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2021: Year in review

I like having a chill and quiet last day of the year, and I was ready to spend the whole of this last day of the year writing this. Instead, my laptop wouldn’t start up when I woke up yesterday morning — seemed emblematic of 2021’s vibes — and I spent half the day going to a couple of repair shops, receiving the bad news about a corroded motherboard, balking at the price for repair, trying to make the call on whether I should just buy a new MacBook Air/Pro and let this 2017 laptop’s value after amortization be higher than I anticipated…

Eventually I settled on spending the repair money, because I feel like I’ll be able to stretch the lifespan out a little more and get a better value over time. Plus, I’ll be able to comfortably wait for the M2 MacBook Air when it comes out too.

But yes. That’s 2021 in a nutshell, I think: something happens and I react, and I push all previously-laid plans aside. Including having to write this post in the new year instead!

What went well:

  • Money: Before the laptop fiasco, I was locking in an 70% savings rate. This is going to be my third full year of pursuing FIRE (or at least the FI part of things), and I’m well on track, so that makes me happy. With the repair costs hastily calculated in, I’m down a couple of percents, but all in all it’s still below my budgeted expenses of the year.
  • Work: I had so much to talk about during my impact discussion, which was further bolstered by my colleagues’ really kind feedback and words for my improvement. There was also the matter of getting into the Next Generation Leadership Team (second slide in this post!) when I didn’t think I would.
  • Writing: This is threefold — I wrote a post here every week for a year (minus the weird month last month that I paused), wrote 2 journal entries every day (one for a more regular recap, and another with Day One’s daily prompts), and also wrote a few pieces of fic which I’m proud of, because I’d never done that for my ride-or-die fandom despite being in it for nearly a decade now.

What could’ve gone better:

  • Everything about my health, including:
    • My eating habits — timing, quantity, and quality;
    • Working out — I won’t blame it on the vaccines, but I turned “no strenuous activity for 2 weeks” into much longer;
    • Hitting my daily step count — some time around June I said fuck it to 10k a day, scaled it down to 5k, and then had trouble hitting those
  • Reading: I did it. I did 60 books. I’m not proud of it, because I speed-read the fuck out of those last 15 books and let’s just say I do not want to do it again, so this year? This year I’m going to slow down, and read just “enough”.
  • Skills: Did not learn a new language. Or calligraphy. Picked up a couple of Thai swear words though, does that count?
  • Mentality: I heard it over and over again from my colleagues and friends — stop being so hard on yourself.
  • Money: Even though I’d talked about all the good stuff with money in the previous section, one thing did make me feel slightly embarrassed: in-app purchases for chips in my poker games. It’s illegal in Singapore to gamble online, so I was just frivolously spending real money in exchange for fake money.

    Luckily (and this is a huge luckily), the support team accidentally unlinked my account and I can’t access that anymore, which made my refund requests to Apple legitimate when I did it after 2 weeks of no response from said support team.

Other stuff:

  • I met some pretty cool people this year, and I’m thankful to have crossed paths with them and looking forward to forging even tighter friendships going forward!
  • 2021’s major learning-in-a-structured-manner was the d.MBA, and I’m itching to apply that knowledge to actual work.
  • 2021 was also my second year of meditating every morning
  • Got extremely into poker near the end of October — thanks to Maria Konnikova’s The Biggest Bluff — and while I’ve just been playing it online (with fake stakes), I think I might consider taking a vacation somewhere and playing some super low stakes games in person.
  • Getting to be a mentor on ADPList had been really fulfilling, though really time-consuming! Alas, I think I’m no longer getting any traffic from the actual directory, and haven’t been getting any new bookings since… I wanna say November? So there’s that.

Themes from my gratitude journal:

  • My nephews being themselves
  • Being allowed [space / time ] to try/do [thing]
  • Working with good people
  • Good food with good people

I’ve been joking that we should be very quiet about 2022 and not startle it, and the first day of the year is already rainy and dreary, so… I hope the next 364 days ahead are safe and happy for everyone 💖

2 thoughts on “2021: Year in review”

  1. Pingback: 2022: Year in review – Jalyn Cai

  2. Pingback: 2023: Year in review – Jalyn Cai

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