2022 – The Year to Be Brave and Do Less

Mon 27 Dec 2021 – Sun 2 Jan 2022

Is there anything more annoying than loads of aspirational sentiments to greet a new year like 2022? The nauseating promise to do more, be better, get richer, New Year, New Start – etc.

It’s what also annoys me about LinkedIn. What should be an online opportunity to honestly share and explore ideas, values and hopes is often just an excuse to get publicity by saying how wonderful, successful, and ambitious you are or will be. Don’t forget, ultimately we are all dust.

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” 

Sheryl Sandberg

So I have decided 2022 is simply a year to be brave and do less. To call out the bullshit and accept reality rather than over promise and under deliver particularly to myself, my family, and my friends. At the end of the day, these are the people that matter.

So less goals and stick to them. But don’t give myself a hard time if I fail. Plus speak truth to power and don’t be scared to fail (most experiments aren’t successful). Nor fear what the future might bring.

“Speak the truth and shame the devil.”

Old saying

Betwixtmas – the week gone

No bullshit in saying that the week between Christmas and New Year is one of my favourite times of the year even if New Year itself doesn’t do it for me (too artificial). This is a time to properly relax and switch off not least from the pressures of work.

And ‘Betwixtmas’ 2022 was no exception. Totally ignored my work emails not least as everyone else in the UK was on leave. Not true for other parts of the world but I will deal with those emails when I am back at work.

Not easy for everyone

So a lovely period of chilling, walking, spending time with mum and Dave. Though I know some people find all the bank-holidays hard. Our friend whose partner has just died was saying how he found this time long and dragging with nothing to do but dwell on his thoughts.

The mild weather

And the mild weather has been both a godsend and a curse. Plenty of rain but temperate temperatures. Great to get out and about but a warning of climate change. Will 2022 be the year people take action to save the planet?

I doubt it. Too many people are inherently selfish, uncaring, and dishonest. Witness the anti-science anti-vaxx movement and those who can’t admit the long-term decline of the UK.

Rest In Power

Plus sad to see the death of two thoroughly decent people just before the arrival of 2022 – April Ashley and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Tutu: If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

Health and Efficiency

Weight

Well I had a plan somewhere to be 13 and a half stone by the start of 2022. That didn’t happen and I am at 13 stone 10 & a half pounds. I keep an on-off record of my weight here. 2022 is about doing less and stop giving myself such a hard time.

I will carry on trying to lose weight and it might happen, it might not. Tackling obesity is very complex and multi-faceted. And part of the reality is to stop yourself comfort eating – primarily a response to stress. Doing less will make this easier.

“Never give up giving up.”

Addiction saying

Exercise

One of my guilty pleasures during New year is ‘World’s Strongest Man’. Inevitably that inspires me to want to do more exercise And during 2022, I will get back to doing more serious exercise again.

It may be the gym, it may be jog-runs, it may even be swimming. I’m not sure how it will happen but it will. Not least because I enjoy it. And as you get older and closer to death, you realise life is about making yourself happy.

WSM

Books and Reading / Art and Culture

Very unusual for me to combine themes in my life like this. But I had a mini revelation in the last week before 2022 in that I discovered 2 excellent books on an artistic theme that reminded me how much I love art and how it can inspire.

‘Painter to the King’ by Amy Sackville

This was the book I read last week and it was a fictional biography of the great Spanish artist Velazquez. I don’t have a single artist I love more than any other. Rather there is a whole group whose art I adore. And Velazquez is firmly in that group.

This novel is about his life but juxtaposed with the life of his patron King Philip IV, the Spanish Court, and the novelist herself. A study of artistic genius set in the declining Spain of the seventeenth century. Its faded glory and constant existence in the past reminds me so much of post-Brexit Britain (where we still give awards related to the British Empire!).

‘The Vanishing Man’ by Laura Cumming

Reading Sackville’s book, long sat on my bookshelves, inspired me to read this other book sat on my bookshelves. It’s a study of Velazquez’s life and genius art but inter-mixed with the story of John Snare.

