The best of 2022, hopes for 2023

By Caitlin Kelly

That last post wasn’t my cheeriest!

Some of my happiest moments of 2022:

The view from my friend’s cottage

In late May I flew to Toronto, my hometown, for the first visit in 2.5 years, catching up with dear friends there; even though I moved away permanently decades ago, I stay in close touch with about half a dozen of them. I was invited to a cottage on Georgian Bay only reachable by boat…six adults, a cat and a dog and all our supplies! It was very beautiful and quite cold! The cabin I slept in had no heat so I wore a wool hat and a very heavy wool blanket.

Big Sur, CA

My tiny perfect room at Deetjen’s, Big Sur

In June, my birthday month, I finally spent a solo month driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles — a lifelong dream only made possible thanks to a wholly unexpected inheritance from my late mother. Along the way, I stayed with a pal in a town near SF, with another in Santa Rosa, had meals with nine other pals, some I had never before met — but have known for years only through social media. It was a real joy, after so much social isolation and loneliness trying to avoid COVID, to sit and chat for hours. I reconnected with two dear friends, both former colleagues of my husband Jose at The New York Times. I had lunch with a woman who became a friend after we cooperated on an exclusive story for the Times…with 150 emails between us by the time the paper flew me from NY to San Francisco to write about Google. I hadn’t been back to that city in a decade, or L.A. in 20 years. I fell very hard to California — such beauty! I cried on the way to the airport the day I left. What a joy it all was!

A great visit with Jose in November to Montreal and a hotel four hour drives’ northeast of the city on the north shore of the St. Lawrence. We live within a mile of the Hudson River — but this was a whole other sort of river! I loved speaking and hearing French again; I lived in Montreal as a Gazette reporter, in Paris at 25 and have been back to both places many times since.

A few days upstate in Saratoga Springs visiting very good friends, former Times colleagues. The hot springs did seem to help my arthritic hip!

I enjoyed some well-paid and really interesting work writing for a non-profit foundation that gives money for academic research. It allowed me to interview three brilliant, passionate and accomplished researchers. Loved it.

Jose continues to enjoy good health and has plenty of steady well-paid work, which has lightened my workload. I’m so grateful! I started writing and selling my photos at 19, hustling hard for decades. It is a great gift to just do a lot less.

Three dear friends each came to visit. We love our pals who live far away — one in Portland, Oregon, one in Milwaukee (both former students of The New York Times Student Journalism Institute) and my pal Scott, who lives in Pennsylvania. It was great to finally catch up with them, even though one of them fell desperately ill for about 24 hours — and so did we! With one very small bathroom, it was a bit of a horror movie. It wasn’t COVID or flu. Maybe norovirus.

Completely new, a much stronger relationship with one of my two half-brothers, 10 years younger, who fought stage 4 cancer and looks likely to be OK. We met when I was 15 and he was 5 but spent very little time together, even though we lived in the same city for decades; we had different mothers and never lived together. I had very early stage breast cancer (no chemo) in June 2018 so I have some idea what he’s been through and made sure to call and text him often. I’m surprised and glad (however a terrible way to get there) we have a deeper friendship now.

A lovely surprise — a C1 rating after my written and oral tests from Alliance Francaise (C2 is the highest), i.e. expert.

As you can tell, renewed and strengthened friendship remains my life’s greatest gift (beyond Jose and good health!)

For 2023 I hope:

For good health for me and Jose — and you!

Continued freelance opportunities

The health and income to allow me to travel more

To study and practice my French and Spanish

Mentoring journalists working at Report for America

A publisher for our book proposal (20 rejections so far, 16 more to go…)

What were some of your year’s highlights?

Hopes for 2023?

11 thoughts on “The best of 2022, hopes for 2023

  1. carlinpa

    Happy New Year.

    2022 was a year of gentle trepidation and testing the waters of diving back into the world. After several canceled trips abroad over the past couple years we were finally able to get away.

    We spent two weeks in England primarily visiting gardens in the Cotswolds. We went with a friend who’s an avid gardener and recently widowed. I fulfilled a lifelong desire to see the Neolithic chalk horse at Uffington as well as visit William Morris’s Kelmscott Manor and his nondescript grave in the village churchyard.

    2023 holds plans for seeing the Vermeer exhibition in Amsterdam (all tickets and reservations bought or made) as part of our quest to see all 35 known/existing/confirmed Vermeers in the world. Having seen 28 this will bring us closer to that goal leaving only a few outstanding. And then TGV to Paris because we’re way overdue returning to a city we love.

    Otherwise, lots of gardening, making hypertufa planters, continuing to repair and rebuild the deck come spring and summer. Winter holds populating my newly rebuilt website with more recent photos, developing and scanning a backlog of film and trying to get my head around a photography book that I’ve been wanting to do with photos from my Guggenheim Fellowship. Nothing too ambitious during retirement.

    Anyway, I enjoy your writing and wish you fulfillment during this coming year.

    Carl

    1. Thank you…wow, what a fantastic goal seeing all the Vermeers! I love this.

      What was your Guggenheim and when? So cool!

      I am looking at scooting around England a bit, really intrigued by Yorkshire after far too many BBC series set there. I have a blog friend who lives near York who has given me a lot of great tips.

      This all sounds wonderful. Best to you for 2023!

      1. That sounds amazing. Love Mexico and haven’t been back since May 2005.

        Good to know! The largest challenge is not wanting the cost and hassle of driving….then relying on buses and trains.

  2. Buying my first home was a big highlight for me. I didn’t think it would happen, but it did and I’m so grateful for it. I also released some stories and even produced an anthology with my friends, so that was special.
    As for 2023, I’m hoping to further grow my career as a writer and maybe get closer to writing full-time someday. Other than that, I can’t think of anything else I hope for, beyond being able to keep my job and home and all that. Maybe more time to read, I guess. That would be nice.

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