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What 2022 Taught Me?

Looking back at 2022, one of the first things I notice is that I had barely written at all. I wanted to. I tried. But my mind would always go blank before I could make a coherent thought. Was it because my mind was so busy elsewhere?

Let’s have a look

When I think of the year behind me, I have to say it was a year of extremes. I have had some incredible, unbelievable moments, but also some horribly dark and depressing moments. Overall, you could say it was pretty ok, although there were barely ok moments.

The year started with a pinched nerve in my neck AND covid – not the best combo. It continued with a few months of extremely shitty weather and a major storm that hit Amsterdam. Starting in March, the first rays of sunshine appeared, and with them a significant improvement in my mood. I discovered Crossfit, which also brought a significant amount of joy. Overall, spring was full of training and short weekend getaways.

At the beginning of summer, I was the fittest I had ever been. Summer was a long, warm one; probably the best summer since high school. It was a summer of reconnecting with old friends, meeting new ones, and just letting myself go and enjoying myself. In September things slowed down a bit, and I focused on work a lot. The entire autumn was quite work-focused. And before I knew it, December came. It was filled with family time and a lot of warm, fuzzy moments with my niece.

Through all of that, what are some lessons I have learned?

For starters, I think that for the first time in my life I am truly happy with who I am and how I am. I’ve had people straight up telling me: “You seem really happy with your life”. Many things feel just right and I am working hard on fixing the ones that do not yet.

Coming from this secure place of mind, I’ve started dating because I enjoy the company of the men that I am seeing. I know it may seem obvious that that’s how it is supposed to be, but it wasn’t always the case. After my breakup, I felt the pressure to date, because “everyone was doing it”, or “my ex has moved on, so should I”. But I wasn’t ready. Encounters with men would often leave me drained and anxious, perpetuating this bad state of mind that there is something inherently wrong with me.

Once I stopped focusing on what others think and started re-focusing on how I feel, I had some of the best moments. I met men in the most unexpected of places or in the most ridiculous of situations. None of these interactions turned into something more serious; perhaps they weren’t the right men, or perhaps I was not ready for it yet. But in either case, I’ve learned that dating doesn’t have to be stressful and is definitely not a reflection of my self-worth.

Everybody hurts

Another thing I’ve become more aware of this year is that everyone struggles. All of my friends regardless of how perfect their lives may seem, struggle. Problems with kids, painful breakups, layoffs, health issues – everyone has their own demons, something keeping them up at night. In a nutshell, isn’t that what being an adult is all about? Learning to balance these shitty things, so they don’t spoil the good ones? In these struggles, we sometimes forget to show compassion to those around us or we ourselves don’t receive enough compassion in return. I have been trying to keep in mind that everyone struggles in those situations when my friends don’t show up in the way I expected them to or needed them to.

And the biggest lesson of them all?

Life is short. I know it sounds like a cliché, but bear with me. With a war spinning around us, global inflation threatening to eat away that little money we have saved and covid still lurking in the dark, I started asking myself more and more “what do I have to lose?”. What do I have to lose if I accept an invitation to a party I don’t really want to go to? What do I have to lose if I tell my manager I want to work on this challenging project? What do I have to lose if I go for a drink with this person I just met? What do I have to lose if I just – try? Over the past year, I have definitely been more open to taking chances and I am not usually a person to take chances. Life is short; I might as well live it.

To sum it all up

2022 was a year of trying new things. Of saying yes to things that the old me would have said no to. But equally important, of saying no to things the old me would have said yes to. 2022 was the year I found love – for myself.

As the future is uncertain, I hope 2023 brings us all some peace, both literal one, and peace of mind. I hope that in 2023 we try new things, while never losing sight of who we are.

Hope you have a good one!

Published in life misc