2022: A New Experiment

If you've known me for more than about 5 years, you might know that I used to be rather goal- and productivity-obsessed. I used to set 101 goals for myself every year. I seemed to always have something I was striving toward. It was easy for me. And, at that point, I had a pretty clear view of what I wanted out of life in a given year.

Fast forward to today. I don't know if it's the pandemic, getting older, work, having reached most of those old goals, or a combination of everything, but that part of me seems to have gone into hibernation.

For a while, I was OK with that. I chalked it up to being happy with where things are. And, for the most part, I am. But there's still something that I miss about that past version of me. That version of me felt more balanced. I felt like I could answer "So what do you do for fun?" and I spent time on things other than work and Netflix. If you were to ask me what I do for fun today, I would be at a true loss for words.

In thinking about the coming new year, I knew I wanted regain some of that balance, so I tried to do what I'd always done: I started a list of 101 goals. I didn't make it very far before I realized that I was struggling because I didn't even know what I wanted out of the year. And, maybe even more concerningly, I didn't even have any hobbies to lean on to find that balance.

I realized that somehow, over the course of the last few years, I lost track of myself, what interests me, and what I want. Work (and, to be fair, the associated life changes of a pandemic) have consumed me to the point where I have nothing to talk about in a normal conversation. I'm not OK with that.

I want to find that more balanced side of myself again. Or maybe not again. Maybe anew.

Since I really have no idea what that looks like anymore, instead of setting 101 goals, I've decided to make 2022 about exploration and experimentation. I'm not setting out to achieve anything specific. I'm going to set out to find what interests me at this point in my life. What do I want to learn? What do I want more of in my life? Less of? What makes me feel excited and fulfilled? What have I thought I always wanted to do, but upon trying it, don't actually want to pursue? What do I like to do for fun?

In reflecting on those years where I felt like I had the most clarity, I believe that a big part of it was that sense of community from being more present and participatory online. These days I tend to be a mindless scroller on Instagram or TikTok. I watch hours and hours and hours of YouTube. I'm purely a consumer. I may comment on a friend's post here and there, but on the whole, I've completely lost touch with that part of the online experience that I used to love: conversation and community.

Which brings us to this here new publication of sorts. Partially because I want to force myself out of being a consumer into more of a participant, but mostly because I need the accountability for myself, I've decided that part of my experiment will be documentation. Over the next few days, I'm going to spend some time hashing out how I want to tackle this 2022 experiment and over the next year I'm going put it all to work... or fun. I should probably focus more on fun.

Stay tuned...