Tag Archive: for my future self


2021 in review

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.

Saturday night. The first day entirely on my own, no work and no xgf, since the pandemic began. Feels strange.

…I’ve never tried crack, but I imagine it feels a lot like Stardew Valley. That game is filled with dopamine reward structures. On top of that, it also embodies the Millennial dream: no debt, no bosses, your own house, the ability to do whatever you’d like, friendly neighbours. I’m a late bloomer – I got the game four years after it was released, and have been playing it on and off while hiding away at AirBnBs. (Xgf is more of a point-and-shoot video game fan, but she thinks my obsession is cute.) Between that and streaming random TV shows, it’s been a fairly easy escapism mechanism. (HBO’s “Watchmen” was strange but impressive.)

Today was the 10-year anniversary of becoming a full-time Amazon employee. My actual anniversary was six months earlier, since I was a warehouse temp first. That amount of time is hard to imagine… Another year or so, and I will have been with the company for a third of my life. Posted an eloquent update on LinkedIn, got a bunch of likes from VIPs and connection invites from people I don’t know. Chances are, nothing will come of it – but who knows.

So much has changed in those 10 years… I was a broke college student in Reno. (Nevada was hit by the recession harder than almost any other state.) I got hired as a warehouse temp, packing boxes. Ten years and five cities later, I’m a financial analyst in Toronto, with my own office, as well as the license and the autonomy to pursue any worthwhile projects I deem interesting. A lot has changed. I honestly can’t even imagine where I’ll be in another 10 years. I have some long-term plans and strategies, but it’s hard to say whether or not they’ll play out as planned. Ten years from now, I’ll open up this anniversary post and look back, and probably chuckle. Hey there, future self. Cambodia or Costa Rica?

In the pandemic news, the White House is almost certainly a hotspot by now. Dozens of Secret Service agents have tested positive, which means every VIP has been exposed by now. (If not, they’re incredibly lucky.) Given the age range of senators and Supreme Court judges, it’ll probably be only a matter of time before major US politicians start getting sick and developing complications. Prediction: at least one VIP will die within a month. (Right now, the hope is that warm weather will halt the spread of the virus, but that strikes me as wishful thinking. It’ll be nice to be wrong, though.) Meanwhile, several children in New York have died due to unusual covid-related complications. Here is hoping it’s not the beginning of some new and even worse trend.

Cumulative US death toll as of right now: 79,814; in Canada, 4,693.