Looks like it's this time of the year again.
For this year’s annual summary, I’m going long form. Consider it penance for the lack of posts this year. So please pour yourself a cup of you favorite beverage, and dive into my 2022 with me.
in 2022, I published a terribly low number of posts. Including the post you’re reading now, I managed to push out a total number of 7 posts, which is a record low number. I’ve drafted a couple of other posts this year, but after just a few paragraphs, I lose interest. Just to illustrate how bad it is: The other night when I sat down to write this posts, I suddenly found myself browsing LinkedIn instead.
Actually, I’ve been low on everything computer-related at home. The number of hours I’ve sunk into gaming, for instance, is comically low. In the last 14 days, I’ve been playing exactly nothing at all. I purchased Red Dead Redemption II on sale a couple of months ago, and that’s a kind of game that would normally engage me. But I’ve played it for less than 7 hours. Cities: Skylines has also had tons of new and exciting official content released, but every time I sit down to play, it only takes minutes before I get bored out of my mind.
This year I started reading 9 books, abandoned 2 of them, and finished the remaining 7. The highlight of the year was probably Liu Cixin’s The Dark Forest. I also read Dune by Frank Herbert again, but was we all know it’s the undisputed sci-fi and space opera masterpiece of all time, so it’s not fair to the other authors to compare their books to Dune.
One of the few constants in my life over the last two-ish years has been the A Picture A Day project. Since 2013, I’ve posted a new picture every day of something that has happened on that day. It’s usually pretty mundane stuff, and most likely not interesting to most of you - much like the content posted by the vast majority of Instagram and Facebook accounts.
But for me, personally, it’s a great way to remember important and not so important events in my own life, and it’s a convenient way to share pictures with friends of family. As I do every year, I strongly recommend that you also start to take a picture every day.
Since pictures of my kids and other people are not publicly available, here are a few scenic pictures I took in 2022.
The Physical Health
I’m a stats nerd. In 2022…
- I took 2 919 428 steps, totalling 2 363,49 kilometers (1468.6 miles). I average 8 020 steps per day, which is about 2K short of what I’ve read is the recommended number of steps.
- I slept an average of 7h 18m per night, which is about as much that I need. I usually feel rested when I wake up, but it wouldn’t hurt me to push the average sleep time to 7h 30m, or even closer to 8 hours.
- I had 87 sessions on the rower, covering a total distance of 435 kilometers (~270 miles). My goal has been 3 sessions per week, but I’ve usually only managed 2. That should have resulted in at least 100 sessions during the year, but some months were particularly slow: In February, I had to take break because I got COVID-19 and the recommendation is to avoid exercise for a while when recovering. In May I moved homes and didn’t have access to the rover. And in October I didn’t work out while I recovered from my vasectomy (which was one of the very few things I wrote about this year).
- My weight didn’t fluctuate much. My lowest weigh in was in February (related to my COVID-19 stint) at 70,3 kilograms (155 pounds), while my max weight was in July at 74,5 kilograms (164 pounds). Right now I’m at 72 kilograms, which feels just about right for my height.
- I have no idea what my average heart rate has been. My Garmin Forerunner 235 is not very accurate when it comes to heart rate monitoring, and tends to record a much too low heart rate when I’m working out. I had a more accurate chest strap heart rate monitor, but it stopped working some time during the year, and I haven’t bothered to replace it. My resting heart rate, measured by the good old analogue fingers on the pulse, is about 60 beats per minute, which is good for my age.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with my physical health right now. I have, after all, managed to push it to 44. The age has begun to show in other ways, though, like hair loss and this year’s addition of permanent glasses.
The Swimming Lessons
This is a really big one for me.
When we had swimming lessons in primary school, I didn’t learn to swim. Instead, I developed aquaphobia, which has been a real problem for me ever since. I’ve avoided water, and never felt comfortable at the beach. It started to become even more of an issue when I got kids. We live on a peninsula, and I can almost throw a rock in the fjord from our back yard. This means that we often find ourselves at the beach during hot summer days, and not to be able to help my own kids if they get in trouble in the water was unfortunate to say the least.
So I decided to face my inner water demon, and find someone that could give me swimming lessons. I had two goals I wanted to accomplish to handle my fear of the water:
- I had to be confident that I could float and relax in the water.
