We humans often need a push to help us take the next step. 2021 has done that to me multiple times. I’m glad the year ended, and I’ll remember what it taught me.
A quick summary of my life at the end of 2021:
- Assets: None
- Liabilities: Some
- Projects: 0 (Completed personal projects)
- MRR: 0 (for the non-techies, MRR is “Monthly recurring revenue”)
- Users: 20,000+ (Free plugins users)
- Income: From 2 sources (Service-based and it’s down from 4)
- Lost: Something that’s hard to put a value on
- Gained: A new value of time
- Motivation: 100% if not more
- What did I learn?: So damn much…
The above summary tells a lot about my life at this moment. It also ends the fun part of the reading. I would recommend you stop reading at this point…
2021 began with a lot of excitement. Finally, I was able to do something that I had always dreamed of. Personal life was ideal, and in terms of work, I had some assets that would have allowed me to focus on my own projects by reducing paid work. So I stopped taking on client projects and reduced my working hours.
Reducing billable hours made me lose a bit of monthly income, but it gave me so much more. The excitement did not last long because, within weeks, I ended paying too much tax due to a wrong assumption. A month later, I lost a long-term freelancing gig and, with that, almost 30% of my monthly income.
The situation demoted me for a while but being an overly optimistic (naive) person, I thought I did not need to postpone my plans for more than 3 months. At this point, another lockdown was announced in Vietnam, which meant no cycling. Cycling has been therapeutic for me, and without it, I’m not the best person to be around. A day before the lockdown started, I ordered a cake with the words “getting ready for a lockdown,” but I guess I was not really ready.
While figuring out my next step, I learned that my mother had to be hospitalized. This was not the first time, but she always got better, and I was hoping for it again. Traveling to India to see my mother was difficult. There were no proper means to get to Hanoi from Da Nang as all public transport, and domestic flights were closed. Due to covid & my visa situation, if I left Vietnam, I could not return anytime soon. And I also couldn’t take my wife to India. It was hard to make any decisions, so I didn’t make any.
When I realized my mom’s situation was dire, I started finding ways to head back to India. The journey to India involved a 16+ hour bus ride to Hanoi, 15 hours at Hanoi Airport, an 8-hour flight to Qatar, 9 hours at the airport before a final 4-hour flight to Mumbai. For a while, I forgot the reason for my travel, but an SMS got me back to reality. The SMS was to tell me that I had lost the only irreplaceable asset in my life.
2021 has ended, and while some will remember it as an inconvenient year, for me, it would be the year I had to burn the most important person in my life.
2021 made me realize how far away I was from my goal and that I was headed in the wrong direction. An easy life was never my goal. I wish I had this realization in a different situation. Still, as the saying goes, “Life happens when you are busy planning it.”
Losing the only person that cannot be replaced might not be easy. A professor had once said that you need a fire under your ass to achieve something beyond your means. I guess this has given me just that.
Now I start a new year…
(This article started as a joke for my friends who think that just because I started working years before them and because I travel, I must be rich. It started that way, but 5 hours into writing, it turned into something else.)