In review: 2021

Discipline is doing what you hate to do, but nonetheless doing it like you love it.

— Mike Tyson

If I had to pick a theme for this year, it was mostly about discipline.

As the covid-19 pandemic continued on, our household figured out our standing operating procedure. Some practices were discarded, such as leaving packages in the garage for a few days or wiping down groceries. Those practices seem silly now, but in the beginning they fell into the “this sucks, but it can’t hurt” territory.

Other practices, such as masking indoors, avoiding large crowds, working from home and putting off in-person gatherings, are part of The Way We Do Things. We put our eggs in the “we hope this vaccine pans out” basket, and we were disciplined about our practices.

It seemed to have worked. Time marched on, actions remained disciplined, and we were able to keep everyone in the household from getting sick. My family is fully vaccinated, and everyone is physically healthy. Life is good.

The thing I learned this year about discipline is that it can be a freeing process. One of the other disciplined things I wanted to do in 2021 was to document every day with a picture of something I found interesting. I posted my experience to my Instagram. Every day, a picture. Every day, an experience.

What I found was that we had a good year. We lived life. It was different than in the before times, but it was still full of experiences. I’m very happy I decided to document the year in pictures, because it achieved the goal of giving me the ability to look back and say, “Where did the year go?” Even in pandemic times, it was still good. I’ve certainly had worse years (about 2/3 of the year 2019 was awful for me).

Goals for 2022

I’ve got some specific goals I’m shooting for in 2022:

  • Visit two more states with the family
  • Partially finish our basement
  • Re-stain our deck
  • Write and self-publish a book
  • Read 10 books
  • Go to three concerts

In addition, I have some one less-specific goal that I would really like to work on, but I realize I’ll need to have some more specific components to make it happen.

Covid has made me realize I need to take my health more seriously. In the past, I’ve misconstrued health to mean “lose weight.” While true that losing weight can have benefits, it’s only part of the picture. My Apple Watch has been telling me for awhile that my cardio health is not great. I would like to bring that measurement up to a more acceptable level. I’m also incredibly inflexible. I want to be physically stronger (I used to lift weights regularly). I’m unhappy with this diminished physicality that has happened in the last few years (which started before covid).

Mental health has been a challenge as well in the pandemic. While we have kept our family healthy physically, there’s certainly some challenges with regard to mental health, and I want to work to improve that as well for my whole family. I have also dealt with a bit of loneliness, as many of my co-workers have participated in The Great Reshuffle. I’ve said goodbye to many I have worked with for years, and while I’m happy for their continued success, seeing them depart when we’re doing a lot of remote work has added to increase loneliness. It now takes more work to overcome that, but it’s worth doing.

So, I say to hell with the scale. A mirror and asking myself “How am I feeling?” is all I really need. To get where I want to go, I’m going to need to figure out some specific steps. As this excellent comment said, you need process based goals, because without a process, you’ll never achieve you desired outcomes. That’s the part I need to figure out, and fast.

A Prediction for 2022

Lastly, a prediction for a new year: covid will become manageable in 2022 and we’ll move to a more endemic phase by the end of the year.

For now, it appears the Omicron variant is more communicable but less devastating. This week, there were two drugs approved for treating covid, which should help alleviate the burden on the healthcare system. The virus will spread, but many will be able to ride it out at home. We’ll figure out a way to live with covid, because like influenza, covid is here to stay.

We’re certainly neck deep in a new world. Here’s to 2022 and the possibility of a better future. Because really, when you’re at the bottom, there’s only one way to go from there.

Stay safe!