Another Year Goes By...
Whew... this year has been insane. I truly can't believe the new year is in just a handful of days! As just a breif overview of everything that happened in 2021:
- I moved away from my previous freelancing position
- Launched my first profitable (!) SaaS product
- Interviewed with a handful of software companies
- Signed and worked for a month as an official employee for one of those companies
- Ultimately quit that job and started at a Swiss start up, where I'm happily employed now!
...I'm exhausted. Here approaching the end of 2021, I've agreed to probably more commitments than I should have, and while I should be able to finish these commitments as planned by early 2022, they're cutting into my own life too much. I've got plans to not repeat this kind of issue for 2022. So, as I've been doing since 2018, I create a set of goals or resolutions for the coming year, and also review and grade myself for the past year's goals. Here's that post for 2022.
Goals for 2021, Reviewed
- Close on a house! (Scary 😱)
❌ Not quite yet... though we are getting quite serious at looking at houses, considering prices, taxes, tenants, etc. Hopefully more progress here in 2022.
- Publish five SkillShare courses by April 11th, 2021, and tie it with socials, YouTube, and digital art
❌ I only managed to publish 3 - these courses take longer than I think they will each time, however, considering all the other platforms that recruited me where my courses are now available, and the two courses i have in the works coming out early next year, we could probably put a ✅ here technically, or at least I'd like to think so...
- Video games and drinking only allowed on Fridays (exceptions: parties, holidays)
❌ I failed here (sometimes that juicy Warzone is just too addicting), though I have drank a lot less overall this year, especially for the first four months of the year where I was completely dry. In terms of this no-drinking challenge, I really liked it and it's something I think I'll be doing each year. In fact, I've added it as one of my official goals for 2022. Who knows, some year I may try going a whole half year dry, or maybe even a full year.
- Start daily meditation
✅ I'm going to put this as a soft green check. For all of January and February, I was meditating a good 20 minutes every morning. At some point, I was weak and let "life" get in the way, though actually thinking about it I'm not sure what really was preventing me from keeping up this habit. I think in some ways I was trying to measure the benefits, and was thinking that I wasn't getting anything out of it. Despite all this, I can't help but thinking about returning to a bit of meditating for some reason.
- Start intermittent fasting
✅ Definitely was doing this for quite a while. On Mondays and Tuesdays of each week I doing the whole 18:6 routine. That is, until in late spring I heard from a Tim Ferriss podcast that fasting, while it is good for weightloss, can lead to a lot of muscle loss as well. That ultimately moved me away from using fasting towards acheiving a fitness level - however I still reserve it as a kind of useful 'reset' tool, and am looking into doing day or two fasts in the future. I think for me, doing fitness is a much more beneficial activity on the whole, and I'll be exercising even on those days where I do the 18:6 intermittent fast.
- Find a publisher and publish my book
❌ Sigh. Another failure... things just take so much time... In the early part of 2021, building those courses and The Wheel Screener (see below for more details on that!), I never did finish my Five Grand Challenges book, or my SaaS Product Cookbook. But I'm quite proud of both works in progress, and I hope to return to them at some point.
- Start a second book
✅ Alright this green check is probably the biggest soft check here - I've designed the cover so far for it 😂. It's going to be a sort of TypeScript cookbook from my top used "tool belt" of patterns I use with TypeScript in all my projects, public and private. I absolutely love TypeScript and I think the software world needs to adopt it more rapidly. We need more TypeScript and less complaining that "we've always used typescript, these types just confuse me and bloat the code!" type mentality. I'm hoping a short handbook of recipes in my classic clear-as-I-can-make-it style will be a useful asset to the software world.
- Do some insane super hikes
✅ Definitely did a few of these, as well as the longest bike ride I've ever done so far - 125 km / 78 miles! And you know what? I think this summer I can go even further. 😉 Shall I achieve the 100 miler? Let's try!
- More camping
❌ Sadly we didn't even go camping once this year. To be fair, a main hindrince is that my day and a half pack can no longer fit all my gear (many of the straps have broken, so I can't hang as much stuff anymore)However, I've just recently bought a used backpacking bag, so there is no excuse for 2022 to get out in the woods and mountains more.
- Run a marathon
❌ Another failure! Though I did do some half marathons... I will retry in 2022.
While my review looks bad in this format (quite a lot of ❌'s!), I think I should highlight a lot of huge wins, which weren't technically official goals of mine for 2021, but were definitely related. To showcase these, 2021 was the first year in which I:
- Created (and continue to develop and maintain) my first profitable SaaS product, The Wheel Screener!