He was a man in the nineteenth century who found a lost Velazquez portrait and then spent the rest of his life proving that is what it was. A reminder that brilliance is as much about perseverance as anything else.

More details on this book in my first blog of 2022 once I have finished reading it in full.

Earth without art is just eh

Personal Development

Spanish on Duolingo

So I am going to do less in 2022 and enjoy life more. That means not giving myself a hard time if I’m not doing enough personal development. My target is one lesson of Spanish on Duolingo each day. That is what happened last week.

Indeed, the promise in my previous blog here to spend time on reading and personal development in the last week before 2022 arrived actually did happen. If I can manage to find time to also practice my German (or any other language) then great. But if not then no hassles.

No Code

I have also signed up to the 100 Days of No Code challenge. No Code is basically software that can be used to build tech tools without having the need to code; it’s also called Visual Programming.

Me upskilling in this area is more useful and likely than learning to code. No code is particularly relevant to the Tech for Good sector with its emphasis on social impact via digital but the difficulty of monetizing this (making a profit from it).

Will I keep up with an everyday challenge for 100 days? Who knows, only one way to find out. There’s an email each day but the first email with an exercise was on Day 2. Got through the exercise with an intro to Airtable and Carrd but not always totally easy and straight forward.

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” 

David Bowie

Sustainability

Doing less helps the environment

The reason we have a climate crisis is because we exploit natural resources and generate energy to create things we don’t need and don’t use. Every wasted object purchased or trip made is a contribution to the climate crisis. Aspiration = death.

Do you really need it?

So during 2022 I will carry on with my intention to offload shit in my life and not consume crap. My target is to get rid of one unnecessary physical thing each day. Not through putting in the the bin / going to landfill. Rather to either sell something to someone else (buy secondhand!) or give it away probably to the charity shop. I suppose there is also the option of recycling but that in many ways is an admission of failure.

Don’t forget the priority order:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repair
  • Recycle

The Exchange

Did pop up to the Notting Hill Exchange on Thurs with a load of secondhand books. Traded and given £60 in vouchers. Not sure what I’m going to use them on as there is nothing I really need. Suppose the key is to hold onto them and spend them through the year at various times when I see something I really do want.

book exchange

Family and Friends

The mums

Dave took his mum back to the North on Mon before driving all the way back on Tues. She was worn out for a couple of days when she got back but I don’t think it was Covid. So pleased neither of the mums have developed that following the Christmas – New Year period. Spent time with my mum who is fine, our usual verbal sparring.

Dave

My wonderful boyfriend loves Christmas and putting up decorations. Indeed, he loves decorating for Easter as well. Each year, he digs out his beloved decorations and turns his flat into Santa’s grotto. And he started 2022 by taking them all down as he watched the New Year’s Day Vienna Concert – one of his favourite things.

Friends

Should have met up with some friends last week. Ideal time before things start getting busy in 2022. But it’s also nice to have things to look forward to in the cold, dark, dreary period that is Jan and Feb of any new year.

Indeed, got meetings to arrange with so many old friends including Irene, Dom, Daisy, Pete, Jane, Fang Fang, Rob, James, and Jamie. Looking forward to pacing these meetings throughout 2022.

The Week Ahead

  • Enjoy Monday as the first bank holiday of 2022. Back to work on Wed and Fri – my aim is a gentle reintroduction to the world of work.
  • Have a stab at trying to control my eating and make sure I do lots of walking
  • Finish ‘The Vanishing Man’ and may also get through the SJ Parris historical fiction book I am reading on my kindle
  • Velvet Page book club on Thurs evening. It’s online and discussing a book I have read (Firewatching). Plus author is going to join so I may make it.
  • Focus on getting Duolingo done each day and sticking with the 100 Day No Code challenge
  • Me and Dave are meeting our friend on Thurs who recently lost his partner, he’s still finding it hard

And Finally…

Tutu: Do you little bit of good where you are...

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