Reviewing the end of the year

I've been doing the Sacred Bow practice with Leo Babauta. It's a practice I look forward to each year because it gives me a chance to review the year I've had. This year it's taken me a while longer to get through this, in part because I've prioritized other things, but also because this year was the first year that I found out I had cancer. Reviewing my journal entries was pretty exhausting for me. Lots of entries wondering how things would turn out, lots of indecision, and lots of wondering if I could do this. I also read through so much familiar territory: not being able to work on things first thing in the morning, feeling tired, having a shitty morning because I got up late: I have a fraught relationship with sleep and waking up. But what I also saw were moments when I was brave in the face of uncertainty, and moments when my very soul was shaken from its complacency. For the first time in a while I realized that my passions were weakly held and that I wasn't just a frustrated designer and programmer waiting for someone to notice me and lift me up to whatever thing I was expecting; I'm the only one that can push my ass forward to get where I want to go. I realized that only with my intense focus on what it is that I want can I make things happen. And I made things happen. Here's some of the highlight reel:

  • I created the Hearsay engine for my storyworld and began working on the story that has seen several iterations between a board game, several tabletop RPG systems, and a point-and-click adventure.
  • I wrote a game in TIC-80 that is playable
  • I wrote a demo for the Atari 8-bit computers
  • I started learning about the Atari 2600
  • I learned more about the Atari ST and rehabilitated one broken machine into working order
  • I learned I had inoperable stage 4 rectal cancer
  • I literally went into chemo with no preparation and managed to keep my composure throughout
  • I passed a kidney stone with no painkillers save for an occasional ibuprofen and managed to suffer several attacks by staying with the pain and not running
  • I had COVID on my birthday
  • I had radiation treatments of up-to 45 grays (and got my first tattoos)
  • I managed to reintroduce myself to my hero Chris Crawford and attend several of his seminars related to Interactive Storytelling.
  • I played three RPG games at GenCon
  • I kept Coffee House Coders going to where it added several regulars that I consider friends
  • I did major decluttering on my video game collection which helped me focus on the things that matter
  • I did major decluttering of my books to get rid of topics that no longer interested me and helped me to focus on the important stuff
  • I lost a lot of energy during my treatments
  • Brain fog is very real
  • I was shaken to my core about my weak passions, strongly held, and realized that I am the one to write my own story
  • I'm still standing

I still have more work to do, but I'm feeling really accomplished this year. I definitely struggled but though that struggle I was able to overcome and do things that I didn't think were possible. It's not been easy, and I don't know what the future holds for me but I know that even in the face of adversity I can pull myself up and make amazing things happen.

I still have more of the Sacred Bow to do but I'm content with knowing that this year has really changed my life. I'm not saying that I'm grateful for cancer but it has gotten me to focus on the essential in my life. I just wish I could have done this sooner without the need for having a figurative Sword-of-Damocles hanging over me.

More to come.