- Elizabeth Gilbert writing Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. In reading it, I learned what Liz’s writing life looks like in vivid detail. Most importantly, Liz describes what writing feels like to her, “…every single thing that the scriptures and all the holy teachings promised me that I would get through meditation, I’ve gotten through writing.” That’s how I feel when I write my book too!
- Jim Collins for sharing: how he keeps track of time to be prolific in his chosen vocation while maintaining a jovial attitude toward life; his daily journaling and giving each day a daily score ranging from -2 to +2; and how he views himself as a bug named Jim in order to be more unbiased in observing and analyzing his daily actions.
- Good health for my age bracket. I used to take good health for granted until a blood work scare late last year forced me to take action.
- Being mobile. Mostly injury-free this year with a few minor injuries.
- My apartment. I really love the minimal upkeep of apartment living (no shoveling snow, mowing the lawn, pipes freezing, or roof repair worries) and the tranquility of living in a quiet suburb.
- The many hobbies Mark and I enjoy together. I didn’t realize this until friends kept pointing them out to me. I used to take that for granted.
- Friends who are supportive of my ongoing and evolving personality, perspective, hobbies, and many other changes. It’s a huge ask because I’m essentially asking my friends to continue being friends with someone completely different from the person they originally decided to be friends with. I’m incredibly thankful that some friends are supportive and absolutely understand those who are not.
- Hiking Breakneck Ridge with Mark, Maverick, and Sure Sure and getting lost during the descent. Going into it, I was scared of the fact you can’t turn around once you’ve started, the elevation gain of 1,269 ft, and the rock climbing parts. I had so little confidence that I could complete the hike, that I started lifting weights, and going hiking regularly on hard trails to prepare for Breakneck Ridge. After completing Breakneck Ridge with energy left to spare, I’m grateful to have been over-prepared for the hike. Especially when I saw Mark, Maverick, and Sure Sure all hit a wall at different points during the hike. All three of them didn’t take the difficult rating seriously. One of them only slept 3 hours the night before the hike! Additionally, they forgot to keep their glycogen levels high enough. Luckily their innate strength and athletic ability carried them through. Going forward a bottle of Gatorade and an extra energy bar is a must on future hikes.
- Running across the Walkway Over The Hudson with Mark and Maverick when it was almost 100 degrees out in the midday sun. Neither Mark nor Maverick expected me to finish because I’ve never managed to run a single city block under a blazing sun due to a previous sunstroke. It was a wonderful surprise to all of us that after lifting weights for a year, my body was capable of it!
- Discovering I really love having art on my walls. For the previous 5 years, my walls were devoid of any artwork! It was a combination of embracing minimalism and a fear of commitment to one style. In 2022, I realized that it’s fun to mix art installations. Having a Hilma af Klint Print, a Nordic Korean Digital Art, a Peking Opera Huadan Manhua, a Gustav Klimt Print, and a Henri Matisse Print all on one wall has a charm to it as well. My favorites though are the plant-inspired wall with 51 pictures and the adventure wall with 31 pictures that Mark hung up with a laser leveler.
- This was a watershed year for my marriage. At the core of our issues is that I believe Mark does not respect my decision when it differs from his on topics he cares about. Mark believes he respects all my decisions. We put it to the test and tracked both Mark’s and my actions for a month. It was shocking to both of us how many times a day Mark disrespects my decision when it is on a topic he cares about. The underlying problem was that being a kind, understanding, and supportive partner was never a priority for Mark, while it is a top priority for me. It was a sobering realization for Mark. Currently, Mark works on taking action daily to change. The difference is immediate and dramatic. In the past, Mark insisted that it would take years for him to change. It turns out that when Mark is fully committed to change, it happens in weeks.
- Discovering that most of my previous personality, hobbies, and beliefs were influenced by or in reaction to my parents, relatives, and friends’ expectations of me. For example, since childhood, I’ve been told I’m an extrovert. When I tell them I’m an introvert, I get told to stop deluding myself because I talk a lot. It was through therapy that I realized, I talk a lot because I was trained to fill the uncomfortable silences, to make sure everyone is participating in the conversation, and to play the peacemaker when people start having disagreements. It was further confirmed by the kind organizer of my in-person book club who said to me “You remind me of myself back in the day when I tried to make sure everyone was participating and having a good time. It’s not your responsibility to do so. Focus on your own enjoyment.” What I enjoy best is listening to other people tell their stories because I love experiencing the world through a different set of eyes. I think that’s why books with strong narratives like Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood and The Bad Muslim Discount fascinate me.
- Pausing some friendships and relationships because I’m too easily influenced by them. This was really hard for me because while I like my friends and cousins, I don’t like how I act when I’m with them. This is likely because I’ve been a follower for most of my life without concrete opinions of my own until recently. I hope my friends and cousins will be understanding of the many mistakes I made and will continue to make as I grow into my own person. That the pause on the friendships and relationships is a sincere pause and I hope to resume them in the future when I’m no longer easily influenced.
Overall 2022 was an interesting year characterized by lots of personal growth.