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  • Writer's pictureBryan Jun

reflecting on 2022 - part 1 of n

The end of the calendar year inevitably forces us to reflect on the past 365 or so days - it's an odd phenomena given that it's a completely artificial feeling. In fact, this is the first full year since I immigrated from Korea that a calendar year actually felt like a calendar year, once again living in a place with seasons instead of a year long summer. I'd like to shoutout the disgusting city of NYC for this enablement.

It would be an understatement to say that 2022 was the best year of my life. I saw, quite tangibly, multiple aspects of my life that I've long dreamed for become a reality. I found myself in a career that I enjoy thoroughly (and am great at, perhaps far more so than the next available person), achieved 7 out of the 10 New Year Resolutions I set out to check off this year (1 more than last year), and finally became a youth group teacher at my local church - which has been proudly a lifelong dream of mine. I've gotten considerable raises financially, developed stronger relationships with my family, increased my net worth, extended my already large social network, became more comfortable with who I am and who I will be, learned how to code, gained both a Youtube and Twitter following, became a small group leader in my young adult ministry, spoke at multiple conferences, was recognized in the streets of NYC, hopped on 50+ flights, had a couple romantic encounters, chopped off negative influences in my life, stopped drinking, learned to spend money without stress - I mean the list can really go on. 2022, again, has not only been the best year of my life, but the most I've ever done in 52 weeks.

And now with 5 days remaining, thinking about all this, I can't help but think - so what? At the end of the day, week, month, or year, all these "achievements" or "highs" truly don't accumulate to anything. It's obvious in hindsight and you don't even need to be religious to recognize this, but the more I live life - both in years and in effort - I'm consistently reminded that there truly is no end to feeling "fulfilled." If someone told me in 2021 that all the weird flexes I went off on in the previous paragraph would become a reality, I would've told them that either (1) that's not possible or (2) I could ask for nothing more. But the reality now is that perhaps outside of the youth group that I'm in love with, even if everything I have or built towards was stripped at this exact moment, I can't say with confidence that I would feel a thing. In fact, some part of me desires that I can start everything new again, realizing that all I've done this year feels as if it's not building towards anything, and is just a constant drill into a bigger and bigger empty hole. I don't intend to have this reflection continue on this abstract path, but it's for certain that this terrible feeling will continue for me, regardless of if it's an individual or society wide problem.

Of course, as a believer, I know that the answer here is "Jesus" and "we're built to feel this way and only God can fill this gap." It's truly easier said than done. There has been multiple times this year where I've felt like I'm living in some Matrix, where I'm so aware of this truth that nothing in this world feels important enough or real. I do recognize how dangerous of a rabbit hole that is, given there has to be a reason why the Lord gave me this life to live. I firmly believe it's an ongoing process.

To snap back to reality, I'm still confident that 2022 has been the best year of my life. I'm even more confident, that based on most metrics, that 2023 will be even greater. However, if the vision that God has for me is something that I'm becoming more and more aware of, I do envision 2023 to be rough spiritually. I think I'm finally starting to understand what it really means to walk with God, and embracing the reality that this world seriously has nothing everlasting to offer its inhabitants. I'm not going to say that I've figured it all out nor am I declaring some monk lifestyle where I'm going to throw away my smartphone and go spread Jesus in Africa - not all of us are called to do so, and I'm growingly made to believe I'm certainly not one of them.

To shy away from the depths of my overthinking, 2022 has been filled with blessings of encountering folks I never thought to meet. Hyperspace, Solana NFT community, Win2, Powerwave, renewed W&L friendships, SoCal friends, NYC artists, and countless internet friends who end up being more real than my IRL ones. You made this year the best year of my life.

I look forward to delivering more to you in 2023.

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