2022 was the year of change for me. From exciting, and adventurous to anxious and uncertain. It was a time when I learned to live with a newfound sense of patience, and also gained an appreciation for the importance of keeping my goals realistic. Or at least tried to.
I’ve been journalling about my new year’s visions and values for three years now in my journal and along with that comes the customary yearly reflection. Reflecting helps me remind myself that although 2022 was an exciting time filled with adventure and anticipation, it was also a time when I made mistakes, learned from them, and grew as an individual.
This year I decided to type out those scribbles and share it in this blog with you. So let’s jump right in.
The past year has been an exciting and transformative one. I’ve always been interested in mental health, but this year, I really made an effort to focus on my well-being.
I set one goal for myself: to achieve the best version of mental health possible and meditate daily. Although I didn’t stick to my streak (the highest streak was 21 days), I did feel significant improvement in my mindfulness. I felt more aware of my mind and thoughts, and that alone made me feel so much more in control and happier. Another thing that’s changed is how I see life—for better or worse! I discovered stoicism as a philosophy, which changed how I see the world around me.
I read “On the Shortness of Life” by Seneca and found it incredible. I also started reading “Guide to Good Life”, a book by William B. Irvine, one of my favourite authors on this topic.
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the term “New Year’s resolution,” but I am here to tell you that it’s a lot like a gym membership.
It’s something you’re supposed to do, but you never actually do it. It’s something that makes your life better, but you don’t believe it will. And when it comes down to it, it’s just another thing in your list of things to do—and we all know how good we are at checking off those boxes!
But this year was different. This year, I finally decided enough was enough: it was time to make some changes in my life and start taking care of myself—and that meant joining a gym.
I took a gym membership, and I started with a reasonable goal of burning 10 kilos. I hit 8 kilos… not a success. But it was fun, and I learned a lot about fitness.
For one thing, it makes me feel good—like a secret agent or something. It makes me feel like I’m doing something important for myself, something that will make me stronger in ways that matter more than just my physical appearance. And those are the important things: feeling good about yourself, feeling capable of doing things you didn’t think you could do before (or at least trying them), and doing those things with other people who are also trying new things!
I failed my language learning goals.
And I’m okay with it.
I mean, I’m not going to lie and say that it didn’t sting a little bit to lose my streak on Duolingo after I’d worked so hard to build it up, but in the end, it’s just a number on a screen. And that’s not even the whole story.
The real reason why I’m failing this resolution is that Berlin is so culturally diverse that I can get by with just English—and that means I’m not motivated to learn German.
So what do we do now? Do we throw in the towel and say “oh well” and move on? Of course not! If anything, this experience has taught me that even if you don’t follow through with your resolution, it doesn’t mean your life is over or that you’re a failure. It just means you’re human. And sometimes being human means failing at things—but that doesn’t mean those things aren’t worth trying again (2023, I’m looking at you)!
I’m going to start by saying something I don’t think I’ve said before: in 2022, I went on more dates than in any other year of my life.
And it’s not like I’m super-social or anything—I’m not even sure that’s accurate. But when you’re single, sometimes you just want to meet someone new and see where things go. And when you’re single and pursuing your career in a relatively new city and Country, sometimes your social life is kind of limited to the late evenings after work or the weekends. And if you have other hobbies like me, you’re up for luck.
So this year, to get over my dating woes and meet more people (and hopefully find “the one”), I forced myself to get out of the house and my comfort zone, more often than I wanted. And guess what? It was much easier than I expected. I found it fun and exciting to meet new people, and after doing this for just over a few months, I’ve gone on more dates than in any other year of my life.
So yeah. This year was pretty great for dating (and also learning about myself). And that’s what this blog post is about: how learning about myself through all these experiences gave me some insight into the kind of person I am—and what kind of person I want to be with for the rest of my life.
Travelling to new countries has been one of my favourite parts of the past year. I’ve been to Hungary, Lithuania, and a few other cities in Germany so far.
I visited Lithuania for work, and it was such an incredible experience. The country itself is beautiful—the people are so friendly, the food is delicious (and cheap!), and there’s a lot of history to explore.
The best part was that I got to meet some amazing colleagues while I was there—who showed us around Vilnius, the capital and took us on some really cool city tours in Kaunus. I learnt, just like the Germans, Lithuanians also like to drink beer with their meals (and sometimes without), and you can buy vodka flavoured with anything from chocolate to potato to Cranberry.
Hungary was my second country this year where I vacationed with an old colleague turned friend, back from my time in India. It was so great getting to see him again and explore the city of Budapest together! We had a great time exploring all kinds of beer cafes, caves, warm baths, restaurants and ruin bars… basically everything!
I’ve always loved making videos, but I never felt like I could make anything worthwhile. I was always afraid someone would watch one of my videos and not like it, and then what? Would they think I’m a failure? Would they judge me? What if they’re right?
I kept telling myself that there was so much content out there already—why should anyone watch my videos? It didn’t matter what kind of content they were. There was too much competition, and no one would care about what I had to say.
But then something changed. I realized that if only one person watches one of my videos and finds it useful, then it’s worth it for me to keep going. So now, instead of worrying about whether anyone will watch my videos or not — and whether or not they’ll like them — I’ve decided to just focus on getting them out there into the world. And so far, it’s working!
I let go of my concerns about what content would work best and publish something I’m already comfortable with, programming.
I bought a cheap light off Ebay so that people wouldn’t see me as squinting into the camera, and started recording videos on my cellphone. I also started learning some video editing basics, and after a few months now, I have 60+ subscribers and five videos on my channel.
That’s a huge improvement from zero!
Here’s where I encourage you to check out my YouTube channel. If you like the blog, chances are good that you’ll enjoy watching me talk about tech and build fun things together!
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It’s been a crazy year, but I’m ready to move on to the next. The big question is: what will this new year bring? Well, I think I know the answer.
We’ll start with some good news: it’ll be a clean slate! No more looking back at all of the amazing things we did in 2022—we’re just going to be looking ahead to what’s next. And what’s next is a whole bunch of exciting new things!
I learned a lot this year, but the most important thing I took away is that you don’t need to wait for a new year to make a change. You can start planning your goals quarterly and then retrospect on your progress every quarter or month, just like you would for any important goals at your office. This will help keep you accountable and motivated through the hard parts of the setting, reaching, and surpassing goals.
I’m looking forward to 2023 with a smile on my face because I know what my priorities are now: family first, friends second, and me third. And if that means I have to put myself last sometimes (which I do), then so be it!