Summing up 2022
Without further ado, just like a year ago, let’s conclude 2022 with a personal summary. There is quite a lot to cover, and it was generally quite a bleak year. But some positive stuff happened too.
Work / personal development
I am thrilled to announce that 2022 was a long-awaited breakthrough year in my professional career. Finally, after a few years of struggles and mild symptoms of depression, I successfully found a new position that is way more in sync with my current skillset, with satisfying pay and a great team of people.
That means I can finally shift my priorities about growth and personal development. I no longer feel I have to prove my worth to anyone. My level of self-esteem and confidence grew to levels not seen since 2010s.
What is also worth mentioning is that after a decade of front-end work, I switched to a full-stack position. I perceive it as a natural consequence of trying various hats and learning stuff outside my usual scope of interest within the last few years. I am grateful for a position that provides me with challenges across multiple domains.
A considerable part of my effort toward revolutionizing my professional life was building things and coding after hours, and I didn’t stop doing that. But I approach after-hour coding with a slightly different mindset. I no longer build stuff to impress others (yup, I used to).
Nowadays, if I start developing something outside of work, it is usually a solution to my own problem or an improvement to some mundane process in my life. And I’m not audacious enough to think my struggles are unique only to me and nobody else in the world. I try to produce artifacts others can pick up and use, whether a fully-fledged product or a hacky open-source script on my GitHub.
At the time of writing, I have four project ideas to explore in 2023. I’m not promising to complete any or all of them by the end of next year. The journey itself will be exciting enough.
Not work, but still techy
Speaking of side projects, in August 2022 I closed my Twitch Extension for StarCraft II. Looking back, it was a much more impactful decision than I initially thought, as it triggered several other events I will discuss later.
Closing this project marks another shift in my thinking about product development: I am no longer interested in building stuff locked so tightly to some other platform. Don’t get me wrong; Twitch extensions are fun. But from now on, I want to build bigger and more independent things.
If anyone from my StarCraft-loving gang from Twitter is reading this, I see you. I love you. Thank you for being here with me.
Death to social media, long live social media
I made an unexpected and unsuccessful attempt at getting into TikTok. I have no plans on trying again for now. I find TikTok disingenuous and legitimately harmful.
Closing my Twitch-related side project meant I lost interest in Twitch. At some point, I was one click away from deleting my account. These days I still use Twitch as my provider of background noise but I’m no longer as engaged as I used to be. I struggle to find new exciting niches to follow.
Oh, oh, oh. We have to discuss Twitter.
At some point in 2022 I noticed I was getting increasingly bored with Twitter. Whenever I posted anything that mattered to me, it felt like talking to a brick wall. It felt like people would only follow me for bad jokes and care little about anything else.
Since 2021 I’ve been playing around with Mastodon, including self-hosting my instance. Slowly but steadily I was shifting my attention towards the fediverse.
Then the plot twist happened. Its name was, obviously, Elon Musk. With another wave of user migration I closed my Mastodon instance, migrated to a public server and purged my Twitter account.
My jaw dropped multiple times when I saw people with large followings deleting their Twitter accounts and going all-in on Mastodon. What used to be an interesting curiosity to me suddenly became a vibrant platform that felt like nothing I had seen before.
After years of boredom and frustration with every social media site I used, fediverse finally managed to achieve the impossible: it made social media exciting to me again. On fediverse I see things other social media weren’t eager to show me. I interact with people I wouldn’t have encountered anywhere else. I learn hard lessons on diversity, empathy, equal opportunity and discrimination. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Mastodon single-handedly made me a better human by forcing me to rethink many of my stances.
Fediverse is not perfect. It’s not a direct replacement for any social media site and never will be. It has cultural and technical issues that aren’t always easy to fix. A lot can be said about Mastodon and the way it’s governed. However, something significant has happened in 2022: a considerable chunk of intelligent and influential voices is now on fediverse (most likely on Mastodon) even if they keep their Twitter profiles open. It’s an exciting time to be there and there is still more to come.
With great sadness I acknowledge 2022 as the year I started getting interested in geopolitics. No surprise given that war is raging just a few hundred kilometers from my country.
To me, some random European from a country that has been living in relative peace since the end of World War II, war in Ukraine was a piece of terrifying news. Until then I would look at the whole notion of war in one of two ways: (1) something that happened long ago, (2) something that is happening right now but it’s far away from my home. For a few months I had periods of compulsive doomscrolling, frequently checking if the president was still ‘tut’ and looking at violent images of dying civilians or burning cities.
War deepened my interest in local and global politics, and I consider it a net positive, even if it can get mentally exhausting. I no longer look at it catastrophically. It added another factor to consider while evaluating any risk or opportunity that impacts my life, money or long-term future. There’s no way back to ‘good old times’.
Finally, 2022 was a year of unilateral domination of Nintendo Switch as my primary gaming hardware. I completed many games including Breath of the Wild, Metroid Dread and dozens of indie titles. The role of gaming in my life declined a lot, but I still tremendously enjoy doing that.
At the moment of writing this I’m considering buying an Xbox. There are many good reasons for getting one instead of upgrading my old PC. No decision has been made yet though.
I failed to address some issues I mentioned in my 2021 summary, including sleep quality and physical activity and I don’t feel well about that.
It was a slightly better year for my book reading, but I’m still not where I want to be.
I still keep my interest in video and photography alive, but I can’t tell what happens next about them. There’s plenty to do in this department and not enough time or strong will to morph them from shallow interest into a passion.
…that’s it. Once again, no need for fancy closers here. Happy new year.