It’s that time of the year once again; time for a 2022 recap. I kind of made it a tradition already. As the year is ending, I love to look back and take stock of my work and personal life; what I enjoyed, what I learned, and what I was excited about. Part of it I always do it on the blog – you can read last year’s recap here – and this year is no different.
I have to say that as I was closing the year and taking stock of how it went, for a moment or two it was difficult to do so on a positive note. Plenty of things took a turn for the worse in 2022. While for a few moments I was overcome with negative emotion, I also know that 2022 brought positives and much-needed perspective. This year has been a foundational year on different levels. Personal goals wise, (new) career path wise, day-to-day habits and rituals, and appreciation, perspective, and commitment for the life we want to further build. I think most importantly, this year I found again appreciation for the importance of the little things and for our ability to build a somewhat simple life and free of unnecessary stress (because life will anyways throw plenty at you one way or another), yet full of day-to-day gratitude and happiness through little things.
Towards the end of the year, I also reflected on how important building a long-term career is. One that I am excited about and get fulfillment from also 20-30 years down the line. While I think I am on the right path so far – this year I’ve been the happiest ever at work, and managed to grow and perform, all while maintaining an impeccable work-life balance – I know its shape will continue to evolve over the years. I can only hope I keep searching and working on it as the years continue to pass.
So with this reflection, here are a few more highlights and learnings from the year:
Lowlights of the year
Oh, 2022. What a year. We had some big plans that we had to put on hold because the world just took a very wrong turn. On a personal level, it has been the most challenging and stressful year yet. We have direct family in Ukraine and the war of course impacted us. I haven’t talked much about it on the blog or on Instagram – or at all even – but this has been a difficult year. We’re still lucky because everyone is safe, however, it’s been a constant black cloud of uncertainty looming over us. On top of that, I’ve also spent the better part of the year concerned with a pretty big health issue on my mom’s side. While things are alright now, these things take a toll on us and keep us on our toes.
The stress definitely took a toll on me and I’ve also struggled quite a bit with my own health and specifically with back pain. For the second part of the year, I’ve been on a journey to improve it through gym sessions, physiotherapy, and acupuncture. While I worked on it quite consistently for the last few months, I am not yet happy enough or satisfied with where I am in terms of a workout routine. This has been a disappointing thought as I am closing the year, but I have to also acknowledge the effort and work that went into it so far. While I have the foundation in place right now, I need to continue working on finding the right pace and keep going in the right direction.
Highlights of the year
Work. I want to say that the job I currently have is very close to a dream job. It’s extremely diverse in terms of the skillset it needs and the things I get to do every day, and I have a lot of freedom, autonomy and responsibility. I get to tackle problems from different angles and then to also work on the solutions with a multitude of experts – designers, engineers, data scientists, etc. And on top of it I do it with great, fun and smart people. I truly have a blast every time I go to the office, and the days I work from home, I love my daily, homebody routines. It’s been over a year since I switched careers and companies, and 2022 was spent building the foundation for my new role and career. There is still much more to do, but as I work on going further, I am in deep appreciation of where I currently am, enjoying the healthy company culture and work-life balance.
Traveling. I did quite a bit of traveling this year and it’s always a highlight. We started the year with a long weekend escape to a tiny house off the grid somewhere next to a forest a few hours from Berlin, and it was totally magical. It was a unique experience that I’d love to repeat this year too. As usual, I also went a couple of times home to Spain and even spent a full 5-6 weeks there over the summer – a first since I moved to Berlin. We visited London back at the start of June and we had the best time – definitely my favorite trip of the year. I love the busy city, the possibility of doing anything and everything. I can’t wait to go back. In October I did a trip to Italy with my mom and my sister to celebrate making it to the other side of a difficult summer – we mostly stayed in Rome but then also did a day trip to the Amalfi coast and had a delightful lunch in Positano. The last trip of the year was in November when we headed to Paris together with the Mr. Despite the cold and rainy days, we loved finally visiting the Louvre Museum – what a beauty – and as unexpected as it may sound we also found the best ramen.
Reading. The year was pretty significant in terms of reading so it deserves its own highlight. I talked on the blog about my reading habits and how getting a Kindle helped me step up my game. It just made getting new books easier and also reading while on the go. Some of my favorite reads this year have been: re-reading the full Harry Potter series as a gift for my inner child, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, and The Club by Ellery Lloyd.
One of my core learnings from this year is to give yourself the chance to change (either parts of yourself, your habits or your environment – you decide what you need) and find out what’s on the other side. Because yes, the grass is sometimes greener on the other side. And I have to add that if you feel like you are not thriving where you currently are and you know you can do better, the easiest way to change yourself and become better is to change your environment. As time passes, I am more and more aware of the importance of the environment and the people around us and the high impact that has on our lives, choices, and decisions we make.
The biggest learning for me at work this year has been the fact that growth is meant to be uncomfortable. Changing companies, roles, both or even doing drastic career changes comes with a lot of challenges. Growth is uncomfortable. But once we step into our challenges, we forget that we must give ourselves time to grow too. We are impatient and we seek the same comfort that we once knew. This year I’ve learned that I have to push through discomfort. That this is how it’s supposed to be. I still need to constantly remind myself that I have to give myself the space to keep learning and growing and feeling uncomfortable and that I need to value progress over perfection/knowing it all. The struggle is real but we shall continue to show up & rise.
I close the year thinking a lot about what’s ahead of us. That’s probably also because very soon I’ll step into my thirties, and inevitably, building a graceful life that is future-proof is of more and more concern. I am quite satisfied with how we built our life so far and I know there is also a bright future ahead of us. But I also know it requires hard work, especially on our own selves. Building a long-lasting career that fulfills me to a certain degree and allows me to bring value is one way for me. Leaning into daily habits and rituals that anchor me and allow me to find joy in the little things, is another. Taking care of my physical health and staying fit. Resisting the urge of comparing myself to others and to their achievements. Reminding myself to only carry the responsibility of my own choices. Cultivating a flexible mindset and staying open to change. And the list could go on.
There are a bunch of things I want to do for 2023, but I feel like adulting is starting to kick in hard so I am trying to not hold on to plans too much and just be flexible and take it one curveball at a time. Some of the things I’d love to do this year are: walking a portion of Camino de Santiago in early summer or autumn, hopefully finally being able to tie the knot with the Mr. and organize a little celebration for it, and also get started with my driving license.
Intentions for 2023
My intention for 2023 is to keep focusing on the person I want to be, and working toward that. I also want to keep my ability to be happy in the day-to-day and satisfied with the life I have while I look forward to what comes next. Most importantly, I want to continue to prioritize my health this year. As I’ll step into my thirties next year I want to make sure I build up a good and strong foundation for the years to come when it comes to physical health and habits.
So this is it, my 2022 recap. My lowlights, my highlights, and what I learned. Thank you for reading and do let me know your 2022 highlights and/or lessons learned in the comments section below. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy and healthy start into 2023! 🥂
And with that, here‘s my wish for you for 2023 too. I’m wishing you a 2023 where you get to create the magic that you need in your life. Don‘t wait for others to bring it into your life. Don‘t wait for big events to create it for you. Find your happiness in the day-to-day. The choices you make. The daily rituals. The little things. So here‘s to a 2023 full of (real) magic. 💫