Much like 2020, social media is littered with talk about what an awful year 2021 was. And just like in 2020, I still think that's bullshit. 2021 was an awesome year.
I'm more happy to be alive in 2021 that I ever was before (and I'm looking to be even happier in 2022, baby!)
Here's a summary the good and the "bad" things that happened to me in 2021:
I spent essentially the entire year living with Wera and her mom at her mom's apartment.
Talk about a stereotypical loser that lives in their parents' basement... I'm even worse! For all intents and purposes, I lived the entire year mooching off not my own parents, but my girlfriend's mom.
I'm very thankful for Wera's mom letting me stay with them. She is kinder to me than I deserve.
Oh, just to be clear... depending on the circumstances, I don't think there's anything wrong with living with your parents.
I started working for Mysa Finance
Mysa Finance is a startup whose founders I met a few years ago when I was tutoring their son in English. We talked a lot before and after lessons about crypto, blockchain, finances, real estate, etc. and soon enough, they offered me a job in their startup.
I hate being an employee, but I was quite happy to take this job at Mysa Finance for the following reasons:
- I personally know the founders and they're awesome.
- I can work remotely most of the time and have just short of full autonomy. I feel more like I'm serving a client than working for company.
- Startups are risky, but Mysa seems above-average promising, and as an early-stage employee, the risk:reward ratio is sweet.
- And last —but certainly not least — getting this job means getting an employment contract in Poland, which allows me to qualify for a home loan with no cosign, read: I can buy my own house or apartment.
I am not happy with how much time I am steering away from my own personal projects and social media content and towards Mysa, and I will have to change something about that in the future, but until then: I'm happy to have a stable stream of income, and I love my job.
I'm basically the social media manager at Mysa. I'm responsible for creating, distributing, and managing most of the content we produce, as well and interacting with and growing our community.
A lot of how my performance is judged at Mysa is based on looking at the number of followers we have, and while my personal beliefs are that follower counts by themselves mean nothing, organic growth is king, there is no need to rush growth, that 5 dedicated followers are infinitely more valuable than 100k unengaged followers, etc... the rest of the Mysa team doesn't always exactly feel the same way.
That said, I understand why follower counts are a KPI for Mysa, and I will put my personal beliefs partly aside to better serve the company... on their time, that is — I will never compromise my beliefs in my personal projects and accounts. The only thing I give the slightest damn about with my own social media accounts is that each of my followers personally feels like I am doing something for them and that I expect nothing in return for it.
This coming year I will focus on growing the follower counts of Mysa, in a respectable way.
I sold lots of stock and crypto
As I've written previously, I can't tell whether we're in a bubble any better than a magic 8 ball, but I do know that 1) my investments have done very well, and 2) I could use my own apartment (*cough* I might be overstaying my welcome at Wera's mom's *cough*). So I sold off a big portion of my stock and crypto positions, and I used it as the down payment on an apartment.
Speaking of which...
I bought an apartment
Thanks to 1) having an employment contract in Poland, and 2) my diligent saving and fortunately-timed investments, I had everything I needed to qualify for a home loan at just about any Polish bank. So I went ahead and bought a new-construction apartment near downtown Poznań.
The building is still being built, the construction should be completed around March of 2022, and hopefully everything will be ready for me to move in by July of 2022.
I picked this property because one of my bosses at Mysa is a real estate appraiser, and she is purchasing a property in the same building (and I bought the property directly adjacent to hers, no less).
The property is a 2-unit apartment, so I see this as a long-term investment, and the perfect place for me to house hack right now —I will live in one unit and rent out the other.
If all goes well, I will look to buy another property in the near future.
I know this purchase was not the best possible value for my money. I'm certain that if I shopped around and was more patient I would find a better property for less money, but I am happy to give up a little extra money for the peace of mind that comes with a new-construction property and buying property in the same building as a respected, local, and well-off real estate appraiser.
I got a dog!!!
I had numerous dogs throughout my childhood, and as the say about man and dog: they were my best friends. I lost many of them unexpectedly, miss them all every day, and have missed having a dog every day since I gave away my last dog (to a loving family) when I came to Poland.
But after many dogless years, I was thrilled to adopt an awesome, 15 kg, mutt we named Dina. Wera was behind the whole thing. Her friend works for an organization where they needed a temporary home for 2 days for the dog we now call Dina... Wera got her mom to agree for us to take her for those "2 days"... and about 5 months later... Dina is here to stay!
I cannot express how much joy having a dog brings me every. Single. Day.
It's also good for my health. Before Dina, I could sit in front of a computer screen all day for days in a row. With Dina, I force myself (and by "force myself", I mean "take great pleasure in") taking her for a quick walk a few times a day, and about 3 bike rides a week.
I grew my hair out
Not that this is a significant event, but I thought I'd include a smaller tidbit this year too.
I have historically kept my hair pretty short, but this year all the hair dressers in Poland were closed due to COVID restrictions around the time I was due for my regular cut.
