2022 is the year the pandemic died and everything sort of began again: work, social life, travel. I began the year in a mini-lockdown and am ending it with a series of Christmas parties with family from overseas. But despite the grand reopening, I crossed an awkward milestone this year: not a single post on this blog.
Social media on periphery of social life
Along with widely-publicised problems that hit platforms in 2022, my usage of social media really tanked this year. Perhaps it’s because I use it for work so often, to the point where even casual browsing seems like a task. I’ve almost stopped updating my Instagram, and the only platform I use diligently for personal and work reasons is LinkedIn.
I also completed what I’d call the great behind-the-scenes migration web host migration. In July 2022, my three-year contract with my then-web host ended. Not wanting to suffer a 50% increase in hosting fees, I switched web host to Exabytes, who also manage my domain.
This was the first time I’ve done a manual migration. It was a nerve-wrecking, complicated process for a non-IT person like me. Thankfully, this site is very light – it is literally just a blog – so total downtime was just about three days.
However, Exabytes as a web host has more down time than my previous host. There have been instances – twice this year – when the site was offline for a day or more, with no clear solution save a call to customer service.
Suffering the dual consequence of my drift away from social media and real-world host issues, my discipline to update has lapsed.
A year of return?
The idea was this: if I have a website to update, I’d be prompted to write more.
But that hasn’t happened. Instead, I’m facing the exact opposite: I write much less now.
Yet 2022 was an eventful, productive and – if I may use the word – stable.
After the drama and Covid-enforced work-from-home situation that was 2021, I stayed in my job for a whole 2022. There was no workplace drama. I struggled to adapt, but I learnt so many new things at work this.
In 2022, I also decided I want to settle down with the lady I’m currently dating. Again, no drama: just a talk, an agreement on a timeline, and now we’re looking for houses.
In January, I began a new hobby: learning Arabic calligraphy in the Chinese style, from a teacher in China, via Zoom. Then, in August, loosening Covid-19 restrictions meant I resumed competitive running again. I did two races that month and while I’m not anywhere close to my peak in 2015, competitive running is always a welcome distraction from the mundane.
In 2022, I began to travel again – twice. In July, I finally got on a plane with my partner and spent five days in Kuching, Malaysia. We hiked and overnighted at Bako National Park, ticking off a major bucket list item.
Later in the year, I returned to Turkiye, covering Gaziantep, Kapadokya and, my favourite city, Istanbul. As the last city I transited in during my return from Lebanon in the early days of the pandemic, returning felt symbolic. Like a closure.
It’s not that nothing happened in 2022, and that’s why I didn’t write. Perhaps I didn’t write because, for the first time in a while, I’ve enjoyed living.
Reading in 2022
I’ll end my yearly posts with some of the best books I’ve read this year. For the second year in a row, my reading preferences trend towards non-fiction or Sci-Fi and Fantasy.
- House of Stone, Anthony Shadid – Returning from the diaspora, a Lebanese man rebuilds his grandmother’s house, explores family history and tries to survive early-2000s Lebanon in Marjaayoun, southern Lebanon
- You Sexy Thing, Cat Rambo – A team of mercenaries-turned-chefs accidentally steal a high-tech ship with a stowaway on board.
- Stranger Country, Monica Tan – An Australian-Chinese lady travels the Outback in Australia tracing the history of Asian immigration and Aboriginal heritage
- Ten Low, Stark Holborn – An ex-con on a desert planet is forced to take on and mentor a wounded government soldier that may or not be the most lethal living weapon in the galaxy.
- Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls, Nina Renata Aron – What is co-dependency, and how does caring too much for others ruin our relationship with them? Nina Renata Aron illustrates this with her relationship with her drug addict husband.
- Nine Quarters of Jerusalem, Matthew Teller – The most detailed travelogue I’ve read this year. Teller explores the unique history of the holy city of Jerusalem, and all its multi-layered ethnic and religious complexity.
- A Pilgrimage to Eternity, Timothy Egan – Fearing he’s losing his faith, the writer – practicing Catholic – walks from Canterbury to Rome to try to understand why people in the heartland of Christianity no longer believe.
Thanks… if you’re still reading. And see you in 2023!