Annual Review: 2022
Personal entry follows.
Annual Review: 2022
Looks like I didn't do an annual review of 2021, but apparently I still wrote plenty about how I envisioned 2022. With the exception of having announced the resignation from my day job, I think that 2021 and 2020 were rather similar for me, anyway. I rolled back to my review entry of 2020 and am using that as my template for this year's review.
Doing it a little early, but who cares? I feel like writing, right now. I think it's a worthwhile format. So here we go.
1. "HOW WOULD YOU RATE 2022 ON THE WHOLE?"
(1 is "The Worst Year Ever" while 10 is "The Best Year Ever")
My Rating: 7
I know the move out here to the boonies, for this internship, was a major step ahead for me, personally. I want to live a homesteading lifestyle: waking up early, growing and eating my own healthy food, enjoying the act of putting my hands in the dirt, solving problems, being able to sit back and admire the results of the work I did all day long, and then collapsing into bed exhausted and quickly falling asleep at the end of the day.
It is not an easy life in some respects (it seems much more physically-demanding than city life ever was). However, I am grateful I was able to leave my city life behind me for many reasons. There are a number of things about city life that would bring me down or cause me anxieties - traffic, crime, general crowdedness - that simply don't exist where I am now. Had I not the courage to make the move out here, I'd still be pulling my hair out to adapt to city life.
2. YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE AT THE END OF 2022 IS _____ COMPARED TO THE BEGINNING.
(Selections range from, "About the Same" to "Unrecognizable.")
My Choice: "Unrecognizable."
I still remember the days leading up to the cross-country drive I made, then the hotels I stayed in for about a week as I drove out here, and now this past year's numerous events and experiences. Who am I now...?
In a sense, I changed my identity. I identified intensely with my day job and what I did for a living. None of that is here anymore. Moving from the city to do something like this is basically unheard of in my previous social circles, and it's easy to think that someone saying they're going to do something like I did was simply kidding around. I joked about "maybe I'll be living in a goddamn tent" less than a year ago. Today, it's my reality.
I have fewer physical possessions in my life than I did back when I first moved-in with my now ex-wife while I was a college student. But even a year ago, I had roughly three times as many physical items, including clothing and especially books.
A year ago, I was playing video games daily, even to the point of spending hours making my own video games. Nowadays I'm lucky if I play them once a week.
I weigh at least 20 pounds less than I did at this time last year. At the same time: I feel strong, I look strong and healthy, and lead a wonderfully-active lifestyle.
Although I had some outdoor skills before I came here, now I'm chopping down trees with a chainsaw or axe, building small furnishings with power tools, piloting a 35-horsepower tractor, and showering without using soap, all on a near-daily basis. I am still low on the totem-pole of experience and skills, but I'm supervising others in these kinds of tasks and learning every day.
I've not collected a paycheck since May - and the last couple of them were cashouts of my vacation time. I still wake up for work at 6am, but my commute is no longer a 30-minute drive; it's a 30-foot walk.
It's difficult to say that people would easily believe that I would have "thrown it all away to live in the wilderness," like some kind of hippie freak or whatever. Yet, that's exactly what I've done. I've met some hippie freaks in my time, and this ain't it. It's a re-imagining of what life can be like. It ain't any easier, but I think it's better.
3. DID YOU LOSE ANYTHING IMPORTANT TO YOU THIS YEAR? WHAT WAS IT?
I feel like I started here with nothing but whatever I could fit in my car. Nearly everything else is gone from my life. But those physical possessions really aren't that important.
What did I lose that's important? Hmm... Well, I think early on I resigned myself to no serious romantic relationship until this internship is over. I used to joke with anyone who listened, regarding my pick-up line: "Hey ladies! Not only am I a 45-year-old vegan, but I'm also an unemployed farm intern who sleeps in a tent!"
Is that really important, though? I'm not so sure. I'm still lonely at times, but then I was lonely in previous years, too.
Maybe I honestly am at a point in my life where I have nothing to lose. That's different from being at the end of my rope/out of choices, of course. But to be fatalistic about this, I suppose it's okay with me if I die tomorrow. Hell, it could happen. To be able to perceive life in this way must be some kind of luxury.
4. WHAT STRESSED YOU OUT THIS YEAR? HOW DID IT CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR?
Prior to the move out here, I sometimes felt panicked regarding how to make my finances work when I was collecting no income. That subsided somewhat when I realized the cost-of-living in my current arrangement is quite low. There are also occasional "pledges" of financial support that I receive maybe once every four months, so long as I maintain a near-daily update schedule with the online community regarding my involvement here.
I still have quite a bit of cash saved up, though I notice it is reducing. It's just not reducing as quickly as I expected it to. I still have a car that works, a phone that works, and enough food to eat. Considering the life I envision for the next few years, this is acceptable.
One thing that has -not- changed is my anxiety over healthcare bills. Should I seriously injure myself, I have no health insurance and I have no idea how to pay for those bills. Is that what Medicaid and Medicare are for? Anyhow, one serious injury, and my savings are wiped-out, for sure. I would prefer death to considerable/insurmountable debt. "Debts that can't be paid, won't be paid."
5. WHAT WENT REALLY WELL FOR YOU THIS YEAR?
I think my sanity and peace-of-mind are preserved thanks to my resignation, my move, and my quantum shift in lifestyle. I doubt it would work for everyone, but it has worked very well for me.
TO SUM UP 2022, GLOBALLY: It's a hot mess out there, and I checked-out of it before things became too hairy.
TO PREDICT 2023, GLOBALLY: Dissolution, pollution, and poverty for the vast majority of humanity. The natural world will continue to be squandered.