I’m sitting here and looking back at 2021 to decide how my 2022 should look. In looking back though I see a tremendous cascade of bad luck, failed attempts, and mistreatment that has led me to one of the lowest points in my life. Now, I’m not a “new year, new me” kind of person. If you want to change, the best way to do it is for intrinsic reasons, not because a calendar reset.
But things absolutely need to change, and 2022 is showing a lot of potential, sort of like seeing land when you’ve been shipwrecked for days, clinging to a piece of flotsam. My ship definitely sank, with loss, repeated vehicle failures, an inability to find a place to settle in, an absence of friends or familiar faces, and downright shitty people.
I tend to do this annual posts for me, to have my thoughts written down and real, not just in my head. So if you’re bored and want to follow along you can, but this isn’t a post made for entertainment.
The biggest kick in the face I received was from my girlfriend Kate. After 6 1/2 years together, she decided she was unable to have a committed relationship. Getting cast aside like that is life-changing: there’s no two ways about it. When you give so much to someone and they decide it’s no longer of value to them, it’s going to hurt.
The second kick was having my renters trash my house and take off like thieves in the night. That was a big mistake on their part, but making them feel the sting of retribution doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been squatting in my old house for months doing repairs and clean up. I left this area because I was done with it, and I don’t find it any better after returning. I love the desert, but not the city.
The silver lining is that the housing market has continued to climb, and although the work is much more than it should be, the house was going to need repairs before sale anyway. The timeframe is off, but the concept is the same: sell the house, wait for the market to correct, and buy a house up in the mountains. I’ve been closely following housing trends ins ten different geographic areas. While California’s mountains and Oregon’s coast still lead in the hunt for a new home base, I am still looking at parts of NM and AZ, as well as MT, CO, and even the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
I’ll have this house sold pretty early on in the year, so when I look at 2022 as a whole it’s harder to declare what I’m trying to accomplish. For sure one thing is the book. I wanted to have it outlined and a few chapters drafted by now, but I haven’t touched it. Since Kate and I split in July, it’s hard to see the framework of the book right now, as the wound remains fresh. Any good work of nonfiction needs to be tremendously honest and open, and telling the story of our highs and lows on the 2hearts1horizon trip is a big ask.
So my declaration for 2022 is simply to do more writing, with some of it being for the book but the real goal being to write for more outlets and try for more feature-length work. This is a noble goal since no matter where I hole up for the winter and wait for the housing market to correct, I’ll be able to focus on writing. I can live somewhere cheap since it’s only temporary, which will let me focus on writing, which never pays as much as the odd jobs I do on the side.
Another thing that is a priority is to get my possessions in order. What I own is either scattered around or was purchased to use for something that no longer makes sense. So, while I need to sell the house as the number one thing, I also have to juggle some vehicles, then purchase replacements that are more aligned with my upcoming goals. I’ll need a better mile-eating machine than my current 1993 Honda ST1100. Though it’s actually really nice for its age, I need something newer and with different design elements.
The next focus is on my physical health, which has taken a hit due to long running depression that was exacerbated by the events of this year. I can’t make any specific goals though, which I think is highly important since I use the SMART principle, the “S” standing for “specific” and the “M” measurable. “Be more healthy” is not a measurable goal. You can look back and declare success of failure, but you can’t track it in real time.
But until I know where I’m holing up, I don’t know if a gym membership or a daily hike or dirtbike ride or purchasing weights for a home gym is a goal. I don’t know if eating healthier would do more good than exercise until I see what the kitchen looks like. This goal will have to get developed later, and “be healthier” will have to be a placeholder until I can get more specific.
In fact, at this moment in time, things are too broad-focused for me to make much of anything specific. I even applied for a job down near Los Angeles. If I get that I’ll have a totally different set of rules to follow, since I won’t be holing up in a cheap area, but I will be making enough money to actually afford life in a big city. I’d also have more focus on friends and acquaintances though, since the bulk of my friends live in the LA metro area.
But as much as fate and the unknown want to act as the rough seas that throw me about and decide my course, being in this house and getting it ready for sale is my Gilligan’s Island. I’m not at the mercy of the winds and waves, just my own folly. I can lash together a metaphorical life raft from bamboo and coconuts, because when the house sells I’ll have the financial mobility that opens up many options. That’s as good a life raft as I’ve had in years; I an usually so broke I have to take the lesser of two evils… like steering around a storm-front, but also being forced off course.
This will be a bit more like sailing that bamboo raft to a port and provisioning a new ship. I’ll be able to chart damn near any course I want. I’ll be by no means rich, but I’ll go from treading water to being captain of my own ship. She may be a small sailboat and not some 300ft mega-yacht, but she’ll have all I need and will be a far sight better than hanging onto the flotsam of 2021.
So there it is. Sell the house, get hunkered down, get the physical possessions in alignment with the new goals, and take better care of my body. Last but not least is to write more and get a little work done on the book. Some of these are specific and I have a timeframe already nailed down, while some must remain amorphous until I can get a chain of events set in motion. But despite things seeming uneasy, the waves of 2022 look far less formidable than those of 2021, where I was repeatedly dashed against the rocks and left stranded.
I will have more tools in the toolbox, much more permission to be focused on me in an almost selfish way, and there is no second storm on the horizon. I’ll push forth a little bit each day, since I’m still by no means on solid ground, but I am at least shoring things up. 2022 is about potential, and I need to be in a position to put myself out there so things can happen. As the saying goes, a ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are built for.
My life would be easier if I just gave up and became a recluse, but that is not what a life is for.