Wow, it feels oddly weird to be hitting the keys on my keyboard and writing… it is something I’ve not done for quite some time and it feels almost, novel or a drag. I’m yet to decide. Each new year I start off with a sort of life update. Hell, I used to do them monthly when this blog was a thriving space of constant content. We might be half way through January 2023, but it felt unnerving NOT to follow tradition. So here is my 2022 recap and my head space going in to 2023.
It’s a bit weird for me though. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always started the new year with a sort of panicked abandon, speedily throwing sh*t at a wall, hoping it will stick. I’m crazed with a need to hustle and get ahead of whatever make believe opponent my brain was able to draw up. 2023 was not that. It might have delicately reached out to pluck the worst aspects of my behaviour and ensure they remain (hello crippling anxiety which causes me to snap at anyone in the vicinity and an underlying panic that this will be the year that I need to find a “real” job because being my own boss finally comes to an end and I stop booking esports gigs), but the need to get going and doing and writing and creating and hustling…. it isn’t there.
I’ve spent most of my January struggling in a gym to find my former fitness levels. I’ve invested hours into Marvel Snap, a game so gloriously simple and fun I refuse to put it down. I’ve read books. I’ve watched series. I’ve spent two hours drinking coffee talking about everything and nothing all at once. It terrifies me most early mornings, before the sun rises and the world awakes. The fear that I’ve “lost it”, when I don’t even know what “it” is.
Look behind you and you might stumble
At the start of 2022 I wrote one of these updates (which you can read here). I summed up 2021 as my year of loss and said that I hoped 2022 was a year of new. That hope manifested itself into reality. It was a year of incredible new things. Not small moments but giant life changing impacts which burned down like meteors set on cracking the earth’s crust. My axis shifted and I had a chance to see my life as something new.
My personal life saw new in ways I never thought imaginable. Career wise, I signed with a new agency who found me new opportunities in the games I loved. I experienced new levels of esports, new countries and met new people. The year felt like a giant sweet shop where I was encouraged to spend those 365 days filling my basket with all the candy I could carry. And I did.
I worked the biggest FIFA event globally (the FIFA eNations Cup), the biggest PUBG event globally (The PUBG Global Championship) and I got to host the desk for the CSGO Brazil Major Americas RMR… not the biggest Counter-Strike event globally, but a qualifier for one! For some context, I was so at a loss at the end of 2021 I’d told many of my industry colleagues I planned to retire from esports broadcasts and content creation at the end of 2022. How off the mark I was.
We fall forward
2022 wasn’t without its struggles but for the most part it was a glorious adventure. It passed in a whirl wind and I felt like I was almost where I was meant to be – personally and professionally. But now it is done and I’ve spent a good few weeks procrastinating about where to next (usually after ending my turn and waiting for my opponent to play their cards in Marvel Snap). I’ve never been one to set “goals” or “resolutions” for myself. I think life is too complex and ever changing. But for 2023, I did. And hell I’m terrified of failing:
For the first time I have a “goal”. I want to work on the broadcast team of a Counter-Strike Major. Typing it out is terrifying, every time. It is a dream I’ve had since I stumbled onto that Telkom Masters stage at rAge all those years ago (my first “real” CSGO hosting job) in ill-fitting newsreader dresses and high heels I couldn’t walk in. It is a dream I’ve had but ignored, pushed back to the recesses of my brain where you leave the biggest hopes for fear of disappointment. But now, we’re going to be brave and this, this is me being brave. I want to do that event and I want to give the people watching and the players competing the best damn conduit to tell the stories and illustrate the games.
Changing direction slightly to my “other” work:
When I set out to write this update I also wanted to lament a bit about the sorry state of content creation in the gaming industry in South Africa: the weird pivot in my home country to hard sells across influential platforms versus truly creating something that entertains, informs and/or educates. I wanted to stand on my soap box and declare this the year that I do things my own way, be damned the consequences. I did something similar in 2022 but around my hosting style for esports events. I made my comments (publicly, on my yearly update) and then put my money where my mouth is. I’m still trying to polish that skill but I think the focus was in the right direction. But for 2023? I’m not going to write paragraphs folks won’t read. I know what I like, what I don’t like and what I want to do… so we’re doing that. I don’t need to explain myself.
I labelled 2022 the year of new. But for 2023? I’m going for “contentment.” That doesn’t necessarily mean settling for anything less than the best or letting go of what you desire. It means finding a state of happiness and satisfaction. I want to use this year to be happy in my own skin, content in who I am and less inclined to worry myself about the things I can’t control. I’ve always had this feeling that there is something wrong with me, that I’m not good enough, that I’m “unlikeable”. The irony of my chosen career is not lost on me. In aiming for contentment, I hope to change that self view. Maybe, on this weird journey, I can find a way to help others to find their own sunshine too. Who knows.
Shut up, this is too soppy
I promised a brain vomit at the start of all of this and here we are. An essay of nothing, everything and very little concrete material on what I plan to do this year. If you got this far, I commend you and I also thank you. I love to tell stories, I hate being the story. So this yearly post is the one time I push myself out of that comfort zone and make me the story. It’s done now. Thanks for reading.
Here’s to a new year and everything that comes with it.
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