2022 – The Closing Ceremony

Well, hello there, and happy new year…almost.

As I do each year, I like to close out the old year before I commit to the possibility of the new. Grab yourself a cuppa, we’ll be here a while.

What did you do that you’ve never done before?

Up until the last couple of months of the year, I felt as though I was more entrenched in my little bubble than usual and didn’t venture far from my comfort zone. That needs to change in 2023.

There were, however, things I did that I’d never done before:

  • We had a private chef come to our house to cook a special meal. The post is here.
  • We went on a mystery picnic where the contents of our picnic basket were gathered based on clues. The post is here.
  • We climbed into survival suits and hopped onto a RIB boat for a jet around the freezing waters of Norway’s fjords.
  • We saw the Northern Lights high up above the Arctic Circle in Norway.
  • We went to Abba’s Voyage concert in London – my first time in a moshpit.

What was your word for the year? How did you go with that?

My word of the year was ME – and you can read about it here. The idea was that this year I was putting myself first. My family, my health, my headspace, my work, my dreams, and my goals.

In terms of boundaries, I did strengthen those between work and life and (mostly) kept to my scheduled days off and if I did have to work on those days (mostly) I didn’t do it unpaid.

As for the rest? Yeah and nah. Not so good. Most months the only time I thought about my word was as I was scrabbling to write the monthly catch-up post and find a selfie to post.

my favourite selfie of the year

Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions?

I don’t always set resolutions, but this year I did:

  • Move daily
  • Do something fun once a week that doesn’t involve work.
  • Send out an author newsletter each month.
  • Book our UK trip and take the entire month of October off work.

How did I go?

  • I moved most days…but also had days where I struggled to get more than 2000 steps. I’ll give myself a 3/5
  • Once a month I scheduled something for us to do, but weekly? I began well but faded fast. Must do better. 2.5/5
  • I think I sent out 4 newsletters. 2/5
  • We took off all of October and travelled to England and Norway. 5/5

I feel further away from my long-term goals than I did in January 2022, and despite taking the plunge into Amazon advertising and spending hours (that I could have spent writing) over ads to sell more books, ended up selling fewer than I did in 2021… #gofigure

Where did you travel to in 2022?

Travel-wise 2022 was a good year. Aside from the usual trips to Hervey Bay to see Sarah, there was also:

  • January – Sydney to manage an office relocation for the day job and for Mum’s 80th (which ended up being cancelled due to covid)
  • March – Sydney for a wedding and Mum’s (delayed) 80th party
  • May – Grant and I spent a long weekend exploring the Tweed Coast
  • July – Sares and I spent a few days in Queenstown, New Zealand
  • August – Sydney for the weekend to see Mum and Dad
  • September – Melbourne for the day job and another office relocation
  • September/October – England and a cruise through the Norwegian fjords
  • November – Wellington, New Zealand, for my bestie’s 60th.

Did anyone close to you give birth?


Did anyone close to you get married?

Yes, a close family friend was married in March – after having had the usual covid related cancellations last year.

Did anyone close to you pass away?

No. Thankfully.

How did you spend New Year’s Eve 2021?

We were contemplating heading out on a boat out of Mooloolaba Wharf but it was raining very hard and the logistics of parking and walking and crowds and… okay, neither of us could be faffed. Instead, I spent the afternoon of New Year’s Eve cleaning out the pantry and cooked us a seafood dinner. Much more civilised.

some of the contents of the condiments shelf

How did you spend your birthday in 2022 and how old were you?

I turned 55 in 2022. It was one of those rare things – a Saturday birthday. We’d driven the 1000+ kms home from Sydney a couple of days before so Sarah was still home. We had breakfast at Montana’s on Buderim and dinner at Fish at Mooloolaba and in between did lots of lovely nothing.

It was easily the best birthday I’d had in many years.

My birthday selfie with Sarah

What would you like to have more of next year that you lacked in this one?

Book sales – and someone to do my marketing for me. The problem is, of course, that I don’t earn enough from book sales to pay for services like that. #viciouscircle

Did you tick anything off your bucket list this year?

It has always been Grant’s dream to take a Cunard cruise and to see the Northern Lights. It’s always been my dream to sail out of Southampton and see the Northern Lights. This year we took a Cunard cruise out of Southampton and witnessed the Northern Lights. Tick, tick, and tick.

What dates from this year will remain etched in your memory and why?

Seeing the Northern Lights and seeing Abba…well, avatars of them… Two of the best things I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’ve ever been surrounded by so much pure joy as we were in the Abba stadium.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I struggled from a mindset and headspace viewpoint in 2022 and don’t feel as though I achieved very much at all.

