Hello everyone! It's that time of the year again! Another personal reflection article for myself, so it will not be published on Hashnode for the public. If you stumbled across this article, thank you! Hope you had a great 2022!
When I try to look back, I felt like the year flew by but at the same time, a lot - and I mean, a lot of things have happened to me. I'll try to summarize it as much as I can in this article.
WARNING: This is a long one. You may want to skip to the end for the special thanks section.
This Year's Focus: Building Relationships & Community
For the past 2 years, I have been relentless with myself. What I mean by that is that I focused solely on blogging and creating written content for my readers.
When the pandemic hits, I reduced going out and meeting people (physically) by a lot. Somehow, that has become the new norm for me over the years. I become familiar with that. Before I knew it, it has become a habit.
Famous motivational speaker, Jim Rohn once said that "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." And I agree that surrounding yourself with good people is how you can be a better person.
This year, I made the conscious decision to go out more, participate in more social outings and surround myself with more people. I reached out to friends who I have not contacted in a while. I proactively contact and network for more freelancing opportunities. And the book, The Introvert's Edge to Networking by Matthew Pollard, has helped me in brushing up on my social skills 😅
My review and summary of The Introvert's Edge to Networking here.
I also made it my mantra this year to help those who asked for help. Some of my readers, who have been the greatest supporters of my writing, would occasionally ask for blogging tips. I am more than happy to answer such questions and even may answer via a call with them (I don't do this that often though). Ophelia had the sweetest reaction that I remembered! 💖
Personal Growth: Turning off 'auto' mode
After writing non-stop for 2 years, writing has become a part of my life. It has become so automatic for me to think about "What I am going to write next?" whenever I published a new article.
My lifestyle and routines have also become so centred around blogging in these 2 years that it is not far-fetched to say that my priorities only involved blogging at the beginning of the year. Whether I'm sick or healthy, I would be only thinking about writing the next article to share with my readers.
It felt like I was on autopilot most of the time.
Around February this year, I decided to break up my routines and try something new. I played some new games with my friends, found some new hobbies with art and walked out in the sun more.
I read more books, bought a chair that I've been wanting to get for months because I thought I'll buy it once I "deserved" it, and I took time off when I needed it.
To put it simply, my perspectives and how I feel I should organize my priorities changed. It is not about managing my time, but about managing my energy.
Scheduling my articles and meeting deadlines has become automatic for me, so managing time is never my issue. I realized that I was poorly managing my energy because I have gotten so used to bad habits and monotonous routines.
At first, I was afraid to turn off 'auto' mode. I thought that would make me lazy. I thought that would stop me from being consistent. And above all, I thought getting out of my comfort zone would be exhausting. But clearly, I was wrong.
After I experimented with several new routines and tried new things outside work and blogging, I became more curious and fascinated with things and people around me. I enabled myself to enjoy various and diverse activities. This, in turn, actually gave me the energy and creativity to reach new heights with my blog.
A few of these highlights are:
Reached 10K+ followers on my Hashnode blog
Won top 5 in Hashnode 4Articles4Weeks writeathon
Collaboration with GeeksforGeeks
Collaboration with Showwcase for Dev Elevate
Becoming a GitHub Star
Featured as a Hashnode Expert
Personal Growth: The Inner Critic
Though I have just highlighted a few achievements this year, it is easy for me to undermine these small successes in my mind. Because there is no crueller and bigger critic of me than myself.
For those who have followed my blog for a while, you may recognize that I'm quite a perfectionist to myself. I tend to critique myself a lot and often think about things I wish I could have done better, things that I misspoke which may cause others to misunderstand and things I wished I realized before.
But since I started managing my energy better and meeting my coworkers in person more (since restrictions are lifted this year), I can feel that my inner critic has died down, albeit rather slowly.
I think it is largely attributed to the fact that I surround myself with positive and supportive people this year, both in my personal and work life.
A quote that I tried to live by to reduce the inner critic is:
"If you can't do anything about it, don't worry about it." - Jeanne Calment
I love this quote as it is so simple to understand and apply. It helps me to not blame myself for many things that can't be helped, or are out of my control.
Highlight of the Year: Reunion
If I had to pick my favourite period in 2022, it would be December - aka the period when I finally went back to my hometown after 4 years.
I can describe why I love my time spent there in the longest and probably most boring story you will ever hear.
So I'll just shorten it to one word: therapeutic.
And it was not therapeutic because I was in "full vacation" mode. In fact, I only took a week and a half off from my day job and work remotely for the rest of the days. And I still had to write articles for this blog. So I didn't entirely wind down.
What makes it great was that I finally reunited and spent time with the people I care about, after what felt like an eternity. I also finally get to visit my loved one who passed last year when I published my GraphQL series.
Everything I experienced there felt nostalgic, warm and yeah, therapeutic. It was a fantastic way to finish the year for me.
In hindsight, 2022 is a very interesting and fun year for me. It's a wilder ride than 2021 for sure. I had to get out of my comfort zone and start physically meeting people. I stopped making excuses for myself and started taking more risks as an introvert.
I also began focusing more on self-care, managing my energy and prioritized figuring out how I can help more people in my community, and how I can give back and support new bloggers/content creators on a more individual level. I would like to do more and better next year. So stay tuned, future me!
If you read this long article, thank you so much for taking the time to read. I wish you a happy new year in advance!
As always, I'd like to end the article off with the people who have helped, inspired and motivated me throughout the year in various ways. I appreciate them all and am very thankful to have met them on my journey.
Bonus: My 2022 recap reel here
Special Thanks To (in no particular order)
Syed Fazle Rahman
Olubisi Idris Ayinde
Mr. Unity Buddy
Fidocia Wima Adityawarman
Atinuke Oluwabamikemi Kayode
Ophelia Boamah Ampoh
Farhan Hasin Chowdhury
Chai Heng Yeo
Choi Ying Wai
Tong Tong Kork
V Thulisile Sibanda
Han Zhi Fang
My family & friends & supporters