ASCII art "Hello 2023 World!"

Hello 2023 World

Another year recedes into the horizon and a new year dawns upon us. I’ve been thinking about what to make of the past couple of years and also how to look forward to the next. It’s been a while since I last posted so let’s get back as I share my commentary of the past, present, and future…

Welcome Back!

First let me say that I’m happy to be writing a blog post again. My last post was August of 2021 – about 1.5 years ago. Too much time has past and it never sat right with me to have an absence this long from blogging.

Where Have You Been?

I’m still alive, not sick or injured, and nothing catastrophic has happened to me. Since 2020, many things have changed in the world. You may be familiar with some of these changes:

  • COVID-19 – A global pandemic that strongly impacted daily life in a direct manner for about 1.5 years. As of this writing it is in a different phase but still impactful.
  • Social distancing – the effects are more than just physical. Even basic greetings were done away with.
  • Lockdowns – if you would have told me in 2019 that a local mayor or state official could order you to stay in your house or else I would not have believed you.
  • Masks everywhere – inconsistently advised and after a while contentious. We have a need to see people’s faces but were deprived.
  • Civil unrest – demonstrations, riots, protests, etc. and pent up rage among the population.
  • Upheaval of school – for a solid year schools were either remote or greatly altered. Students and parents have had to endure this hardship.
  • Social isolation mostly brought about by COVID and non-stop work from home (WFH). Travel also became must more of a hardship.
  • Work from home as the norm.
  • Mass media – since everyone was stuck at home this became more of a shared outlet to connect us but all it did was polarize, confuse, and agitate us.
  • Groupthink and conformity – when fish are threatened they may school with many others to avoid being picked out of the herd by a predator. This dynamic has exploded and deposited many in their own echo chamber.
  • Censorship – I’ve never seen so many posts taken down, videos removed, content suppressed.
  • Stockpiling and price gouging on products of all sorts.
  • Inflation at the highest levels many have seen in their lifetimes. More money has been printed in 2 years than many might think.
  • Homes and cars have entered a bizarre world and drug some complementary products and services with them.
  • The stock market bubble burst and returned to more sober historic levels.
  • Mental health – none of the above is good for one’s mental health. The basics of a healthy lifestyle, e.g. having a routine, waking up the same time early, going to bed consistently at a good time, eating a well balanced diet, moderating alcohol intake, minimizing noise and news, avoid excessive screen time, exercise, and having a working network of people you can see and interact with in daily life instead of Zoom. All of these were thrown for a loop.

When the fundamentals are off more advanced fine-tuning is just wasted effort.

None of the items above am I intending to provide judgement upon. If it looks that way it is because simply naming them produces that response. Sometimes we have to put a name to it regardless of the additional baggage that comes with it.

All of this has built up and produced a delayed response in me. I didn’t realize it at first – I tend to be slow to start something but a good closer once I get a head of steam going. The effects that people were having early in the pandemic (e.g. weight gain, isolation, blurred work-life balance) didn’t affect me personally until a year later. Mostly I just worked and that kept some of this at bay. After all, when you’re working hard every day, late nights, and weekends, who has time to stress about the world?

For as much as I like to read and write, it has been challenging to muster the desire to blog. At first it was due to incessant working. Then it devolved into a post-pandemic burnout. I’m not sure what it’s final form will be but the burnout has moved to both malaise and a re-evaluation of self.

It’s not all doom and gloom. I think we come to find that our dark ages have a bit of light within then that goes unnoticed until it passes. Some things seem only visible in hindsight.

Where Do We Go Next?

Remember those “choose your own adventure” books in school? I think it is time to make a move. Take action to accomplish something on your own terms instead of all the bad things that get thrown at you. Reinvent yourself and adjust to the times. For as much as I wish I had a time machine to 2019 I’m afraid those days are gone and not coming back.

To that end, in several particular aspects of my life, I’ll be renewing and focusing. Part of that will be writing more here. More to come – stay tuned!

Goodbye 2022. Hello 2023!

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