2021 Post Mortem


Some ocean view in Anaheim

That feeling you get when you come home after a jam-packed weekend. A powerufl mix of contentment, exhaustion, and familiarity when you fall face first into your bed. I think that pretty much describes the essense of my entire being at the moment.

Last year, I ended my reflection with a letter of invitation for sponteneity to enter my life. Wow. It answered, loud and clear. I didn't realize the sheer amount of STUFF that can fit into a year. It feels like I've lived 5 years within the span of a year. Let's break it down to the highlights:

  • crawled through the sewers at Stanford University
  • snuck into abandoned barracks at Alameda air force base (hi CIA agent - hypothetically speaking of coure)
  • renewed my passport, got a special visa, and somehow flew to Taiwan
  • quarantined in a hotel for 14 days, eating only bento meals
  • climbed down a waterfall
  • got burned in natural hot springs
  • started doing first-person walking tours
  • went clubbing for the first time
  • built an interactive language learning project
  • embarked on a 40 hour odessey from Taipei -> Istanbul -> New York -> Buffallo -> Toronto to get home
  • lived in a manhattan shoebox apartment
  • unfortunate events in Miami
  • went camping with my grade school friends
  • Las Vegas: visited the Boring Company's Vegas Loop, rode the world's (second) tallest ferris wheel
  • went deep sea fishing off the coast of Anaheim
  • attended a code rave
  • watched The Room and met Tommy Wiseau
  • worked on a startup to make an inventory marketplace for pharmacies
  • started learning the guitar, deep learning, and drawing
  • went on my first 2 dates

I'm still struggling to comprehend just how varied and diverse my past year has been, in spite of (or perhaps due to) the restrictions of the pandemic. First off, I'm so grateful that I got to learn, experience, and befriend in so so many ways. I've gotten a sizeable taste of the 'outside world' - the working world after school; a huge portion of that being the startup experience as both founder and founding engineer.

Especially near the end of the year, I've begun to realize that my anxiety about needing to find a purpose and capitalize on my limited youth are unfounded (but understandable) worries from a confused young person. It seems the human expeirence is not about a set of deadlines or achievements, but I am still trying to figure out what it really is about.

My biggest lessons from this year:

  1. It is way too easy to become busy. It's the path of minimal phsycological resistance to hunker down and 'hustle'. If you don't watch it, months can slip by and you won't feel like you've grown much
  2. Anywhere in the world, the places that feel the closest to me are the places where I have the best friends
  3. If you open yourself up to it (location and schedule wise), your life can be in a totally different place within a month
  4. To experience without reflection is not much better than to not experience at all
  5. Life isn't a series of checkboxes. It is a shared and inexplicable moment of conciousness

Looking at my goals from last year:

  1. Write more: Check!
  2. Read more: Check. I would have loved to read more though!
  3. Go to a lot of totally different environments and places: Oh yea :p
  4. Get comfortable with sharing my ideas openly: Still practicing

For the next year, my explorations will probably shift from an external setting to an internal one. I think I've lived out of a suitcase for long enough, and I'd like to settle down for a bit to look inwards, nurture my hobbies and study my passions. It'll be a good time to recenter, meditate, and rediscover myself.

Thanks to my experiment of trying (really hard) at new things, I no longer feel that I have to prove to myself I can do something. This year my goals will center around personal growth and nourishment of the mind, body, and spirit. My hypothesis is that if I do what I like doing, I will naturally find my dream career and project. Moreover, our brains work in such a way that regularity matters more than cramming hours. The key here will be to establish regular intervals of mindfulness and personal growth so I don't get caught up too much in the short term.

Goals for this year

  1. Meditate at least 3 times a week.
  2. Do something every day to upskill on a hobby. Even drawing for 5 minutes will count!
  3. Finish a scientific or philosophical book or course on average once every 2 months.
  4. Build an intimate group of friends to explore and learn together at Waterloo.

See you around, 2022!

~ My year in 10 photos ~