Jan 1β€˜23

2022: A place to call home

The start of the year came around in a state of limbo. I'd moved out of my flat having had an offer accepted on a place of my own, hopeful of it being swiftly completed. Naturally with things like this they often take longer than you'd expect, and the flat purchase dragged on month after month.

Buying a flat is a big decision, especially in a city like London, and it took me a while to fully get on board with the decision I'd made. At regular intervals throughout the process I checked in on what other properties were available and analysed from every angle for the umpteenth time whether I was making the right decision.

As you may have now realised, commitment is an area I struggle with. Making a decision today that future Fred has to live with feels like a heavy burden, and in general I much prefer to keep my options open.

Being non-committal is often sub-optimal though, life isn't supposed to be lived on the sidelines, the best things in life come when we go all in.

All of this made the buying process quite stressful, and I spent a lot of time trying to work out if this was the best path for me, whether the risks were too high or alternative properties better suited.

At times it looked perilous, with months going by waiting for the document my bank needed in order to lend. It started to look so bleak that the sellers agent suggested I apply for another mortgage from another bank, hopeful they wouldn't need the same document, but after going through that process, they had the same requirements too.

Six months passed and my initial mortgage offer expired. That meant I lost out on the best rate, but thankfully soon after the documents I needed came through enabling the backup mortgage to proceed which was still at a rate far better than was available by that point.

That meant I'd spent over 6 months out of London, and so it felt great to be back. I've been in the flat for 8 months now, and I'm really happy with my decision.

Property prices will go up and down, but it's great to have a place to call home.

πŸ‘₯ Relationships

My fear of commitment, and penchant for overthinking (yes I'm that guy who spent six months debating which headphones to buy before settling on the ones I initially wanted) can lead to challenges in other areas of my life too.

Add to that an aversion to vulnerability and a leaning towards perfectionism, this isn't an ideal cocktail for healthy relationships, and poses particular challenges for romantic ones.

As I wrote about in my previous few years reviews, opening up more romantically has been an area I've been working on.

That continued this year, opening myself up more to my girlfriend and exploring what life together over the long term might look like.

My default tendency to keep people at arms length when I feel under threat or stressed reared it's head multiple times this year, but I'm making progress on noticing that feeling bubbling up and striking the balance of being compassionate with myself whilst not letting circumstances dictate my response.

As I write this on New Years Day 2023, only twenty-four hours ago we were working through some challenges that came out of a stressful, emotionally draining week.

Thankfully it's through the hard times that we gain deeper clarity, and I'm super excited to continuing growing and adventuring together.

❀️ Health

πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ Half marathon training

As I wrote in my 2021 year in review, I wanted to stretch myself physically in 2022. One of those goals was to run a half marathon, and so when Russia's invasion of Ukraine began I decided to create a fundraiser to go along with my half marathon plans.

People went above and beyond in their generosity and we managed to raise almost Β£1,500.

Training initially went well, but an inch long, centimetre thick blood blister put a halt on things. I sought out a solution and ended up buying some new trainers after being informed I had wide feet.

Unfortunately the new trainers led to an altered running style, which caused an injury to my lower calf. I pushed through, knowing that half marathons weren't supposed to be easy, but on one 7 mile run I had to pull up in significant pain and realised this was the sort of pain that wasn't meant to be endured.

As a result I didn't manage to fulfil my goal of running a half marathon this year, so hope to pick it up again in 2023.

πŸ’ͺ Gym + healthy eating

Outside of my running goals I wanted to continue on the self improvement trajectory, with working out and eating healthy being the basis of that.

Both of these took a back seat whilst I was in limbo with the flat purchase, but once I got back to London I settled into a good routine of a brief work out each weekday morning and calorie tracking with the excellent Lifesum app.

I managed to drop 5kg whilst maintaining a good amount of muscle due to a protein heavy diet and I'm in the best shape of my life (so far).

Here's an overview of some of my key habits:

Screenshot of Blocks app showing workout habit throughout 2022 Screenshot of Blocks app showing side project habit throughout 2022 Screenshot of Blocks app showing mood habit throughout 2022 Screenshot of Healthmate app showing body composition changes throughout 2022
Screenshots from Blocks and Healthmate, showing daily log of habits in 2022

✈️ Travel

Having spent a while away from the city I call home, I didn't have much desire to travel this year. I'd already booked a trip with a couple of mates for a long weekend in Dublin though, and it was great to finally see some of Ireland.