Not that I would have gone to any hairdresser... shout out to Mahdi of The Godfather Barbershop, he's the best barber in Poznań, hands down.
But anyway, even when my favorite barber shop opened back up, I figured... "what the hell, let it grow!"
My long hair is great. I never was a fan of long hair, but I'm kinda diggin' it now. I see Keanu Reeves is copying my style too, so that's always a good sign. Also, I appreciate the savings in my wallet.
At the same time, getting a sick of it. Probably gonna shave it all off soon. Gonna try to donate it, if I can. But I'm not sure my hair is good enough.
I continue to help Polish people learn and work with English
Other than making most of my money from working at Mysa now and cutting out many hours from personal clients due to working at Mysa, little has changed from as far as my income goes. I still maintain some private clients for English lessons, translate text from Polish to English, and interpreting business meetings between Polish and English speakers. I have other odd jobs every now and then and tiny amounts of income from things like stock dividends, and I am still actively looking to invest any money I can save.
Reflection on 2021 and Outlook for 2022
I can't think of a better way to say it, so I'll just copy and paste this line from last year:
As I always say: I'm not into year's resolutions. I believe you should be constantly making, changing, testing, adjusting and most importantly: EXECUTING plans for the short, medium and long term — not only once a year and not at any special time.
That said, now's a good time to share my current plans and state of mind. So here I go:
Thinking about how I spent every minute of every day in 2021 (as best as I can), I want to briefly think about what I did well and what I need to improve on moving forward. I'm going to answer the following questions (which were shamelessly stolen from Ryan Serhant's newsletter in 2019 — Ryan is a top-ranking real estate broker in NYC).
Time Audit: What shouldn’t you be spending time on?
I'm happy with how I spent my time in 2021. It was neither a productive nor efficient year, but I take full responsibility for and am okay with that. I took plenty of time to watch Netflix (reliving The Office (U.S.) is so worth it and I think Maid may be one of my favorite shows of all time). I know when I'm wasting my time and I when I do, I just enjoy it.
I should spend less time thinking about engineering problems in the evenings when I'm trying to go to bed. I've lost way too many hours of sleep to thinking about the best way simplify, strengthen, stiffen, whatever a part or assembly of parts.
What did you do wrong in 2021 that you need to change for 2022?
- I did not post enough content to social media. SHEEESSH. I am not anywhere near where I should be in that regard. I have a feeling this is the same thing I said last year, and it's still true this year.
What went well in 2021 that you want to go even better in 2022?
- I think I've said it for the last 2 years, and I'll say it again: I'm so flippin' PHYSED with how well I organize my calendar (still using Google Calendar for the time being). It's a game changer. I'm adding more and more information and slowly working towards having every minute of every day planned in my calendar. I want to be very diligent about this so that in the future I can compile and analyze all the data about how I spend my time.
- I did a lot more STEAM projects than probably any other year since my childhood. I need to keep doing these, I absolutely love them! Not only do I need to keep them going, but I need to keep following through with them as I did with many this year. I often start a project and don't finish it, but off the top of my head, I can think of 7 projects that I did from start to "finish" (rarely do I ever really consider a project "finished", there's almost always something I want to re-do or improve in a future version): 1) a couple small, beech wood tables; 2) 3D-printed mounting brackets for a DAC/amp and Thunderbolt 3 dock; 3) a 3D-printed headphone hanger; 4) a 3D-printed safety razor cover; 5) a couple screwless, laser-cut plywood shelves that attach to my little tables from earlier; 6) a laser-cut aluminum dock for perfectly aligning my non-magsafe iPhone with a wireless charger; 7) a multi-layer, laser-cut MDF organizer for a board game that allows many expansion pack supplies to fit in a single box.
- Although I had a close call and almost missed a blog post, I maintained my streak as posted at least one blog post every month! Definitely want to keep this up.
What’s the first thing you’re doing in 2022 to move yourself forward?
The first thing I'm doing in 2022 is committing to posting at least 1 video to social media every week. I'm adding the deadline as a weekly event to my calendar, so I don't forget (and while I'm at it, I'll add a monthly one for the blog posts, so I don't have any more close calls).
I'm thrilled with how well I've kept my commitment to adding a blog post every single month for the last 3 years and how much it's taught me, so it's time to up the ante.
1 video a week is a huge step up from 1 blog post a month, and think it will yield even greater results. I'm been meaning to up my social media video game for a while, and now's as good a time as any.
While my blog posts are supposed to be about whatever I thought about that month the most (although sometimes I forgot that premise), the video will have no special theme. It can literally be any video. Knowing me, I will procrastinate until the last second many times and record a 1-minute video about why my IKEA desk chair is so awesome. The deadline is every Sunday until the last second of the day, anywhere on Earth. I can post more than 1 video a week, but I must post at least 1 video every week.
Thanks for being with me another great year, or visiting my website for the first time (wow, if that's the case, it's weird that you ended up on this blog post), and happy new year! Or just happy morning! Evening... or whatever it is you have going on right now! Just happy you, you awesome person!!