It feels appropriate to end this year in a state of the exhaustion which has come to characterise 2022. After arriving home from Brisbane after a massive traffic jam and migraine that I’m still feeling the after-effects of, I am out of energy for much of a party.
This year has involved a lot of driving, beginning with a day trip down to Huskisson and a big road trip around South Australia and back through Victoria.
John Williams celebrated his 90th birthday and I joined in the party with a drive down to Melbourne to attend an open air concert at the Sydney Myer Music Bowl and then in June returned on the daylight XPT for another John Williams concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. In between I drove up to Brisbane in April to attend Cinematic: The John Williams Birthday Party with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Our tickets to Japan in the Easter school holidays were cancelled by the airline as the country was still closed. We thought of flying Scoot to Berlin but the war in Ukraine lead to a fear of further consequences, then the ticket price rose anyway. Instead we drove down to Melbourne and the Bellarine Peninsula for a mainly relaxing beachside holiday.
On the June long weekend we made a quick and largely unremarkable trip down to Batemans Bay.
2022 saw the end of most COVID restrictions, with even China ending their Zero COVID policy by the close of the year. But it was also the year it finally caught up with us, ruining both a holiday and a term of school.
Near the end of the first semester Alex fell sick after the freezing compulsory school swimming lessons and then I tested positive for COVID a couple of days before we were due to drive down to Melbourne and fly to Singapore for our first international trip in three years. Alex was on the tail end of his case and B stayed negative, so they continued while I coughed alone away at home.
Unfortunately, the aftermath of COVID left Alex bereft of energy and he struggled in Singapore and in the weeks afterwards at school. His performance in term 3 suffered accordingly.
Working permanently from home with maybe a day a week in the office means that opportunities to get out of the house are eagerly embraced, especially by B and Alex. But the driving aspect, especially around busy cities and when heading north means it is often an exhausting experience.
A wedding in October wrecked our opportunity for a decent holiday in October and all we could manage was a day of riding heritage trains at the NSW Transport Heritage Expo and three nights inspecting old fighter jets and surfing sand dunes in Nelson Bay.
The final quarter of the year was especially hectic, with Alex working really hard to achieve his best on his yearly school scores and me working with him on his maths. At the same time our front-end developer had taken a secondment at another organisation, leaving me with very little support for WordPress and no direct report to support a promotion.
Despite the increased responsibilities I was told not to apply for a promotion or reward, leaving me increasingly frustrated. Seeing a new position in the team being offered at a higher pay level than the one I’ve been stuck at for over 16 years is a further source of pain.
The fact that the money you earn is not necessarily commensurate with your technical ability was highlighted by Elon Musk’s takeover and destruction of Twitter, which lead to me setting up my own Mastodon instance in November.
The hard work Alex put into his school work paid off when he received his final reports and a merit award at the school presentation night. Watching him grow into a determined, yet incredibly empathetic and moral young man is a privilege and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
Office politics meant that B’s work year ended on a bit of a sour note with her manager reflecting her own toxic work environment on to her staff. Then we said farewell to work for a week and drove up to Brisbane on Christmas Day so we could meet my sister and her noisy family.
Now we are back in Sydney, worn out from family, driving, school and work. In a couple of weeks we will hopefully be on our way to Japan, this time with all of us on board. May 2023 be a better year for all.