After reading previous years reviews, looking for inspiration to tackle this one, I confirmed the importance of keeping discipline in completing them.
Because, the power of these reviews is that with them I can observe myself changing over time. If I allow just a little bit of slack and laziness to skip a review then all the context of this year and these moments slip away to faulty memory.
Without the review, memories from this year would be on a bed of shifting sands… how I felt, what I thought, what I cared about, my ambitions, and so much more. Because many times this year I have been concerned, anxious and disappointed woe-is-me in myself for not having achieved (yet again) the success that I feel like is in my bones, but I know that one day it will all be confirmed. Until then, I want to make sure the hard years are adequately recorded so I never forget just exactly how things were, because things even got a tad desperate this year. None of the creative pursuits made the point of monetisation, Activities Puerto Rico nets a tame dinner once a month, HFH ran dry of clients, the photography didn’t take off, I only sold one freelance journalistic article, the podcast grew but not enough and it all culminated with me doing something I swore would never happen in an earlier review. I relegated down the ladder and took a job as a ‘Sales Executive’ with a SaaS company, such was my ‘paying the bills’ insecurity.
This year has been one of constant comparison with those who are metrically performing better. I find myself constantly trying to compare my podcast, my twitter engagement, my LinkedIn, my writing, my potential (as if one can swap notes on potential with one they’ve never met). This is all psychological poison and despite my many attempts to forcefully stop these juxtapositions, they persist nonetheless.
And relating to this, I suppose Luke Burgis’s ‘Wanting’ started off the thematic of the year. I listened to it in January while scootering Las Palmas. It’s a book about Rene Girard’s ‘mimesis‘ and the idea that want we want is just us copying what others want.
I do a podcast with an incredible adventurer, all of a sudden, I am organising my life around making similar adventures to him. I learn about David Yarrow, all of a sudden, I am buying an expensive camera and re-organising my life around becoming a wildlife photographer. I interview Patrick Alley and Walt Bogdanich, all of a sudden I know that I simply must be and was destined to do investigative journalism.
Now, I think I am someone far more susceptible to memisis than others because of my extreme optimism which informs this sense that I almost know, like some hidden knowledge that deep down in my core anything is possible, I can actually be anyone I want to be. If I really wanted to do any of those things I just highlighted all it would take is a couple of years of sacrifice and discipline. But alas, I am then interrupted by another desire implanted upon me and the drive to achieve goal x is usurped by goal y. I am sure you have already jumped to the conclusion yourself, but the end of all this mimetic switching is one of stagnation. You dip your toe in everything but never fall beneath the shallows.
I met a terrific fella in the trailing months of Summer called Charles. He came to Gothenburg with one of my old mates and I rode the train over for a few days of booze. Turns out me and this Charles fella have quite a bit in common. I admire him. He’s a savvant data scientist. All of a sudden, my next few weeks are consumed by how can I learn data science and I am reading Hofsteder trying to understand the mathematical connection between music and computer science! Mimesis is powerful. I was hoping that by learning about it, putting a name to it, that would be enough to stop it in its tracks, I would be free to follow my own ambitions, my own desires. But alas, here I am, at the conclusion of 2022, a full year after I heaved in Burgis’s book and just as susceptible to shifting desires as ever.
I suppose the older and I get and the more comparisons with others I make the more I am confirming what older, wiser heads have been saying in public for generations.
To do something special requires discipline and sacrifice. You have to do 1 thing for a long time. Here I am doing 5 things, all the time. I daydream constantly, I just came back from a long walk through Nyckelviken where I talked with myself the entire time. I live too much in the future and do this despite the full awareness that this is subtracting from my present. I daydream that the podcast makes it. I make €100,000 an episode and can access anyone I want. With that money I can travel the world taking photos no-one else has access to. On my flights between photographic exhibitions I am uncovering the secrets of the underground economy and dirty supply chains and winning Pulizter prizes. Magazines like The Economist and newspapers like The New York Times are desperate for me to write for them. I play a huge role in the geothermal transition. I am putting Stanley Druken Miller’s investment performance to shame, I am an amazing husband, amazing father and I still have time to go on heavy boozers all over the world while my personality remains unaffected.
Sounds a bit delusional right?
This is all me just trying to explain how disappointing the day to day grind can be when you see everything you can achieve just beyond the horizon. If only x piece of serendipity or y amount of effort will make me realise and plan for it on a reasonable timeline.
I maintain forward momentum, optimism intact, but I am dragged to and fro repeatedly by the power of mimesis and my own lack of discipline and commitment.
Nee bother, onto the annual review!
There is this ridiculous moment with Normative (just wanted to include that here in case I forget). I then went down to the Polish/Ukrainian war zone. I write about it here. I discovered Norm MacDonald (my man of the year).
Details are then blurry, I am finding it hard to recall specific months. How can it be that I have no idea what happened in an entire month? But I am reminded by the great Roald Dahl – A life is made up of a great number of small incidents, and a small number of great ones. Much of my time this year was spend in solitary pursuit of the goals. I suppose that level of mundane monotony slips away the memory.
I went back to Australia for one of my best and oldest mates weddings. Was the MC. A role I took seriously and was desperate to get right. I was asked by another one of my oldest mates to host the procession of his wedding (you’ll hear more about that in the 2024 edition). Then I got back to Sweden to really tuck into the last half of the year. I applied for hundreds of jobs (my time in Australia really cemented the precarious balance of my finances), a company by the name of Upsales took me in, and now 4 months in, here I am reviewing the year.
In an amongst those big moments was the biggest year in ‘The Curious Worldview Podcasts’ short life so far…
- Tim Butcher
- Chris Miller
- Carlos Araque
- Ben Burgis
- Dick Smith
- John Perkins
- Martin Schibbye
- Bill Browder
- Mikael Syding
I am seeking sponsors/raising money to figure out how I can make possible one more thing… the WYAR podcast. Something I teased in the 2020 review, but something now I am now starting to realise the potential and reality of.
I Thought 2022 Would Be The Biggest Year In My Life (It Wasn’t) Will 2023?
Vem vet? (as they say in Sweden). Who knows? I know that with each additional year the cumulative value of what I have created the year before compounds. This gives me confidence, I think it will be a year of meaningful monetisation for my podcast and as well the best year of health in my life. A lean mean, athletic machine is the dream.
I know I have the woman I want. I know exactly what it is that I love to do and could happily create an entire life around, I think in some sense, just finding these things can be harder than realising them. Therefore I maintain extreme optimism. I know I will reach the levels of these absurd dreams that I aspire to.
Undoubtedly, memisis has not finished having its way with me. How many more times will I waste time with pursuits that cool down as quickly as they burned?
Health & Vanity
Lost a few kegs this year, weighing in around 97KG at the moment. Been more disciplined with eating, much more disciplined with working out. But still plenty of room for improvement.
Got my Blue belt in J-Jits, trained on average 3 days a week this year. Feeling ever more confident on the mats but also in myself. It is becoming so much plainer to me that feeling attractive, light and capable of self defence 100% correlates with; how confident you are walking around, how receptive other people are to you, how much easier it is to really fall into your personality.
People instinctually respect you more.
This has more potential than I care to share.
Not enough. I think about it almost everyday and some days it’s overwhelming.
This year I’ve planned to walk around Taiwans perimeter with no money or plan, relying on the hospitality of locals. I planned a horse trek through Kyrgyzstan. Surfing off the Cornwalls. Investigating suicide in Greenland. Travel, culture and adventure are constantly top of mind, and deeply at my core the thing which I both want to do most and am best at.
See ya next year 😉