In writing reflections on a past event – especially an entire year, especially on a digital platform – I struggle to find the right tone. Too bright, and it might feel fake, toxically positive, or even arrogant. Too somber, and it can come across as a slough of negativity.
I’ll do my best to steer between those two extremes. There were good things, hard things, sad things. I felt friendships shift and fade. I was ghosted (twice) and stood up (once). The relationship I was most excited about, a tantalizing multi-month series of dates during which I caught hope – and feelings – ended via a cold text. I experienced professional challenges that required every bit of my patience and discipline to navigate. Despite being drafted in Las Vegas, my fantasy football team did not make it to the playoffs. And for the last night of 2022, I attended a party where the highlight of the event was thumbing through a biography of the Brontës.
And yet. And yet. I am a stubborn optimist, and that isn’t all of the story.
- At midlife, I took on spring break for the first time. It was hot and sunstruck and a little disorienting. In fact, it became just the adventure I needed.
- In that vein, I decided that it was never too late to let a little rebellion into my life. Guitar playing, obviously. But there was also the winter night I laughed and listened to punk in my date’s pickup in a parking lot. Afternoons spent loitering in public parks like a delinquent. Numerous small trespasses against propriety: the flick of a lighter, the use of the f-bomb, a refusal to take up less space.
- I finally watched Sleepless in Seattle. I devoured Ozark, which made me cry. And Bridgerton, which didn’t. Also both seasons of Sanditon just for the heck of it. (I have yet to see E.T. or any of the Rocky films.)
- I went to the opera. Alone. (It was great.)
- I swam 20,000 yards at the local pool. My tan was killer.
- I emerged from comparative isolation and got busy re-building my social life. I took over a Meetup group, renamed it, and nearly tripled the membership. I went on 22 first dates*. I got new business cards. I attended book club discussions after having actually read the book.
- I made a few new friends. In adulthood, that’s no small feat. We need people to laugh with. People to speak our truths to. To eat burritos with, go to for advice, share a hug. If anything, 2022 taught me not to take good connections for granted.
- I got a new writing desk. In fact, that where I am typing this right now.
- And I finally started to learn that my feelings are not liabilities I need to repress, but signals to pay attention to.
Of course, there are things that haven’t changed. I still miss my motorcycle. I still have my fascination with Eminem. There are still my wildling cats that make me laugh, and the books I turn to for comfort like a quilt.
As far as what’s ahead, I don’t have resolutions so much as intentions. I want to get back to Paris. I want to finally finish my damn novel. I want to get through all of “Tonight, Tonight” so that it sounds – and feels – like a song. Plus, the Les Paul guitar I’ve been eyeing.
And there’s this:
We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.Joseph Campbell
*Defined as 1:1 in-person, predesignated meetings. Video chats and random unassigned hangouts not included in total.