Happy New Year Everyone!
This year I spent NYE in the woods with some friends. No Internet, a Hot Tub, a v.Naughty Puppy and loads of booze. With several other set of friends testing positive for Omicron over the Christmas break we were really lucky to all make it to the cabin safe and sound. Glad we managed it. Despite the trip only being a long weekend, I feel like I’ve had a holiday.
I should preface this with the fact that 2021 hasn’t been all terrible.
It’s been a year full of laughter and love. I am ever so lucky to have shared it all with Eve.
2021 Was a Fucking Terrible Year
2021 has been terrible in the sense that I haven’t achieved any of my goals. Zilch, Zero. I didn’t even finish any of the major things I wanted to do in 2021 either. I just feel that I haven’t pushed my life forward in any reasonable way. I’ve been wrestling with all sorts of self generated blockers and bullshit that arrises from them. Mostly I suppose I’ve been dealing with what Steven Pressfield calls Resistance in the War of Art. Disappointing is probably a better word to use.
Just how disappointing the year had been only really became apparent to me in its closing weeks. As winter arrived I ended up dedicating 4 of the last 6 episodes of Permanently Moved to processing the year. Coming to terms with it. All the procrastination, anxiety, unmet goals etc
2020 was probably for me, defined for me by states of new possibility and exception. But 2021 was a stagnant pool.
As the weeks and months ticked by, time seemed behave like thick syrup. I struggled to make firm decisions, and failed to find routes though. To make gesture in any direction beyond where I’ve been for the last 12 months felt like drag a limb though treacle. The state of the world around me seemed to cling on with every attempt to place one foot in front of the other. I was just sitting around waiting for stuff to happen. It’s as fine strategy as any, but life is more fulfilling when you are make things happen for yourself. I’m going to tell young people when I’m old that 2020 was great, but 2021 was terrible.
I realise that the above sounds like I was depressed. I have wondered. But considering the state I had been mentally pre-lockdown 2020 I really don’t think it was. I’ve been very aware that the resistance to committing to the things I want to do and areas that I want to explore. Conscious prevarication. Creative and professional paralysis. On reflection I think 2021 was a year I experienced a massive personal crisis. It’s been 12 years since my last one. To make a decision and move forward with confidence risked me finding out that I am not the sort of person I believe myself to be. But fuck it. Maybe I’m someone different. Fuck around and find out in 2022.
Despite what the photos suggest below 2021 was spent mostly indoors. Peering out upon the world via technological portals as to the state of it. None of them it turned out could be trusted. The media and social media continued its decade long human centipedel spiral. The shit eating feedback loops have just become faster and tighter with every passing month.
Status chasing and clout farming continues to erode the social sphere in really depressing ways. I don’t have much hope at all that it’s going to improve at all.
Honestly just thinking about it is making me annoyed…
A Rant About Social Media
The social seas were choppy and frothy as all hell all year. If the metaverse exists already (which it does) then Twitter is an online ghetto for people addicted to stressing their limbic system and burning out their amygdalas – its a hell right out of cyberpunk.
The amount of wasted breath, and rage over whatever it is that one needs to signal for status about in the current moment was baffling and really depressing.
In the old days it used to be if what you were seeing on Twitter annoyed you it was because you were following the wrong people. In 2021, Twitter shows you one step beyond the feed. So you see whatever hell the people you follow who follow other people are going on about. There’s no escape no matter how often you mark tweets as not relevant or not interesting.
At the end of the day none of that matters, especially not to me. The main character or trend on Twitter only matters to the people who participated in that particular battle in the culture war. Perhaps twitter should gamify this. Give out medals for participation in Bean Dad discourse or a Trophy to people who fucked over Isabel Fall, and then another one for pretending they didn’t contribute to the shit storm in any way despite receipts.
Maybe some kind of limited edition badge? unique and digitally signed to a Twitter address. Maybe even displayed in some sort of gallery?
Speaking of NFTs and Web3: What went down around this subject on social media last year was absolutely disgraceful. Behaviour by people on all sides of the culture war engagement on this reached new highs of stupidity, outrage and really terrible social shaming.
Thank god some cool heads like Mat and Holly are out there.
