Assumed audience: People who like reading year-in-review summaries. (I always assume that’s mostly just me, a few years in the future!)
A bit of context: For many years now, I have made it my habit to write up one of these summaries. In this case, I have tried to make it a bit more digestible by breaking into smaller chunks. You can find them all at the root of this little ‘series’.
In this, the final entry in my 2022 in Review series, I am going to hit the highlights of “the rest of life”: things not covered in the Reading, Writing, Public Speaking, or Professional entries. This is necessarily going to cover a lot of ground, but it’s also not going to cover a lot of the things that shaped these things: as in previous entries, I am leaving the personal/familial details private. Suffice it to say: the background to all of this was an immensely challenging year on that front as we dealt with multiple very significant (though now resolved, thankfully) health issues.
The net of that was that my time to do things outside work was significantly restricted — with eminently predictable results.
Overall, 2022 was a bit of a mixed bag for me in terms of artistic endeavors. In particular, my public output was very low overall; but I did manage to keep up a lot of work happening in private.
I spent a fair bit of time writing music this year. I also recorded some music this year. I hope to share that with the world at a later date, after hopefully finding a label with whom to publish it: a task that was on my to-do list for the fall, but which I simply did not have time or energy to pursue after my first contact (with an introduction, no less!) literally never replied to my email.
The composition work I did was in a bucket that I’m not yet willing to publicize. I’ve alluded to it enough: it’s a large-scale orchestral work. More than that, I do not want to say, because I am sick to death of talking about projects that I never complete. I wrote less of it this year than I hoped — a lot less — but I did not write none, and what I wrote was reasonably decent.
I also met a number of local musicians via a local arts society, and I have some hopes that will lead to opportunities to write for specific individuals and ensembles going forward, which is an opportunity I have not had since college.
I am actually fairly pleased with my photography from this year. There are two big categories of “win” for me here:
I started making serious progress at last on my much-built-up backlog of unedited photos. I have the problem of taking too many photos, feeling overwhelmed by the number of photos I took, and then failing to edit any of them. While I am still digging my way out of that, I did actually make serious headway on this… though I also piled up more backlog when we went to Disney World as a family in early summer.
While I did not have many opportunities for interesting photography, I made good use of the chances I did have. As a result, I took a number of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken this year, many of which are published on this site or on Glass. That included broadening out my palette in terms of both subject and editing approach. I am glad even of the things I tried which did not come out especially well: they fed into that general growth trajectory. While I do not have a coherent style yet, I feel like I am starting to get there.
The main downside this year was that my camera started having sensor issues at Thanksgiving — dropping out to only the red or only the green pixels. The main highlight of this year was the couple fun rentals I did: some gear for our Disney World trip and of the Leica Q2 last week… because of the aforementioned sensor issues. I’m hoping the repairs don’t cost me an arm and a leg, because I really love having my good camera handy, and really miss it when it’s not present.
Long-story short, this year was in the terrible-against-my-baseline bucket:
- I wanted to, but did not, run a half marathon.
- I wanted to, but did not, keep up a consistent habit of basic strength training with push-ups and pull-ups.
- I wanted to, but did not, lose five pounds.
- I wanted to, but did not, ride my bicycle more regularly (it literally never came down from where it is hanging this year).
Net: I did not run any race this year, and in fact ran only about half the miles I ran in 2021.
I will count it as something of a win, given the background challenges, that I managed not to gain weight this year, and that I managed to keep up some degree of running. Both of those came down to self-discipline: leaning on long-standing habits I have built up in years past. That said, I can see that it would be easy to let those continue to slide without reinvesting in those same habits and norms.
I haven’t talked a lot about finances publicly in the past, because I haven’t really been sure how to do so in a way that does not seem boastful or risk making others feel bad, but I want to start doing so in a measured and hopefully helpful way in the future. I was able to have a couple good conversations with other folks in tech in particular because of my role as a well-compensated senior engineer, and I think it’s valuable for a host of reasons to talk about finances in a Christian way — especially in the context of helping others think about their own finances, opportunities and challenges presented by financial “success” of whatever degree, and so on.
I am not currently at a point where I want to broadcast my finances here — that is just deeply fraught in a host of ways — but I am very glad to have very frank conversations about compensation and how we think about money and how we are trying to manage a modicum of wealth in a God-honoring way; feel free to get in touch.
The big thing for us this year was that we paid off our house, exactly four years after we bought it, courtesy of the aforementioned excellent compensation from LinkedIn. I continue to find that astonishing. I do not take it for granted for one second, and I do not necessarily expect the market for software engineers to stay this hot long-term or even medium-term. Indeed, my expectation of some sort of shift around software compensation is one reason we prioritized paying it off so quickly.
Another reason for the early payoff was that doing so affords us the opportunity to make other strategic long-term choices with our finances — possibly targeting “early retirement” (which in my case would look more like independent research and a lot more writing for the church and a lot more composing), actively looking at how we can invest in causes we care about, and so on, with no debt to worry about. That also radically changes what we can choose to do even in what jobs I choose to take in the future.
I also have not figured out how to write or talk about this except with close friends, but perhaps the single biggest change of our year was a change in church and denomination. At the end of February — after fully a year of praying and, frankly, agonizing over the decision — we left our old church. We visited a few places, but landed ultimately in the first new church we visited: Holy Trinity Anglican Church.
We have made more, and better, friends in this church than in any church I have ever attended. Our souls are nourished by the Word and sacraments every week. The liturgy is good for our souls, and our daughters love it so far. The community has been especially kind to us and has walked with us (despite being brand new!) through all the difficulties this year has entailed. And despite its novelty to our family, being Anglican has felt strangely… easy.
(This is where folks who know the drill here joke about this being extremely predictable for me in particular but for nerdy college-educated people like my family in general. You’re not wrong, but if you had told me a decade ago I would be extremely happy to be an Anglican I would have been extremely confused.)
Leaving our old church was hard, and the more so because we did not leave because it was a bad church. If anything, as I noted to Jaimie a few weeks ago: I take our leaving there as a mark of failure on my part. We were struggling there, but we were struggling there in no small part because of my own limitations. There were real challenges and frustrations facing us — but the causes of those challenges and frustrations are complicated, not matters of straightforward right-or-wrong — and so there is more to say here than I will address publicly. (I will talk with you about it… 1-on-1, if we are close friends or family, over coffee or whiskey or the like.) But the net was that my soul was in a bad spot, and that was proving very bad for our family’s spiritual health: and Holy Trinity has been the balm that my soul needed, and has been a place where we have so far flourished very much. I am grateful to God.
2022 was, when all is said and done, mostly just a year I’m glad to have behind us. Reflecting on it across these posts as I always do was helpful, though. Along with my private journaling, it helped me get a better sense of the good things the year entailed, as well as to have a solid sense of closure about its challenges.