2022 was a decent year for me.
I worked on my apartment and just worked...
2022 was the year of my apartment...
In 2020 I bought a 2-unit, unfinished apartment in a building that was under construction in central Poznań. And in May of this year I took delivery of that apartment.
The apartment consists of 2 nearly identical housing units, the layouts of which are mirror images of each other. Each unit has its own entry door, utilities, meters, etc. They are for all intents and purposes, 2 completely independant apartments.
My plan is to "house hack" the apartment, meaning I will live in one unit, and rent the other one out.
This is the first piece of real estate I have ever owned and it has consumed all my free time this year — largely because I decided I will do the majority of the finishing work myself.
I don't regret finishing this apartment myself, but in the future, I am not committing to putting this much work into an investment property. For my own personal property... maybe. But for an investment property: no way.
On top of finishing the apartment, I had to take care of my freelancing responsibilities. And since I could not dedicate as much time as I would have liked to working on the apartment, my timeline constantly got extended. I thought I would be done finishing the rental unit of the apartment in 2 months... that was 7 months ago. It's December and I am about 2 weeks (realistically) from finishing the rental unit.
While doing the finishing work myself saved me a lot of money, I lost out on months of potential rental income, so it wasn't necessarily a financially sound decision.
I ran into cashflow issues
That aforementioned apartment... I purchased it with a bank loan.
This year, my loan payments on that apartment more than doubled from about 2400 PLN/ month to over 6000 PLN/ month due to growing interest rates in Poland.
As I've ranted about before: Polish banks have the disgusting practice of offering only adjustable-rate real property loans.
Although I know adjustable-rate loans are absurd — I mean, The Big Short is one of my favorite movies of all time... — I bit the bullet and got one... because in Poland, I literally had no other choice. At this time in Poland, if an average Joe like me wants to get a loan for any term longer than 5 years, fixed-rate is not an option.
So I took a risk hoping for the best, and unfortunately it gently blew up in my face.
I was not prepared for interest rates to grow this much in this short a time.
But tough. it's not the end of the world by a long shot. It's just money and an apartment, in the worst case: I'll lose the apartment a lot of my money. There are much more important things in life than that.
My social media posting consistency hit a rocky patch
For the first time in 3 years, I missed a blog post deadline. I missed 2 blog post deadline this year in total.
Last year I committed to posting one video per week to social media. I also missed a few of those deadlines.
These missed deadlines are unacceptable to me. That said, I'm going easy on myself. I made major strides in the right directions when it comes to content creation this year. Namely: I posted more video content this year than ever before and I'm feeling good about that. I love making video content and it feels good to be making content for my own personal brand, even if most of it is half-baked videos I made in a few minutes.
As a matter of fact, I am STOKED about these videos. They suck, but I'm learning how to make good short-form content on a tight schedule, and that will be of significant importance in the success of my personal brand in the future.
I learned to love living under pressure
One significant thing about this year is that I've been busy. I've never had so many different things to do at once. Those things include, among others:
- finish the rental unit of my apartment while paying constantly growing loan payments,
- deliver on my regular freelance work responsibilities (English tutoring, social media account management),
- deliver on one-off freelance projects for clients that always seem to be dramatically urgent and come at the least convenient time (promo videos, document translations, etc.),
- overthrow the HOA administrator of my apartment building (it's a long story, but they are terribly corrupt and utterly incompetent and changing them is a legal nightmare, but along with many other owners of apartments in the building, we're trying to overthrow them),
- maintain a minimum quality of "good boyfriendidness" for Wera so that she doesn't dump me (I would probably dump me if I were her),
- regularly exercise my dog (damn does that bitch have energy...),
- try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night (I can find the time for the sleep, the problem is that I like to think about random scientific subjects when I lay down to bed),
- try to maintain a healthy diet (this year for the first time ever I actually felt foggy-minded and overall tired... I can't be sure why, but I associated it with eating absolutely terrible food on a daily basis for an extended period of time, and after making some changes I feel totally normal again).
But while I'm busier than I've ever been before, I'm also less stressed than I've ever been before.
I've written about managing stress before, and that philosophy about stress (read: ignoring it and systematically, logically doing the best I can to solve my problems) was put to the test this year. And it passed the test. Big time. I love having all these responsibilities. I don't feel stressed at all. I love failing deadlines. I love running into unexpected issues. This is life, people. This is the journey. I want more responsibilities and I want to accomplish much more. I want more problems (business and general life problems, not serious problems like war, famine, disease, etc. for myself or someone I love).
Reflection on 2022 and Outlook for 2023
I can't think of a better way to say it, so I'll just copy and paste this line from past years:
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 2022 (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 can't say I regret spending time on anything in 2022 (except eating too much sweets). I was personally productive. I took time to relax when I needed to. I'm quite happy with where I'm at.
What did you do wrong in 2022 that you need to change for 2023?
I did not publish enough social media content.
What went well in 2022 that you want to go even better in 2023?
This will be the 3rd or 4th year in a row... but I have to say it again: my calendar. I love my calendar and I'm doing a great job organizing it. I'm still using Google Calendar for the time being. My calendar isn't perfect yet, but it's getting better and better every year. My goal is to accurately plan and document every minute of every day, but without it being burdensome or time consuming (i.e. organizing my calendar should take no more than 15 minutes per day).
What’s the first thing you’re doing in 2023 to move yourself forward?
Finishing the rental unit of my apartment. I need to finish it and rent it out to a good tenant so that I can ease my schedule and cash flow. I think in a good 2 weeks I will have it finished.
My overall plans for 2023:
- finish my the rental unit of my apartment,
- get the rental unit rented to a good tenant (at first I was planning on renting it on a short-term basis (Airbnb, Booking.com, etc.) but as of the last few weeks I've been considering renting it on a long-term basis due to that requiring less maintenance, and I'm starting to lean towards that idea),
- rebuild my website with a more robust data storage mechanism (I want to be in better control of my website content than Webflow allows me to be, and to have all my content stored in a portable, universal, timeless format),
- solidify the plan for teaching my kids life (I want to create a curriculum for things I want to teach my kids outside of public school, e.g. how to be happy, how to manage stress, how to operate a firearm, how to train and care for animals, and much more) because I want to have kids in the near future.
- learn a modern programming stack by being an "apprentice" of sorts to a talented programmer here in Poznań,
- start cooperating with my friend Mariusz at Sembioza, a marketing company he started not long ago that is doing well,
- by the end of the year, I also want to have finished my unit of my apartment — Wera and I currently live in it, but it is unfinished, we are sleeping on an air mattress and have a makeshift kitchenette and toilet set up.
Lovely was one of my favorite words of 2022. Happy new year lovely reader, have a lovely 2023. 🥰