I was struggling to start to write this year-end post, mainly because I was struggling to make sense of the year I’ve had. Normally there’s some big lesson or theme or idea that stands out in my year, but this year has been a strange soup of many different events and thoughts with no clear conclusion, no clear message. So many things happened, yet it feels like there’s nothing new to write about; I’m certain I’ve done a lot because of how tired I’d become by the end of the year (thankfully the holidays have been restful and rejuvenating), yet I don’t feel accomplished, necessarily. There are none of the markers that I would often write about in previous year-end posts: I didn’t travel much (thanks to this still ongoing pandemic) and had no big trips, work was the same old thing in bigger volume, and I didn’t publish anything new. 

Then there was the part of the year that I’m still trying to come to terms with, though often, I’d still opt to not think about it instead.

I’m done trying to make sense of this year and trying to wrap it in a box and tie it in a big pretty bow. I’m just going to look back to the year as it happened.  

I started 2022 hopeful, if a little distressed, which I know now is pretty common when you commit to a cause bigger than yourself. When you want something, need something to happen but you’re faced with so much uncertainty – worse, when you’re facing horrible odds. 

Still, I – and a lot of people – persisted. And there was happiness and joy and pride in that persistence, and for months it buoyed me, helped me keep the doubt and distress and thoughts of doom at bay, hoping if we shouted louder, sang together, we would be heard, and what we wanted, needed to happen would happen. And we were fighting for the truth, for good, so it was the worthy fight and we were all in, and I really thought we would win. Actually, more importantly, I wasn’t ready if we lost. I didn’t even want to consider the possibility. Me, who always needs a Plan B. 

And then we did lose. The one time I fought for something and went all in on something without a Plan B, and we lost. And it was traumatic. And I genuinely think I went through (maybe I’m still going through) the stages of grief. And maybe it’s a large part of why it’s hard for me to close this year. I usually end the year writing about my victories, but this year I can’t help but write about defeat. 

I found ways to cope – a quick trip to my favorite island with friends, which truly was healing and couldn’t have come at a better time. I found comfort in books, and visiting coffee shops and reading books with Kyle. And I was able to create a bubble of peace, and it was good for a while. 

Then I got sick. I caught dengue and for the first time in my adult life, had to stay in the hospital. I stayed for a week, and had to rest at home for another. I was glad it wasn’t any worse, but it did take a toll on me. 

Then as soon as I got back to work, my work load got incredibly heavy. I worked non-stop for three months. I came near my breaking point work-wise, which hasn’t happened in years, since I rejoined corporate. I contemplated starting my villain origin story or quiet quitting because it go so bad.

Luckily, I’m in a company and a team that helps address a toxic workload, and the help came just in time before I could really reach my breaking point, and for that I’m so thankful. 

If anything, the best part of my year has been – surprisingly – my writing and my reading. My love for reading, which was rekindled at the start of the pandemic, grew even stronger this year. I read 40+ books when I only meant to read 12! It’s thanks to my discovery of cozy mysteries, a genre that absolutely suits my preferences. 

Writing-wise, I actually finished three manuscripts this year! One was a manuscript I had started last year, a sequel to my other work. Another one I finished because I finally signed up for #RomanceClass, which was a really great experience, and the third I finished through joining another Storywriting School workshop. I don’t know why I’m not celebrating these enough, because I should. I think it’s because finishing a manuscript is really just a beginning, and I’ll have to put in a lot more work next year so I can follow through. 

I came across a serendipitous tweet while I was thinking about what to write in this post: some years are for sowing seeds. I think that’s what 2022 has been for me. Nothing has blossomed, nothing has bloomed, but the seeds have been planted, and they only need to be nourished to grow. While other seeds planted didn’t bear fruit (only trauma, lol), others brought lessons, and an encouragement for the future. 

I don’t regret joining the cause, though I still grieve that we lost, and I still don’t know how to come to terms or move forward in that regard. While I’d rather I hadn’t gotten sick, I’m thankful for my new lease on life and vow to prioritize my health moving forward. Finally, I’m thankful for the productivity I was blessed with this year, work-wise but more importantly writing-wise, and I’m so excited for what comes next, and I’m so looking forward to actually working for it again next year. 

Here’s another tweet I just came across that feels relevant for this post, too: now that this post is done, I’ll spend the last 24 hours of 2022 looking ahead, not back. So happy new year if anyone is still reading this. 2022, it’s been real (Rosaline’s last words to Romeo – I’m writing this with the move playing in the background), let’s hope for greater things in 23.   


And just like that, another year is done and dusted. Another year that was a lot like the one before it: no trips, no seeing friends, just staying home every day. 

It makes sense, now that I think about it, that my biggest accomplishment for 2021 was being able to put down roots.

My default has always been in motion. Going places, changing jobs, just doing, doing, doing. Always wanting to move forward. Life on a moving train. 

The pandemic became this station where the train of my life stopped, and where it’s still parked. And when you keep something in the same place for a long enough time, it slowly becomes part of that scenery. If it’s not alive, it becomes a ruin, gets taken over by what lives around it, like temples overrun by the jungle or sunken ships taken over by coral. If it’s alive, it grows roots, settles in, takes the nourishment it needs from where it sits. I’d like to think my life in 2021 was the latter. 

I don’t know how I would’ve survived the last two years if I hadn’t moved back home. I’m so thankful it was a choice I could make, an option available to me. Being forced to leave the city and move back with my parents and brother was the emergency brake that put a stop to my train that kept going, but was going nowhere. Who knows how much longer I would’ve taken to make a change?

This year, I failed to publish a new book or make progress on my author career. I didn’t go on any trips. I still have the same job and I’m still in the same company I’ve been part of now for four years. On the rubric I always used to measure my year against, it would be mostly red instead of green.

I was saying as much to my friends over our year-end call just a few days ago. I just didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything great this year. 

But actually, I did two things I had never done before: I built the writing cottage of my dreams, and I now have a piece of land to call my own, to hopefully build another cottage of my dreams in the future. 

Somehow, it didn’t immediately come to me that putting down roots was an accomplishment, and now I think I know why: because while on my ever-moving train, being stationery wasn’t yet part of my vocabulary. Staying still was something I avoided, or something I told myself I couldn’t do just yet.

But maybe I was just never in a place long enough to allow myself to put down roots. But now, I think I am.

So yes, I love my little cottage amongst trees. I can’t wait to watch sunsets in my little piece of the world. I’m grateful for what I’ve done and what I’ve been given this year. 

Of course, it’ll only be a matter of time before I’m pushed into motion again. That’s just the way it is. But for now, I will relish in being rooted, I will be grateful for being grounded. Let’s see what happens next year.  



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