#20 Three questions for 2022
A recap; questions; intentions, not resolutions; who this newsletter is for (spoiler: it's me)
Hello. It’s been a little while.
Since I last wrote I’ve seen a lot of very large trees:
A quick recap of my 2021
My 2021 started with a leap of faith, continued into a slouch, and ended with a hangover. This year I moved across the world to live with my partner and start a new job, averaged barely 1,000 steps per day as I worked that job from my new home, then narrowly avoided Omicron to make it back to Europe in time for New Years’ Eve.
This was the first year I have been continuously gainfully employed, the first year I’ve continuously worked from home, and the first year I’ve continuously lived with my partner. I’ve never been richer, fatter, or more domesticated.
I’ve lived in 11 different cities: I’m used to a life of near-constant upheaval. This year’s relative stability (stable city, stable job, stable partner) makes 2021 the most unusual year of my last decade.
Except for the start of the year. When I talk about my January move to Vancouver, I refer to it as The Dark Times. Permanently moving to a completely foreign city, in the nadir of covid, while starting a job at an unprofitable 5-person company, while moving in with my partner for the first time, while being a 9-hour time difference away from 90% of my friends, was by far the hardest thing I have ever done. In retrospect, this should have been obvious. But somehow, I thought I would absorb this life changing shock like a speed bump.
One failed lease, lots of arguments, and several bouts of excruciating stress headaches later, we made it into our wonderful new home which we’ve cohabited in domestic bliss ever since. ;)
After that: making friends, learning to love sushi, mountains of hikes. All while figuring out how to make a consumer climate startup grow. But that’s enough of the past for now. We’re here to discuss the future.
Intentions, not resolutions
I achieved none of my New Years’ Resolutions from 2021. They were:
Learn how to drive (good idea, but amazingly, still not a priority)
Listen to the entire “story of civilisation” (too boring, and I underrated how useful podcasts are– the best podcasts are far more information dense than books)
Publish 30 newsletters (lol, I think I published 3)
Only read books I really want to read, aka Stop Reading Shit Books (I did a decent job at this one!!)
Be more ambitious (shit resolution– but I think I accomplished this, at least in a work context)
I didn’t accomplish these resolutions because they were static. I made them before I completely upended my life, and these resolutions demanded total focus, leaving little margin for error. They weren’t adaptable under uncertainty. So I had to let them go. Not completing these resolutions felt terrible, like I was letting my future self down. I’ve talked a big game about how to plan and think under uncertainty, but failed to follow my own advice.
This year I’m approaching resolutions differently. Instead of having a few goals I’m mentally committing to hitting, I’m letting three questions guide my intentions for this year. I hope this gives me more freedom to maneuver, when my plans inevitably fail to go as I expect them to.
Three questions for 2022
How can I become more free, or have more freedom?
How can I increase the happiness of the people I care about?
What activities make my life feel more like a playground, and less like a prison?
I arrived at the first two questions after one of Paul Millerd’s group coaching sessions, where I realised the two things I really care about are being free, and making the people I love happier. If you’re trying to figure out what you like and what matters to you his coaching is good, I’d recommend it. The third, I’ve borrowed from Visakanv because I think it’s brilliant. Here are my answers (skip this section if you don’t care):
I feel free when I’m skiing, writing, playing touch rugby, just after having worked-out, and just after having produced a good result at work. To become more free, I can improve my capacity: my baseline level of health, fitness, and energy, and I can multiply the optionality in my life by becoming a Canadian permanent resident.
I feel fulfilled when I help my friends through a tough time (like a break-up, or changing jobs), or help them make a fundamental change to their worldview. To increase the happiness of people I care about, I can increase the number of people I care about, and make it easier for me to help the people I care about.
The playground elements of my life are skiing and (to a lesser extent) bouldering, any problem at work that is new and exciting, having generative conversations with friends, and sharing things I’ve learned with others. The prison elements of my life are my paycheck (I feel dependent on it), owning physical objects I have no use for (I feel encumbered by them), and anything rote, repetitive, and necessary (some chores, some repetitive work tasks, and all bureacracy).
I’m hoping my New Years’ Intentions will help me answer these questions.
My New Years’ intentions
Volunteer as a touch rugby coach with my local club (and ideally compete in a tournament)
Drop a cliff as tall as I am on skis
Land at least one 360 on skis
Get Canadian permanent residency
Get back down to 13% bodyfat or below (currently at ~17%)
Don’t get injured for longer than ~2 weeks in a row
Get wren.co to profitability within the first half of the year
Publish 50,000 words this year (not including work– then it would be easy!)
Meet 5 new internet friends this year
DM 10 more people to tell them I love their poasts
Meet 3 new people outside of work who I can talk about work with
I’ve found it very difficult to write this newsletter since I stopped (thus failing my 2021 resolution). I hope that clarifying who it’s for will help.
Who this newsletter is for
This newsletter is for:
myself in the future to look back on all the things I thought about (kinda like a diary)
myself in the present to explore and examine all the various different curiosities I have
for friends, past, present, and future who are curious about similar things to me
Why I write it
I write this newsletter to:
follow my own curiosity and explore the ideas and activities that interest me
catalogue my thoughts so I can revisit them in the future
bounce ideas around and subject them to feedback, both direct (from you, the reader) and indirect (from me, anticipating your objections prior to publishing)
provide search-engine indexed surface area for like-minded people to find me
practice and revel in the craft of writing
I don’t know what this newsletter is about or where it is going. All I know is I want to keep writing it.
If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you’ll join me for the ride?