8 min read

2021 Recap

2022's progress bar indicates 3,5%, which means that the 2021 summary should have been out a few days ago.
2021 Recap
Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

2022's progress bar indicates 3,5%, which means that the 2021 summary should have been out a few days ago.

Previous one: 2020.

Here we are.

Work-life Balance

There was a lot of work in 2021 compared to my previous year of early retirement. I think I've been working full-time roughly about 8 out of 12 months this year. And about 1 month part-time.

My current work-life balance is not perfect, but it is sustainable in the long run. I don't get exhausted while staying more or less productive.

Weekdays schedule sometimes sucks, but in general, feels fine.
Weekends started to look more like weekends but still have a lot of room for improvement.

I still don't have much time to spend with friends and fam, and that's the thing I would love to improve in 2022.

All year long, I've been switching between home/coffee shop/coworking space to bring some extra fun into my daily routine, train the ability to get focused fast and get things done.

As a result, I've finally managed to seamlessly combine work with travel without almost any drawbacks.

Made a pull request -> caught a taxi to the airport -> deployed from the cafe right before the boarding to the flight. That's how it worked this year. (at least a couple of times)


In 2021 I was involved in 3 projects overall.


The first one was a dashboard "google-analytics-like" app for online stores built on a "Shopify-like" platform made by a startup from Canada.

When doing that from scratch, I had some fun (and tears) with SwiftUI + Redux stuff which was pretty cool.


The second one was a video call app built around Zoom SDK.

The app itself was a part of a property management platform that allowed property owners to make calls, discuss and vote for different things according to the number of shares.

I didn't make it from scratch but joined an ongoing project that my old mates from Canada (again!) were working on and needed some help to speed up the development before the release. So for me, it was more like a small gig.

This time SwiftUI was basted with a lot of Combine under the hood.


The third one is another startup, this time from the US,
a rather mature one with funding, mergers, acquisitions, and so on.

An ongoing project. Social network app. Still working on it.

A lot of legacy UIKit stuff with singletons like in 2015.

For me, it's more of a challenge. Because it's easy to build from scratch in the right way while it's much harder to push a legacy codebase on track.


Initially, I had planned to boost my Upwork profile heavily in 2021, but it happened that the best gigs in 2021 came from outside of Upwork. That's why my profile found itself in the exact same place where it had been at the end of 2020.

In general, I'm starting to think that the role of Upwork in my worldwide freelance is diminishing slowly.

Now I don't plan anything special for freelance in 2022, as I don't know how long my current contract will last.


I rebalanced my portfolio in 2020, and 2021 was planned as a "wait and reap" year.

So was it. Nothing special except extraordinary returns.

Since I didn't make any new investments in 2021, I've managed to accumulate some cash that I would probably start to slowly invest.

Probably it's not the best market timing. However, getting at least any returns is better than inflation, but it's so damn scary to buy after 2 years of crazy growth.

Financial Goals

Weird things are going on.

I've hit my all times annual earnings record for the second time in a row.

2021 earnings goal has been overperformed by 17%. So in 2021, I earned ~2,3x more than in 2020 and about ~4.6x more than in 2019.

Earnings structure is 23% from software engineering, 77% is my investment portfolio growth.

Let's say that the next goal is 2x of 2021.

To accomplish that, I would have to work hard full time all year long and be incredibly lucky. I would also need some help from the Fed Reserve with never-ending QE as well as BTC somewhere on the moon.

Side Projects


It's very sad, but during 2021 I made very little for Portfolius to get it closer to a launch. Half a year ago I put it on a complete hold and it's still there.

There is no other way for me than to choose between full-time work for money and pet projects for fun. If I choose both I would burn out rather quickly and get neither fun nor money.

Now I have no idea whether Portfolius is going to get reanimated in 2022 or not.


Rather lazily I maintain my stuff at Github and eventually push out new things. I've made a massive update for RestKit not long ago.

Things are rolling and I love it. I treat it as an alternative for side projects because it doesn't take ages to accomplish and may also be very rewarding.


I'd been planning a massive upgrade for my WFH setup for 2021 with a new desk and storage.

Unfortunately, I got stuck somewhere in the middle, unable to complete all the items due to Ikea's supply issues.

I've already put up with the fact that I will never get everything at once, so I'm starting to collect furniture by parts.


Surprisingly enough (not really), I got fed up with COVID19.

My 2021 Christmas and New year holidays started with a COVID. Since that time, I could neither smell nor taste coffee and many other things for about 9 months. Most of the smells and tastes were fucked up and messed with each other.

Not recommended: 2 out of 10.

Finally, I've made all my fam fully vaccinated and got vaccinated myself.

Now I look at anti-vax stats and people stories around... and I can't get rid of a feeling that for the last two years, I've been caring about people around probably more than many of them care about themselves.

And you know what? That's enough for me. I'd better stop caring too much than get a nervous breakdown.


My most optimistic forecasts about the end of the pandemic in 2021 did not come true.

It didn't finish, but on the other hand, it's not almost keeping me from traveling anymore. At least I'm not going crazy nervous from a single idea of travel. "Keep calm and have antibodies" kind of thing.

In the middle of spring, I was chilling in the mountains near the Black sea and then right at the seaside.

I haven't seen a sea for the last, probably, 7 years or so. And I was happy to make sure that it was still there. (My local sea that is 35 min by car doesn't count).

I've been in St. Petersburg for the second time in my life. It was amazing as expected but cold. On the first day of September the temperature there was like in December in my local city. I have no idea how they live there.

At the end of the year, we've managed to get to Italy and it's just stunning as usual.
For the last two years in my local city, I've started to forget how stylish cities may actually be.

Looks like I don't travel too often. I hope to fix it in 2022.

To accomplish that will need to get boosted with a vaccine approved by WHO or wait until our local vaccine gets finally approved. Will see what comes first 6 months after my last injection or approval.

Health and Habits

2021 was a year of not returning to regular sport again.

I wanted to get back to rollerblading, but frankly, we don't have too many facilities here. We've got two local skateparks that have almost fallen apart. Definitely not a place for fun.

At the end of 2021, a new skatepark was built not far from my homeplace.
I will definitely give it a chance in 2022.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to go to the mountains and ride skis in winter. A thing that I'm gonna fix in 2022 very soon.

However, I've been pretty active all year long; 10000 daily steps and so on. I also did a daily workout to keep a minimum fit.



I've finally managed to get all the necessary things for my bonsai mini-garden: tools, wires, soil, and plants. (we don't have a local bonsai nursery here, so it's a bit tricky)

Now I'm just waiting for it to grow. Simply the best hobby in the world. Nothing but time is required.


Note-taking is one of the most game-changing things that happened to me in 2021.
I'm not sure yet what exactly it did change, but it feels very disrupting!

She Said Yes

It took me 5 years to submit a proposal to this cutie on the photo (on left)