The Guinness factory was naturally an essential visit, but I actually preferred the more intimate Jameson's tour, learning the different ways whiskey is made and tasting some exquisite bottles.

Photo with the guys outside Jameson's Distillery
Photo with the guys outside Jameson's Distillery

🎀 Gigs

With 2020 and 2021 bringing a halt to in-person events, I found myself with a bunch of gigs all lined up in quick succession. I took in One Republic, Foals, Mayday Parade, Rhye, Khruangbin, Oh Wonder, HONNE, Passenger & Griff within a music-packed few months.

Each brought something different, though finally seeing One Republic was the highlight.

Photo at the Mayday Parade gig Photo at the Foals gig Photo at the One Republic gig Photo at the Oh Wonder gig Photo at the Honne gig Photo at the Griff gig
Photo's from a few of the gigs this year

πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€πŸ’» Work

For the past few years I've worked at a small startup with good people on an ambitious goal. I went into it knowing that it would be difficult to achieve, but I wanted to give it a shot regardless.

Sadly this year things took a turn for the worse, and with fundraising proving challenging due to the state of the company and the financial markets I moved on in the summer.

I initially took a short-term six week contract with an old colleague, and have since signed a six month contract with BlackRock to see me through to the coming summer.

Moving on from something you've invested yourself into can be hard, but sometimes a change is what we need. I sensed that towards the end of my time at NUM, and have since really enjoyed going back into contracting and stretching myself again technically.

πŸŒ… A different kind of side project

I've worked on side projects for almost fifteen years, but one side project I've dreamt of for a while is to renovate/build a place of my own.

It's been something I've thought would come in the medium to long term, but a chat with the girlfriend this year over an excellent meal inspired me as to whether something might be doable sooner.

With that idea ringing around my head, I set out investigating the possibility of building a small rural holiday let, with the goal of bringing in some side income whilst being able to use it myself and for friends and family.

In the last few months I've spent a lot of my spare time investigating potential plots and researching what's involved in making the dream a reality.

To my surprise, a plot of land has come up that seems like it might have legs. I commissioned a local planning expert to look into it, and he's confident that it could be doable.

That said, there's still a lot that could go wrong, and his confidence doesn't mean certainty, so I'm currently weighing things up and deciding if this is the right opportunity to pursue for me now.

⭐️ Other highlights

Other highlights of the year include dog sitting my parents little Cavapoo, Watson, and making my first small investment, into Temple Cycles.

Photo of Watson sitting in my flat Photo of Watson in the bath Photo of Watson in Greenwich park
Photo's of my parents Cavapoo, Watson

πŸ”’ 2022 Scorecard

I set a few goals last year, so in the spirit of accountability and self-improvement, here's how I got on:

  • πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ Health: Run my first half marathon β€” This didn't go to plan as detailed above, but I hope to try again this coming year.
  • πŸ’° Business: Make my first solo dollar on the internet β€” I deprioritised this goal and focussed on other areas, having a side project with income is something I'd like, but it's still low on the priority list.
  • 〰️ Life: Continue to improve my routines and rhythmsΒ β€” This was a generic target, but I think was roughly met, certainly in terms of my physical health.

πŸ‘€ Looking forwards to 2023

Predicting the future is hard, and goal setting is a subset of that. As a result I'm always wary of judging my year upon objective outcomes, but here are some focusses for the year ahead:

πŸ“ˆ Working on myself

  • ❀️ Emotional
    • πŸ—£ Therapy: Learning to understand myself is one of the highest return on investments. I found value in doing therapy in 2021, so I signed back up late last year and will hopefully be assigned a therapist in the coming months.
  • 🧠 Mental
    • πŸ“š At least one book a month: I didn't read as much as I'd like in 2022 but plan to prioritise it more this year, with a goal of at least one book read each calendar month.
  • πŸ’ͺ Physical
    • πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ Half marathon: After my legs failed me in training for a half marathon last year, I want to give this another shot.
    • βš–οΈ Body fat: My body fat levels are supposedly around 13%, I'd like to get that down to around 10-11% whilst maintaining/increasing muscle mass.
  • πŸ™πŸΌ Spiritual
    • ✝️ Continue my faith journey of seeking truth as best I can, attending Church, being open to those close to me about where I'm at whilst attempting to be open minded as I investigate with books and videos.

Outside of the above, I want to continue investing what's important to me, namely in the people I am close to and the dreams I have.

β€”Fred Rivett's face@fredrivett