- I had to know that I would manage to get myself to the surface if I suddenly found myself submerged.
As you can see from my goals, the lessons are not so much about swimming technique as they are about my mental state when the water hits the fan. First, we control the fear, then we work on the actual swimming.
Finding someone who gave swimming lessons that matched my schedule turned out to be surprisingly hard, but this autumn I got in touch with a very skilled personal trainer. I’ve had 6 or so lessons, and the progress has been much better than I could have hoped for.
In the beginning of December, I jumped into the deep end of the pool for the first time in my life. It was without a paralyzing fear of death, and I calmly managed to get myself back up to the surface, and to the edge of the pool. So yay for me!
Some time in 2023, I hope to be confident enough to show my new daddy-is-not-drowning-skills to my daughters, who both love the beach and being in the water. Next year, I also hope to get my swimming technique to a level where I can take up swimming as physical exercise in addition to the rover.
The Mental Health
When 2022 started, I wasn’t in the best place I’ve been mentally during my 44 years alive. I was about 10 months into my divorce, and if you read the post Year One that I posted back in February, you’ll get an idea of what was going on my life. That’s still going on, but thankfully to a lesser degree.
I’m not that angry any more. The anger does surface from time to time, but quickly disappears, and I’m slowly, but surely, returning to my old self.
The best ways to deal with sudden and life changing events differs from person to person, but here are a few of the things that have helped me:
- Physical exercise.
- Friends and family to talk to.
- Being with the kids.
- Food, but not in the boohoo-I’m-eating-ice-cream-because-no-one-loves-me-sense. I just have to make sure that I don’t go hungry for too long, because hunger is affecting my mood a lot more than it did before the divorce.
- Keeping busy.
- Reducing stress.
- Time. It’s a cliché, but time really does help.
Too many relationships fall apart, and I’m confident that the one of the main reasons for failed relationships is lack of communication. You might talk together, but do you really communicate? If you have a better half, take them with you and go see a therapist that specializes in couples therapy. Do it even if your relationship is great right now. There might be mud in the water ahead, and the therapist can give you the skills and tools you need to deal with everything before you suddenly find yourself in a sinking boat where your only option is to abandon ship. And you want to avoid that, because the life boat truly sucks.
There will be another post on February 10, 2023, summarizing my second post-divorce year.
When we entered 2022, I was renting an apartment while looking for a place to purchase. Renting in Norway is economical idiocy, because Norwegian tax law makes it very profitable to have your own place and a mortgage. I was practically setting fire to $1,400 every month, and paying a ridiculous amount of income tax because I didn’t have a mortgage, and was sitting on my share of the money we got for the house we sold after the divorce.
But in April, a practical apartment that I liked appeared on the market, and now I’m a home owner again. The apartment is just the right size for the three of us - at least for now - and it’s located 200 meters from the primary school. Everything is a bit old, except for the downstairs bathroom, but I honestly don’t mind, and I can upgrade gradually if I want to.
In December last year, I quit my job as an on-site consultant, and began working almost exclusively from home instead. The client wants me to come in to the office four days a month, but that works out fine because it gives me the opportunity to spend some physical face-to-face time with my colleagues, and to meet with friends in the city. But during the weeks when the kids are living with me, I always work from home.
And it’s brilliant.
Since I switched to working remote, I don’t think I’ve ever had a properly stressful morning. I don’t have to get the kids to kindergarten and to school in time to catch the bus that takes me to the boat that in turn takes me to the subway that finally takes me within walking distance from the office. Working from home saves me two full hours of commuting every single day, and that’s something I’ve really learned to appreciate.
One of the things that has helped my mental well being in 2022 has been to reduce stress, and working from home is a big part of that.
2022 was better than 2021. That didn’t take much, to be honest, because on a scale from 1 to fucking miserable, 2021 took it all the way to 11. For 2023, I have one simple wish: I need it to be the most boring year ever. No surprises, please. Let’s just cruise silently through this one without any drama. No pandemics, no divorces, or no more mad dictators.
Realistically, I know all too well that this won’t happen because life always throws a curve ball our way, doesn’t it? But I can still hope.
Now go give someone important in your life a hug, and tell them how much they mean to you. They might not know it 💜
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