Year in Review: A Frame of Special and Normal, 2022
Why should achievements have all the fun?
2022 — a year like no other. It’s been a year of revelations for me. I don’t know how to put this in words, but writing this piece makes all those sweet and bittersweet memories flood my mind.
A conventional year-in-review article is filled with all the achievements one had had in the year. I wrote the draft of this article in that style.
But then I ditched it. Why? Because I think there is nothing as a big achievement. These are the positive results of tens of small decisions you have taken over time. Everything compounds, as they say.
I am a 16-year-old, student in high school, living in India, over a thousand kilometres away from home experiencing life. It’s mostly good and sometimes bad. Not but, but and. Because that’s what it is — reality.
I discovered lots of wonderful things and some not-so-wonderful things. The latter part is what balances the equation. I am grateful I got to experience a year as fine and constructive as this.
I have lots of plans for 2023. In contrast, I have discarded the idea of making new year’s resolutions, even after reading a somewhat convincing article in The New York Times.
I am thinking of having a weekly plan with one big task box to check. That’s all. No big goals; just a 1% improvement every day.
Okay, back to the topic of 2022 Wrapped. Let’s buy a big enough frame and try to fit all the good and bad of 2022. (That’s why it’s called a frame of special and normal!)
Okay, here are the 12 highlights for the 12 months of 2022. It’s not segregated based on months though.
1. I made a small decision about what I want to do in life
I am a grade 11 student and I had to choose what I want to do next in life. What a small age to decide?! Anyway, I took a complete 180 and decided not to do what I thought I always wanted to do.
Maybe I was not mature enough or I was influenced by someone and never thought it through. But it never occurred to me that a big decision like this was not my interest, but a thought seed that has germinated in the background.
I want to live life proactively and not be the one who’s just responding to everything life throws his way.
That’s why I sat down and did a small SWOT analysis. Oh, I was interested in business and loved understanding its nuances! That made me ditch science for commerce.
P.S. It was not as dramatic, nor was it an impulse decision. It definitely feels different than traversing the path that either someone else forged for you or you decided for yourself when you didn’t have enough knowledge of other available options that coincide with your interests.
2. I have read 26 books this year
I counted that just for the sake of this article. I had decided a long time ago that I would not count the number of books I read. But we all can make a small exception for an article, can’t we?
I don’t keep counting the number of books I read all year round, anyway.
3. I learnt how to manage money as a teenager
It sounds mundane and extraordinary at the same time. At least to me.
I had a tough time managing my finances. Nothing serious, but I was not happy with the way I used to spend money. It was impulsive.
Most people my age are like that and there’s no harm in that. But I wanted to improve. I wanted to take small initiatives and make it a habit to make more calculated decisions, especially with money.
Now I can happily say that my impulse buying has plummeted, and I am able to spend money where I see fit and not according to the minute’s call.
Learning this as a teenager sometimes makes me feel good, as I have heard how viciously bad money habits compound over time.
P.S. If you think I am 100% sorted, please throw that notion off the hill. No one is and nor am I. I am just trying and there’s a long way to go. Just celebrating small wins here.
4. I learned to appreciate the small things we keep taking for granted
That sounds generic, right? Believe me, it’s not.
Living away from family has habituated me to notice how often we fail to appreciate and acknowledge the finer details.
I am not saying that I have travelled a lot or lived too much to have that revelation. It was just some introspection and questioning that led here.
5. The story that almost gave me a sleepless night
This one happened recently.
There is this one senior who lives in the nearby hostel. His parents had come to visit him. There is this small library and self-study centre nearby where I got to meet him and his father.
He was not performing very well, as library wale bhaiya informed his father. His father didn’t scold him. Instead, he motivated him. After all, who would scold their child when they meet after months?
He shared stories. And as I was sitting right beside him, I got interested. Initially, I was there to listen to what he was saying so I could mock the senior the next day.
But that session outperformed my expectations. He talked about how no one in their family could afford education, about the reality of life, and how cruel or fruitful it can turn out.
And that everything is in our hands.
It was more motivational than I could put into words. Many stories are still fresh in my mind.
It is true said: learn from anywhere and everywhere you can. I will try to inculcate this habit even more in 2023.
Okay, this article is going to take you a day to read if I go with that pace. I have six more points dammit.
6. I successfully completed 1 year of living far from my home.
This is quite an achievement for me as I never thought I would be able to live alone.
It has been fun, and this experience has taught me a lot. The transformation in me is surreal.
7. I did a lot of things for the first time in my life
It’s a hostel after all. Be it pulling an all-nighter study session the night before the exam or travelling at 2 am and returning to the hostel at 3 and then convincing the warden to let us enter.
That was fun. He would not even wake up and some other students would open the door. The next day, we tried to convince him it was all a dream, and no one came at night lol. We partially succeeded.
8. I learned a couple of skills like touch-typing and SEO and took a lot of LinkedIn Learning courses
I will add all the certification courses to my LinkedIn profile soon. I am also thinking of being a little more active over there.
There is this one course I am nearing the end of that I think will help y’all. It’s about writing in plain English. It made me so pumped that I even made notes for it. Super helpful and knowledge-dense!
9. I wanted to be consistent with my writing but unfortunately wasn’t able to for a major part of the year.
If there are so many wins, there have to be losses. And we can learn a hell lot from it.
There are only a few things we are very good at. Warren Buffett refers to this as the circle of competence. For me, writing falls under the circle of competence.
That’s why it makes me sad when I am unable to write for whatever reason. Be it internal or external, I feel as if something is missing.
One more thing I have learnt is that being consistent with your writing doesn’t mean you have to write every day. I have mistaken the two for a little too long. I will try to rectify it and work on it in 2023.
10. I wrote articles for two writing competitions but sadly didn’t win any.
It was a lot of fun though. One was an essay for Goi Peace Foundation while the other was for The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay competition.
If you want to take part in any of those this year, make sure to keep yourself posted on the details. I surely will.
11. Started a publication, theMUSINGS, and now it has over 400 followers with many wonderful writers.
I started theMUSINGS to host some of my personal essays. Within a year it has developed into a small but closely-knit community of writers sharing their personal experiences, writing advice and more.
I can’t wait to read and edit more wonderful stories in 2023. Here’s how you can become a writer if you are not already.
P.S. This very article is written in response to the prompt: MUSERS, How Has This Year Been for You? There’s still time if you want to write a year-in-review article. Come, join in. ⛄😊
12. I learnt two big lessons that I will hold dear: “keep moving; just don’t stop” and “romanticize nothing”.
I have written a detailed answer on why this is a big lesson for me on Quora. You can read it here.
See you in 2023 👋❤️
P.S. Thank you to all the writers who have drafted an article for this prompt. Loved reading everyone’s stories.
Read some wonderful Year Recapped stories here:
Year in Review, 2022 (by MUSERS)
Year in Review: A Frame of Special and Normal, 2022 was originally published in theMUSINGS on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.