So we’ve come to the end of the year! It feels strange every time. 2022 was a good year, busy but a better year than I’ve experienced for a long time. I reached some goals, started new exciting projects, had some fantastic music experiences and made some important lifestyle changes.
The CALM project
2022 was the first year that I chose a focus and word of the year. Having a focus of the year has been really good, and especially since some bloggers I follow created a link-up to share updates with how we were doing with the word of the year It added some accountability and a tool to stop and think about progress or the lack thereof. I didn’t join the link-up every month, but I worked on my word of the year most of the time.
I chose CALM, to learn to not worry unnecessarily, focus on what I could control, and to have a healthier attitude to bad things happening around me. This word of the year was hard, but very useful. Even during stressful times it helped me be aware of my thinking, and learn how to change the direction of my thoughts or simply interrupt them if needed. A book I had read in the autumn of 2021 (The inner game of music) helped me become aware of how your critical self tries to interfere with the creative, competent you, by throwing out negative and critical thoughts, and if you can silence it, you can perform or learn better. I used techniques from that book and learned to use them in all sorts of contexts.
My calm project had a few different important goals :
- Learning to not worry unless there is a real, immediate threat to worry about
- Learning to react with calm on negative things I can’t control
- Creating calm in my life which meant to stop spending time on things that didn’t add value to my life, remove unnecessary obligations.
The year was anything but calm and had a lot of ups and downs. I haven’t been so busy for a long time! But it was a good kind of busy, and it was a good year when I learned a lot about myself and could start moving forward with creating a better life. I still have a lot of work to do with avoiding overthinking and unnecessary worry, but still, I’ve come a long way. I’m more aware of, and working on, my reactions and attitude towards bad happenings, and I’ve come a long way with removing time thieves from my life. I’m quite happy with my progress!
Calm in December
December was a truly relaxed month. I could let go of all the stress around my studies and other projects, and focus on what I wanted. I started working on plans for my online shop, and started living like normal people – after work hours I could sit in my armchair and read something, play some tunes, or do something else I was up to, instead of doing something I HAD TO do. I was so relaxed that I nearly forgot to do my Christmas decoration – I didn’t get all of it done until Christmas Eve.
What else have I been up to during 2022?
I invested in a graphic design course at a university in Dublin, and while I’m not “ready yet” (who stops learning anyway?), it added lots of useful and more in-depth skills, confirmed what I already knew, and more than anything else it gave me an enormous boost in self-confidence, which was seriously needed. Now I feel more prepared, and can finally focus on creating work!
It was (somewhat) possible to travel again, and I went to Sweden to see my family, and some friends. I spent a week with my parents and it was absolutely wonderful. You can see my photos here.
2022 was a wonderful music year.
My singing teacher at ArtistWorks offered some fantastic guitar courses on Zoom, to study the styles of some masters – Tony Rice, Doc Watson and Norman Blake (he had already done Clarence White the previous year) and I jumped on board in January for the Tony Rice class, even though I’m just barely at some low intermediate level with my guitar skills. It went so well that I didn’t hesitate to join the other classes too.
I expected the Tony Rice material to be the most difficult – but it turned out to be the easiest to learn! His playing was advanced but perhaps quite approachable anyway? The Doc Watson class was the most difficult one, but I managed to catch a nice version of “Salt Creek”, can definitely learn his version of “June Apple”, and will work on some licks from “Crawdad song”. Norman Blake was somewhere in between – and I’ll get back to his “Whiskey before breakfast” next week, and a goal for 2023 is to be able to do something with “Church street blues”.
My husband found info about a bluegrass festival in Donegal and we went there (VERY fortunate to find accommodation just a week in advance!). We made new friendships, enjoyed jamming until 3 am, and had an amazing experience. I need to write a specific post just about this eventually. When it comes to how I look at myself as a musician, there will ALWAYS be a before and after Donegal 2022.
During 2022, music sessions in pubs came back. We’ve joined several music sessions per week and have also had our own in a small pub on our peninsula. I guess we should call it a weekly gig, but paid in drinks.
I also got going with playing the concertina again. I found and joined a local slow session to learn Irish tunes at a doable speed, so even if I’ve been very busy and haven’t practised much at home, at least I played the concertina once a week. And during the autumn, Noel Hill started offering monthly-ish online classes. It seems like he’ll continue doing that but perhaps every second month or so. This is perfect to get me working on it so. now there’s more hope for my concertina playing.
During the summer we played our first gigs. Very exciting, and I learned a LOT about myself – especially that my musical skills are not necessarily the biggest issue with doing gigs! It was nerve racking, but mostly very enjoyable, and of course gave a sense of achievement.
Fitness and training became a lifestyle
One of the best things – if not THE best thing that happened in 2022, was to get in touch with our personal trainer, also NMT therapist. My husband found him to get help with tendonitis and after treatment, he started strength training – and then told me I should go there too. I went for a consultation and then started training the week after.
My main goal was to start some kind of regular exercise because I was very disorganised and probably disheartened after two years with the pandemic. I hadn’t found motivation or meaning with anything other than playing the guitar, so it was hard to make myself go out for walks or to lift weights at home. I knew that exercise would make me feel better, but I couldn’t make it happen on my own.
Some weeks I wasn’t up to it, but I had an appointment so I went, and felt refreshed and energised afterwards. Quite soon I realised how much the training sessions helped me clear my head and gave me a mental health boost for the coming week. It became essential to my wellbeing and eventually I looked forward to every session. My PT has been a huge contributor to my CALM project, by making me aware of how much overthinking ruled my life, and pushing me to overcome it. Sometimes, our chats during my sessions have been as important as the training itself.
Later in the summer I started realising that I was getting noticeable results of my training, even after only once weekly sessions. This was a BIG motivator, and I wanted to do more. After the summer I started running, and after I finished my graphic design course, I added a second strength training session every week.
Training and fitness became a lifestyle, a new focus, especially when the knee injury triggered me to get my **** together, set higher goals, get strong and challenge myself. This new direction in life is something I’m really grateful for.
My husband is on board too, running twice a week, doing a strength session once a week and workouts at home other days – and when I’m up to speed with my running (which really only means that I can push myself to run decent distances without being in doubt whether I risk to get my injury back), we’ll bring our running gear when we go on holiday and run in different nice places. Until then, we’ll walk in different nice places!
Some of you know how I’ve been wandering between blogging concepts and whatnot. At the end of this year, everything has sort of fallen into place. I love having a separate photography blog, and starting this fitness (& more) blog is one of the best things I’ve done in my blogging life. I’m a lot more relaxed with blogging than I used to be, and I really enjoy writing here and sharing my fitness journey and more. I’m happy to have found the community of running & fitness bloggers, it’s amazing and I learn and get inspiration from all of them. I’m also happy to still link up with my other blog friends!
Plans for 2023
My main goal for 2023 is to spend a lot more time on music. This probably sounds ridiculous if you know how much I’ve played this year. I’ve performed in pubs weekly, attended guitar and concertina courses, and even done a few songs on stage at the bluegrass festival – but I haven’t done a lot of proper practice, to really work on new tunes or techniques or to properly develop the quality in my playing, and haven’t focused as much as I did during the lockdown years. I want to get back to what I had then, and move forward. I want to continue working on my singing and learning more complex songs, and become more confident on the guitar.
And of course I want to ramp up my running and continue making progress in the gym.
Do I have a word of the year for 2023? Yes, possibly. To be continued…