Happy Xmas and New Year for everyone!
Now, when 2021 is finally out, it is a perfect time to make a summary of previous year, isn't it?
In 2020 the seesaw of my work-life balance moved to the life side by 90%.
I called it Yearly Retirement Beta Test.
It was an interesting experiment but in 2021 I'm gonna act like a binary search algorithm and look for the balance on another half.
Not without experiments. Instead of building my life around my working schedule I would like to develop a better life style first and then to fit my working schedule into it.
I haven't almost freelance this year at all. Had only about 2 month of paid employment for the whole year.
Deprivation of work made me start to miss it again. I got totally rebooted and now freelance feels absolutely like it was in the very first year. So brand new and fancy.
Now I'm very excited and eager to get new clients and build a ton of new things this year.
Several years ago I leveraged my investment portfolio heavily. Its overall size was rather tiny so I could comfortably do it to increase returns by means of risk.
How much loaded it has been? Well, loaded enough to survive the Dec 2018 crash.
I should note that survive is the right word for that draw down. So when all things recovered, I started to deleverage my portfolio during the whole 2019. In other words, putting cash without any position re-adjustments.
This all allowed me to have a lot of room for possible actions by the beginning of 2020.
When the whole thing crashed in March of 2020, my anti-crisis measures were pretty cold and simple. I've just made a good purchase with a surgical accuracy right at the bottom.
How risky it was? Well, when the market is almost 50% down for just a couple of weeks, that's already a pretty good discount and rather rare opportunity to take action with probably some additional risk.
Luckily the amount of risk I took was exactly right. I didn't undertake or take too much either and now I have no reasons to regret.
In 2021 I would do literally nothing in that direction and would just let it grow like a freshly re-potted and pruned bonsai tree.
I've managed to earn about 84% from the initial year goal.
Frankly speaking that's an incredible result for me because the whole goal was twice as large as my previous annual record.
So yes, 2020 has been my absolute record of all times.
Most surprising is that my previous record almost was totally combined from freelance earnings while 88% of this one came from investments.
What's next? The next goal is simply 2x of the 2020 result. With a preferable earnings structure of at least 50% from freelance.
My initial plan for 2020 was to start getting at least 30% of my monthly earnings from side projects by the end of the year.
That included launching of Portfolius App and turning it into a tiny profitable thing.
The plan has failed. I've significantly underestimated the amount of work and my own resources. A thing that never happen with software engineers ha-ha-ha.
At least now I know more about why we don't deliver products on time. A lot more.
One of the key achievements of the year is that I've implemented two strong basements for launching apps. Both of them are aimed to speed up the development.
The first one is backend framework, the second is an architecture framework for iOS apps which I've already tested in 3 projects, including Portfolius App itself and one commercial freelance app.
My side projects plan for 2021 is much less ambitious. Just get the Portfolius App launched.
I couldn't find motivation and time for open source crafting for years and finally I've managed to integrate open source crafting in my workflow.
Now my hunger for open source is more or less satisfied. I've got a couple of things in mind I would like to implement this year and then I would like to get totally calm and maintain existing things.
For some reason a couple of months before the COVID came I'd started to improve my home environment. I've furnished a cozy place for home office and turned my living room into a home cinema theater with powerful sound and a huge 135'' projection screen.
Those two were the best purchases of the whole year and they played a huge role in my ability to stay at home during pandemic and keep the sense of sanity with me.
I've almost bought a mobile home bus as a birthday present for myself. Luckily I've decided to think it over carefully beforehand and threw this obsession out of my head easily.
So NO. I didn't buy a bus. Just spent probably a dozen of hours watching on youtube how mobile home buses are crafted.
For the 2021 I've got some ideas for later home environment improvements, but perhaps I'd rather prefer to visit coworking space more often instead.
I've had a plenty of trips for the last 4 years and got so much used to it, that 2020 was a huge dopamine pothole for me.
Luckily we've managed to travel to the mountains right before the pandemic in January 2020 where I learned to ski for the very first time. It was a skill I postponed to learn for years and finally I've obtained that incredible source of joy.
In 2020 we traveled locally a bit, but only for a few days and it was not very comfortable. For me, traveling during pandemic is something that goes in the opposite direction from common sense.
Our main and global hope for 2021 is that pandemic will finish soon. Luckily It has all signs to finish at the first half of 2021 because vaccination has already started and I hope that It's only winter and spring for us to hold on.
Loss of my father two years ago affected me significantly in my attitude to the safety of my family.
In 2020 I had a choice: I could hang out freely with friends, but then I would have to avoid meeting my elderlies at all in order not to infect them accidentally.
I've made a choice in favor of family. In 2020 I kept my social distance probably larger that anyone you know.
How hard is it to keep a distance from friends just for a few months? It's pretty easy if you are disciplined enough and it's a pretty low cost comparing to priceless health of a family.
Very soon I'm gonna take a new test on antibodies and I hope that this time, I will have enough of them to be fully protected from COVID.
A theme that has become so global that simply can't be avoided though everyone would love to.
My condolences to all who lost their loved ones. I know what is it to loose, and I wish everyone to never experience it. And I also know that words don't help unfortunately.
I hope that many people has started to appreciate time with their family incomparably more without paying unbearable cost for such lessons.
In 2020 I've caught a COVID at least once. Actually, relying on a list of facts, I'm pretty sure that it happened twice.
Luckily I was careful enough not to infect anyone including my family and I hope that my fussy measures will help to go through this shit until vaccination.
For me personally COVID has demonstrated that we as the society are not even close to a good example of responsible behavior. Globally our problem solving skills is a junk.
COVID has shown how fatally we are all exposed to cognitive biases and how many stupid assholes around. Times more than I have ever expected.
Health and Habits
Not without COVID I've started to be more careful about my own health.
I've started to make my first steps in developing not only healthy but also good habits in general. Probably the largest steps in that direction in my whole life.
I've taken almost zero alcohol for the whole year. Not actually zero, but very moderately and probably times less then in previous years.
I've already got some improvements in quality of sleep and overall activity level.
Furthermore I've managed to brute force the private keys for the control over the general feel of happiness. Just tiny tricks but powerful enough even to handle months of "stay at home" routine of 2020.
In the end of 2020 I've started to read more and I'm going to pay a lot of attention for that habit in 2021.
Not long ago I've came across a nice tool for taking notes. So taking a ton of notes is something I definitely want to do in 2021.
I also expect to integrate sporting activities much deeper in my lifestyle this year, taking much care about cardio training.
BTW I'm gonna be 30 years old this year so a proper check-up is something I should definitely carry out.