matthewpennell.com
A blog of acquiescent temper, miscellaneous opinions, and uncertain vote

Saturday, 1 January 2022

It’s weird to look back on where we were this time last year, in the depths of a countrywide lockdown, and how different we thought things would be by now. I had thought that things might have gone back to some kind of normality by the summer, that there was an outside chance we might actually manage a family holiday - but instead, I’m writing this on Day 6 of my own Covid isolation, and the WHO have said the pandemic will hopefully be over by 2025/6. Another three to four years. It’s hard enough planning for the future at the best of times; these days I have trouble seeing beyond next weekend.

2021 in review

The last twelve months have been a mixture of some occasional positives mixed with a few terrible events. I started the year on a high note, producing a hand-made, personally designed mix CD of our favourite songs and movie dialogue for my wife’s birthday, in lieu of the cancelled trip to New York. In June I bought myself a second-hand ZX Spectrum together with some peripherals to get it working with modern hardware (I had a vague idea that I would teach myself to program machine code, but it turned out to be a lot harder than I expected and I haven’t made as much progress in that arena as I had hoped), and in August I rather surprisingly managed to score tickets to see Foo Fighters next summer (albeit for an exorbitant price). Plus I also tried a ton of new games throughout the year - lots of MMOs as well as various sports, strategy, FPS and indie titles - although I’m still struggling to maintain enough focus to actually finish any of them.

On the negative end of things, on top of the pandemic my Dad had a stroke in early May and another in late June. I’ve spent a lot of time driving back and forth to hospitals or care homes in the months since. And an old school friend - really my only remaining connection to that time - died from cancer in July. What with the kids starting to talk about moving out this year, it sometimes feels like I’m entering into a new phase of life.

Looking back at last year’s resolutions, though, I think I’ve done better at keeping them than ever before! I’ve stayed entirely off Twitter (unless you count an occasional customer service complaint) and drastically cut down on my intake of news and politics from other sources, with the result that I’ve been much less stressed about things than last year. And, apart from a couple of weeks when I was sick, I have stuck with a fairly tough daily workout routine for the entire year. It’s hard to say whether it’s made much of a difference, but I’m happy that it’s a habit that I can stick with permanently.

2022 resolutions

So, to 2022. The first thing I know I want to accomplish is also fitness-related:

  1. Start running again. I gave up running towards the end of 2020 due to a heel injury that wouldn’t go away, but now I feel comfortable to give it a go again. Obviously if the injury comes back it may not last all that long, but I do miss my regular runs, especially since I’m at home all the time now.

Aside from that, it’s hard to come up with any more resolutions. Read more? Stop trying to play so many videogames at the same time? Do something more useful with your savings than leaving it sitting in a zero interest account? I used to be so full of ambitions that it was hard to decide what to focus on; nowadays, with nothing pressing on the horizon, it’s hard to know what I want to aim for.