✨ Letter 139: Goodbye 2022 & Hello 2023
30 things out & 30 things in for 2023, the best of my writing from 2022, and annual review resources
If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other 492 learn-it-alls:
Aloha fellow learn-it-all 👋
Greetings from Walloon Lake, Michigan ❄️
I’ve absolutely cherished this past week of nothingness cozied up in northern Michigan with some family. Long dog walks. Falling over on the ‘mountain’ at Boyne Highlands as I was taking in my brother’s coaching advice to use my hips and only stay on the edges of my skis… which then lead to my looking like a limp noodle. For skiing only a couple times a year it was so much fun! Every year it’s like I’m a beginner again. The chair life truly tests my patience.
Now, let’s ski into letter 139 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
❓Question to think about
What’s in for 2023? What’s out for 2023?
I have been starting to think about how to think about my annual reflection. What can I say, I’m an expert overthinker ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’ve listed some resources further down, but first, an Instagram trend I’ve really been digging. Out for 2023 and In for 2023. I’m guilty. I’m a sucker for making a list….. but, on the real, who’s not???
Anywho here goes these two lists. I recommend making your own lists. It’s prompting my 2022 lessons blog (coming to your inbox in the upcoming weeks.)
❌ 30 Things Out for 2023
Bottling up emotions onto the dusty shelf.
Being agreeable and pleasing people.
Pressure to do all the things.
Defining myself by my career and what I do rather than who I am.
Judgment of all shapes and sizes.
Shame for feeling like I need a reason to enjoy walking barefoot to watch the sunset.
Pushing love away.
Music in public places especially on hikes and at the beach.
Itching bug bites until they scar.
Forgetting to walk.
A watch tan.
Embarrassment for my bad handwriting.
Monotonous routines that don’t add energy to my life.
Expecting the worst to happen.
Indulging in sweets more than once a day.
Impulsive defensiveness with unwanted criticism.
Continuing conversations that are swimming in anger.
Being a coward rather than a leader of how I would like myself or neighbors to be treated.
Defining my runs by numbers like my heart rate, cadence, pace or distance on my Garmin instead of how I’m feeling.
Know-it-all lecture-esque energy while teaching. This usually stems from a lack of security that I am competent enough. I am.
Feeling bad for saying no to booze.
Embarrassment for needing time alone. The more time I spend with myself, the more I realize that I’m an extroverted introvert. I feel depleted if I expect myself to be around folks all the time and still be my best self.
Embarrassment for being myself. Yes I am an overthinker. Yes I sleep with socks on when it’s cold as heck. Yes somedays I want roots and commitments while other days I couldn’t imagine my life any other way than that of a tumbleweed bopping around.
On a more positive note…
✅ 30 Things In for 2023
Being like a tree that is strong and slowly growing with seasons to prune and seasons to bloom.
Listening to full albums of music.
Frequenting the movie theater, company optional and leaving movie reviews on Letterboxd.
Using Goodreads for unfinished books.
Completing my first Olympic distance triathlon.
Doing something for the hell of it like making a whole pot of tea for one or learning to handstand.
Going to New Zealand.
Aging and embracing what comes with my path in life. The passage of time does not equate to decaying.
Eating more protein. My body is a machine and needs nourishment.
Noticing surprises in my life, smiling and writing them down.
Creating and completing a book project.
Regular moisturization with avocado lotion.
Giving love and hugging it in.
Having regular therapy sessions.
Open questions and active listening.
Looking bad in hats and wearing them anyways to minimize squinting.
Sharing marginalia in books with friends.
Intentional sun soaking and conscious belly breathing in the AM.
Maxing out my retirement account in this bearish market. Buying low is a bet worth making.
Listening and paying attention to my body even when that means putting the training plan to the wayside.
Accepting all feelings no matter their color or texture.
Being silly for the sake of being silly.
Intimate gatherings with friends to converse about life.
Sending spontaneous handwritten notes.
Feeling small while stargazing under the beautifully lit sky.
Remembering that mistakes are lessons for my future self.
🏆 My Favorite Five Writing Pieces
Easily one of the most vulnerable pieces of writing I have shared publicly. It wrestles with much of the identity crisis I have undergone with reshaping what my life is about and the shedding of skin of who I used to be as a regular at local watering holes.
I wrote this poem on the plane after spending five days off the grid for my first time backpacking and silent meditation retreat in the wilderness of National Volcano Park in Big Island Hawaii.
Birthdays and new years are honestly quite arbitrary dates. But they do have some power like the last day of a month that signals me to pause and look back before speeding forward. Many of these lessons I still reread and I hold them as the ideal of what I strive to do.
I wrote this after receiving a gnarly rejection earlier this year. It felt therapeutic and is something I also refer to time and time again as I think about how much of the fears that stem in my life are from rejection or regrets from inaction.
I still feel like an impostor saying to folks that I’ve completed this race. It holds this weight of understanding by everyone that is foreign to me. It’s funky for sure. It felt humbling to write up this piece and share how it’s honestly something that is a lot more possible than I thought.
📚 Annual Review Resources
Everyone typically tends to jump ahead to what they want to accomplish in the new year. In 2020, I took in a workshop led by Tiago Forte to review 2019 where we remembered, connected, and created a plan for the upcoming year.
