2021 is over. This year was less about resolutions and attempts to better my life and more about surviving until the bell rang. Will 2022 be any different? I’d like to think so. Is that naïve optimism? Perhaps. I can only speak of things in terms of my own life.
As Jay-Z said “There’s much bigger issues in the world, I know, but I first had to take care of the world I know.” I’d love to think that 2022 ends the Covid pandemic as the number of vaccinated continues to rise and this in turn allows us to go back to life as we saw it in 2019. However that is not something I can change, so all I can do is hope family and friends are protected and the rest of the world is what it is.
That being said 2022 has to be better than 2021 and definitely 2020. For me this comes down to changes I’ve made in life and seeds that were planted and are ready to be harvested. Farmers plant crops, not in the expectation of immediate gratification, but on the hopes that it they take the time and care to cultivate that a bountiful harvest will come there way in time. Life is more fine dining rather than fast food, you need to be patient for something good. This is how I feel.
I look back 365 days to what life was and how bleak things felt. I worked in an unfulfilling job, a highly toxic work environment. It was loaded with people who were either unqualified or undeserving of the positions they held, some were both. There were no available Covid vaccinations yet. This meant that it was virtually impossible to visit my dying grandmother at the nursing home but for standing outside of her window. I had only recently quit alcohol and could easily fall off the wagon due to depression. I felt stuck.
In March when my Nina passed I was at a turning point. The stress and unhappiness at work led me to take my own mental health into consideration. I gave my notice despite having no backup plan and it being in the midst of a pandemic. I hoped that if I bet on myself something better would come my way.
Eventually it did. I was able to find a job back in personal training which is far more fulfilling. It turns out this job is one of those planted seeds I’ve mentioned. Likely in the spring of 2022 a new small-group training facility is opening as part of the place I work. It was not mentioned when I first got the job and was an extra bonus that showed me I was in the right place.
This job is also bringing me back to center when it comes to my own mental health, physical well-being, and overall view of myself in the wider world. Having a boss and coworkers that are knowledgeable, positive, and supportive, allows one to not only do the job for others, but to do the job of fixing what’s broken within yourself. It has been a slow climb in the second half of 2021 with big things planned and hoped for in 2022 at least when it comes to me as a person.
For those that know me, family, friends, even loyal podcast listeners, I have been up front about mental health and dilemmas in my own life. I have hoped that it might inspire others, or at least let them know that the issues they are dealing with are more common than they think. One thing I have been leaning into is the fact that I am in control of my own life, my own narrative, my own happiness. I cannot, and you should not, allow anyone else's negativity dim your shine.
The main thing I can say is that even when things are at their worst, and it feels like you’re just fumbling around in the dark hoping to find a light switch, just keep moving forward. Sometimes you’ve planted seeds to be harvested without even realizing it. For me I had two new book opportunities come in 2021 based around previous works. I was not looking for new projects as of yet and they found me. These projects, a photography book and a true crime book, will see the day in late 2022 to maybe early 2023. They both came out of nowhere. This is why I try to be as good a person as I can and treat others with as much respect and kindness as I can. These good karma acts might get repaid when you least expect it.
When it comes to the last three years, 2019-2021, I am not special. I am not unique in the fact that I have had problems, or tragedies befall me. I am not alone in having goals and dreams I wish to achieve and being forced to go through trials and tribulations, a virtual war of attrition to prove I really want them. What I am doing is sharing my own story to let others know that it’s okay to trip and fall down. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to have times where you feel like the tiniest grain of sand on the tiniest island in the largest ocean. What’s not okay though is to have that be what defines you.
I lost my Grampa who was my hero. I developed a drinking problem to cope with it. I attempted to switch jobs right before Covid struck and ended up stuck in a terrible situation. I became a stress eater after giving up alcohol. I lost my Nina, my last remaining grandparent. I’ve had major crises of confidence and waves of depression. But you know what? I am still here. I am still standing and that fact alone gives me hope.
I am optimistic and approaching 2022 with the best of intentions. You may not have had the same problems as me but we all get this symbolic clean slate. Will all of my seeds I’ve played lead to bountiful crops? Likely no, but I won’t know for sure until the time has passed. That is how we all must looks at things. You won’t know if things don’t work out until after, but like Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
When it comes to 2022, I think I can. So let’s go.