My Year End Recap 2022. Life and Travel

Sometimes, I don’t know how my life got so good. When so many people are struggling, I’m thriving. But, nothing lasts forever. Especially the good times and good life. So I’m just going to ride the wave while it lasts.

I’ve noticed a trend in other people’s reactions when I tell them that my life is better than I deserve it to be. I get confused and unsure looks. Perhaps people aren’t used to hearing something other than “good” or “fine.” So a response like “life is too good” just isn’t normal for them. But life is so good right now. I can’t believe just how fortunate to be where I am at the end of 2022.

I’m definitely enjoying a slow, and breezy life. Uncomplicated. Unencumbered. No drama. Free.

But what is there to write about when life is going so well? Does non-fiction have to be depressing to be worthy of attention?

Life

Life hasn’t really changed much for me in the past few years. No major, life-altering events. Sometimes just floating along in the river of life, gracefully avoiding boulders and whirlpools of drama, unscathed is the good life.

I have been making good use of my spa membership. Spending time reading by a nice swimming pool when the weather is nice outside or by the fireplace when it’s cold and spooky.

The Metamorphosis
Les Mis

The majority of evenings, I get to see the Arizona sunset and amazing palm tree silhouettes.

Even the events that did leave a mark on my life, all came by invitation. I did not initiate any plans to travel anywhere. Each destination I arrived at, was at the request of others who asked for my presence.

Travel

For the first time in a long time (except for 2020) there was no incredible international trip. With that said, I keep convincing myself that Hawaii could count as it’s own foreign country. So remote. So culturally rich. So I’m glad I got to create some incredible memories “closer” to home.

Even though the only new destination was Maui, I still made new and lifelong memories in familiar places.

I’m not sure why, but this post about Maui received hundreds of views. Whether a post is read or not, I’m happy with the creation process. I do have more compositions in the works but it will likely be a while until I’m comfortable releasing them. If only I could tell when a composition is done.

Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, United States
Chicago, Illinois, United States

Photography

This year I photographed two events, took some product shots for a few local businesses, collaborated with a few models, and I shot my first wedding. A medieval/pirate themed wedding. That uniqueness is going to be hard to beat.

This is the first year that I’ve actually received some sort of compensation for my photography. I never ask but it does feel nice. Ultimately, I ended up donating the proceeds to charitable endeavors for the business.

Literature

Last year, I was a little disappointed with the amount of books I read. So this year, I read 29 books. 11 more books than last year. My goal was 20 so this was a winning year.

Everything IS beautiful, and nothing hurts

There were a few books that I just could not put down. No Country for Old Men, Tokyo Vice, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Lapvona, and The Jungle. The Metamorphosis broke me.

Favorite Books (in no particular order): The Metamorphosis, Tokyo Vice, Glass Hotel, Lapvona, The Jungle, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Slaughterhouse 5, Joyland, How High We Go in the Dark, The Setting Sun, and Billy Summers.

I did end up rereading Slaughterhouse 5, Fight Club, The Jungle, Les Miserable (abridged version), and Life of Pi. Not really planning to read them again this year. Mostly to talk about with other people. I wanted to revisit Slaughterhouse 5 to see if it would hit harder now that I’m older. It did and I enjoyed it much more this time through. As did The Jungle. Les Miserable was more impactful and enjoyable. Fight Club was funnier than I remember. I think Life of Pi is still a fantastic story but it didn’t resonate as much after reading it did ten years ago.

This coming year, I may reread some of my other books like 1Q84 by Murakami and The Picture of Dorian Gray (for the third time) by Oscar Wilde. But we’ll see. I do have my eye on a few titles going into 2023.

The Lincoln Highway – Amor Towles – 576 Pages
Dreamcatcher – Stephen King – 620
Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro – 303
No Country For Old Men – Cormac McCarthy – 310
The Institute – Stephen King – 557
Tokyo Vice – Jake Adelstien – 328
The Setting Sun – Dazai Osamu – 175
No Longer Human – Dazai Osamu – 177
Lullaby – Chuck Palahniuk – 260
Cloud Cuckoo Land – Anthony Doerr – 623
Celine – Peter Heller – 334
Evil: The Science Behind Humanities Darkness – Julia Shaw – 270
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson – 204
How Fascism Works – Jason Stanley – 200
Lapvona – Ottessa Moshfegh – 304
Holdout – Jeffery Kluger – 340
Billy Summers – Stephen King – 519
Glass Hotel – Emily St. John Mandel – 301
The Metamorphosis and Other Stories – Franz Kafka – 217
Slaughterhouse 5 – Kurt Vonnegut – 275 (Reread)
Starry Messenger – Neil deGrasse Tyson – 220
How High We Go in the Dark – Sequoia Nagamatsu – 293
Life of Pi – Yann Martel – 320 (Reread)
Fairy Tale – Stephen King – 600
The Jungle – Upton Sinclair – 374 (Reread)
Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk – 208 (Reread)
Joyland – Stephen King – 300
The Passenger – Cormac McCarthy – 383
Les Miserables (Abridged) – Victor Hugo – 400 (Reread)

Total pages read: 9,651

Memories

This is a new category for me. Since I didn’t travel much this year, I was able to slow down and appreciate the ephemerally beautiful moments that happen every day. Like the taste of fresh kettle corn, the daily sunsets that never get old, the warm breeze on a summer night as I drive.

A list of the memories that I’ll take with me forever. There are so many great ones that still play in my head but the following are the memories that I still feel.

Falling asleep and waking up to waves crashing below just outside my window in Maui.
Falling apart reading the last act of The Metamorphosis.
Surrounded by bubbles blowing out of a random window off Wabash in Chicago.
Drinking a hot, pumpkin chai tea on a warm patio while reading a great book.

2023

One goal from last year, was to help people. This year, I was able to do just that. Whether with my time, skills, financial contributions, or encouragement, it felt good. The opportunities to help these people came in a passive way. Perhaps in 2023, I’ll be more active in offering help to those who may need.

If 2023 is half as good as 2022 was for me, I’ll consider it a win.

If you want your life to have meaning, try making someone else’s life better. Take care everyone.

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