2012 in Review

Another year now in the books. Was 2012 a good or bad year?

A year ago I was looking to change apartments. I was very unhappy with the team I was working for, and how politically isolated I felt at my company. But I enjoyed the work I did. I was happy that I’d put my financial life in order, that I’d started a blog, that I’d finally started traveling.

Not too much has changed on a macro scale – I’ve moved to a new apartment. At work, I asserted myself and transferred to a much better team, but I’ve become unsatisfied with my work – it feels as though an alarm is going off telling me “now it’s time for something new.” I feel a tension between the desire to embark in a new direction, and my desire to ride the job I’ve got to financial independence. I’ve continued increasing my savings linearly – by 50%, in fact – while building up a pretty strong dividend portfolio (even if that portfolio has suffered some in the past month).

But on a micro scale, a lot has changed. I’ve managed to write semi-regularly. I’ve downsized in meaningful ways: disposed of a bookcase worth of books, eliminated a sack of unnecessary clothes, and given away some furniture. I’ve learned to cook a lot of new dishes, and to experiment in the kitchen. I’ve become comfortable programming in vim, learned to sharpen knives, air-dry my clothes, switched from Windows to Linux full-time, revived my interest in web programming, and built a few cool toy games. I play European boardgames and watch less TV. I’ve traveled to Iceland, and the Netherlands, and Bavaria, and I’ve seen and done exciting new things there. I’m more comfortable with my looks and dress better than a year ago. I keep a somewhat tidier apartment. Some very nasty, tension-inducing family troubles are behind me.

On the other hand, I’ve become less healthy than I was a year ago, as stress and sedentary life bury me further. I do some new things, but never as much as I want to. I still waste time surfing the internet, and I haven’t reduced expenses by nearly as much as I want. I haven’t been as outgoing or adventurous as I’d hoped. I still have room to downsize and streamline my life. I’m less satisfied with my work than ever.

Peering into 2013, the future is a bigger mystery than ever. I don’t know where I’ll be working or living, what my passions will be, what projects I’ll have completed, or what relationships I’ll have built. There are question marks entering every year, but more this year than most. I do know that if I grow and change as much in 2013 as I have in 2012, I can count it a successful year.

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  1. So… Lots of adventures ahead of you! I wish you a good 2013 full of travels, growth and new things.

    For me, having some money as a buffer (I now have enough to live on it for three years, wow!) helps me relax about my job. Don’t you feel more confident about possibly switching jobs, because you know you have money to fall back on if things go wrong?

    • m741

       /  December 30, 2012

      Oh yes, I’m very happy to have money in the bank. But it is a double-edged sword – I care less at work because I know I have a reserve built up.

      • The big question of the early retiree: what do you care about enough that you’d do it, even without needing the money? Maybe you can use 2013 to prepare for a new career, one that you care about more?

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