Eimear Hutchinson: Reflections and projections

As the year draws to a close, our weekly columnist Eimear Hutchinson reflects on 2020 and looks ahead to 2021
Eimear Hutchinson: Reflections and projections

ONLINE TOO OFTEN?: Eimear admits she leaned on her phone a bit too much in 2020 and will be setting boundaries in 2021. Picture: Posed by models

I have to admit I am not really one for big declarations with the onset of a new year. I do feel a bit differently this year however.

I want to frantically scribble long lists of places to visit and more things to do in 2021 in light of how 2020 turned out!

But for now, let’s assume 2021 will herald a more ordinary year. I will stick to my usual reflection and projection that I like to mull over as the year winds down.

In the rare moments of mindfulness I get in December, I try and think back over the year and reflect upon new habits formed, maybe old habits changed, or different efforts I put into things, and analyse what worked and what didn’t. 

I think for the vast majority of us, grand gestures declared in January trickle out into niggling guilts by the time February rolls around, so I like to make more subtle tweaks that tend to work and involve a lot less guilt.

I like to break down my life into sections to reflect upon, and for me the most important area to contemplate is motherhood. It is important to look back and see if there are any things I could do differently and often I ask the girls for their input on this.


I am pretty sure that this year, when I ask them, they are going to call me out on my phone usage. To be fair it is what I use for work and I was busy this year, which is fantastic, but I myself think I probably leaned a bit heavy on my phone and social media as a form of outside communication. And that’s OK, it was a weird year, many of us did what we felt we had to do to stay sane. However, I know going forward I need to set out some better ground rules so that there is a better balance.


Health is another area I always reflect upon — I think back to this time last year and I was as fit as I ever was, then I set myself a January challenge to run a half marathon every week for the month, but I ended up damaging my knee and to this day I am still hobbling on it, unable to run. Again, a strange year, as under normal circumstances I would have been straight into GP, had an MRI and gotten it fixed but this year it didn’t feel like a priority.

But next year I am setting myself two health goals — to get my knee fixed before I do more damage and also to improve my core strength. 

I have had two injuries in the last few years and the root of both was a weak core (I blame all my big babies!) so it is something I need to work on more consistently next year.


This year I started a new small business, was thrown in way over my head, and it was fantastic, but it was hectic. 

I have reflected a lot on what I learned during the experience, how to make life easier for myself going forward and finding a balance between what I can do and what is simply too much.

Next year I would like to streamline things a little more, maybe say no a little bit more, I am a real yes woman and that used to be fine, but recognising when you have enough on your plate is important too!

I am eager to continue my small business enterprise but I need to figure out a better balance between it, life and living.


I don’t think I could write an article reflecting on 2020 and not mention money — it’s been something that has been at the forefront of people’s minds this year for a variety of different reasons, some people have lost jobs and others have worked from home, saving more money than ever. On that front, it’s probably been quite a polarising year for many. For me though it has made me realise that saving is important and I did a good job of setting up some savings goals this year. Ordinarily I wouldn’t say I am good with money, so I am intent on making a better effort going forward.


I would say the most important thing if you are reflecting on 2020 is to be kind to yourself. We were all thrown into situations that we all struggled to grasp, we did what we thought was best for ourselves and those around us so don’t look back on the year with any guilt.

I didn’t excel at homeschooling but that’s OK, I wasn’t born to teach. We will look back on this year for years to come and no doubt we will always feel a mixture of emotions, but we can still learn and grow from the strangest of times and here’s to a brighter 2021.


Eimear Hutchinson writes a Parenting and Lifestyle column weekly for WoW! The mum of four small girls runs a blog. She has a doctorate in Engineering but is taking time out currently, raising her four girls. She loves DIY projects, exploring outdoors and figuring out how to make life run smoothly in a busy house.

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