Year in review, part 1.

· January 15, 2022

A retrospective, told in multiple parts.

Like in most years of my life, a lot happened this year. I grew in some ways (body fat %) and regressed in others (muscle mass %). Here, I write a brief overview of my year. I will not go in chronological order, but I may do so if I please. Primarily, though, I am going to split my experiences into two broad categories - “surprising” and “unsurprising”.

As the category labels suggest, I am going to classify my experiences on whether I found them to be surprising or unsurprising in terms of enjoyment, learning, and any other parameter I deem fit. Additionally, I will also go over some mistakes I made and what I learned along the way; all for your perusal.

I am splitting this into multiple parts because I want to write this over multiple sittings, which would allow me to come up with more ideas on how to conduct my personal retrospective.


How easy it is to control your appetite

At the beginning of this year, I played with my diet a lot. I randomly fasted on some days, overate on others. I wrote about my reasoning in an older post. During the days I fasted, I realized how easy it is not to feel hungry. The experience is very similar to long-distance running. In the beginning, things are quite difficult; your stomach makes unglamorous noises, you think about food a lot, and you feel a strange urge to pop something down your esophagus to satisfy your conniving stomach. These wayward thoughts don’t last very long, though. It is because, in reality, you are not very hungry. At least I am not. Once my body got the memo, it didn’t bother me all too much. I learned that for me, boredom is a more significant causal agent for hunger than the lack of food.

I remember listening to an interview with an escaped North Korean defector in which she talked about the American obesity crisis. She was amazed that people could eat themselves to death. Her solution was (while a little unempathetic) very elegant - just don’t eat. You’d be surprised how easy that is once you make up your mind.

Covid is still a BIG deal.

At the beginning of 2021, I genuinely expected covid to be tamed. One venerable SARS-Cov-2 really cemented her place in the history books as a killjoy of global proportions. There was a window of about 3-4 months where I did go out once every couple of weeks or so, but I spent my time locked up at home for the most part. It’s 2022 now, and I don’t see myself leaving home anytime soon.

How much I can read

In the first quarter of 2021, I read 15 books, averaging over a book per week. Looking back, that was quite an impressive statistic. If you want a more detailed breakdown, read my post here.

How little I read

You’d imagine that I would have read at least 30 books with a start like that, but no. I read between 20 and 25 books. I even lost track of things. This mainly happened because sometime after July, I became very sloppy. Sloppy with my reading habit, sloppy with my writing habit, and sloppy with my mindfulness habit. This leads me to believe that it may be necessary for me to conduct a mid-year recalibration from next year.

How much of a difference not meditating makes.

I practiced mindfulness quite regularly from late 2020 to mid-2021. My habit got derailed when my subscription to the “Waking Up” resting App expired. It was only after I stopped my practice I realized how much meditation improved my life. A consequence of my negligence was a degraded “general happiness” during the latter half of 2021. I wasn’t sad per se, but just not as happy or satisfied as the first half of 2021.

A trip with family and friends.

With covid around, I never imagined a trip with family was on the table (let alone with friends). I wish to write a travelogue on this trip. Maybe once I start writing more regularly.

Built a side project that is actually useful.

In 2021, I built quite a few things. Most (if not all) worked functionally. That is about at par with my side project track record. I am fairly proficient at building things. As a consequence, I build things often. But much to my chagrin, things that I make end up in either of the two buckets

  • I use it (but very rarely)
  • Nobody uses it (including me)

My CLI ebook speed reader falls into the former category and everything else in the latter. This year, there was an exception - InternetBlogCo.

Even today, my brother regularly uses it to publish his writings. I view InternetBlogCo as the most useful side project I have built, and as a consequence, the most fun side project I have worked on. If you want to start writing, but don’t know how to create or maintain a blog, check it out.

{To be continued}

PS: I am running an experiment where I write down my essays instead of typing them out. Read about that here. See the original handwritten draft here.

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