- Earned over $2000 in course royalties across all various platforms I sell my courses on
- Gained over 100 followers on Full Stack Craft's YouTube channel
- Was hired to a senior full stack software engineering position (twice!), while at the same time denying two other promising offers
- Gained equity in InClub (my current full time employer) - crossing our fingers as we grow and look for more investors - but the work alone is a fulfilling and exciting experience each day
- Was featured in my first dev podcast, React Round Up (for me, I'm joking to everyone that this is the real sign that I "made it" 😂)
Goals for 2022
Okay, with that little ego boost for myself, here's what I've got for goals for 2022:
- No drinking from the new year until April 1st (my birthday!)
- Disconnect weeks, where I put away my phone and avoid all social media
- Say no more
- Write a cool backend in Go
- In addition to the two "secret" courses I'm currently working on, publish one (yes, only one) course
- Use my Klimaticket to tramp / camp / explore Austria
No drinking from the new year until April 1st (my birthday!)
As mentioned above, I've really been liking this no drinking challenge, started first for lent in 2020, then expanded in 2021 all the way to April 1st. Now in 2022, I think it was a nice length of time that works well. I mean, in 2021 I got the whole Wheel Screener out of it (or at least I'd like to think that was one of the main reasons)
Disconnect weeks, where I put away my phone and avoid all social media
I've had an idea like this for a while now, but now that I'm putting it in writing it's finally solidified. For a whole work week, Monday-Friday, I plan on putting my phone totally out of site in a drawer somewhere as a digital detox. I'll even name my first week to do this right here: January 10th - January 14th. Let's see how it goes
Saying No More
I'm finally getting to that point in my career (or that point in my age 😂) where I just don't have time to handle all the offers that come at me. I need to triage and navigate the options offered to me and cut this habit of saying yes to every person and opportunity. Part of me wants to say that I do this "yes man" act because I enjoy helping others, this part of software of and coding that can really help people achieve their goals. The other part may be a bit more selfish - that I like partaking in new experiences and challenges. But at some point I have to respect my own time. There's been far too many nights this year where I've been working late into the night when it wouldn't exactly have been my choice to do so. You can call this privilege or whatever, but I think the privilege to choose projects more carefully is something I've earned for busting my ass in this field for 10 years (and counting).
Write a Cool Backend in Go
As I've been working through Advent of Code this year in Go, I've also been studying it on the side as a possible next gen API for my work at InClub. Overall, I'm impressed with the performance of Go, but more importantly, the philosophy and mindset behind the Go language: no extra bells and whistles on the language itself, composition and business functionality should drive your code, and a single file can be run simply with
go run - no build file bloat and massive libraries that need to be included (looking at you, Java and .NET). It's a clean, lightweight language that is easily portable and extremely powerful as a backend language. Whether it turns out to be for InClub, or for a side SaaS project of mine, I'm eager to build something useful using Go in 2022.
In addition to the two "secret" courses I'm currently working on, publish one (yes, only one) course
This one stands for itself: I've got two courses I'm currently working on in parellel, and I think once those are done, I'll focus on self-publishing just one more course in 2022. I'm 99% this self-published course will be about TypeScript, as this seems to be the largest interest in the software world right now, and has been pulling in the most revenue for me.
Use my Klimaticket to tramp / camp / explore Austria
That's right, I'm the proud owner of the first issuance of Austria's Klimaticket - offering me unrestricted travel across the entirety of Austria for one year (even including some border stations!) for only 1000 EUR. I've been living in Austria for over 5 years now, and I've only explored Vorarlberg, northern Tirol, Upper Austria, and a handful of places in Vienna. I can't wait to explore Austria, especially this winter, where my goal is to continue adding to my blue hour collection of photos, as you can see at photography.chrisfrew.in. Hoping to encounter some really great shots in the winter of 2022. I'll definitely be camping and doing a bit of digital nomading with that new big pack of mine.
Well, that's it. Looking forward to 2022 - a lot of travel, challenging / rewarding / valuable work with InClub (from wherever I may be in Austria), and just tramping and adventuring in general. Hoping to finally break out of the false COVID shackles I've placed on myself - god knows it's about time. Actually, if I could sum up a kind of real number one goal, it would probably read something like "being refreshed and rejuvenated from a variety of amazing travel adventures and experiences in nature - and less of being on the verge of burnout and work" - when I sit down to write this post in December 2022.
We'll see how it goes.