Annual Review 2022

This annual review is one month overdue.

Ever since 2014, I have published an Annual Review on my blog on New Year’s Eve, and my New Year’s Resolutions on the first of January. Keeping this annual rhythm has given me a pulse to the years, allowing me to review my accomplishments and challenges with the turning of the calendar.

Last year, not only were Mercury and Mars both in retrograde at the close of December (causing all sorts of confusion and delay for everyone, I’m sure you noticed) but I was also bedridden with a flare from my chronic illness, Ulcerative Colitis.

This is an autoimmune disorder that I keep in remission through a strict diet. Most of the time, I can live normally. Unless I abuse my body, which I did in Q4 (details below).

Annual Review Table of Contents

Every #AnnualReview I publish on this blog contains 4 parts:

  1. What were my victories?
  2. What could have gone better?
  3. How many New Year’s Resolutions did I keep?
  4. What are my resolutions for next year?

To see all of my annual reviews, click here. To use my workbook to create your own Annual Review, click here.

Part 1 – What were my victories of 2022?

Overall, 2022 was good to me. My income increased, my family likes the new town where we live on the South Island of New Zealand, and most importantly, I did not move house. After moving 11 times in 11 years, it was a big victory to stay put for a little while.

I published my first book, ‘Marketing Yourself’

This was a long time coming. I’ve been working on this book for 5 years, and having it finally published and out in the world is a culmination of that stage of my work.

I’ve always seen myself as a writer, first. I spent a lot of time as an actor when I was young, and I use those performance skills in my speaking (and even my coaching), but I identify the most with being a writer. In my 20s I spent a few years freelancing as a magazine writer, and I sent out a lot of manuscripts and book proposals that never got picked up. Then got into sales and marketing, where I’ve spent more than 15 years. But all this time, I’ve felt like a writer who was eager to get back to his favorite craft.

Being a published author gives me that internal validation, and people tell me the book is really good. I received a bunch of endorsements for it, and having people reach out to me and tell me that the book has helped them grow their business and clarify their message has been very gratifying. If you want to read some of this book, you can download the first chapter for free here.

Learned technical analysis in crypto trading

As a hobby, I’ve been day trading cryptocurrency on the Gains Network. I’ve studied technical analysis, which interpret the esoteric candlestick charts that predict the movement of prices. By using the GNS decentralized exchange, I can trade with leverage, turning a little bit of capital into more (ideally).

So far, I nearly broke even this year. This has been the tuition of time and money that needs to be spent to learn something so complicated. Although I have not been profitable yet, the experience has given me a firm understanding about day trading, which I happen to really enjoy.

Last year, my word for the year was ‘Fortune.’ I’ve got money issues (like we all do), but mine are wrapped up in safety and worthiness. It strikes me that I might not make my fortune through my creative work, but rather, through this hobby that is blossoming into a new way for me to relate with money. Pivoting this perspective was a big victory, and it only happened because I followed my curiosity and passion into a completely new field.

Fasted on Sundays

Almost every Sunday in 2022 I refrained from eating any food. This gave my digestive system a break from it’s hard work, and regularly put me into a state of autophagy, so I could do deeper healing. It also freed up a lot of my time on the weekends. When you don’t have to spend hours of your day on preparing food and cleaning up your mess, it gives you more time for other things.

New photo shoot

It had been a few years since I had photos done – since before I moved to New Zealand five years ago – so it was good to get some updated photos.

Renewed everyone’s passports

This is one of those big projects I have to tend to every 5 years. It involves a lot of paperwork filled out precisely, with important documents and exacting photographs. Thankfully, I have good paperwork game thanks to those three years I spent in the insurance industry when I was younger. We didn’t have to travel to the consulate in Auckland, as we thought – we were able to meet the embassy people in the nearby city of Christchurch, at the departure terminal for Antarctica.

Great client work

This year I produced a hybrid conference, made a bunch of videos, and designed a beautiful website.

I also did a bunch of fun speaking work – virtual and hybrid – and had many great coaching clients.

Published 50 videos on YouTube

I wanted to do more video work this year, and boy, did I ever.

