8 Things That Made 2022 a Bowl Full of Awesome

I can't believe 2022 is almost over.

Okay. Fine. I can believe it, because the calendar says it is the last day of the year. But this year rushed past me like my kids to the bathroom after chugging several cups of juice at a party. New Year's Eve makes me feel similar to when I realize the age of my kids, because I just wish time would slow down a tick and not feel like my life is in constant fast-forward.

I've been open about the fact that 2022 was a rough year for my career. I'm still feeling the lasting impact on my industry felt during the pandemic, and it hasn't helped that those effects have gone rabid racoon on my emotional well-being.

There are more days than I'd dare to admit that I've felt like a failure. A failure as a husband, father, writer, son, brother, and friend. But the wonderful thing about this life is that despite it being in hyperdrive and not always turning out the way one has dreamed, there is always a new day, week, month, and year to strive to be great. 

2023 provides a chance to be the best year ever for Beyond the Balcony, The Movie Breakdown, and my career. But more importantly, it is another 365 days where I can be the best husband. father, son, brother, and friend that I am capable of being.

But in order to have a great year, one needs to be appreciative and grateful for what they have. They need to remain positive. It is with that stance that I recognize that 2022 had a lot of great things to offer even if it isn't winning the award for best year ever.

Here are the eight things that did make 2022 rock.

1. The love of my family. 2022 was the year where my kids still believed that I was cool. Sure, Everett wanted to see Sonic the Hedgehog 2 with his friends, but he wanted me to come too. Both kids want to play with me, and most days I still get a hug and kiss before they run off to school. Emily doesn't say 'I love you' often, but she shows it every day with her hard work, and the extra things she does for the family like stay up late to make custom cakes and Halloween costumes or sacrifice time to assists with cello and musical theatre. There is a lot of love in this house, and that is always the most valuable gift in life.

2. My kids' passions. My kids throw themselves into musical theatre, and Everett has been working so hard for the big production of Newsies Jr coming next month. Danika will think nothing of bursting out into song and dance numbers at home, because why save musical theatre just for the classes? Both kids have put in many hours to become impressive cello players. Danika loves making creation at home in various mediums be it painting, clay, beads, or whatever she can find. Everett participated in NaNoWriMo with me for the fourth straight year, and Danika has proven an interest in writing stories too. It is an inspiration seeing my kids share their passions and interests, and watching them get better at it every single day.

3. My kids' imagination. I was going to include this above, but this is different. This is a trait that I truly know I passed on to my kids. I love that they can play together and travel into distant imaginary worlds every single day. I love that both my kids are gifted and natural storytellers. I have a deep connection with both my children, because we all have a vivid and powerful imagination. This fact brings me great joy every single day of the year.

4. My dreams. I haven't achieved many of them. I know that part of the reason is due to being over-ambitious in what I want to achieve, thus I am prone to overwhelming myself. But I have so many goals to strive and push myself towards. I want to grow my audience for the site and podcast to the point it is a recognized name in the entertainment industry. I strive to be part of the Online Film Critic Society. I dream of publishing successful novels and books. I have so many creative ideas and goals that are playing bumper cars in my head. It is dreams that make life more thrilling. It is dreams that challenge us and push us. I am thankful that I have so many. There is much to drive me through 2023 and achieve in this new year.

5. Fans. I feel weird saying that I have fans, but that seems to be the best word for 'complete strangers who appear to enjoy what I create'. My social media presence is weak and the numbers for both my site and podcast are not much to brag about. But the stats do show that I get over a thousand views for the site and similar numbers for my podcast every month. But what I am extremely grateful about is the kind emails and comments that I get from people that I never met who take the time to tell me that something I crafted spoke to them and meant something to them. This is a true treasure, and I am so humbled to know there are people who enjoy my writing and podcasting. This coming year I will be expanding into creating videos, and I hope it provides just as much entertainment and value. Thank you.

6. NaNoWriMo. The yearly challenge of writing 50k words of a novel in the month of November is not only a great way to push myself creatively, but it has given me a community of amazing writers who share similar interests. I appreciate the amazing people I have met, and the source of encouragement we have provided for each other. It has become an even bigger deal in recent years, because I can share it with Everett. 

7. True friends. I've never been invited to the cool table of life, but I've been blessed with some amazing people that I can call friends. I haven't seen them as much in the past few years, but I still cherish the moments we've shared together. I am extremely grateful for the friends that took the time to send out quick messages to check in to see how I am doing this year. I can never express how much it means to get an 'out of the blue' message, and some of those kind notes have been crucial in brightening up my day or week. 

8. Great movies. In the coming days, I am going to be revealing my top ten movies of the year. It has been a true exercise trying to narrow it down to such a small number. This has been a stacked year with an old-school blockbuster in Top Gun: Maverick, a sweeping historical epic of old with something new in The Woman King, a thoughtful yet fun family animated adventure in Turning Red, and a horror movie packed with things to say while being crazy in Barbarian. Some of those movies may not even make my list. Art is crucial to understanding our society, and movies are one of the greatest forms of art. They also can be a great form of escapism in a year that I really needed it. It has been a great of being thrilled but also challenged with so many ideas. I am also so grateful that I got to be in a movie theatre this year, because the last few years really helped me appreciate their magic.

What were the best things in your 2022?