I did, however, finish It’s In The Stars (although am yet to publish it), published Philly Barker Investigates, and wrote my first Christmas novel – Christmas at Mannus Ridge (out next year).

As an aside, if you are interested in any of my books, all the buy links are on my book page.

What did you learn this year?

I’m finishing 2022 no closer to my ambition of being able to afford to leave the day job behind and, to be brutally frank – it’s doing my head in. Something needs to change and I’m the only one who can change it.

Consistency and commitment is the key to achieving long-term goals, and I’m not great with either of these words.

In the past, I’ve been able to juggle ridiculous amounts of tasks – not because I’m addicted to being busy, but because I can’t do the things I want to do until the things I don’t want to do but have to do are done. It makes sense in a weird sort of way. These days by the time I get around to the things I want to do I have no brain space left or energy left – that’s all been taken by the things I have to do but don’t want to do. My brain isn’t as agile as it used to be.

Somehow, therefore, I need to find a way to spend more time doing the things that I either love – or that will help me in the long term – and less on the things I don’t love but am committed to. Now, there’s a conundrum.

Another thing I’ve learnt is that movement isn’t just essential for my physical health, but I’m in better shape mentally when I’m exercising regularly. Without a consistent and pain-free exercise regime in the second half of this year (see below) I’ve struggled more than usual with head stuff.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

After two years mostly fit and healthy, things caught up with me this year.

The year started well enough, but I caught covid in June and haven’t felt great since. I’m an asthmatic so covid was always going to be an issue, but it took me almost a month to be able to exercise properly. Work had been busy so I could only take a day or so off to indulge in being sick and as a result, have felt almost permanently exhausted since.

While I was healthy on holidays I came back with what I think was another dose of covid (while I didn’t take a test this time it certainly felt the same).  Cue another couple of weeks of being unable to breathe and, therefore exercise.

Normally, monthly visits to the chiropractor, regular walking and the addition of twice-weekly strength training keep my problematic back in as good a shape as it can be (while supporting the excess weight it does). But, because my routine has been non-existent, my back is in dreadful shape. For someone with as pronounced a scoliosis as I have, that means I’m in almost constant pain. I need to move to keep my back healthy, but even walking has been painful. Another vicious circle.

To top it off I sprained my dodgy left ankle the week before Christmas and was again unable to walk for over a week and still can’t put weight on it.

Suffice to say I’ll be starting 2023 almost from scratch as far as health and mobility are concerned.

What was the best movie you saw all year?

I didn’t go to the movies this year – nothing unusual in that. I did, however, see Mrs Harris Goes to Paris on the ship and Maverick on the plane. Other than that I indulged in some romcoms (and, more recently holiday movies) on Netflix – none of which have left lasting memories, but which provided some much-needed escape.

What song was on high rotation this year?

While I listen to a lot of music, I didn’t listen to anything more than anything else this year. 

Where did your money go this year?

Travel, of course, and books. Again. One day I’ll learn to restrain myself…but where would be the fun in that?

Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder?

I definitely feel lower than I did this time last year and even though there’s been no real reason for it, I’ve struggled at times with that. I’m definitely restless…

Thinner or fatter?

Fatter – I’m back to being almost the heaviest I’ve been. I know what I need to do, but my head gets in the way. Are you noticing a theme here?

Richer or poorer?

Poorer – on account of the travel, rising interest rates yadda yadda yadda. We did, however, have experiences that made our lives richer in so many ways so whatever…

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Same as last year: writing, exercising, marketing more effectively, and selling more books.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Same as last year: beating myself up for spending too much, eating too much, drinking too much, not exercising enough, not being productive enough and not marketing well enough to sell more books.

How did you spend Christmas 2022?

Sarah came down from Hervey Bay and brought a colleague with her (whose family lives overseas) to spend the holiday with us.

We began the day at the beach followed by present opening and bubbly at home. As we’ve done for the past couple of years we had Christmas lunch with friends in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

What was the best book you read?

My 2022 bookish round-up will be out soon. While it’s tough to narrow it down to a single book, I have listed my faves in that post.

What TV shows did you watch?

I watched a lot of cooking shows (no surprises there) and loved Masterchef and Great British Bake-off as always.

The new series of Shetland saw me shedding a tear at Jimmy’s departure, and there were a few new episodes of Midsomer Murders (but not nearly enough). 

In terms of free-to-air viewing, as always ABCTV and SBS had plenty to offer, with Fisk again being one of the funniest things I watched all year.

Other high points were the third series of All Creatures Great and Small (Britbox) and all the fabulous cosy crime on Britbox and Acorn (too many to mention, but especially the new series of Whitstable Pearl).

Who did I miss this year?

No one really – I saw the people I love in 2022.

What kept you sane this year?

