My goal at the beginning of 2021 was to get fabulously rich and write a bestselling book. I figured that to do so, I'd need to grow my network. I wanted to make the most interesting friends in Austin, TX, and after that, the world.
Despite all odds, I actually managed to make those friends (I'll write about how I did it in a future post), and by July of 2021, I'd befriended many of the most successful and well known people in this city. They were building their own companies and making millions while doing it. They'd written bestsellers (my dream!), they invited me on their private planes, and sometimes when we were out in public, people would ask to take selfies with them.
I was stunned. My friends were living the very dreams I longed for so badly!
And all the while, when I went to sleep at night, my actual dreams were far simpler. In these dreams, I dressed plainly, no makeup, no one to impress, walking alone in a forest, growing my own food, climbing big mountains and drinking out of fresh water streams while listening to birds sing. My TikTok feed was all weird cottage core girls dancing in meadows. And so, to make it stop, I booked an airbnb in Colorado for the summer.
And I did dress plainly, and wore no makeup, and impressed no one, and walked through forests and hiked big mountains and listened to the birds sing.
And to my surprise, I found that it made me much more alive than my life in Austin did.
I returned to Austin with every intention of building my career. I knew what I was going to write about, I had a list of podcasts I could get on, I had friends willing and happy to help, I had advice from other bestselling authors... but the more I tried to go down that path, the more inner Madi screamed, 'No!'
One day in September, I found myself leaving the house of the literal one person I'd want to have dinner with in this world, and I realized, I don't want any of this.
My ideal life doesn't look like fancy outings with fancy folks. Instead, I want to have a vegetable garden, and be outdoors every day of the year, and enjoy quiet spaces with people who have nothing to prove to anyone but themselves.
I was producing things in order to change myself, instead of creating things out of the person that I already am. I hope that makes sense. To put it a different way, I was living like this:
DO ➡️ HAVE ➡️ BE
I would do/produce my writing in order to have social approval, so I could be someone worthy of knowing... even to myself.
Instead, I want to live like this:
BE ➡️ DO ➡️ HAVE
Where I am someone who has a really unique way of solving problems, and out of those unique insights, I do/write the way I'm solving them and as a natural result, I have whatever benefits come out of that. Even if what I have is just my personal satisfaction.
So I spent the last few months of 2021 focusing on the word 'be'.
- I got clear on my values and started doing a weekly recap on how well I was actually living them
- I met a great guy with good values, and he's now my boyfriend
- I invested more in friends who were living authentically and who made me feel good about myself
- I planted a bunch of fruit trees in my backyard, and spent more time outside running and bike riding
What's in store for 2022?
I'm going to continue to focus on the word 'be' in 2022. Creating a healthy and happy me, from which my best work can naturally flow.
I'll measurably reduce my stress, so that I'll make more decisions from a calm and clear place, vs using a fight-or-flight response. Part of that is really tackling perfectionism- I want everything to be perfect, which blocks me from getting started in the first place, which keeps me as imperfect as possible- funny how that works.
I'm going to continue to live my values as best I can. Those values are:
- Holistic health: exercise, eating healthy, feeling calm and at peace
- Connection to Nature: self-explanatory
- Agency: live the way I wanna live and choose how I spend my days
- Soul in the Game: walk the walk, actually live my values through my actions and put my money where my mouth is
- Impact: create more value for others than I take for myself
I also want to find writing product/market fit, to write things that create real value for others. My first thought is to publish 3 articles each month? This may shift over time to a different goal.
I may also listen to my Dad's advice, “Write every day because that’s the trick, even if it’s just on your blog, and then figure out what you wanna do with it.”
And in the back of my mind, I want to keep my ideal life in mind:
- to live in forest by the mountains, somewhere in the mountainous Western side of the USA
- to grow my own food and live outside the city
- to have a family and a great marriage
- to have a quiet life
- to always always always be outside in nature. Every day
- to live below my means and not live a flashy or fancy life
- to have who friends are authentic, good people who bring me up and accept me as I am
2021 in Numbers
👁️ 👁️ Total blog views: 6,400
🧑🏻🤝🧑🏿 Unique visitors: 3,700
I took a huge step back from my blog in 2021, and it shows. To compare, in 2020 I had 47K blog views and 25K unique visitors. That's a huge drop! I did not promote any of posts anywhere on the internet this year, and I wrote a lot less.
💸 Current Salary: $120-$160K (roughly the same as last year)
💵 Cash Savings: $1000 (most of money not in cash)
📈 $ in Investment Accounts: +/- $500,000 (up from ~$115,000 in 2020) Most of this can be explained by my employer getting acquired, with some extra money in my 401k and my overall existing portfolio trending upwards.
🏡 Equity in Home: 🤐
✨ Income from Side Projects: $52.14 from my 2019 Bangkok Street Food Cookbook (This number seems stable: in 2020 I sold $54.06 from the book. I did not launch or promote any side projects in 2020 or 2021)
📖 Books read: 17
🤓 Best Book: Call of the Wild by Jack London