My greenscreen in my home studio has allowed me to create videos at a professional level, and I’m proud of the work that I’ve done. In terms of popularity, though, my views have been tepid, and my channel isn’t growing. Partially this is because I make what I want to make, or what people hire me to make, instead of chasing what’s popular. I’ve been a marketer for more than a decade, and I’m tired of gaming the system and chasing clout. While I may not have been very successful from an audience-building perspective, I leveled up my skills, which is what I really wanted.

Next year I’ll be spending more time on TikTok, focusing on different topics, like living with an autoimmune disorder, and the natural healing remedies I use every day. I also want to experiment with talking about how to live a more balanced life, and how we can reimagine our relationship to work. You can follow me on TikTok if you would find that interesting.

Published 42 posts on this blog

As content production goes, I was very productive this year.

December 2022

November 2022

October 2022

September 2022

August 2022

July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022

Part 2 – What could have gone better?

2022 had a lot of lessons for me, and they were not easy.

Automate book launch

I timed the launch of my book, Marketing Yourself, so that it was astrologically advantageous. August 12th was a full moon in Leo, and I had spent the months leading up to that date collaborating with freelancers who were editing the manuscript, designing the interior, and re-designing the cover (for the 3rd time).

I had prepared a large volume of content, for social media and for my newsletter, so I could share all the great endorsements and excerpts and illustrations for everyone to see.

On the day of my book launch, my wife’s grandmother died.

She was in her 90s, and the last week was really difficult. Johanna talks to her mom every day, so she was absorbed with helping her figure out the logistics and ramifications of everything. We set up an altar for Grandma Pat as she was passing, and involved the kids so they could be exposed to the transition of death, and the introduction of having an ancestor as a spiritual guardian.

This event took over the attention of the family, and all that pre-produced content sat on my computer. I didn’t automate the publication of it, or hand it over to my VA to handle, because I just thought I would be on hand during the book launch to do everything. It was time-sensitive, and important, but because I didn’t automate it in advance, I dropped the ball.

No ebook or audiobook

So far, I have given away more books than I have sold. It serves well as an expensive business card, but I didn’t set up any PR or marketing beyond what I produced myself. Other than listing the book on Amazon and Ingram Spark, I have done nothing to get it into bookstores.

The big fail here was the ebook. I have a PDF that looks great (if you’re this deep in my Annual Review, you deserve a copy) but Amazon’s Kindle Reader destroyed all of my illustrations. The .epub version looks fine on my computer, but in a Kindle (which is how many people read books, exclusively) every chapter has a mess of an image that makes the entire book look unprofessional. I took the ebook down after a couple of weeks, after I got a 2-star review.

I meant to find a way to fix it, but it was hard, and complicated, and reviewing the new versions in the Kindle reader was time-consuming and depressing. So for months, there has been no ebook available for purchase, because I haven’t fixed it yet.

I also haven’t recorded the audiobook, because of a lack of time and enthusiasm. My book has been excluded from major distribution channels, and that has suppressed my success.

Reneged on my vacation and fell ill

This was a hard way to end the year. Every few years my autoimmune disorder goes into a relapse that leaves me bedridden for weeks. I had originally planned to take 3 weeks vacation for the holidays, but when I didn’t meet a revenue goal by December, I reneged on that promise to myself – but my body made me keep it anyways. From 21 December to mid-Jan I was unable to work, get out of bed, or keep on any weight.

My first flare was in 2019, and it forced me to completely realign how I related to my life and business. I was preparing to work the Australian corporate speaking circuit, and then had to realign my business so I could work from home with no travel. Then, the pandemic hit, and I had a 3-month head start over everyone else.

I spent a lot of time doing the wrong kind of work

I have decided I will not write the book ‘Playful Productivity.’

I wrote 26,000 words on the manuscript in November, and then I fell ill. The gift of my illness is that it forces me to examine what’s not working in my life, and Playful Productivity was a contrived strategic decision. It’s not a topic I’m passionate about. I just happen to have a modest folder of IP that I could turn into a long-form piece of content that would get me some work.

But it’s not work I love, with people I like, the way I want. While I was bedridden, I realized that writing this book would entrap me into working with corporate employees who don’t like their jobs or their team, forcing them into enthusiasm through games and activities over Zoom that they would resent. I would be pushing uphill to sell new workshops into markets where I don’t have a strong network, with people I don’t particularly like to work with. I was looking at 2 years of effort for mixed results. If there’s one thing that having a chronic illness has taught me, it’s to work smarter, and not harder.

