Dandy Cat

So long 2021, and thanks for all the memories!

i.

When all of this COVID nonsense became A Thing back in early 2020, a part of me felt like I already had it in the bag. Stay home most of the time? Distance from others and wear a mask when I do go out? Wonder why more people in the world weren’t taking it as seriously as they should? Heck yeah! Perhaps I’ve been well-suited for pandemic life this whole time and just haven’t had the opportunity to prove it. Now is the time for this introverted homebody to shine!

I think I did okay in 2020.

I wasn’t prepared for my quiet working days at home to become noisier when family members were instructed to stop going to their respective offices, but I adjusted. Moving in with my then-fiancée and then marrying her soon after helped a whole lot. I got into a groove and did all right for myself. 2020 was a success, all things considered.

2021 was a different beast.

At the beginning of the year, I resolved to understand myself better. I think I accomplished that goal, but not quite in the way I was hoping. I envisioned becoming the best version of myself that I could be.1 Mostly, I now understand that I’m struggling. Whereas 2020 was a novelty, the following year was a whole lot more of the same. More isolation, more frustration, and more worry. It’s a lot for a person to take, no matter how much they like pajamas and staying home.

ii.

It’s been frustrating to see so many people suffer because of how a universal health emergency has been politicized, mocked, or otherwise ignored. I feel that my country led the charge in that respect, and that’s embarrassing, to say the least.

I feel sad and angry that members of my own family have refused to get the COVID vaccine (and others).

I feel disgusted that the richest people in the world have only gotten richer when so many are struggling.

I feel a sense of desperation to find a decent job that can be both enjoyable and help provide for my wife and myself.

It’s tough to avoid the myriad bad things that constantly threaten to capture my attention and make me feel lousy. News is important, but mostly sensationalized and depressing. Social media is full of algorithmically cultivated nonsense, and sometimes outright falsehoods. The worst among us also tend to be the loudest.

It’s… a lot. The anxiety, sadness, malaise, and worry I’ve felt are not uncommon. I don’t wish those feelings on anybody else, but it’s safe to say that we’re all going through some shit right now.

iii.

In the last few years, I’ve tried my hand at The Theme System. If I had to choose a theme that I wanted to follow this year, then I think it would be the Year of Just a Little Bit Happier. I think that’s a reasonable theme/goal.

I’m going to strive to be just a little bit happier this year. Sometimes I’ll fail at it and be miserable. Sometimes I’ll be far more than just a little bit happier. Regardless, on average I want to try to bring more good things into my life so that I can feel just a little bit happier than the day, week, month, and year before now. That also necessarily means that I’ll need to get better at expelling the bad from my life.

iv.

COVID-related stress and its manifestations are being studied and talked about. It’s a relief to know that I’m not alone, and if you’ve been feeling how I’ve described, know that you’re not alone either. I’m struggling and many other people are, too. That’s okay.

As for what I can do to be just a little bit happier, I’ve got some ideas:

  • Try to recognize how I’m feeling. Don’t hide from the stress. Confront my frustrations. Consider how I react to myself and other people when overwhelmed. Try again if I slip up.
  • Get better at respecting the limitations I impose on my social media time. Remove as many of those distractions as possible.
  • Learn and become adept at Swift. I took some tentative steps down this path late in the year and I’m going to continue with it. I believe that becoming a programmer is how I’ll be able to help provide for my wife and myself.
  • Continue watching loads of movies.2 This has always been an activity dear to me. I shared it with my dad and I continue to watch a lot of diverse and interesting things. I’ve been enjoying them even more since finding Letterboxd.
  • Work on planning my honeymoon. I’m not certain when we’ll be able to go on our European trip, but it’s still nice to think about.
  • Read more fun books.
  • Devote more time to connecting with people on Micro.blog. Communication on social media, even when it’s full of great people, is an exhausting practice for me. My presence anywhere online fluctuates like crazy because it can feel tough to keep up with. However, I like Micro.blog and want to become a better citizen there.
  • Say yes to more things and, conversely, say no to more things.
  • Improve my sleep schedule.
  • Get more fresh air in my lungs.

Those all seem simple enough to accomplish. It’ll just come down to putting in the time and effort. Luckily, I’ve got many days ahead of me to practice.

I’m tentatively looking forward to what 2022 is going to bring. There could always be surprises or disasters. There could be Super COVID. An asteroid could hit the Earth. I could win a hundred million dollars. I can’t prevent those things from occurring,3 but I can choose how to respond to whatever happens. In that way, I’ll be just a little bit happier.

Let’s see how it goes.


  1. That was a silly goal, though. We should always strive to be better than we were before. Self-improvement shouldn’t have a finish line. ↩︎

  2. And tv shows, too. Let’s be real here. ↩︎

  3. Fingers crossed for all that sweet money! 🤞 ↩︎