  • My walks along the beach with hubby followed by coffee on weekday mornings are the highlight of my working day. It sounds trite but having the physical reminder of sunrise is a positive thing.
  • Having a major holiday to look forward to made such a difference to my state of mind this year – especially when work got pretty messy around July/August/September and things seemed a tad grey.
  • Friends
  • Movement

What has 2023 got in store for you…so far?

So far, the following is booked:

  • A long weekend to Wellington in February
  • A long weekend in Queenstown at the end of April
  • A long weekend to Melbourne in June

I have a major work project that I’m dreading already (so much that it makes it hard to see past it) and know will have me out of commission (and probably ridiculously stressed) in August and September, but we’re hoping to get away in October for a couple of weeks – maybe Vietnam again?

In terms of novels, I hope to publish:

  • I have It’s In The Stars ready to go – actually, it’s been ready to go for 6 months. I simply need to write a blurb and get it formatted.
  • Christmas at Mannus Ridge is off being copy edited now. I still need a cover and am thinking I’ll release this later in the year
  • Philly Barker No. 2 – which I’m drafting now.

My aim is to write another two – at this point, these will be a return trip to Brookford for the follow-up to Escape To Curlew Cottage, and possibly something completely new that’s been lurking in my brain for a little while now.

Okay, so that was my year. All that’s left to say is thanks for your support and for following along in 2022. Extra thanks to Sue, Debbie and Donna – our fabulous co-hosts. Cheers to 2023. 

A new link-up for 2023, but same time and place…

For 2023, we will continue a monthly linkup at the same time and place (details below). The difference is that our new link party will be a monthly wrap-up for you to share your recent highs, lows, activities, hobbies, travel, resolutions, and challenges. If you wish, you may still use this space to let us know how your WOTY or intentions have been going — any monthly wrap-up items you’d like to share will be welcome.

Dates for the Diary:

Beginning January 2023. Last Thursday, 2 pm (PST)/Last Friday, 8 am (AEST).

• January 26/27,
• February 23/24,
• March 30/31,
• April 27/28,
• May 25/26,
• June 29/30,
• July 27/28,
• Aug 32/Sept 1*,
• Sept. 28/29,
• Oct 26/27,
• Nov. 30/Dec 1*,
• Dec.28/29.
• (The August and November Linkups will take place on the 1st of the following month for the Southern Hemisphere).

We hope that you will join us and look forward to your contributions

Closing Ceremony 2021

Closing Ceremony 2020

Closing Ceremony 2019

Closing Ceremony 2018

Closing Ceremony 2016

Closing Ceremony 2015

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

40 thoughts

  1. What a wonderful closing ceremony, Jo and despite being too hard on yourself, you’ve managed to have fabulous year. Life will always get in the way and change our plans but reading through your post, I felt uplifted and excited to try some of the things you have done. I wish you a healthier and happier 2023 and look forward to continuing our friendship, our book club baking, our co-hosting of link ups. Happy New Year my friend it’s been a great ride for you this year. Here’s to more in 2023. xx

  2. Ditto what Sue said! Despite the challenges, you have accomplished so much this past year. So much so I repeatedly found myself saying ‘how does Jo do it all?’
    I am especially envious of your incredible travel (and the mouth-watering food, and the stunning photography and the incredible writing….). Thank you for all of this inspiration! ❤

    1. Thank you for saying that – sometimes I’m so far in my own head (as I have been this last 6 months in particular) that it’s hard to see the other side.

  3. What a record of the year that was. It was a mixed bag for sure, and I am hoping for your sake that changes you are wanting can be made. It IS hard when we know “who is in charge” and it’s us. I so understand. TY for sharing…always…and without your travels and wonderful pics and commentary I would be less aware of the lands beyond OZ! Looking forward to continuing the connections here in 2023…Thanks so much for the link up. Denyse x

    1. Thank *you* for your connection – and here’s to 2023 linkups… (note to self to write something for next Wednesday lol…)

  4. Wow what a great post Jo, mainly due to your honesty and fabulous ability to write well! I love the way you sum up the year in your Closing ceremony and will probably use some of these prompts (as I’ve done previously) in my own wrap-up post which is still to be written! A few things came to me as I read through your post – I also love the laugh out loud humour in Fisk; you are a great writer and I’ve throughly enjoyed all your books, looking forward to the next ones; your travels in 2022 were so much fun to follow along via social media; your love of life shines through but it seems you’ve struggled more than I knew; you’re a great cook and a fantastic co-host. Thanks for sharing your year with us and here’s to 2023 treating you a bit better xx

    1. I’ve found the prompts really good over the last however many years – it’s a format that really helps me see the year in perspective.

