The word is white once more. It feels like I’m in a snow globe, sitting here cozy while so much snow is falling outside…

This has been an eventful year. I finally did something I’d been dreaming of for years – left Amazon after 11.5 years. (Oh, the stories I can tell… If your journo friends want a scoop, send them my way!) I also spent most of the year – 7.5 months, to be precise – enjoying my early retirement, lean-FIRE style. The 37-day, 7-city revenge vacation in June-July was admittedly an overkill, but I’d really needed it. And now, at last, the beautiful Quebec City, where I can live comfortably (and enjoy every season!) for less than $1K USD a month. Yay rent control!

So much of what’s to come will have its roots in 2021 – on just about every front.

I ended up beating Mr Market once again: I had a lot of money moves in my main taxable account, so the calculations are difficult right now, but I estimate I made roughly 45% this year, while my Roth IRA (which is sealed till February 2046) went up by approximately 340%. Life is good, eh?

2022 will bring me far better fluency in French, my first-ever trip to Europe (family reunion in Greece next summer, hopefully), membership in a semi-secret society (go Masons!), a lot more writing success, maybe a book deal for my Amazon memoir, definitely one giant e-book (since no agent wants to take the risk on the 220,000-word “Plague Diaries” compendium), and lots more.

Lest I forget, some memories of 2021 for my future self, who will re-read this someday… The move to the tiny Spadina studio. Seven months without any fried food. Gamestop, and Blackberry, and the Workhorse fiasco. PR at last, in late March. Two giant road trips from Toronto to Ohio for the Pfizer shots in April. Yelling “I AM IMMUNE!!!” on my drive back. At long last, Amazon promotion to L5, followed by an insultingly small pay raise. Quitting at last: 5/14/21. Very nearly crying as I bit into my first (admittedly crappy) cheeseburger and drank (admittedly equally crappy) beer on the deck of the nearby restaurant when Toronto finally reopened on June 1. Hanging out with Spadina neighbours on the porch. Giving Anshul his first-ever taste of maple syrup. Exploring Toronto’s parks and the Centre Island. Selling my car at long last.

The revenge vacation. The indescribably cool Richmond/Vancouver city train. The whale-watching tour. The anthropology museum in Vancouver. The tourist trap town of Snohomish. Hiking the fake mountain in Portland. Growler’s Taproom. Being a seagull paparazzi in Huntington Beach. Old habits and older friends in Reno. The gun range and the rollercoaster in Vegas. The view from that Treasure Island room… Hanging out with the NY nephew and hitting up rooftop decks. The multifaceted coloured mirror in that children’s museum, a perfect metaphor for the alternate multiverse selves. Walking to Canada across the Niagara Falls bridge, all empty and deserted. The perfect pizza and the cider stein at the West of Brunswick bar. Walking all the way up and down Spadina… The 5-day exploratory train trip to Quebec City. The solo Uhaul move. The cluttered apartment. Getting a used 20-gallon aquarium out of videogame-less boredom. Starting the FIRE blog. Padmini and Josie and Audrey. Getting more shots, this time Moderna. The palladium challenge. Starting up the Medium attempt. The very short-lived Twitch career and making $200 on the re-released Diablo-2. Getting the PR card at long last. The end of the Expanse series and the all-nighter to read the entire 416-page thing in one sitting.

Who knows, maybe at some point (decades from now?) this will refresh my own memory. I might start writing these every year. Thanks for sticking around and following my blog, oh mysterious stranger, and I hope this year was mostly good for you too. Here is to a better future.