The book I want to write next is called ‘Life Balance.’ It’s about how we can create a healthy relationship with work and rest, with play and with chores, by changing how we prioritize these interlocking parts of our life. I have a lot of lived experience in this area now, and pivoting my message to helping people live more balanced lives – that feels like a better vision for my work, than what I’ve been doing so far.

I got Covid in September, and took no time off

For years I lived in quarantine with my family, because my autoimmune disorder makes illness (and vaccination) particularly hazardous.

I had to live in quarantine during the mandates in New Zealand, when we endured the greatest loss of civil liberties we have ever experienced in our lifetimes. We were unable to enter a cafe, or a doctors office, or a hospital because we made the choice to decline an experimental medical product that does not work.

I kept quiet about my vaccination status, because there is a lot of propaganda out there, and people are very confused about the facts. (Instead of ‘trusting the science,’ they are trusting the TV.) So I stayed in my little house out in the middle of nowhere on the far side of the world, and sheltered with my family through the pandemic.

Eventually, the mandates ended, and we regained our freedom of movement. My wife and son went to Auckland for a weekend trip to see one of his friends, and they brought Covid back home with them.

It was an inconvenient time for me to get sick; I had my first symptoms when I was teaching a 2-day virtual workshop. The following week, I was scheduled to deliver a new hybrid keynote, where I was virtually speaking to an in-person conference. My calendar was full of coaching calls.

I did not cancel a single event. For two weeks, I worked diligently while enduring the worst flu I had in years. By the time I recovered, I was exhausted, so I decided to skip my monthly meditation ritual.

Stopped monthly moon rituals

Every month, I howl at the full moon. Through my lifelong studies of esoteric and occult literature, I have collected a series of meditation rituals that I perform every month, outside under the full moon.

I started practicing these rituals in 2008 or so, and by the time we moved to Costa Rica in 2011, it had become my monthly spiritual practice. When I recovered from Covid, I decided to skip a month. I don’t often skip months – maybe once a year – so I didn’t feel very badly about it. But in November, I had started bleeding, one of the danger signs that I was going into a flare. Foolishly, I skipped another month, from sheer laziness. By December, I was too weak. In January, the full moon was on my birthday. I had every intention of resuming this important energetic therapy, but by the evening my body was worn out and exhausted.

I missed 4 consecutive full moons, more than I ever have before. The effects on my energetic body have been terrible.

Originally I started working with these meditations as a therapy for epilepsy. By moving large amounts of energy through my spine (down from the cosmos above, into the center of the earth, and back up again) I was able to clear the energetic blockages that caused my seizures. The full moon gave me a regular cadence for performing these rituals every month, always on different days, often in different places, reliably infusing me with awe and wonder.

My rituals are quite involved – chanting in ancient languages, casting spells from the Great White Brotherhood of Light, visualizations of The Middle Pillar, and Wine and Cakes to bring me back down to earth. It only takes about 45 minutes, but I need time to prepare my body with an epsom salts bath, and don my sacred garb, and collect the magickal tools that I use throughout the rituals. During these meditations I often commune with deities and spirits, and it brings me deep personal fulfillment to spend time as a mystic.

I am a fucking wizard.

This shouldn’t be something I hide. Here, in this Annual Review on my blog, this is the first time I am publicly admitting that I have spent much of my life as a practitioner of the magickal arts. I have deep knowledge in this area, after decades of study, but I have been occluding myself so I don’t scare off the normies.

I have been hiding my heart

This is something I realized during my daily Qi Gong practice. I have a daily ritual of movement meditations that comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, one of the few unbroken lineages of healing that was not obliterated by western European men.

Like my personal spiritual practices, I don’t share much about this healing art, because I know people are bigoted and closed minded. I was raised in the American south, surrounded by evangelical Christians, who will famously terrorize anyone who does not share their specific set of beliefs. I have learned how to present a normal face to the world, so I don’t invite the ire of loud fanatics or the disdain of simpletons.

Therein lies my problem. I always hide why means the most to me, so I don’t scare off the normies.