  5. Wow, that was quite a closing ceremony! It sounds that, despite a few setbacks (Covid twice… yikes!), you were able to do a lot in 2022 and enjoy some pretty terrific experiences. Btw, our pantry items look very similar… in fact, I have the exact same bottles of hoisin sauce and chili garlic sauce… we must both love cooking Asian.

  6. Jo, what a great recap of your year. Although you may have missed the mark on some of your intentions, (and who doesn’t?) the overall package is highly enviable and well above us mere mortals. Wishing you all that your heart desires in 2023.

  7. I like your yearly review format. That picnic sounds amazing and the trip to England and Norway awesome. I think we could be kindred spirits with the weight, head space games, the back pain that gets worse if we don’t move, the injuries and the food then as an anchor. Being good cooks means we always have good food around (the pavlova looks divine) but that sends a downward spiral. Then the weight creeps back up, the back pain gets worse and the head space gets ugly. Yeah it is truly a vicious cycle and even in semi retirement with more time I have no “solved” it yet as it will be with us for life. As to the work life balance is there any way you can go part time (I am not sure what you do professionally). I can totally remember that feeling of everything being just too much but one can only go forward. So while I miss my rewarding previous job I feel blessed to keep my hand in but without the pressures and the call. Take care and be kind to yourself in 2023. Bernie

      1. Seems we are indeed. I hope the momentum swings for you. I’m currently in an upswing despite my SAD affecting my brain and energy.

  8. Oh those trips sound fabulous but I am so sorry to hear your health has been so bad/iffy most of the year!

  9. Well that was a LOT! You certainly pack a lot into your life Jo – and to do it with a bad back + covid (and now a bung ankle) makes it even more impressive. I’m afraid my 2022 looked pretty pitiful in comparison, but it suited me. I think my get-up-and-go got-up-and-went several years ago (probably killed by the toxic job and co-worker) and now I feel quite happy just pootling along. I’ve chosen next year’s WOTY and I think it will reflect that a bit….

  10. I really like your word of the year. It’s very similar to my WotY for next year which is First. I feel lately I have put myself on the side I’m order to appease people. Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Julie. I still haven’t decided on a word for 2023… I have a few I’m mulling over…but yours sounds like a good one. Happy new year to you too and thanks for the connection in 2022.

  11. Interesting to read your 2022 wrap-up, Jo. I’m sorry to hear about your health issues and what Covid did to your ability to exercise. But you’ve accomplished a lot this year and it seems you have good plans for 2023, I wish you all the best with the book sales! Marketing is hard. I’m struggling to figure out how I’ll do it myself other than letting my sister help me with ads.

    1. It really made me realise just how important movement is for my mental health. Thanks for your connection this year and I look forward to hearing about your music, design and fitness in 2023.

  12. Wow, looks like you had a productive 2022 regardless. Seeing the northern lights is a pretty wicked thing to have done. And I always love an author who backs up their work by actually writing. Wishing you all the best for your novel goals this year!

  13. Jo this is a fabulous wrap up. You’ve had some high highs that I knew about but I didn’t know about your lows. I hope you hey some relief from your back pain. I’m in awe of how productive you are with your writing when you’re so busy. I have Philly almost at the top of my TBR and looking forward to diving into it. I love your prompts and have made a not ine my diary to use them next year. They brought up so many memories for me that I didn’t think of when writing my post.

    1. Thanks Jennifer, I find the prompts a good way to look back and see the big picture rather than just looking at the details. Thanks for your connection this year and here’s to more in 2023.

  14. I love the acknowledgement of the not-so-good and the good Jo. It’s a great way to look back. I saw some prompts in a social media post that I thought of pondering – more in a life-planning way.

    I can relate to some of this. In some ways I’m in a better place (financially and professionally) but health-wise, I know I’m worse than I was this time last year…

  15. Sounds like you’ve had an extremely busy year Jo! We also had health issues, Anthony had Covid twice in two months and that’s why we spent my birthday in isolation. He had salmonella in Penang, I thought he was dying and all of that affected his heart. He had a heart procedure in October and now seems to be on the road to recovery. I hope you manage to have a healthier and very productive 2023, looking forward to staying in touch 😊

  16. What a year Jo..I think we can probably all say we look back and see what we didn’t accomplish and had many things that got in our head. I know I did. That Pavlova looks amazing..I’m putting it on my list of things to make this year. Also, I would LOVE to see the northern lights. Those sets of questions were great ones. Here’s to a great 2023

  17. It seems to me, Jo that you did an amazing amount of things in one year. I can’t imagine getting even one book published in a year, for several years in a row, let alone more than that! On top of that, you traveled, worked and had a life, and maintained all these blog challenges. That’s amazing! I enjoyed your questions and feel I know you better after reading them. 🙂 I hope 2023 goes the way you want it to go. 🙂

Comments are closed.