Dandy Cat

No pressure, 2023

i.

It took me longer than I’d care to admit that my 2022 was actually a rewarding year filled with accomplishments. I spent the first several months wallowing in a funk of my own making. The pernicious ability of those self-made funks blinds any who suffer through them from realizing objective truth. While you could be having the best year ever, the funk will darken your skies and spew bile all over your victories. It’s a deadly beast with razor claws and a hunger for happiness.

I say, “Screw that funk!” What’s it ever really done for anyone? It’s high time that I shout out that 2022 was, on the whole, a success. I may not have achieved everything I set out to do in my Year of Just a Little Bit Happier, but I did live up to the name of my chosen theme: I am just a little bit happier.

It took a lot of work to get there, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge how helpful it’s been to start seeing a doctor regularly again and getting on an effective antidepressant. Thank you, escitalopram! If someone had asked me about taking such a medication at this time last year, I probably would have given it a thoughtful brush-off. I’m glad that I realized how helpful it could be. I won’t give it credit for everything—I think I’ve done some positive work—but it’s been a helpful tool.

As always, this is a journey I’m on, and I don’t think there will ever be a lasting destination, but I’m taking positive steps.

ii.

At the beginning of last year, I endeavored to bring positivity back into my life. I figured that positivity would breed happiness within myself. Such a simple math equation wasn’t going to shake the world, but it worked out for me. I had a long list of ideas I wanted to try out that would shape the overall structure of last year. Let’s grade them now.

  • 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.

Success! This will be a never-ending process, but at least I’m starting to consider what’s going on inside my mind a lot more than I ever did before. I need to keep this one up.

  • Get better at respecting the limitations I impose on my social media time.

Success! I’ve gotten this down to an acceptable level, i.e., nearly nothing. It’s had the most profound effect on my life. As much as possible, I’d like to get “nearly nothing” down to zero.

  • Learn and become adept at Swift.

Failure. Learning how to program has been difficult for me. I don’t know if that’s because I’m having trouble comprehending its concepts or if it’s just not for me.

  • Continue watching loads of movies.

Success! Last year, I watched three hundred and thirty-three films. It’s probably the most I’ve ever seen in a year, and I’m proud of this accomplishment; movies are an essential part of my life. I may not go for a similar number this year, but I’ll be watching a lot of interesting stories.

  • Work on planning my honeymoon.

Failure. My honeymoon continues to be a victim of COVID. It’s hard to think about such a grand undertaking when there’s still such a great health risk. Since this illness will go away, I’m going to have to learn to be okay with traveling again.

  • Read more fun books.

Success! What a success! Since I started tracking how many books I read each year, the most I ever achieved was twelve. Last year, I read thirty-two. Reading has always been a passion, so I’m thrilled with how this went. I attribute this number to my decreased time on social media.

  • Devote more time to connecting with people on Micro.blog.

Failure. Objectively, I didn’t do well with this at all. Frankly, I don’t feel too bad about it. I love everyone on Micro.blog, but removing social media from my life means I’m missing out on half of the experience there. At this point in my life, that feels like an acceptable trade-off. In a way, this failure is also a success.

  • Say yes to more things and, conversely, say no to more things.

Neutral. Honestly, we should all probably be saying no to more things. Time is precious. I’m going to keep practicing this one.

  • Improve my sleep schedule.

Neutral. I don’t often feel worn out, but my increasing number of afternoon naps probably says a lot.

  • Get more fresh air in my lungs.

Neutral. Not a failure, but I’d still like to spend more time outside (weather permitting).

iii.

I feel heartened by my progress with last year’s theme. I found a good direction in which to head, and I’d like to continue this positivity.

That said, there are still some aspects of my life that could use some adjusting. My focus on the areas listed above has meant that I lacked focus on other important parts. While mental health was an important consideration I was making last year, I let my physical health slip further. I may currently be in the worst physical shape of my life. Early 20s Sean would not be happy with mid-30s Sean. He’d probably also be running easy laps around my currently huffing self.

I need to adjust and fix that which has gotten out of balance.

With that in mind, I’ve decided that 2023 will be my Year of Recalibration. I will strive to improve a few key parts of my life that need to head back in the right direction. I won’t have such a long list as last year. Honestly, I think I let it get out of hand. The relatively small number of goals I’ll focus on will be enough of a challenge.

iv.

I’m going to spend my recalibration year working on these areas:

  • Endeavor to lose weight.

Ideally, this will mean losing an average of a pound a week throughout 2023. If I can lose fifty-two pounds by the end of the year, then I’ll be ecstatic and proud of myself. As ever, the goal I’m setting isn’t a line drawn in the sand. I want to lose weight; the total amount isn’t the most important aspect.

  • Find a satisfying job.

Many of my mental health issues stem from my lack of a reliable and healthy income. This needs to change, both for my current well-being and my future financial security. If that can be done with a job that’s also personally fulfilling, then all the better.

  • Further explore the world of transcendent music.

Last year, I devoted a lot of time to watching great movies and tv shows and reading excellent books. Most of my listening time goes toward podcasts. But I also love music and would like to find more inspiring audio. If I’m going to pay so much for Apple Music every month, then I should get all I can out of the service.

  • Continue to work on understanding how I’m feeling.

This should go without saying, but it’s an important reminder. I don’t want to squander what I accomplished last year by losing focus on what I feel and how I react to the world around me.

Last year has passed and another year is staring us straight in the face. It’s impossible to know what 2023 might bring us,1 but what we can do is try to make the most out of what happens. The hopeful guidelines of my theme this year will give me a good path to start following.

Here’s to a wonderful year for us all!


  1. Please, please, please no more Twitter nonsense. ↩︎