This is partially a trauma response, because I scared off the normies so much in my youth, when I was radical and loud about it. Then, when I became a young professional supporting a family, I found that sharing these sides of myself would directly reduce my ability to earn money. When I shared something I was passionate about, I would lose clients, and my professional network would shrink. My kids once went without shoes for a season because I was too personal in a newsletter.

So I hid my heart. It worked to make me tepid and bland and boring, but serviceable enough to the normies who have become my client base.

Hiding my heart has had consequences for my health. In five element theory, low heart energy is a lack of fire, which leads to an excess of metal energy, which is why I have an inflamed lower intestine and an autoimmune disorder that debilitates me with chronic fatigue and bloody uncomfortable symptoms.

I hide my heart because I have SO MUCH fire in there. Ever since I grew up and got off the streets, I have been afraid to share all my fire, because it is overwhelming for most people. I shine so bright that it is blinding, so I dim myself in the company of others. I have learned that when I am authentically myself, it can cauterize my position in a community.

But now I am on the far edge of the world, I only need a few clients to keep the lights on, and after a decade of wandering, the Huntress Clan is not going to move any more.

2023 is the year I show my heart. The things that matter most to me – my deep spiritual beliefs in the alignment of the stars, my strong scientific conviction that the recent vaccine roll-out was a colossal failure, the wealth of personal growth I have attained from running away from home and living estranged from my biological family – these are things I will no longer hide from the world.

Part 3 – How many New Year’s Resolutions did I keep?

Resolution Kept

Some Success

Resolution Not Kept

Publish my book Marketing Yourself

Success.

I have a stack of books, and every week I sign a few and ship them to people. It’s available for purchase on Amazon. (The print version, anyways.) I still need to finish the .epub ebook version and the audiobook, but this was the one resolution I kept this year.

Accumulate 6 months of expenses in reserve

Fail.

I added some money to a savings account, but there were lean months and I had to pillage it. My income just isn’t high enough yet beyond my expenses to save my way there. I’m hoping to generate a windfall of cash through crypto trading or some other unknown avenue, and save six months of liquid reserves.

Take time to rest

Some success.

The funny thing is, I get better at this resolution when I am ill, and I am worse at it when I am well. I was very diligent about Life Repair on Wednesday afternoons, and I expanded my lunch break to 2-3 hours per day. This gave me plenty of time midday to read a chapter of a book in bed, or spend time in the garden if it was sunny, but I did not listen to my body during work hours. If I had listened more, and taken breaks to rest instead of working when I was tired, I may not have fallen ill at the end of the year.

Or, you know, taking time off of work when I had Covid would have been helpful, too. But I didn’t, and I had rest forced upon me for weeks instead.

Share a hobby with each kid

Fail.

The interests of my children are changeable, and as an unschooling family, we do not believe in driving them to continue with anything after they lose interest in it. Zaden and I play chess semi-regularly, and Taos and I had plenty of jumping sessions on the trampoline, and Indi and I found some movie genres to watch together that we really liked. But none of these developed into shared hobbies that we did regularly.

Ship storage unit to NZ

Fail.

This was more of a goal than a resolution. I did the research to find out how and how much, but I never made a phone call or put down a downpayment. The costs intimidate me a bit, plus the logistics are going to be a hassle to manage. I want to ship my worldly possessions across the sea before the coming collapse, when society will break down for a few years, later this decade. I made this resolution to declare the importance of this task, but I’m not ready yet to financially pull it off. Hopefully next year I can – this might be the end of the pre-collapse window. So we are stocking our pantry, and growing our own food, and preparing to hunker down for a while. If I can do this with all of my inventoried and categorized possessions from my life in Portland, all the better.

Part 4 – What are my New Year’s Resolutions for next year?

You’ll have to read all about them in my New Years Resolutions 2023 post.

By |2023-02-16T17:29:50+13:00January 31st, 2023|Excellence|

Share This Article

About the Author:

Caelan Huntress is an American digital nomad living in New Zealand, and has spent ten years running an online business while traveling the world with his young family. Caelan is a website designer, copywriter, and sales strategist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs make more money in less time through setting up smart marketing systems. Subscribe to Caelan's newsletter here.

Leave A Comment