I’ve been doing a year in review publicly for four years now. If you haven’t read the previous one, you can see my year in review 2022 to catch up.
This year has been a year of pain. There’s no easy way of saying it. While I continued to grow, I had to start slowing down due to my health and the reality that my body cannot keep up with my ambition.
My number one goal this year is to get healthy. I’ve been dealing with a medical condition known as “long covid” for three years now which is basically a condition caused by the body not fully clearing the virus or viral remnants. It causes all kinds of problems and debilitating symptoms like heart palpitations, muscle pain, brain fog, chronic fatigue, post-exertion malaise, and much more.
I never imagined these last three years since catching covid to affect my life so much. But sadly, that’s the reality that I live in today. I’ve tried just about every treatment under the sun to get better, but the best thing I can do right now is just endure until I do get better with time or we find a reversible or manageable treatment for the condition.
The good news is that this is finally a well-recognized condition in 2023 and many clinical trials will wrap up in 2024 to hopefully provide an initial batch of treatments. I’m also working today to get a previously known treatment through what’s known as “compassionate use” given research suggesting it can help my specific cohort of long covid.
Write another book
Because of my health, I decided to write a book on a topic that I felt was not being discussed enough, which is “long covid”. Over the last three years, I sat patiently waiting to better understand why my perfectly healthy 30-year old body changed overnight. I went from training for a marathon to barely being able to walk up the stairs. I didn’t get many answers from doctors until I found some initial communities in 2021 where other people around the world were experiencing exactly what I was.
In 2022, I would follow all of the budding research on the topic of long covid (LC), post-covid condition (PCC), and post-acute sequelae of covid (PASC). Through the process, I would start to journal and share scientific findings with the community and build a small following of people who wanted to understand the gist of what we are learning about this condition.
This inspired me to write a book about the absurdity of going through so much daily pain alongside being a science journalist to help make a complex condition well…understandable. After all, I have the condition and know exactly how it feels.
Coming this spring of 2024, I am happy to announce that the book will be available to anyone free of charge. I know just how hard this condition is and I want to bring more solace into people’s lives. I will be listing it on Amazon in every major geo for the lowest amount of money they will allow me to so it can be as accessible as possible given you can’t exactly list your books for free.
Start a new writing project
After I published my last book Enough. Seeking less in a world of more. I realized that I wasn’t exploring the topics that I wanted to through my regular writing. At first, I started with this idea of being some kind of “life coach” and helping people learn how to be more productive, optimize their health, and so on. With time however and this newly introduced condition, I turned my page over to philosophy and poetry. Thus, I started to write one article every week and almost made it! I ended up with 37 articles this year out of the 52 weeks. I called this series “The Elemental” referring to our ability of not being able to conquer the elements, but to conquer ourselves as it is “elemental” by human nature to do so.
Read a lot
I’m trying to find balance with reading. Specifically, to read less, study less, and think more. I read a lot of philosophy books this year. If you know anything about these kinds of books, they are the most dense books in existence. They take a lot of time just to understand what the author is even talking about and sometimes can feel like a Dan Brown novel of cracking the code of what they are really saying.
In addition to philosophy, I got super interested in science again due to my health. Like philosophy, science books are just about as engaging as watching paint dry, but damnit they are just so interesting to me. I’d also start reading science magazines like Science and Nature again and keep up with what is happening in the world of STEM.
Because of this, I only read about 40 books this year.
Here are my top 5 books:
- I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
- Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger
- Consolations by David Whyte
- The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
- Behave by Robert Sapolsky
If you’d like to see my reading lists for each year, you can look at my shelves here on GoodReads:
Spend time with family
Because of this natural slowing down, I’ve been able to spend more time with my family. My daughter started kindergarten this year which made me (a grown-ass man) cry, and my son will start pre-school come the new year. I was able to spend so much quality time this last year going on daily walks, making up imaginary games, and getting to know the budding interests of my kids. I would not trade this for the world.
I am hopeful that as my condition improves or treatments are developed, that I will be able to travel the world again.
- Read lots of books. The wisdom that can be applied may adjust your behavior and people may not like the new you. But to hell with them.
- Invert, always invert – Some of the greatest appreciations for life can be found as paradoxes.
- Never think less of a person who has changed their mind. Think more of them.
- Make the good outweigh the bad.
- Be crazy enough to think you can change your world.
- Forgiveness is about one thing – this is for me, not for you.
- We are nothing more or less than the cumulative biological and environmental luck brought to us at any moment.
- Old enough to know what’s right, young enough not to choose it.
- Fast can be fragile and slow can be strong.
- Science is compatible with spirituality. It’s a profound source of it.
- Vision without execution is hallucination.
- Be fearless about changing our minds based on new information.
- Imagination is more important than knowledge. But knowledge is power.
- Try again. Fail again. Fail better.
- A person is a person through other people.
- Constant learning, constant trying, constant searching.
- Look for what you notice but no one else sees.
- We truly are what we eat (referring to microbes). Rather, we are what our cells eat.
- There’s no such thing as alternative medicine; if it works, it’s just called medicine.
- It is character, not numbers, that make the world go ‘round.
- Think less like a manager, whose task is to do things right, but rather as a leader, whose task is to do the right thing.
No idea! Life continues to throw me lemons, but all I want right now is my health. I will continue to slow down to make that my number one priority. While hope is not a plan, it is my plan to get through this trying time. Here’s to hoping.
Till next time!