2022 Retrospective and 2023 Goals
Alright, it's retrospective time. 2022 was a pretty good year, with the biggest change being that we moved house. I love where we ended up and even though we haven't even been here a whole year yet, I feel like I've been here forever. I'm in a more walkable area with a nearby park, coffee, restaurants, and shops. Moving and settling back in was probably my biggest achievement of the year.
What I said I wanted to do in 2022
- Have an impact: I wanted to be more consistent in my endeavors and be better at sharing what I'm doing
Overall I haven't hit that goal this year. I wasn't great at being consistent with my writing, ceramics, or gardening, and I wasn't good at sharing the work I was doing either. But, that's not to say I did nothing!
What went well
I spent a lot of this year feeling disappointed in my choices in how I spent my time, not feeling like "enough", and wishing I was doing "more". There was a vagueness to all of it, but it boiled down to me feeling like I had a lot of options in front of me but no conviction or interest in pursuing any one of them. I felt like I was running on a hamster wheel, constantly moving but getting nowhere. And that can lead to burnout if you don't address it.
I was fortunate enough to hire a coach to help me set more concrete goals and be more accountable with how I spend my time.
One of the best things I started doing every day was this journal entry:
One small win: something I did today that I'm proud I completed
Something I enjoyed: something I did or experienced that made me happy
What I'm looking forward to tomorrow: something I'm excited to do in the coming day
Doing this entry every night has changed my outlook completely. My mental default, or mental habits, tend to be quite negative. But doing this every day has made my brain search for ways to fill out that list. That's not to say that some days aren't hard, but it reframes how I look at the day so it's more positive.
Getting my health back
After I got sick in 2020 with Covid, my symptoms were consistent and fairly intense until the end of that year. In 2021 my symptoms would come and go seemingly at random. I had heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, breathing issues, and intermittent digestive problems. If I made the mistake of getting too tired or eating something that didn't agree with me, it was an immediate domino effect. First I would be so tired I could hardly move, then my heart would start to race, then I would have trouble breathing. I've experience panic attacks before and this was something very different. I went to several doctors, all of which told me I was "just anxious" or "needed to calm down".
At the beginning of 2022 I decided this was just what my body did now. I couldn't control it, and I couldn't figure out why it was happening, but I could learn to manage it. I found a trainer and a gym to get back in shape. That trainer suggested I see a naturopath for a blood draw and health check. I figured there was no harm in doing that, although I doubted they would be able to help me.
Instead, that doctor found I was severely depleted in a lot of essential vitamins and minerals. I started taking supplements and my heart palpitations went away. My fatigue went away. My breathing and stomach issues went away. And once I started taking Vitamin D, even my anxiety went away.
Until 2022 I didn't know what it felt like to have a quiet mind. My therapy was helping with this, and I was lucky enough that the Vitamin D was the final piece I needed to finally make me calm.
Continuing to do what brings me joy
Although I don't feel that I was consistent as I would have liked, this marks the second full year that I continued my main hobbies that I really enjoy.
I made ceramics. I grew a vegetable garden, made my yard a haven for backyard birds, and got closer to nature. I wrote for my newsletter. I volunteered with 350 PDX.
Unlike other years, instead of flitting from one hobby to no hobby to a new hobby, I've found what I enjoy and am doing deeper learning in those areas.
The Child, the Witch, and the Artist
During my coaching, we did something called "Parts" work. You identify parts of yourself that play a large role in how you interact with the world. You name them, and try to understand what that part of you is trying to accomplish in your life.
For example, there are parts of me that I find really frustrating, but are trying to protect me in some way.
Alternatively, there are a few parts I realized I want to lean into more: the Child, the Witch, and the Artist. The Child is the playful and fun side of myself who does things just for joy. The Witch is the part of myself that is connected to and grows through nature. The Artist is the part of me that is curious and creative.
Identifying and naming these different parts of myself are helpful for check-ins. Am I doing things that help feed these parts that I want to grow? Am I neglecting that work? Does focusing on these parts help me feel more fulfilled, or should I focus somewhere else?
What could have gone better
I do wish I'd been more consistent and shared more of my work this year. Creation is something I really like, but for me to feel joy doing it, I need to share it in some way. Even if no one sees it, I need to know I've shared it. Creating something and then letting it sit, without a life of its own, makes me very sad.
My goal for 2023 is short, but not simple. I want to allow myself the grace to find joy.
I've always been hard on myself, and very judgmental. I realized this year that with my current mindset there's no way I can ever be consistent enough or share enough or BE enough. Because no matter what I do I'll always think that I should've done more or could've done more. That I should BE more. It's exhausting, and it's not getting me anywhere.
So this year, I want to learn to give myself grace. That means creating space and focusing on things that bring out the parts of myself I want to grow. And in doing that, I think the consistency will follow. And hopefully, I'll be able to take a step back and feel like even if I can do more, that today I've done enough.