A Past Year Review (PYR) is used to plan the next year by looking back on the past year. During this review, you examine the people, activities, and commitments that produce the most positive and negative emotions. This information is used to map out the new year by adding positive experiences to your calendar and eliminating negative ones.
😀 What Caused the Most Joy?
GumRoad Sales and Writing Income
I was ecstatic when I got my first sale on GumRoad. It felt like the first time I earned commission from an affiliate link on my blog. There’s a strange feeling of validation. Someone actually read my writing and found it useful enough to follow the advice with their cash.
On top of the GumRoad sales, I also made $531 through Amazon and Kaplan commissions in 2022. This was the most I’ve made through writing in any given year. Although I’d do it for free, and have been for many years, it’s great to get rewarded for my efforts.
Consistent Writing Practice
Writing was one of my big focuses last year. I pushed aside other activities to make it my main hobby. I put out two newsletters consistently in 2022. I only missed the week of Thanksgiving due to travel. One of my readers said he looked forward to reading Leons List every week.
I also published a handful of essays outside of newsletters. One of those essays led to most of my income from writing. I put in a tremendous amount of effort and time into that piece. I also applied SEO techniques to make sure it would reach the right people.
It’s great to prove myself that I can follow through on ambitious goals. It’s also nice to have a piece breakthrough.
Post COVID activities
My wife and I got on an airplane for the first time in three years. We took two trips this year, one to Lanai, Hawaii and the other to Bellingham, Washington. I enjoyed the nature that both places offer.
It was wonderful to get away from the routines of our daily lives. These trips were slower paced than trips we took in the past. We mostly relaxed at the resort or at my in-laws’ place.
We also attended three weddings this year. After being postponed for years, my friends and family finally had their big days. As I wrote in the past, I love weddings. It’s a big party celebrating love with everyone you know. I also got to see some of my friends in person for the time since COVID.
Friends Run Club
My friends and I started a run club this past year. The club is small, about six of us in total. We run every Thursday after work. We often catch up while cooling down after the run. I like that I’m able to combine fitness and socializing in one activity.
I didn’t want to be cliche and put a milestone event as one of the most joyful things. But the more I thought about it, the more my new house brings me joy. The happiness is subtle. It’s not a big one-time event like winning the lottery. It’s the small comforts that I am afforded every day.
For instance, I get to pull my car into the driveway and walk ten steps to reach my front door. I don’t have to drive up six stories in the parking structure, get into an elevator, walk across the lobby, get into another elevator, and walk down the hallway to get home.
I also now have my own home office. I have a cushy desk setup with speakers, a monitor, and laptop stand. I enjoy having a dedicated place to write.
I guess the little things add up.
🥲 What Caused the Least Joy?
Thor, our Jack Russel Terrier, tore his cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) last August. The CCL is similar to the ACL in humans. Thor basically had a bum knee. He was hopping on three legs for a month before having surgery to repair his leg.
After the surgery, Thor had to rehab for 12 weeks. He was drugged up, in pain, and trapped in a kennel. My wife and I took turns watching him in the living room. We had to change our schedules and routines to accommodate Thor’s recovery.
During a follow up visit, two weeks after Thor finished rehab, the vet found a mass on his front leg. They recommended another surgery to get the mass removed. The vet would perform a biopsy to see if it was cancerous. Luckily, the tests came back clean.
So Thor had two surgeries over a four month span. The total spent on Thor’s medical bills was $11,220. On top of the financial burden, we were stressed about his health and well being.
Construction Administration (CA)
One of my responsibilities at work is to perform construction administration. Some of the duties involve reviewing submittals, answering questions from contractors, and performing field observations. This is my least favorite part of the job. Problems seem to always pop up during CA. And these problems needed to be fixed yesterday. The time crunch and unexpected problems stress me out.
This past year, I was assigned to cover CA for a project that I wasn’t involved with during the design phase. Since I wasn’t familiar with the project, I had to dig through calculations, ask others, and use engineering judgement to respond to questions. This added another layer of headaches onto an already fraught process.
The global economy and markets did not do well in 2022. But it felt extra difficult in crypto. Luna crashed and wiped out Terra USD with it. This cascaded into bankruptcies for 3 Arrows Capital, Blockfi, and FTX. There were also hacks on various projects including the Harmony bridge.
These events and the general decline of crypto prices affected my net worth. I held several thousand Terra USD. I had USDC on the Harmony blockchain through Defi Kingdoms. These stable coin yields were supposed to be safe plays in the volatile world of crypto. However, this wasn’t the case.
Outside of these obvious events, I also lost money in subtle ways. I took my earnings from Axie and invested in other NFT games. Some of these were blatant copycats and not sound investments. These moves erased some of my hard earned gains.
Additionally, the value of NFT game assets fell more than 90% across the board. I did not turn my paper gains into real gains by taking profits during the bull run. I left money on the table and regret it.
🗓 Plans for Next Year
The weekly Thursday Thoughts newsletter keeps my fingers warm and brain churning. I get to ask myself why I found something noteworthy or what made it surprising. I get to put several hundred words together in a way that hopefully makes sense. Basically, I get to practice the craft of writing.
But I have a desire to expand beyond this concept. I want to write posts with deeper meaning and provide more value. I plan to fulfill that urge this year with more posts outside of my newsletters.
I signed up for the Hapalua Half Marathon in April. My initial goal was to finish the race without injury. However, I have a more ambitious goal now. I want to finish the half marathon in two hours or less. Therefore, I plan to increase the frequency and pace of my running this year.
My wife and I plan to go to Japan this year. I want to take the lessons from our two trips this past year and space the vacation out. I don’t want to rush to see everything. The goal is to stick to just one big thing each day. This gives us time to explore and relax.
I have two plans for work:
Talk to my supervisor about limiting my CA work, especially for projects that I have little or no involvement. The goal is do less of the things I don’t like at work.
Learn more about fields adjacent to structural engineering. This could be architecture, electrical, plumbing, construction, materials, computer analysis, or drafting. The idea is to see if I can find something interesting in the intersection between fields. I plan to implement this by reading books and magazine articles on these various subjects and see what grabs me.
Economics and Investing Basics
Getting burned with crypto last year made me want to be more careful with my money. I want to learn about economics and investing basics. I plan to start with introductory level textbooks on these subjects.
💬 TL;DR (Conclusion)
😀 Things that brought me the most joy:
- GumRoad Sales and Writing Income
- Consistent Writing Practice
- Post COVID Activities (Trips and Weddings)
- Friends Run Club
- New House
🥲 Things that brought me the least joy:
- Thor’s Surgeries
- Construction Administration (CA)
- Crypto Markets
🗓 Plans for next year:
- Write More
- Half Marathon
- Japan Trip
- Limit CA
- Explore Adjacent Fields
- Economics and Investing Basics