Over the past 4 years Spotify, a music streaming app, has featured “Spotify Wrapped—A Year in Review.” In December Spotify compiles the data of what you listened to on the app over the past year and produces a chart of your most played songs, favorite artists, and what genre of music you often frequent. I recently had the thought that we could benefit from conducting a year in review for ourselves—not just for our music taste but for our whole selves—our experiences, our emotions, and our relationships over the past year.
I took time to reflect and wrote out a variety of questions to review my experience of this year. I found that taking time to remember and reflect on this year oriented me to what has been and what has come to be in a time that feels very disorienting.
We are often inclined toward making resolutions at the end of the year. Resolutions can be exciting and hopeful. They also can be a band-aid over the hole of what we don’t have or feel like we’re missing. What if this year we embraced reflection before making resolutions? What if we acknowledged and named our experiences before we tried to change them? What if we took time to mourn the losses of this year and allow ourselves to tell the story of the loss before trying to fill it up with something else? This type of story-telling reflection can be well utilized in therapy, in fact, there is a whole style of therapy called “narrative therapy.”
Below are the questions I wrote out to spark reflection and story-telling about this year. These questions can be answered on your own, with a trusted person, or with your therapist.
What was I expecting to happen in 2020 this time last year?
How did that go?
What was lost?
What was gained?
What words would I use to describe my personal experience this year?
How did my experience of work, school, or caregiving change this year?
What was the last “normal” event or experience I had pre-pandemic?
Who did I meet or grow closer to this year?
Who did I lose or drift away from this year?
What music or media was a companion to me this year?
What books did I read, or what books did I start and not finish?
How did my relationship to my faith change?
What has been my experience of the holidays this year?
What stories would I tell a young person about me from this year?
The answers to these questions tell a story—your story. In reviewing your answers to these questions, it is my hope that you can create space for yourself to tell the story of this year and how you managed to get through it.
About the Author: Merry Baronas, M.S.W., LSW