Goodbye 2022!

It’s the end of another year. My first year of blogging comes to an end. If 2021 was about change and new habits, 2022 was about adjusting to those changes and finding my new self. Here are some quick highlights and lessons learned from the year.

Blogging

I had a lot of fun blogging. At first, it was pretty easy, then I realized how much work blogging can be. It takes time to think about content, write content and edit the content for final publishing. Each posts likely takes 3-4 hours of effort. That’s a pretty significant amount of time in a busy life.

Here are some quick stats for the year:

  • 32 posts which is almost an average of 3 posts a month.
  • 959 visitors with 1,522 views.
  • My top post is: I’m sober….now what? with 127 views.
  • Facebook is my #1 referrer with 743 views which means that most of my views are coming from friends and family. Thank you!
  • Canada is obviously my #1 country with 1,104 views, with USA as #2 and Ireland as #3. Thanks to my friends and supporters in the US, Ireland and all other countries!

Highlight of 2022

The highlight of my year was receiving the 2022 Alberta Blue Cross internal face of wellness. I was featured in our internal newsletter with a 1-page write up of my sobriety and fitness journey. It is such an honour to be recognized. There are a ton of people out there doing great things, it’s still hard to feel worthy of this award.

I’ve been asked to sit down for an internal interview in January for a lunch and learn session to share more of my journey as part of our mental health awareness month. I’m really excited about this opportunity to share my story. I can only hope and pray that every time I share my struggles and my journey that I can impact 1 person to make a change to live a better and healthier life.

Sobriety

In 2021, I focused on not drinking. 2022 was my 2nd full year sober and I was focused on my new lifestyle. Unless you’ve quit something significant, it’s hard to describe the difference. My habits were well established in 2021, and I had already fully made the decision to stay sober in 2021. So, I spent 2022 living sober and figuring out who I am as a sober person. It’s a very subtle difference between not drinking and living sober but it’s an important step and really shaped my year and my activities.

The other day, I decided to try a near beer. While it was delicious, I’m not sure how I feel about it. Part of me says that I should be able to enjoy it, and the other part of me feels guilty about it and I worry that it could be a gateway to relapse. So for ow, near beers and alcohol free beer/drinks are off the table. I’ll stick to Arnold Palmer’s, Bubly, Coke Zero, mocktails, coffee, tea and water.

Drink connoisseur

Towards the end of 2022, I started to show interest in broadening my depth and understanding with sober drinks.

In late November, I began my journey into mocktails and it’s been really enjoyable. I picked up a ton of supplies and started making my own mocktails at home. I hosted my first mocktail night in December and no one missed alcohol. All of the mocktails are super tasty.

In late December. I began my journey into Chemex and pour over coffee. This is something I’ve been thinking about since May, but finally made the jump and bought all of the equipment I needed this week. I made my first pour over coffee yesterday and followed that up with many cups this morning. It’s really yummy coffee and while the process itself takes some patience, I find it very relaxing and meditative. And the coffee is delicious!

Injury

I experienced a significant injury in early June 2022. This changed my whole year.

I bought new golf clubs in 2022, and I believe that the combination of over training for my record breaking Calgary half-marathon + 5km in May and then over training with my new clubs in June 2022, lead to a right toe flexor tendon injury. This is a painful injury in my big toe that impacts my primary pivot point in golf and a significant pressure point in running. These are my main 2 hobbies. Sucky!

At any point, this could have really derailed my year. I could have moped and complained about my fate. Instead, I looked at the opportunity and found cycling and multi-sport training. I switched up my running/walking and added more rowing, recumbent bike, road cycling and elliptical instead. I really enjoy this change and I think it’s excellent for my fitness and health.

I never returned to my early 2022 levels of running. The height of my running ended with my sub-2 hour half marathon in May. I ended the year able to run for 1 hour without worrying about my toe too much. Unfortunately, at this point, I’m more scared and worried about another setback so that’s prevented me from pushing the toe harder. I’m not sure what 2023 will hold for running. Will I ever return to run another marathon? Am I restricted to smaller runs? Do I have a chronic injury caused by golf and fitness?

At this point, I’m not sure because my toe has never returned to 100%. And that’s a terrible feeling. I’ll continue to improve my foot strength and monitor my toe for improvements.

Golf

My golf game really suffered because of my injury. The injury prevented me from doing any extended golf training sessions. This really impacted my game. I wasn’t able to improve my game as planned. I ended with a slightly lower handicap but short of my goals.

