Today I would like to quickly recap my 2022 by listing some of the interesting, obvious, or surprising things I have learned. These are both personal (including stationery-related) and work-related lessons that I think I have learnt in this year of big changes and new challenges or me. The list is by no means complete, but of course only includes elements that I am happy to share online.
1. I prefer freedom to security
By resigning from my old job and going freelance (once again!) I have come to appreciate the freedom of deciding what kind of work to pick up, what my work is worth and how to organise it at best. I might change my mind in the near or distant future, and miss the security of having a fixed salary every month, but for now I must say I would never go back to working for someone else.
2. Motivation comes from agency
Related to point 1, I have noticed a renewed motivation and enthusiasm for my job I thought I had lost forever. I remember studying the three components of motivation (agency, relatedness, and competence), and I feel that the key reason fro my renewed passion might be exactly the first one: being able to make my own decisions and organise my teaching and the work surrounding it as I see fit. Probably competence plays a role in it too, but I believe the feeling of agency is what has given my motivation a real boost.
3. The end of the world is always around the corner
I don’t say this to sound bleak, it is simply that what is happening in Ukraine has really got me thinking about the comfort and security I had always taken for granted. The war in Ukraine (and the consequent loss of life, isolation of Russia, energy wars, and so on) has really been a wake-up call for me: what we have is NOT due, it is not a given, it needs to be fought for and conquered every single day. Before 2022, I said I knew this, but I don’t think I had ever truly realised it.
4. Studying when you’re 40 is better than when you’re 20 (or at least different)
Taking up an MA, using my free time to prepare exams and write papers, spend money to travel to university… these are things many people do not understand, or admire from a distance. But now that I have tried it I believe that studying (as in, taking up a university course or something of this magnitude) when I am older is relatively different from doing it straight after high school. For once, I have to squeeze it between all the other commitments of an adult life, and therefore I have found myself cherishing those moments I could take to read a paper, go to a lecture, or do some research. They have become a way to relax and unwind from work, rather than the chore they felt like when I was 20. In addition, I now have the maturity and willingness to dig deeper into the topics covered during a lecture, to expand and read around them, or simply to understand some of the life lessons literature has to offer — those you can’t appreciate when you are 20 and you haven’t really started living your life yet.
5. Poland is a wonderful place
OK, I don’t really know this for sure, but at the beginning of the year I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Gdansk, in the north of Poland, and I absolutely fell in love with it. With the city, the people, the food, the atmosphere… I don’t really know what it means to live there (especially now), but I do know I would love to go back, and maybe even live there for a while, to experience Polish life.
6. My Chinese is better than I thought
I have picked it back up this year, and I was pleased to see I can remember and understand much more than I expected. I could even read my very first novel (YA novel, not a simplified one for students!) all in Chinese, one of the achievements I am most proud of in this 2022.
7. It is indeed possible to finish the year without buying a new planner, or notebook
As a planner lover, the end of the year is always an exciting time for me. It’s time to decide what planner to use for the next year, what pens, and so on (even though I have pretty much been sticking to a bujo since 2020). However, this year I have decided to give in to the planner frenzy, and instead to use up some of the notebooks in my stash. I was tempted to buy a planner once, but then the crazy taxes and shipping fees from the US have managed to stop me. It feels great to be finally using up some of the wonderful notebooks sitting in my desk drawer, so I hope to be able to stick to this resolution for 2023 as well.
8. Music can still move me
I hadn’t been to a big concert in years, but in 2022 live music was finally back, so I had the opportunity to see Liberato live. At the beginning it felt like I was out of place, everyone around me must have been at least 10 years younger. But then, as with all the other live concerts, when the music starts everything else fades into the background. I really enjoyed the gig, and have been left craving for more. I hope 2023 will bring other opportunities to see live music.
9. Muji pens are great
This is pretty self-explanatory. After hearing about Muji gel pens for a while, I finally got the opportunity to buy some, and they have lived up to my expectations. By far the best gel pens I have tried — and I have tried quite a few!
10. 19th century literature is my favourite
And I don’t mean only Melville, which obviously is in my top 10 favourite authors. Everything I have read which was written in that century always speaks to me in a way that other, more contemporary literature rarely finds a way to do — with a few notable exceptions. I cannot really put my finger on what is it that makes it so special for me, but I now think this is a fact, since other authors that I love (such as Walt Whitman, Margaret Fuller, Emily Dickinson, Alessandro Manzoni, and Mary Shelley) are all from that period.
That’s it, this is my list. I hope the 2023 list will be longer and will mainly include happy lessons, but I doubt it seeing how things are going, both in Italy and abroad.
Happy New Year!