Anyone else feels like January went by in a hurry? I barely got used to writing 2022 and now we are more than a month into the year.
I started the year really exhausted after the end of year rush in my workplace, and I was determined to go on vacation for at least a few days. I was even contemplating a foreign trip for early February (just around now), which I haven’t had in a very long time, but that’s not going to happen now either (due to Covid and other reasons). Now I can’t have any days off until at least March and I am going to have a busy February too.
Nothing much happened in January though, although you can go to basically anywhere in Hungary as long as you wear a mask, I don’t feel comfortable going into crowds, the occasional public transport is just enough of that. I only went to sit in a café with a friend one time and there were only a few people around us in a huge place with comfortable enough distance.
I chose this uninteresting month to make my first 1secondeveryday video. I’m very bad at documenting anything, I barely make any photos, so it was just something I wanted to try. At this point I can’t even tell which was harder, choosing what to include on a day when nothing happened (days when I haven’t even left the house due to home office), or choosing what to include on a day when I did a lot of things and the day consisted of so much more than just one second. It was a great experiment I might continue, it would be really nice to be able to make a video like that in a month full of adventures like going out, hiking, traveling, meeting people and all that.
In terms of news, mainly two major topics formed the first month of 2022. One is the ongoing threat of Russia invading Ukraine, the other is the omicron variant around the world and all the related questions. What’s interesting is that how you see either of these topics depends on which news source are you following and whom are you talking with. And even so, things (facts, even!) and opinions change every day. Disturbingly, Hungarian mainstream media (and in consequence, people in Hungary) don’t talk or think much of the threat of a war, even though we are one border away from Ukraine. As for Covid, I have had enough of restrictions the same as anyone, but I still want to stay safe and keep others around me safe as much as possible. For some people it’s hard to understand.
I managed to read three and a half books in January. Besides a Hungarian transgenerational family saga (*****) and a Hungarian psychology book (****) about how simple mindfulness practices can change our mental health and worldview, I finally got to read Edith Eva Eger’s The Choice (*****). It was on my shelf for a long time and I knew I would like it, just the time was never right before. I wanted it to be my very first read of 2022, and so it was. I wasn’t disappointed, Dr. Eger is such a wonderfuls story teller with her positive worldview! I don’t remember if I’ve ever read a memoir that felt so much like a well written fiction novel. I loved it so much and also learned so much from it! At the end of January I started the last one of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, The Story of the Lost Child. I am almost finished at this point and have so much thoughts. In terms of storytelling and readability it is one of the best of the series, but I think the turn of events in this one makes me dislike the characters the most. (Still *****, but I don’t know…)
In January I binged Emily in Paris, just because everybody was talking about it, and because, well, Paris and French. But the second season made me cringe even more times than the first one. It seems so far away from real life. I know I am a bit late in the game, but I am also watching Suits (for the first time, I know…). I started sometime last summer, and currently at Season 8, almost finished. I like the legal problem solving side, but not all of the storylines. Also, do people really show up unannounced at each other’s places anymore? Not where I come from… Please, always text before knocking on my door! I also watched Don’t Look Up, which is an interesting and quite thought provoking story.
As always, I listened to a lot of podcasts. Mostly about current affairs (in English and French) and a few book podcasts, but there’s a new one I’d like to recommend. At the top of the year Josh Malina launched a new podcast with Rabbi Shira Stutman called Chutzpod! (the exclamation is in the title). They talk about life’s questions through jewish readings in such a light hearted and humorous way (I think Josh Malina’s person is quarantee for laughter, but the rabbi doesn’t just bring the wisdom either). You don’t have to be jewish to enjoy it (I am a reformed Christian), just be open and curious about how other cultures and religions explain stuff.
As for music, I rediscovered the Hamilton Mixtape, and listened to it a few times (this one is still a winner), and after watching Don’t Look Up I felt like listening to a bit of Wu-Tang Clan goodness (cue: Jennifer Lawrence’s character in the first scenes). I also listen to this playlist on Spotify these days, because I loved the music in the 7th and 8th season of Suits so much. And I’m still listening to this one whenever I need some concentration boost while working.
What else? I also got lost among Wordle and its many imitations both in English and Hungarian a few times. Interestingly, I am better in English, or maybe it’s not interesting at all, since the English alphabet has fewer letters, it’s quicker to go through.
I got through my monthly to do list all right, but my January goals are not 100% accomplished. One of them was writing everyday, either a blog, journal, anything, but write. Maybe it wasn’t every single day, although if I count writing for work, it surely was, but I am satisfied with this one. Another goal was zeroing my Feedly feed, I got close, but I am lagging behind again, I’ve had so many other things to read! I’ll try again in February. What I didn’t manage at all, was to build a consistent language learning routine. I do a few minutes on Duolingo each day, and listen to podcasts, at least 10 minutes each day, but need more. I need to find the time and also the right kind of practice to keep me motivated. And the top on my goals list was sleeping at least 7 hours every night. Well, I failed in that one either. It’s more like six, sometimes close to seven, but very rarely more than 7 hours, although I do feel I would need that. I’ll try to do better.
How about you? How was your January?