It’s an oversimplification put a heading on a whole year. If I had to commit to a theme, the idea of being quietly resolute comes to mind. I made and stuck to a few personally significant resolutions. These had to do with my heart, my body and my sense of home.
I start my annual reflections by going through the photos on my phone, month by month, to recall the captured moments that accumulated into a year.
2022 definitely had momentum. The world opened up again, and hurled forward at a tremendous pace, eager to make up for lost face-time.
For the most part, 2022 was a healthy, wholesome, adventurous and blessed year for me on pretty much every front, and I write that with thankfulness. Yes, it was packed and at times borderline manic, but somehow there was grace, and intentional work-life balance. The consistency of work, friends, mountains and music anchored my schedule in a healthy weekly rhythm and, for the most part, gave the clarity of perspective.
I’ll return to the heading for the year in due course. First, a few sub-headings.
The hiking culmination of the year was the 6 day Tsitsikamma Trail (16 – 21 December), starting in Nature’s Valley and ending 62km later in Stormsriver Village. Much of the hiking happened in the rain, with its own charm and challenges. The trail meanders up and down mountains, over rivers and streams, dipping down into magical indigenous forest where the mountains fold. Hiking out of a year is a meditative experience, and doing so with good friends and kindred spirits is healing.
Multi-day hikes are emmersive. The simplicity of a small gas stove, brewing a cup of something warm. No thought of loadshedding schedules, because all you need is a fire and a headlamp. The delight of two minute noodles. Being mindful of your next step to not slip on a drenched protruding root. Putting your head down and getting up that final steep stretch. The slight trepidation of a river crossing. The joy of being embraced by green and lush and wild.
The December adventure stood on the shoulders of the 18 shorter ones that happened throughout the year. Most of these are connected to disa and orchid hunting, due to the esteemed company I keep .. .
- Table Mountain Silvermine (Metallic Disa)
- Kogelberg (heatwave hiking … questioning life choices)
- Jonkershoek Swartboskloof x 2
- Table Mountain Overseers Hut (Red Disa) weekend
- Greyton to McGregor (overnight and back for Chris’s birthday)
- Drakensberg short meander
- Simonstown to Cape Point
- Constantia Neck via Chapmans Peak
- Cederberg Luna Peak
- Cederberg Wolfberg Cracks
- Table Mountain highlights (up via Three Firs, via MacClear’s Beacon, down Kasteelspoort)
- Devils Peak King’s Blockhouse
- Jonkershoek Victoria Peak
- Landroskop (overnight and back)
- Chapman’s Peak
- Table Mountain Skeleton Gorge Disa Valley (Blou Drup Disa)
Weekend breathers were also a tank filler, and 2022 was packed with a few short hops across the country.
- Pretoria (a family weekend for ouma Lizzie’s 90th, also unknowingly farewell)
- Hermanus (marathon support crew)
- Montagu (Cape Chamber Choir performance)
- Langebaan (SMS choir practice weekend)
- Buffelsbaai & Knysna (to run a half marathon)
- Olive Glen (camping)
- Cederberg Zooridge (rock art and red wine)
- Cederberg Sanddrif (camping / freezing / hiking)
- Drakenberge family break-away (Cathkin Peak for Tannie Liefie’s 60th)
- Johannesburg / Musina / Tzaneen (work & birthday)
Exploring further afield
Zanzibar! This bucket list experience has its own blog: Click.
There is a certain energy that accompanies entering a race or committing to a concert date.
For me, the value lies equally in the adrenaline rush of the actual event, and the weeks or months of physical and relational investment leading up to it. 2022 had its fair share of goals requiring dedication and fun habits. Honourable mention goes to the Gforce crew, for all the early Friday morning runs up Kloofnek Corner, around Lion’s Head, and on the Promenade. This year’s races included the Knysna half marathon, the Gun Run half marathon, and the Berg River Dam half mile swim.
Being part of the Stellenbosch Madrigal Singers is also an important commitment in my life, and this year again held the weekly privilege of singing with friends, in preparation for performances at weddings, church services, the Wolfberg Cracks, and a fancy year end concert. With my first solo :).
Doing things for the first time
I tried two new things this year. A mountain bike trail adventure with the Gforce crew at Bloemendal, and playing Padel. The hype is validated, on both occasions. Funsies!
There were a few disruptive moments during the year that caused some choppy emotional waters. Nothing too dramatic, but still worth reflecting on to glean the wisdom and leave the baggage behind.
2022 was the year of property portfolio experimenting. I made some calculations and took the plunge to buy and move into a second property. It was lovely to live in Royal Ascot for a bit (a quiet and quaint neighbourhood for anyone looking at Milnerton and surrounds.) I enjoyed being part of Life Changers Church Century City for the season, and valued the sense of community, being in a lifegroup again.
The playing with properties process escalated into proper landlording when the traffic finally got to me, and I decided to see if renting out two properties could turn into a side-hustle. As these things go, I had a choppy month of transition with a few maintenance and tenant gripes. I make light of it now, but that one month of cortisol bombing taught me that tycooning requires more resilience than what I had. The waters settled again, with one property sold and another rented out just in time for my own move back to the City, a block away from where I initially landed in 2019. Full circle, anchored again in the reassuring presence of Table Mountain.
A few other adulting things this year included paying off a car and correcting a romantic misalignment. Both of those statements are more profound than the space I will give it here.
I’ve written a separate blog about this, but its worth a reflective mention again. For the first time in literally my life, I feel confident in a bikini. I stopped making excuses, and dug my heels into a healthy diet and consistent exercise. It’s more about the decision to do something about what was niggling me than the weight-loss. The outcome is a newfound sense of personal confidence and freedom in my own skin. It’s easier to run, easier to hike, and easier to consider bigger goals. Like doing the Robben Island swim.
I guess the key gleaning from some of these deeper experiences this year is accepting the responsibility for emotions and actions. Owning a sense of agency, and doing the work required to change the things about yourself and your circumstances that are within your influence.
Do something about it.
Maturity 101, I guess.
In 2023 I want to extend that energy beyond myself. I want to care about the wrongs in my world, with the same sense of agency and commitment to change things within my circle of influence. In 2023, I desire to be fit, with purpose. To do something about it, not just where I am the main beneficiary.
There are a few other loose ends I want to tie up again. Write and release my dormant songs. Develop a PhD proposal for a study looking at the planet as a commercial shareholder in business and government decision-making, identifying the positioning bases for organisations that could be its legal proxy.
There is always still the lingering longing for my life-partner, and my own family. Hope has not deferred there yet, even with the mythical 40-plus label firmly stuck. P.S new rule: If you ask about my love life, you tag yourself with the responsibility to introduce me to one eligible guy in your circles.
Do something about it … 🙂