2021 wrapped

Here are my most memorable events and thoughts of 2021.


2021 started for me with buying $GME at ~$45 and watching it shoot up to $420.69 in a matter of a week. And then watching coordinated market manipulation bringing it to $40, congress hearings, endless FUD on the media, and price fluctuating around 150-250 dollars per share. I have a higher base price now after increasing my position over time, and it’s my best performing stock pick, and I’m continuing to hold. One hell of a rollercoaster though.

Investing for happiness

One realization I had is that money is a tool for increasing happiness, not an end in itself, so I’m making sure to not put too much into savings. Having coffee to go and paying for apartment cleaning is more important because more free time and little pleasures are where the joy is. Maybe. I’m not sure. I think some suffering has to be there too to highlight the positive side…

Taking Fridays off

Speaking of more free time. Last half a year I took Fridays off as parental leave to spend more time with my daughter. God bless Sweden for providing parental leave to fathers, and for normalizing taking time off work to have rest. Now that parental leave days are spent, I’ll continue taking Fridays for myself, so I’ll have more time for my projects. I’m also very grateful to all my sponsors — both GitHub sponsors of my FOSS and customers of Reveal Pro — for providing enough so I can reduce my working hours in favor of passion projects!

Starting a business

I dreamed about it since I was a child! And now I have a business and paying customers! Nothing life-changing though. In fact, my GitHub sponsors bring me significantly more money than Reveal Pro customers. So I guess it’s a mixed bag. I didn’t know about things like addressable market before, and now I know.

Here is an interesting question — how many Clojure developers are there in the world? I should have tried to answer that before creating a paid version of Reveal. My estimate is 2500-3000 devs. It’s a very small number for a programming language community… I would love to be proven wrong, otherwise, I need every third Clojurist to buy Reveal Pro for me to be able to quit my day job, which I don’t see happening… Here is why I think there are only around 2750 Clojurists in the world:

  1. Clojurians Slack weekly active users is stuck at around 1600. It’s been around this number for years, which in itself is concerning — given the growth of software engineer numbers, community size has to be constantly growing just to stay at the same place;
  2. Latest Clojurians yearly survey results show that 60% of developers talked to other Clojurians using Slack which provides an estimate of how many Clojurians use Slack.
  3. 60% of 2667 is 1600.

Going on dates with my wife

I and my wife are Russians living in Sweden. With no other family members in Sweden, it was hard to spend time together when we have no choice but to spend our weekends and vacations with our daughter. We decided to take a day off every month and spend it together while our daughter is in preschool. I think this contributed to my happiness more than anything else this year…

To catch a thief

A guy we tried to sell our old MacBook to took it and ran away. I chased him and he returned the laptop when he ran himself into a dead end. I then immediately left, called the police, found him on Facebook, and asked his friends about his whereabouts and contact details. This was a very stressful experience even if there were no monetary losses. I would prefer this incident didn’t happen at all.

Finding exercises that I enjoy doing

Ever since the pandemic started, I was trying various do-stuff-every-day challenges with exercises and yoga to keep myself physically healthy. I always got demotivated after some time until I tried kettlebells and dumbbells. They are fun. I also decided to exercise less frequently, and now I feel I’m actually enjoying this stuff instead of forcing myself into health.

Pen and paper is a bicycle for the mind

I find the idea that the phone is a bicycle for the mind preposterous. It’s some hard fucking drugs. Please how do I stop wasting my time on Reddit and HN? On the other hand, for me, pen and paper are the best media for thinking. This year I tried e-paper, and while it’s fine for writing, e-ink screen refresh rates make them worthless for looking stuff up. Which is important. So, for me, pen and paper still beat any computer solution for thinking.

Grammar of UI interactions

I’ve been enjoying vega(-lite) visualizations. I like the idea of a grammar of graphics that allows expressing a lot with very few words. I hope someone will come up with something similar for interactive UIs because the complexity is huge, and react is not enough.

Tabletop role-playing games

I love me some TTRPGs. I play with friends on Discord due to geographical distribution. As much as I’m tired of online meetings, these are the best.

Two sides of father/child relationship

My mom divorced my stepfather and I finally told him how much I fear and hate him. What I didn’t think of before the “coming out” is that I think my resentment towards him was affecting me the whole time — it’s all too easy for me to feel guilty if I’m tired to spend time with my daughter and want some time for myself. I also feel guilty if my family members are sad or mad about something, even when their feelings are not directed at me. Somehow my hate towards a father figure turned into guilt when I became a father. Hopefully, now that I’m aware of this it’ll become easier in the future. Maybe I should see a therapist.

I want for the pandemic to be over

My year wasn’t “anything but normal”. I traveled for the last New Year to Göteborg and had summer vacation on Gotland. I got vaccinated and traveled to Europe — I’ve been in France and Netherlands. I’m writing this post from my mother-in-law’s apartment in Saint Petersburg. I go to bars to meet friends. I don’t get spooked by coughing people. It’s been enough time for covid to turn from “pandemic for everyone” to “pandemic for unvaccinated”. Omicron is an evolutionary step towards covid becoming flu.

And yet it’s not over. Sweden might be in a more comfortable situation now due to a low population density, but everyone else seems to be worse. Having to wear masks is extremely uncomfortable. Taking them off in cafes or on a plane to eat voids any usefulness. Other countries have lockdowns. Hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated. Governments abusing safety concerns to increase their power over people. Please, end.

There is no summary

Happy New Year!