2021 in review (a little late)
I don’t know why I’ve procrastinated doing this review for 10 months. But I have. So here it is, last years review, very late to the game!
Timeline of events
Jan to Mar
I struggled with winter. As I always do. But with covid making visits to stores and cafes awkward, I struggled more than usual. Super happy I was in Sweden, where we at least still could go out.
Went on a road trip to the other side of Sweden to visit other old friends. It was hard both from a covid perspective (many people were still afraid) and because so many people have retreated into doom & gloom over the last two years.
Thankfully, we had an early spring. And a new strain of Covid that no one in Sweden could take too seriously anymore.
Apr to Jun
Hung out with a group of really interesting thinkers and builders. Left a job. And the fear finally dissipated from society in general. We celebrated old friends, and had a proper midsummers.
Most importantly my old friend Elisabeth got married! I was asked to hold one of the ceremonies, to my great pride, and a bit of nerves. 😅
Jul to Sep
Rushed around to visit old friends in both Gnesta, and Berlin. Started working with Volocopter who were in dire need of design help. And also started a Sommelier course!
Oct to Dec
Ended the year with a lot of beautiful morning walks. Celebrated birthdays and Christmas with family. Actually joined Volocopter as an employee, which will help us to move to Berlin next year! Finally we celebrated New Years with my god daughter and her wonderful parents.
I started, built, shipped, and closed Ting. Still dreaming of making a better zettelkasten app. But Ting was unfortunately built on the wrong tech stack, and couldn’t be saved.
Started and finished a Sommelier training. Very excited to have a broader understanding of wine and drinks!
Books I read
I read at least 21 books (according to Goodreads). Most of them fiction, which makes me think I was a little depressed. But a couple of classics, and a small number of business books.
I would recommend two of them:
The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn by Richard Hamming, which is an engineering book that focuses more on how to think to do better work than actual engineering.
And The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, this is a Soviet era classic that is full of crazy stuff. Almost reads like a Discworld book. Except that it’s a critique of the Soviet system that was allowed to be published.
Things I learned
This is always the hardest part to write. But since the middle of 2021 I started using zettelkasten (currently using LogSeq) and I now have notes about everything I’ve learned. So this year, this part is hard to write because I have too much stuff, not too little.
I’ve realised I need to practice being bored.
It’s so easy to be lead by dopamine and never sit idle. No deep thinking, or work, will happen unless you give yourself time to be bored. Kerouac says it well, except he’s talking about doing mindless work, while in our generation mindless consumption is probably a worse problem:
Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
Make small commitments, and deliver on them
During 2021 I lost some confidence and started having a hard time believing I could do important things. The answer was to make really tiny commitments with myself, and with others, and fulfil them. Clean the house. Take out the trash. Just commit first, and then do it. And suddenly I had trained my confidence back up to big projects.
Trying to understand leadership
This quote made me think a lot about what it means to lead.
Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.
Mindfulness isn’t a todo
During the year I’ve had dips and lulls in my mindfulness and my strength training. Both of them I attribute to going through the motions.
Mindfulness isn’t a todo to check off. If you’re not putting all your attention into it, you’re not really doing it. The same is true with most things, but so very obvious in mindfulness.
I’m wasting a lot of time
Most of my wasted time looks like fulfilling social obligations I don’t really want to do. Or spending time doing boring or trivial things, because I feel resistance towards doing the important things I want to do.
These quotes help me think about it. But the main issue is having too many things going on. I hide behind tasks instead of spending my time deliberately.
At one low point I wrote this down: “I also realised that I’ve been tricking myself into thinking I’ve been focused, while at the same time committing to 9 projects”. Which probably means it’s time to focus my attention.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
You have to live on this 24 hours of time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect and the evolution of your immortal soul. Its right use … is a matter of the highest urgency.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that next year will be all about avoiding vices. Alcohol yes, but also stress, overwork, and mental sleuth.
2021 was a bit of a placeholder year. Which is sad, because it was a year of my life.