Following my pattern of the past 13 years (see list), my first post of 2022 across all my sites is of three words that are my aspirations or “themes” for the year ahead. They are not “resolutions” so much as guiding thoughts or principles.
In so many ways 2021 was a good bit of a “dumpster fire” of a year. We started off with such great hope that the pandemic would be under control … and ended with even higher case counts and more deaths that we’d had the previous year. It often does truly feel like the 672nd day of March 2020. So many of us struggled in so many ways. Yet amidst all that chaos, there were positive signs - and I remain grateful that I reached the end of the year with all my family in decent health (at least physically).
Looking on toward 2022...
Last year brought me great clarity around what I see as my own my personal mission to help people understand our choice of futures - for the Internet, but also for ourselves and for our society.
But 2021 also brought clarity that it is so easy to fall into despair. It does seem like we’re stuck in a perpetual Groundhog Day. The state of the pandemic is so frustrating, particularly for those of us who have done everything we can to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. The breakdown in civility and discourse that we are seeing across the USA and across the world is extremely saddening. The polarization and politicization of even trivial issues is tragic. And our governments and leaders often seem incapable of doing anything helpful - and in fact sometimes seem to be doing the exact opposite of what makes sense - or are so mired in disagreement that nothing happens at all. And… weather events around the world seem to indicate that climate change is happening quicker than many forecast. There are so many tragic events happening to so many people, and even for those not directly affected, there is so much to fear that it can be paralyzing.
It often feels like we are on the edge of living in any of the zillion dystopian, post-apocalyptic movies or TV series that are out there.
It’s easy to despair.
And yet… we can’t. For if we fall into the depths of despair, what is the point of being here? And who will pull us out?
We must hold on to the possibility of hope.
And so what I want to do this year is to do whatever I can to help shine the light on and amplify the good work going on. (And there definitely IS - read "99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2021”)
Not with “rose-colored glasses” or with naive, excessive optimism that just ignores everything else to hope things get better.. but rather with an action of seeking out the hopeful, positive, and optimistic in the midst of the chaos and despair. As I said in a tweet:
The challenge that lies before us is more than choosing hope over fear.
It is choosing hope *amidst* the overwhelming narratives of fear and doom.
It is choosing hope and optimism *despite* those fears.
It is choosing hope as a daily, gritty act of resistance and resilience.
To me, that is the work we all must do.
As I wrote at some length last year, I’ve been struggling through this whole pandemic, but even before that, to consistently create content, be it blog posts, podcast episodes, videos, newsletters or more. I optimistically wrote:
A goal in 2021 is to break through those blockages. I want to get writing again. I want to more consistently create podcast episodes. I’d like to send out more than one email newsletter in an entire year!
That didn’t happen. In fact, I sent out zero issues of that particular email newsletter, although I did send out two issues of a new newsletter.
I produced a whopping 8 podcast episodes in 2021 (7 for my The Dan York Report podcast, and one for my “FIR On Technology” podcast), although I did submit all 12 monthly reports into the FIR podcast.
And… I only wrote * 11 * posts across all my different blog sites, including my employer’s site, and almost all of those were “administrative” notices such as about upcoming deadlines for various awards or elections. A far cry from the days when would write hundreds of posts each year. 🙁
A sad state of affairs for someone who loves to create content.
Now, I do give myself a bit of a break. I mean… pandemic! It’s been hard on all of us and quite honestly simply surviving 2021 is a beautiful thing!
On the positive side, I was live-streaming on Twitch most of the year, and in doing so continued to learn an amazing amount more about Wikipedia. And, I set up a TikTok account to actually start playing with that platform.
But my aspiration in 2022 is to get back in the game… to be back telling the stories I want to tell… and to be helping promote the hopeful aspects of the futures we need to choose. And… to do so on my OWN sites! Lately I’ve started to write very long threads on Twitter that then get lost in the noise. I really need to be taking those threads and writing them as posts for their longevity - and to have them on sites I control, rather than being lost in some proprietary platform.
Finally, I’ve really got to focus on my health. Like many people, I’ve been a bit too sedentary during the pandemic and eaten a bit too much comfort food. My weight is almost the heaviest I’ve ever been and I seriously need to start making some better food choices. And, being in my mid-50s there’s a number of medical checks I need to have.
I need to focus on this!
Overall I’m quite looking forward to 2022. I’m hopeful that maybe we can finally get the pandemic to a more reasonable state. I look forward to hopefully getting together with friends in our local area, and making new friends, too. I look forward to seeing family more frequently. I look forward to getting back to attending user group meetings and other professional events, and going to concerts and church services and so much more. I miss singing!
Hopefully we can get there… although admittedly 2022 isn’t starting off so great with the rising numbers.
I am also very excited about a new project I’m leading at the Internet Society about understanding Internet access via low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. It’s a hot topic with a lot of marketing hype right now - and we’ll be working to bring some clarity to that whole area. It should be both educational and fun!
Let us hope this all continues to go well!
What about you? What are your aspirations for 2022?