouraged me to give a talk on my first love: fiction. It was an amazing experience.
  37. I start offering one-on-one coaching, and find that I really love it.
  38. I get to see Amira in-person right before she moves to Berlin. We hug, eat our body weight in tapas, and it is wonderful.
  39. My friend Sam organises a sports day for all of the women who’ve been taking part in her Zoom fitness classes. It is lovely and I get a medal for being the fastest runner.
  40. My friend Jaz introduces me to a new generation of Riot Grrrls: the Linda Lindas, and I watch their gig in the L.A. Public Library on YouTube. Their love of performing fills me with joy.
  41. I create a litter of origami critters.
  42. I learn about aphantasia, and it blows my mind.
  43. My friend Molly and I have the cinema almost to ourselves when we go to see In the Heights, the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2005 stage musical.
  44. My friends Mary and Matt celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. I wear a dress, manage not to disgrace myself in public, and have a marvellous time.
  45. I write this article for the lovely folks at BuzzStream: Remakes & Remixes: Replicating Successful Digital PR Campaigns.
  46. I meet Julia, we get the ferry boat from Twickenham to Ham, then walk along the river to Kingston. As always seems to be the case whenever we meet, the weather is glorious.
  47. I meet my friend Gary and we set the world to rights over whiskey and burgers.
  48. I get my second Covid vaccine!
  49. I attend the UK Content Awards solo (which makes me a little anxious), however I am seated with a bunch of nice people, and I have a lovely evening.
  50. My friend Nichola invites me to join her book club. YAY!
  51. I spend a delightful six hours watching Netflix’s Fear Street Trilogy back to back.
  52. I learn that there is a parasite which turns ants into Dorian Gray.
  53. I make an art.
  54. I spend an amazing evening surrounded by wonderful women at my friend Palo’s birthday drinks.
  55. I fly to Tenerife to meet my friend Laura. After close to a year we get to hangout in real life rather than on Zoom. We spend a glorious evening on a stargazing trip where we got to view various planets, stars, and deep sky objects through a fancy telescope. Jupiter is beautiful, as is Saturn (it looks exactly as you’d expect it to – glowy and gorgeous and remarkably close to those glow in the dark stick on stars that people used to stick on their ceilings in the 1980s).
  56. It is brought to my attention that 2016 was the year I reached peak Hannah.
  57. I meet up with Barnes, and drink more than is advisable for a Wednesday.
  58. I do a talk (Creative Differences) at an online conference called the Business of Content.
  59. I treat Mum to a fancy dinner at La Trompette for her birthday.
  60. I go for lunch at my friend Hayley’s and finally get to see her lovely new house in real life.
  61. I arrive for a conference in Brighton with no dinner plans (last-minute Hannah) but serendipitously bump into Hanna B in the hotel lobby. We have dinner together which is lovely, then later meet up with a few others for drinks.
  62. I give my first in-person training course in over a year and a half at BrightonSEO, and realise just how much I’ve missed doing in-person things.
  63. Whilst in Brighton, I finally get to meet my 2021 WiTSEO mentee in real life, plus a whole host of lovelies that I’ve not seen for the longest time. We do as we always do in Brighton and it is a delight.
  64. I go to see Anything Goes at the Barbican with Dad, and our friends Dale and Wendy. It is fabulous.
  65. The following day, Wendy and I spend a wonderful few hours at Gordon’s setting the world to rights.
  66. We head out for dinner to celebrate Steve’s birthday which is lovely, and all of the staff in the restaurant ask after my Mum.
  67. Mum and I rent a cottage in Sussex, take walks, eat pub lunches, and curl up in front of the log fire.
  68. I get to visit my favourite bookshop.
  69. It’s ‘“abso-f*cking-lutely” not “absolu-f*cking-tely”.
  70. I sign up to do an online writing course which is fantastic, and makes me feel excited about writing fiction again.
  71. Stupid Disney+ gets the rights to stream X Files (they were originally available on Amazon Prime) and we have to disband X Files Club. We decide to create Film Club instead, and I select Heathers as our first movie: “How very”.
  72. I get to go to my first book club meeting on Zoom and it is lovely.
  73. Mum and I go to see Matthew Bourne’s The Midnight Bell at Sadlers Wells.
  74. I finally get to see my friend Jude in-person after more than a year and a half, and my heart is happy.
  75. I go to my Dad’s a capella group’s anniversary dinner. I persuade four people on our table to sing Britney on karaoke because *reasons*. It is marvellous.
  76. After many Covid cancellations Mum and I finally get to see The Ocean at the End of the Lane in the West End.
  77. Visiting Minatur Wunderland with my friend Laura, enthusiastically pressing all the buttons and buying magic trees in the gift shop.
  78. A very fancy dinner (again with Laura) at Salt and Silver.
  79. I get to see my friend Amira and her new baby Noah, who is ridiculously cute, and sleeps soundly throughout our visit.
  80. I finally get to meet my WiTSEO mentee from 2020 in-person!
  81. Laura and I visit a bunch of Berlin bars including Rhinoceros, plus a lovely speakeasy style place (the name of which escapes me) where the cocktail menu was delightful but held little to no clue as to what you might be drinking.
  82. I reflect on a year of sending out my newsletter, Manufacturing Serendipity: here and here.
  83. Dad and I go to see Sarah Millican’s new stand-up show and get Bobby Dazzler badges.
  84. The secret squirrels convene at Hawksmoor for steak and old fashioneds and I smile so much my face hurts.
  85. A bunch of fantastic women meet to celebrate Sam’s birthday, and once again I fail at the bus convoy thing.
  86. I try out a 4-day work week.
  87. My friend Matt asks me to write a comic book for one of his side projects.
  88. Urban family Christmas lunch is aces.
  89. Dad and I go to see Megson at Kings Place.
  90. I learn that not all placebos are created equal.
  91. I do pretty much all of my Christmas shopping online, and manage to be in for all the deliveries.
  92. I get my third Covid vaccine!
  93. I meet Mum and her friend Sheila for tapas and espresso martinis.
  94. Mum and I got to see the Christmas lights at Kew Gardens.
  95. I wake up early on Christmas morning, and read B: A Year in Plagues & Pencils by Edward Carey.
  96. I am given a huge number of delightful and thoughtful Christmas presents.
  97. Getting to go to the panto with Mum, (a Christmas tradition we missed last year) is an absolute delight.
  98. Dad and I complete a jigsaw puzzle, which was incredibly tricky given it only had 100 pieces, and it is very satisfying.
  99. I create lists of the books I enjoyed the most in 2021 on Bookshop: 2021 Fiction, 2021 Non-Fiction, and 2021 Graphic Novels & Illustrated Books.
  100. To close the year, I spend 31st December binge-reading a bunch of the books I got for Christmas before heading over to Steve’s for a brown food buffet, Rapidough (which I am beyond terrible at), and Cards Against Humanity.

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