i wrote my first annual review in 2013, then quit because it felt like bragging. each year of my adult life has been better than the last.
so what’s left to talk about? certainly not what i did in 2022. rather, what 2022 did to me.
the world changed
at the beginning of the year i lost a couple entertainment gigs because i wasn’t vaxxed, including being kicked off my own Monday morning radio show in Korea.
until this point i thought we lived in a [mostly] merit-based society, so it was interesting to watch doors close off to 100s of millions of people based on something as trivial as ineffective medicine.
meanwhile in the West, where apocalyptic COVID measures were no longer a thing, a different type of meritless system emerged: woke-ism.
in an attempt to “dismantle hierarchial structures” the Left merely managed to build a new one. at the top are Alphabet People and at the bottom: cis-gender men.
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” — CS Lewis
with these and many other observations at hand i took a mental and spiritual retreat, reimaging what’s possible in an increasingly 1984 environment. i began to seek real freedom, or what Naval calls freedom “from” vs freedom “to.”
my values changed
i’ve had freedom “to” for years — freedom to wine, dine, travel, consume, invest. what about freedom “from?”
in light of America’s downward spiral into modernism, it’s clear i need freedom from a handful of potent substances:
TikTok – mindless scrolling and consumption vs creation
Pronouns – suspension of reality to protect a stranger’s feelings
Status Games – futile pursuit of convincing friends you’re superior to them
Big Cities – running on the hedonic treadmill with no way out*
Korean Culture – Confucianism, low risk appetite, frowned upon self-expression
Corruption – any system prone to the Principal-Agent problem
Intellectuals – those who fill their God-shaped whole with adjectives and Greek mythology
*cities are for achieving. i attribute much of my success to spending 13 years in NYC, Atlanta, San Francisco, and many other cities abroad. the key, then, is to have an exit strategy.
by the way, these are all new definitions for me. i wouldn’t have agreed with most of them just 1 year ago. and that’s the power of being able to change your mind.
until this year, every challenge i’ve embraced was for my own personal gain.
i wanted to make money in my sleep, so i learned to code. i wanted a flexible schedule, so i started a company. i wanted to see the world, so i installed a remote team and took a sabbatical.
maybe something biological is kicking in with age, or perhaps i’m just a little less sociopathic than before. whatever the reason, i now seek challenges for the benefit of others.
when we sold Fomo in May of this year, changing my life forever, i celebrated the following weekend by shipping a free web scraping course. it took about 30 hours straight of coding and video editing, and i loved every second of it. the old Ryan would have charged $$ and taken his sweet-ass time.
this summer i moved back to the States to figure out what to do next. resolution? keep building.
having been back in the saddle for a couple months, most of my work is now open source aka free. i shipped a skill tracker, CLI, 2 iPhone widgets [1, 2], a Chrome extension, and the list keeps getting bigger. turns out, removing the $$ incentive from hard work didn’t remove my incentive to work hard.
welcoming the new year
there’s one idea i’ve spent my entire adult life trying to instill in others: you can do anything.
thanks to 2022, i’m hitting “renew” on that conviction.