January is almost over and I still haven’t written my review of the year we just left behind. I don’t like walking backward into the future but feel I would if I don’t lay last year down to rest as a memory. It was an eventful year. Twelve months full of challenges, successes, and failures. Great movies and wonderful books were part of my journey, as were plastic bottles and dirty tubs.
Debra wished me a Happier New Year, which got me thinking. Happier is so much better than just being happy because it means there will be progress. I like it and will share this new New Year’s greeting for many years to come.
In 2022, sadly a war in Europe started and once again the world stood by and let it happen. I watched and read about politics and rulings that made me cry and shiver. My neck hair stood up many times and I cursed in every language I know. There were tears and laughter. Losses and gains. There were fights, even one big one initiated by me. The words I thought I would never say, I spoke with confidence -and fear- because that’s the thing with ultimatums, they might force your hand to act the way you didn’t want to.
It was the year I took my first Alzheimer’s test. My memory had been slipping. I couldn’t remember my favorite restaurant in Rome, Italy, or the name of the German firm that had sent me to India for many months twenty years ago. For the first time in my life, I found myself standing in a room going totally blank. I knew what my brain was looking for, but there was darkness. I mixed up cities and countries. I couldn’t remember the titles of books I had wished to treasure and had a hard time reciting my favorite poem which took me a week to learn back in school. I put an African trip to Asia and when I couldn’t remember the little city, an island we had explored so many years ago, I knew something was wrong.
I passed the Alzheimer’s test with flying colors. I can remember ten words in the right order three days later, but the word LINDAU, the name of the island city didn’t come to mind until I searched for it online.
My memory loss is (or has been) a side effect. I had been taking some heavy medications last year, and while I handled them very well, my body and my brain thought otherwise. Now with new supplements and an adjusted lower dose of meds, my brain seems to be working again. To experience emptiness in my thoughts? It was downright scary and I don’t wish to repeat this experience ever again. I hope the universe hears me and will approve my request.
The low-dose chemo drug I take didn’t make my hair fall out and so I didn’t get to try a purple or blue wig to cover up my head. Turns out you can buy funky colors online as well and boy oh boy am I having a great time with it. February 2023 will be purple.
It was a year of healthy eating and for the first time in my life, weight loss was just a side effect. I learned to listen to my body’s needs and experienced a form of hunger that actually felt good. Now I know I don’t have to give in to every craving I think I have. The mind is a powerful thing but turns out that so am I.
With fascism on the rise and democracies on life support, I also started to notice more and more the good around me. People are reacting, and while their efforts to make this world a better place seem so small and insignificant at first, it sums us up quickly.
I decluttered the Japanese way -still on it- and enjoy the newfound form of minimalism around me. We have too much and yes, everything needs a home, even the herb scissor and the turkey baster I use only once or twice a year. Reorganizing has been fun and it was eye-opening and humorous at times. To ‘thank your shoes‘ takes a while to get used to.
I have become more selective with people too. Not everybody in my life is supposed to stay -the same goes for the blogging world. Some left because their time was up, others because we -or I- decided to no longer mingle with each other.
Guess what? I have stopped cleaning the tub on my hands and knees. A task I was never particularly fond of to begin with, has gotten easier. Now this older lady has an electric spin brush which I might have to put in my will so future generations will enjoy it as well. No bending, no kneeling, and the bathtub is clean in five minutes! Where have you been all my life?
It was the year of KAPUT! Turns out Murphy’s law is incorrect, it doesn’t come in threes, it comes in a wave -at least in our home. First tires, then small appliances, then bigger ones, our range, and stove went out and both of my sewing machines died -sadly in the wrong order. The cheaper one went first, which was replaced with a ‘dream machine’ the commercial one, the one I rely on, went last and gave me a headache.
2022 was another gray year. Customers and students are still on the OFF WHITE AND NATURAL COLOR TRIP and so most of my projects were rather boring, but there were color splashes now and then, and the craziness within me got the satisfaction it needs so badly.
Books of the year
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
An older book I wish I would have read years ago. A 600-page turner seeking the balance between hope and despair. It is not a book for the faint-hearted, but it is a book with a big heart. It is on my list of the best books I have ever read.
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
While I wasn’t crazy about the language at times, I loved the message.
It’s a story about how you can overcome so much by strengthening your mental toughness, which is not easy but doable. Even when failures happen we still learn lessons and can take these lessons and turn failures into wins.
Recipe of the year
The Austrian Pancake Soup (Fritatten Suppe/Pfannkuchen Suppe)
Just like my grandma made it, just with gluten-free pancakes now but still as enjoyable as it had been in my childhood.
(Austrian and German pancakes use a lot more eggs and do not use baking powder or baking soda to puff up the pancake. The pancakes are dense in the shallow center and like a popover on the edges, also they are the size of the whole pan.)
2022, that’s when the word Inflation became a brutal reality for many. We have changed the way we plan meals, cook, and the way we shop. My stubbornness, normally considered a bad character trade, is now a virtue. I found myself unwilling to accept some of the new prices and I spent hours to find a cheaper solution.
The time when we were houseless and had not much left has left a mark. Never again! Money has to be watched like a toddler, oh it wanders off quickly. I learned that the hard way, lessons I cannot ever forget.
Saving money is now at top of our priority list.
In 2022 we said Goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II and we witnessed the fall of the British Pound, which is especially painful for me to watch because part of my retirement fund is in London and so far I have lost 15,000 British pounds on the payout of the life insurance that will be financing part of my GOLDEN YEARS. Will the Pound and Great Britain bounce back?
Movie of the year
I have no idea who chose it on our movie night, but goodness, at the end of the movie we were both drained. A movie made with just a small budget, but so intense from start to finish.
No movie before has shown me my own fears so clearly. I am not good with heights. I am drawn to the edge and I cannot look down without having my stomach turn and my hands get sweaty.
How was my year?
Looking back, it wasn’t a bad year for me. Surely some things could have been better, but isn’t it normal? If all is good, that would be the end of growing, learning, trying, and hoping
I have managed my 12 months of Change and Purpose throughout the year and will continue the same in 2023, but will change it up a bit.
Perhaps more purpose and less change?
I am drinking tapwater now, filtered of course. The hard part? It wasn’t finding or installing the filter, but finding the right bottles that don’t leak. Glass was not an option and most offered reusable plastic bottles were not reusable at all but leaked.
My instinct guided me and for the first (and last) time in my life I ordered fancy water (rich people water?) because the bottles it comes in seemed perfect and guess what? They are exactly what I had been looking for. $25 for twelve bottles -well spent. I am refilling them for months.
2023, I can’t wait to see what it will bring. The good, the bad, and the ugly. May it be happier for all of us!