2022 is the year I decided to step off the treadmill and live a slow life.
It’s going good so far. Every year, I take some time to reflect on life and decide what direction I want to go in my life. The ritual includes writing down my priorities and checking how things have changed. Family and health is the only thing that is constantly on that list. This year, work and career take a back seat.
Designing life intentionally
If you are intentional about your actions, you can design the life you want (although luck plays a significant part). I’m optimising the next couple of years to slow down my life and kill the routine.
A move was something that came out of this. Earlier this year, I moved to Almere, in the Netherlands. It is close to nature – A 5 min walk takes me to green woods and beautiful canals. For the first time in my life, I’ve rented a house, not an apartment. We have a backyard garden, and it feels lovely.
Kill the routine
I don’t have a routine. I try not to live the same day over and over again.
Wake up on a Sunday morning without worrying about being productive, walking to the bakery – getting some freshly baked croissants. Load them up with butter and eat them together with my partner. That’s the kind of slow life I’m talking about.
I don’t have to worry about doing the highest leverage thing first thing in the morning. Most of the time, the first thing I do is call my parents. (That’s not conventionally a high leverage task, but it is). Most days look different and spontaneous. At least I try to make it so.
Of course, I repeatedly do certain things long-term – like working out. But that doesn’t dictate my days.
I also understand that all this is a privilege, and I’m fortunately in a place where I can afford this.
Startups, productivity and moving fast
I only discovered startups and building things after I finished college. Once I tasted the fun of building software, I passionately followed that. It has taken me to places I never thought I’d be.
In retrospect, I’ve moved fast. In the last few years, I’ve built two startups, sold one, lived in three countries, travelled to many more and married my best friend. If I had asked my younger self, he’d be happy with this version of me. This life is everything I’ve dreamed about.
Doing unproductive things made me feel guilty – If I watch too much Netflix or scroll mindlessly on social media. I’ve always been building side projects, chasing that dream or thinking about doing something epic.
Don’t get me wrong. I still like being productive. For some reason, it makes me feel good. But I want to apply all that productivity to other things in life, outside career and work. Probably try to untie my identity from my job and live a holistic life.
The year ahead
2022 is the year I promised myself I wouldn’t build the “next startup”. I might end up hacking some fun stuff for the sake of it. But I don’t want to go all in. Building things is fun – but building meaningful things also comes with its share of anxiety.
I’ve already travelled a lot, and I’ve always loved it. I want to double down on that. I enjoy photography – that is also something I want to spend time on this year. I also wish to create short travel movies. All these are independent of my career, and they will never cause any significant anxiety.
I also have a long term bucket list of starting a youtube channel – but I still don’t feel comfortable talking to a camera. But I like writing. It makes me feel good.
It doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Someday I’ll start another startup – when the time is right and when I find a problem worth solving. (or if I get bored of the slow life).
Have fun and live the best lives y’all!