My 2021 in Review

January 31, 2022

For most, 2020 was a year of disruption, lockdown, slowing down and stepping back. For me, though, 2021 felt more like the year in which I adopted a slower pace.

I stopped striving for advancement at work and started preparing for the reality of working for myself. I set fewer goals and narrowed my focus. I didn’t beat myself up for not doing more. I stepped away from various personal commitments.

Overall, I’m happy with how the year went. Something has changed in me, but I’m not quite sure what it is. Am I older? Wiser? More resigned to the way things are? It’s hard to say, but I do feel that my usual idealism is now tempered by some reasonableness and calm.

I’m still excited about possibilities for personal and career growth/change, but find myself a little more laid back about it all. And I’ve got to say, I’m pretty okay with that.

The Goals

  • Completed: See parents 4x; send 50 newsletters; publish a YouTube video every week
  • Failed: Practice Spanish weekly; tweet 50 threads; launch legitimate side business

The Good

More Time with Family

This was a top priority after the pandemic year, and I’m thankful we were able to make it happen. I saw my sister twice and my parents five times. I plan to continue this in 2022 as much as possible.

Better Goals

I was spread too thin in 2020. My goals board had a bunch of things that I wasn’t really serious about, and then I felt bad when I didn’t complete them.

In 2021, I picked six things that mattered most, and tried to develop systems for them. I completed three and failed on three, which feels about right to me. This year I have even fewer goals, and they’re mostly relationally-oriented (on the note of my opening paragraphs).

Consistent YouTube

Uploading a video per week was my top non-relational goal. Thanks largely in part to hiring an editor, I was able to put out at least a video a week but often two. In all, we published 80+ videos and added a thousand subscribers. In my view, this was a win.

The Bad

Difficult Work Year

This was, by far, the most difficult year of work I’ve had at my current job. I started the year on the “bench” (not assigned to a project), which sounds great but gets old after a while. Then, in April, I was assigned to a project with a toxic client that came to dominate most of the summer. From September – December I had another tricky project with complicated client dynamics.

These things aren’t all bad – in the first project, I was the sole developer and learned a lot. After July, though, I was pretty burned out and never quite recovered.

Difficult Faith Year

This is not something I talk about publicly that much, but it was also a difficult year for me in terms of my faith. I ascribe this mostly to not being able to do much in person from the end of 2020 (got too cold to worship outside) until we got the vaccine in April 2021. Doing this part of life virtually just doesn’t work as far as I’m concerned.

Things got better after that, but it this time period represented my first real dry spell since becoming a Christian almost 13 years ago.

Still No Real Business

My foremost goal in the last two years has been to start a real business. I think I’m possibly putting a bit too much pressure on myself here and thus finding it hard to start. Thankfully, in 2022 I’ll have to confront this goal directly since I’ll be self-employed.

The Favorites



The Promised Land

Know My Name

Anxious People


Congratulations, Who Are You Again?


My First Million (again)

Armchair Expert

Sleep With Me

Crime Show


Hardcore History



Sharp Objects

The Jinx

Only Murders in the Building

Naomi Osaka


Ryan Kulp

Van Neistat

Shelby Church

Captain Sinbad

Ethan Chlebowski


Accupressure Mat

Covid Vaccine

Tommy John’s joggers

Small Bets course

The Takeaways

We All Have a Teleology

This is a main idea from The Courage to be Disliked. Essentially, the book argues that human behavior isn’t due to cause and effect/things from our past determining present behavior (etiology), but that we all have goals which we then behave in support of.


This is an idea from Navalmanack. Basically, I realized that if I’m going to be investing my life into building something, I want to own at least part of that thing. This basically precludes me from working for any company where there isn’t equity given as part of compensation. That said, I’d rather just build my own stuff.

Embrace Down Time

As mentioned above, I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to always be working on side projects. I embraced non-work time a bit more this year, partly because I knew I’d be pursuing full-time self-employment fairly soon. I enjoyed this change and hope to continue it.

By the Numbers

2021 Stats:

  • Age: 29 (+3.4%)
  • Customers: 31 (+520%)
  • MRR (from products): $11.50 (+434.8%)
  • Articles: 2
  • YouTube Subscribers: 1,321 (+314.1%)
  • Twitter Followers: 248 (+111.9%)
  • Email Subscribers: 54 (+157.1%)
  • Products: 1 (+0%)
  • Businesses: 0 (+0%)

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