This has been a bit of an odd year for me.
Go back in time. The year 2020 was bad, one of my worst years. Then in 2021, I made up a lot of lost ground. I got vaccinated, started on antidepressants, went to Iceland, got a new job, and moved to Colorado. It turned into one of my best years.
I think I had forgotten what it’s like for a year to be “just fine”, but that’s what I got in 2022 – and when you’re used to extremes, maybe normal feels weird.
All that to say: Not much changed for me this year, which is good. I have a job I love and that pays well. My role at work has shifted but aligns with the same goals I had when I started. I got to visit my parents and siblings several times, and since we’re a close family this was a refreshing change from the last few years. I visited my good friends in the Rio Grande Valley for the first time since before COVID, but otherwise I was relatively grounded in one place.
Particularly beneficial was an improved standard of living. My theme for 2022 was “Year of Upgrades”, and I embraced it — largely in the sense of improving my creature comforts. My desktop PC is vastly better than it was a year ago, now equipped with a shiny new graphics card, processor, and motherboard. The apartment is well-furnished and nicely decorated. I just got a new car. I’m doing all of this while building a reasonable savings balance and a retirement account.
In the material sense, this has unquestionably been a good year. I also recognize the profound luck, privilege, and blessings in my life that have paved the way here. As such, I’ve recently been scaling back my personal consumer buys and boosting my charitable giving. I intend to continue that in the next year.
Separate from buying cool stuff, I also worked on some great projects this year:
- Family photo digitization. See my notes in this post. There’s more left to do, but I have a system in place now that can readily process new photos as we find them.
- Family history document digitization. A closely-related effort to my work with the family photos. Way back in junior high, I did a genealogy project. I gathered a plastic tub full of documents and pictures from my family history. This year, at long last, I scanned and shared those files. This is another project I will probably continue on-and-off for a while.
- Cleaning and transcribing a taped interview with a WWII veteran. This is one I would absolutely love to share more detail about someday, but for now it’s not mine to share. I’ll just say that if you have old audio tapes, it’s generally possible to read them into a computer using Audacity and then transcribe them using Whisper. Pretty amazing project.
- Migrating from Twitter to Mastodon. I created accounts on a few Mastodon servers and hooked up my blog to a little instance for easy sharing in the Fediverse. Twitter is basically read-only to me at this point and Mastodon is where I post social content now. Maybe one day that will change — who knows?
- Dabbled with Stable Diffusion to do some AI image generation. Not much to say here and I don’t have any good outputs to share. But I do think AI technology like this is an impressive new tool for creating digital art.
Projects are never completed, they’re just abandoned, but these are at least honorably abandoned. Several produced seeds for new projects that I’ll tend to next year.
While 2022 felt oddly subdued compared to its predecessors, it was a good year for me by any reasonable metric. There is more to do in 2023, but I ended up in a pretty good place.
I wish you and your loved ones a happy new year and a lovely 2023.