Bi-Annual Review: December 2021

Although Yesterday’s Tomorrow Might Not Resemble Today… I Am As Optimistic As I Have Ever Been

Unsurprisingly, much has changed again since I wrote about the highs of Mexico just six months ago.

I sit in an as uncertain a position as ever, but despite the complete insecurity, I sense enormity on the horizon. Optimism understates it.

2021 was the most solitary year of my life. Life in Stockholm is unlike life in Sydney, Amsterdam, Mexico or really any other place I have been in my life. Things are expensive, people are organised, spontaneity is non-existent.

It probably doesn’t help that I live out in the burbs, and distancing me from ‘downtown’ is an uncomfortable walk along the highway to a bus stop. Nevertheless, such is the charm of the Swedish culture and life. I am starting to understand how they can be so exceptional a country and culture.

Spotify, Klarna, Skype, North Volt, Azelio, Espresso House, Ikea, Volvo, Lundin Energy plus more and more truly exceptional companies are testament to how productive this small 10,000,000 populous can be. Name a per capita output more impressive.

They don’t do things that distract from work or family. That is it. Work or family. Mates are a small group of people who you see a couple of times a month (at best). Nights out end early. Dinners rarely get out of hand. Organised and insular. These are the traits that best describe social life in Stockholm.

But the Swedes are fun, don’t get me wrong. They are brilliant to booze with, speak with and share a meal with. But since organised and insular, these times are infrequent.

Weak Knees

I again dislocated my knee yesterday. That makes for two dislocations in 2021. A bad year for my left knee. Again while practising Jiu-Jitsu, and again, really by no fault of my sparring partner it was opposite Razvan – the former International Rugby Player from Romania who is racked with guilt for having inflicted injury on me twice in one year.

It turns out my knee caps don’t slot neatly into the allotted groove on my knee. It is part of my genetic makeup that this groove is smoother than most other people’s might be. Therefore my patella is subject to slippage should the force be just right and my leg extended.

You can only imagine how frustrating this is for me.

Comparing Myself To Others

On several different occasions this year (more than I care to admit), I have noticed a baseline anxiety that would sit with me long through the night

Money has been a perennial and understandable source of anxiety for me this year. Much of my time and effort have been in attendance to activities and practices yielding no income. But there was this other, much deeper and more effecting anxiety that came from comparison.

I was comparing myself. My podcast. My blog. My Youtube channel. My photography. My Instagram. My success and my content to others.

Now, I am not all in on the binary notion that comparison is absolutely the thief of joy. I think a certain level of comparison is healthy. How else are you to judge your output in comparison to the market? But when you start asking yourself the question. Why am I not getting as many downloads as this person… why is no one noticing what I am doing? You start affecting your own mental health.

I Confess

It is now the 3rd of the New Year. We are several days into 2022 and I have yet to wrap up 2021. Now, admittedly, this review isn’t going to be read by anyone apart from myself, so, who do I actually need to be accountable to?

I couldn’t find the time to write this review. At least to anywhere near the degree I would like it to be.

Perhaps I will manage to make a better effort for self-reflection in June, but for now, I will just wrap this annual review up with the following energy.

I am so extremely, unbelievably, excited for the potential of 2022.

In 2021 I got down 60 episodes of the podcast, learned so much, made more professional connections in one year than I had made my entire life combined. Photography entered my life and could end up being one of my defining outputs for work.

2022 yields potential I am not prepared to say out loud.

Speak soon.


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