There is power in the review process of looking back on the year. I get to figure out why certain projects didn't come to fruition. The learning comes from assessing how you can tweak it and run an alternate experiment instead. Reflection is a key part of setting your future self up for success.
As for me, I have been doing a high-level process of what my monthly reviews have looked like this year: I ask myself what I loved, lacked, and learned. I am starting to get more granular and skimming past journal entries. I am excited to open letters that I wrote to myself this upcoming week as I start to get into the weeds of figuring out what new experiments I want to run in the new year.
I will be sharing this in the coming weeks. I don't want to rush the reflection as I know it takes time. Looking forward to sharing my 2022 reflection with you all in the new year!
Fear not if you have never done one before, below are more resources than you could ever need. I recommend choosing one and going for it. My intention is not to create analysis paralysis for you.
Here are six frameworks from people I admire:
Per my mentioning earlier, Tiago Forté’s template and it’s step by step guide.
Dick Bush and Nicolas Cole’s The Yearly Review Template
James Clear answers these questions:
What went well this year?
What didn’t go so well this year?
What am I working toward?
—> You can find his past reviews here.
Anne Laure Le Cunff created this template in slides last year that I found helpful with different buckets similar to James Clear.
Khe Hy has a Notion template with some really quality questions I am liking. My favorite: what makes me come alive?
Steve Schlafman’s Ultimate Annual Review Template
My version currently is opening letters to myself, and rereading old journals, my past writing on my website, past newsletters, and monthly reviews.
I’m starting to simplify the process and asking questions similar to James of what I want to stop, start and continue doing more of.
For an additional reading list of inspiration of annual reviews, here are ten below:
Mark Manson explains here why he thinks it's better to focus on skills rather than goals
David Perell's 9,000 word review from 2021 is well worth the read in my opinion. I like how he breaks down his decision making
Resolutions for a Life Worth Living: Attainable Aspirations Inspired by Great Humans of the Past Issue by Maria Popova in Brain Pickings
Salman Ansari shares his process with simple steps of reviewing and reflecting
In Tiago Forte's 2021 Annual Review I particularly resonated with his six favorite problems near the end
Nix’s Life Lessons from 2022.
Roxine Kee’s Annual Review 2022. She goes over what went well, what didn’t go well, what did I learn, and what’s next? Her personal MBA is inspiring as heck!
Matt Yao’s The Art of Reflection. He robustly thought out the location of his reflection, the shape, size, and different cadences and format each having their own purpose.
Sarah Wood’s freetime and most popular five essays. I actively think about how I can have less roads to travel in my life.
Shiv’s Three Things to Try in the New Year. I feel so seen by Shiv as another who deals with a case of overthinking. I love her reference to the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and writing letters to our future selves or younger self. We could even write just a single word as an intention.
Happy reflecting 🥸
So many thoughts on the new movie Avatar: The Way of Water that is out. It could be its own newsletter. Here’s a summary of my thoughts:
There's a rhythm and rush these days
Where the lights don't move and the colors don't fade
Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams
In a world gone shallow
In a world gone lean
But there is a truth and it's on our side
Dawn is coming open your eyes
Look into the sun as a new days rise
🔎 Word to define
Sublime: (in chemical terms) To pass off in vapor, with immediate condensation; specifically, to evaporate or volatilize from the solid state without apparent melting; -- said of those substances, like arsenic, benzoic acid, etc., which do not exhibit a liquid form on heating, except under increased pressure.
Example: Dry ice is sublime because it skips a stage of becoming a liquid. It moves straight from a solid to a gas.
JV Reflection: I am shocked that sublime has ten different definitions on Webster’s 1913. Who knew?! My dad did… he’s the one who explained this to me.
As a metaphor for reflection, I don’t want to be a sublime piece of dry ice that skips a stage. It is okay to sulk in whatever state feels natural.
🌟 Quote to inspire
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
📷 Photos of the Week
My cousins, sister and I shredded up the runs of northern Michigan.
It was silly to think about this sport of snowskiing different than I usually would. This sport can be seen as insufferable if you switch the mindset away from exercise, quality time with fam, and beautiful views. It could easily be viewed as an expensive sport where you spend a bunch of time layering up to go get numb on a chair lift, slide around on ice, and have insufferable walks in weird boots that are the most uncomfortable experience. (not worse than high heels IMO).
We even got some night skiing in too. It’s not very hard to do considering the sun sets so gosh dang early here at 5 pm.
Okay, one last silly pic as we close out the year of me bowling with the fam. Sadly I think I am the worst at this sport. You win some, you lose some.
To my family. I’ve absolutely cherished this past week of nothingness cozies up in northern Michigan.
To my cousin Matthew for getting me out on my last run of the year
I appreciate you reading this!
If ideas resonated, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you forgot who I am, I welcome you to my online home.
Never stop learning 😁
PS - If you followed the exercise in 🍃 Letter 127: Reflections on Nomadic Life & Overflowing Socialization to write a letter to you future self, go ahead and open your letter to start 2023 :)
PPS - in case you missed last week’s 🗞️ Letter 138: Why do I write this newsletter?
If you’re reading this because someone shared this newsletter with you, welcome! I’d love it if you subscribed:
On exploring new hobbies in the new year:
On odd cinnamon roll consumption:
Really enjoyed this!
I loved #2 of your positive things to bring in for 2023…I want to start listening to full albums again too! Lots of great resources in here, thanks Jen!