The Most Memorable Advice of 2022

Words to help you think differently about life

A cutout illustration of a red speech bubble served over a platter; a black and white silhouette is holding the platter
Katie Martin / The Atlantic

In a year during which people tried to adopt a new normal, Atlantic writers and other experts explored the challenges and rewards of trying new things, the meaning of true optimism, and how to find joy even in difficult times.

The stories in our pages—print and digital—explored what it means to be human and provided advice for navigating parenthood and relationships, friendships and the workforce, and more.

As 2023 approaches, we’re looking back on some of the most memorable advice shared this year. If this guidance resonates with you, feel free to carry it into the new year.

‘The Cure for Burnout Is Not Self-Care’
Amelia Nagoski discusses quiet quitting.

“If we don’t want to live in a nepotistic society, we have to stop practicing nepotism. And by ‘we,’ I mean you.”

The Shame Deficit
“If we don’t want to live in a nepotistic society, we have to stop practicing nepotism. And by ‘we,’ I mean you,” Richard Reeves writes.

“Those who spend a lifetime delaying gratification may one day find themselves rich in savings but poor in memories, having sacrificed too much joy at the altar of compounding interest.”

All the Personal-Finance Books Are Wrong
They tend to treat their readers like fools without willpower. So you could argue that they’re wrong for the right reasons.

“The extraordinary doesn’t wipe out the ordinary. People get married in wartime. Babies are born during pandemics. My mom drew water for my bath while my father did test runs for the end of the world.”

The Most Haunting Truth of Parenthood
What my father learned working in a nuclear bomb shelter is what every parent knows deep down: We can’t protect the ones we love forever.

“Creating something that can be turned down takes discipline and courage, so there’s reason to feel pride for each rejection.”

A Toast to All the Rejects
What a shared rejection spreadsheet taught Rhaina Cohen about success

“We cannot make social media good, because it is fundamentally bad … All we can do is hope that it withers away, and play our small part in helping abandon it.”

The Age of Social Media Is Ending
Now that we’ve washed up on this unexpected shore, we can look back at the shipwreck that left us here with fresh eyes. Perhaps we can find some relief: Social media was never a natural way to work, play, and socialize, though it did become second nature, Ian Bogost wrote in November.

“The joy of getting better sometimes necessitates the pain of getting worse.”

What It’s Like to Get Worse at Something
I had been skiing since childhood. Why was I suddenly bad at it? Olga Khazan explores.

“You can’t exist as a writer for very long without learning that something you write is going to upset someone, sometime, somewhere.”

Your Feelings Are No Excuse
Emotions may explain why people overreact, but they don’t justify it, Margaret Atwood writes.

True optimism involves “seeing the world as it is, yet still believing—and more importantly behaving—in ways that create better outcomes for all of us.”

The Year of Practical Thinking
After so much uncertainty and loss, many Americans are abandoning the unbridled optimism of a new year and adopting a more pragmatic outlook.