For quite a while now I’ve had an end-of-year routine that involves doing a retrospective on last year and trying to work out what areas I want to prioritise this year. This involves, amongst other things, going through the biggest things that happened this year, what succeeded and what failed, where I tried hard and where I didn’t, which sounds like Yearnotes material to me!
The most significant event of this year is that CM moved in with me! This is the first time I’ve lived with a partner and it’s been a very positive experience. There has had to be some negotiation around, e.g. whose plates and bowls to keep (I prefer matching sets, she prefers a random jumble) but for everything of more primary ‘affects-things-day-to-day’ importance, we are in agreement (even fairly idiosyncratic things like having separate rooms). We also both primarily work from home and after six months have yet to tire of the others’ semi-permanent presence, which is, I think, a good sign.
We’ve also managed to make our flat into somewhere we’re happy to live until we’ve saved up enough for a deposit, which has made me particularly happy. I have that nebulous tendency to regard the present as a temporary staging post for some imagined Future, leading to a domestic vibe that has been described as ‘hotel-like’ so CM’s ability to turn every room she touches turbo-cozy has really helped there.
The next biggest is that I started my own company, Cybersyn. It’s been rewarding in a number of different ways, chiefly in in terms of freedom—being my own boss, feeling like I’m actually driving the vehicle of my life rather than just watching things go by. There have been ups and downs, I’ve made mistakes and learned lessons, and it has at times knocked me down hard, but I’m still glad I made the decision I did, and hope next year I’m able to get back up and build on everything I’ve learned.
I also started running and lifting again and I’m feeling good about exercise and my physical health and my body. Specifically I started lifting with CM, and it reminded me how much more fun it is when done with someone else. I returned to my meditation habit, and started therapy again and I feel like I’m finally getting somewhere ‘fundamental’ with it; I’ve said before that previous therapy sessions have been hamstrung, usually by my own inability to get over myself enough to talk about the problems I really dwell on. Now I’ve reached a point where I can actually talk about things, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m actually getting somewhere.
My productivity systems haven’t changed too drastically over the last year, which might not sound like a massive win but I’m one of those people who periodically uproots things wholesale due to boredom or disaffection or just because, so a year is a pretty substantial amount of time for me! I’ve had minor variations involving exactly where things live and using notebooks or Notability on my iPad to make lists, but the rough structure of “To-dos run through Amazing Marvin, notes run through Roam into blog posts or Notion, also have a weekly review” has stuck hard enough that I hope it to be still around this year.
I started putting stuff out again—writing and podcasting—after a fairly long fallow period for both, and I feel both are fun and also force me to ‘sharpen’ my thinking by expressing it. Similarly, I also joined UTAW and became Deputy Secretary, re-engaging with my political side after 2019 having exhausted me on that front. I’ve also started playing in church again (and learning the organ), and I’ve reconnected to my faith in a way that I haven’t felt for many years, which has been profoundly positive.
Most of the more negative things from this year (judged against my goals for the year) are things I wanted to do but was prevented from doing by COVID—travelling, live music etc. I also had a fairly major anxiety episode in the middle of the year, the details of which I don’t want to go into the details of but as you might have noticed from the quarter-long posting gap, spun me out something fierce. My ability to sort out what was going on there, better handle things of that nature in future is one of my core goals for therapy this time round, and I think I’m getting there. The other things I’ve struggled with have largely been around not being able(/willing?) to dedicate enough time to certain big projects. This is something I’m hoping to work on this year—both the projects themselves and getting better at focusing on them.
2021, in kind with 2020, was a year that, for me personally, had some wobbles but as part of a mostly upward trajectory. Next year, I hope to maintain that trajectory, and smooth out the wobbles as best I can.