It’s not just social media though is it? There’s still the shit swallowing feedback loop that causes all the brainworms in the first place. Just today I read an article in the Metro about Blockchains and NFT’s thats so full of half truths its actively misleading. To read that article as ‘news’ would result in being less informed about the subject at the end than when you started reading it. That is if you can read the thing in amongst all the adverts and blocks of content trying to get you to read something else.
I can only assume at this point that the same thing is going on across all media. If every article I’ve read about subjects I don’t know about contain as many errors as the ones that I do have some expertise in… the scale of miss-information in our society is mind-boggling.
All the light and heat and unproductive rage of 2021 about NFTs hasn’t stopped Samsung putting NFTs in its new TV’s though hast it? Perhaps market places for collecting and displaying high def digital art might finally become a thing. Who knows maybe even artists might make some serious money. I’m interested and optimistic. They should partner with Art Station or something.
I have 14 unposted drafts from 2021 all in the Dimensino category mostly about the Dweb and NFTs. I wasn’t scared to post them, I guess due to the paralysis mentioned above just couldn’t be bothered. Whats the point?
I will have been on Twitter for 14 years in 2022. It’s no longer to my tastes. Yes I’ve met a lot of IRL friends on there. But it’s become a dangerous social poison. I think I might be finally done with it.
My Attention is Sovereign and I wish to spend exactly zero time paying attention to – and getting annoyed about other people getting annoyed about – things that I can do absolutely nothing about or have control over.
I caught Covid in July, it sucked. It was only a matter of time – it is a global pandemic after all. The following months August though mid October were an absolute right off both physically and mentally. Dealing with brain fog was hard. I still have a slightly altered sense of smell which is annoying, and I also had a huge allergic reaction recently – supposedly its dust mites, which apparently is also long covid related. In addition for the first 3 weeks after coming out of isolation even a 10min walk around the block would require me to have a lie down for an hour. It would totally wipe me out. I’m still not convinced my fitness has fully returned either.
Speaking of health, I had another colonoscopy in 2021 and everything was fine. Meaning I’m now 4/4 for cameras in *a hole* in as many years. My endoscopies last year and the treatment I got following them meant I’ve only experienced a couple of instances of aphagia in 2021. Which means despite catching Covid and being miserable for 2.5 months, my Crohn’s still seems to be in remission and I didn’t choke to death. So no serious problems, happy days.
The best thing I’ve purchased this year thats improved my personal quality of life this year has been my vertical mouse. Its been 6 weeks so far and my wrist pain is feeling so much better. I can even put some weight on it, if it continues to improve I’ll do the 100 press ups challenge again.
In past years I have shared stats on all sorts of things. The number of words written on the blog, number of words in my diary, podcast downloads, blog views, how many hours of meditation I’ve done during the year… all sorts of things.
But honestly it doesn’t seem worth it to me this year. Not because I don’t want to share them, but because 2021 was the year I realised I’m over quantification. Stats in-and-of-themselves are mental traps. They become proof of work, a source of self gratification.
If you are doing something brings you joy then keep doing it, if it doesn’t – stop doing it. It really is simple as that.
In 2022 I’m only going to pursuing things that I hope will bring me joy in the doing, rather than in having done.
Matt Webb wrote recently over on interconnected about the trap that stats and second guessing ones audience
With email newsletters you can get obsessed with “audience” and making each edition “worth” hitting your readers’ inboxes… but with blogging you can let the idea lead. There’s just enough open air to keep you honest. Only do write regularly, otherwise each post becomes an event.
It really rang a bell with me and I’ve been thinking about it a lot whilst walking in the woods in the rain. I think instead of stats, I’m going to care about vibes.
I’d like to make ‘creating stuff online’ a full time endeavour. With the kind support of people like you, that ambition is slowly becoming a reality. Supporting me at any level will allow me to do and make more.
The Ministry Of My Own Labour
I’ve written a ton of commissioned work this year, some of which has been published so far, most of it hasn’t.
I’ve done some fun projects in my professional life, but I’m thinking it might be more fun to … actually have a real job (?!?). One that has real goals, objectives and timelines that extend beyond 6-12 weeks.
I’ve realised that the things I care deeply about are things that no one else cares about, so I should just write and talk about them more.
I’m really pleased that public speaking picked up again in 2021. It’s one of my favourite things to do.
My slow sad country band started rehearsing again in 2021. We’re recording an EP soon. I can’t wait to play some gigs.