Frankly, I end the year on a real low point for golf. I continue to golf virtually indoors during the winter, and I finished the year out of sorts. Yesterday, I not only played my worst virtual golf round ever, but worst round of the year. My swing over the last 3-4 weeks has devolved and it’s very discouraging. I’m not finding golf fun. At this point, I’d rather quit than trying to grind thru any more changes. I’ve decided to take a break for January to get some rest and try to reset myself mentally. I’ll have to revisit golf in February.

Honestly, it’s depressing and a really negative way to end the year for golf. It’s hard for me to stay positive about golf right now. That’s just the truth of it. Hopefully a break will be a good reset and I can come in with a fresher mind in February.

Cycling

Two events lead to my new found interest in cycling. Of course, I injured my toe. This impacted my primary fitness activities: walking and running. I started using my recumbent bike downstairs as part of my new fitness routine. That was a mini-step towards cycling.

In addition, I volunteered with the Alberta Blue Cross street team at the PTO Canadian Open Triathlon. I got very excited about expanding from just running to triathlon. That journey started the following week when I bought a road bicycle.

At this point, cycling is a huge part of my fitness. I cycle 2-3 times a week during the summer and fall. I have my bike setup in the basement with an indoor trainer and I continue to ride 1-2 times a week.

AND, I just signed up to ride the L’Étape Canada by Tour de France – Strathcona in 2023. I signed up for the max distance – 140 KM. So I’ll have to up my training in 2023 to get ready for this. My max distance in 2022 was 105 KM.

If you are interested in joining me, please use my referral link here: L’Étape Canada

Favorite posts of the year

Living Tired – This really sums up my year. I end the year tired. I continue to look for balance and meaning in life. I continue to grow and evolve as a person. The main messages of this blog still apply: Expectations, Am I doing too much?, and Why am I so mad playing golf?

I’m sober….now what? – This article really explores how drinking impacted my life and how quitting changed my life.

I’m Hanging in There – A lot of my favourite posts are real and down to earth. I reveal who I am and why I am. The posts talk about my inner thoughts and how I process adversity, which isn’t always great. Sometimes it’s ok to just hang in there.

The mad dash for a flashlight – This is just a fun post that is light and fun.

Looking forward to 2023

It’s Saturday, December 31. It’s the last day of 2022. I’m flooded with emotions in reviewing my year and planning for 2023. Life has really been hard since March 2020, the onset of COVID. Life has changed forever. Priorities changed for a lot of people and it’s caused more strife between people than anything else in my lifetime except for maybe the 9-11 terrorist attack. I’ve changed a ton in the last 2 years. I feel like I’m a completely different person.

Here’s a quick list of things I’m looking forward to in 2023:

  • Vacation – Yes, a real vacation. Not a staycation. Not an Alberta or BC vacation. But a real, get on a plane, and go somewhere warm vacation!
  • Exploring my fitness more – I’m not sure what 2023 holds for running, but I’m excited about where cycling can go in 2023!!
  • Improving my mental health – This is a lifelong exercise. I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a point that I won’t have to work on improving my mental health. In some instances, I’m a really strong person, capable of handling a lot of adversity. In other instances, I’m weak mentally and can be setback by the smallest of things. I really want to continue to work on my response to adversity, not letting little things get to me, and improving my mental fitness in sport. I spent less time meditating in late 2022 and I hope to pick this up again in 2023.
  • Finding balance – Life can be imbalanced. I’m hoping to find some balance in 2023. My November was extremely busy because of Movember and I overdid things fitness wise. December was the opposite. In between, there is a balance. I need to balance physical and mental health. I hope to continue to evolve and discover what balance looks like for me and allow myself to take days off.
  • Spending time with friends and family and exploring new friendships – I think I became a bit of a recluse/loner during COVID and during the initial phases of my sobriety. I’m ready to put myself out there more (with balance). I look forward to spending more time with family and friends and exploring new friends via cycling that started in 2022.
  • Golf – Sadly, I don’t know where golf is going in 2023. I’m quite discouraged right now. I know that I need a break, so I’m looking forward to taking a break in January to evaluate golf in my life. Can I be at the level of skill I want to be? I was so close but didn’t get there in 2022. Can I have more fun golf even on a bad day? Golf is a frustrating sport, and I need to find the fun. Can I improve my mental game or will I continue to let adversity on the course or with my swing take me down? Can I play more in 2023 or will my injury continue to impact my golf? Is golf a distraction that I love but is just too frustrating? I need to do some searching and find some answers for myself that make sense.

Wrap Up!

Happy New Year! I wish all of the best to my family, friends and readers. I really enjoyed blogging in 2022 and I look forward to sharing more life stories in 2023!

Sending you my love. See you in 2023!

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