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Looking Back At 2021

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We’re moving into 2022 and I want to recap what happened to me in 2021. For things specific to tech, see Goodbye 2021, Hello 2022 on Farai’s Codelab.

In short, I’m a marginally less useless member of society and you should spend time with loved ones before they’re gone. Also, it’s amazing how the results of your actions take a long time to materialize.

Content

I wrote more content than last year with 6 posts published in 2021. The most interesting post to me would the one on getting vaccinated against COVID in Zimbabwe.

Much like on Farai’s Codelab, I published a lot of content that I subsequently unpublished because it sucks. You can find those on 2021.www.farai.xyz. One interesting experiment I tried was to use this site as a thought dump, kinda like Twitter. It was kinda fun but it got burning not getting any engagement so I went to Twitter, where I also have no engagement.

I might restart the thought dump experiment and repost it to Twitter, kinda like what Jeremy Keith does. It’ll take quite a lot of effort though and I’m really lazy.

Books I Read

I also started a bookshelf with book reviews. I got overwhelmed so is stopped even though I read some great books, such as:

  • How to Prevent A Climate Disaster
  • Press Reset
  • Calling Bullshit
  • Strong Towns
  • 23 Things they don’t tell you about capitalism
  • show your work
  • The Defining Decade
  • The Data Detective
  • The Psychology of Money

I enjoyed reading these. So much so I plan to reread them in 2022.

YouTube

Outside Farai’s Codelab, I’ve got a channel which focuses on trying things called The Conspicuous Consumer. I’ve always liked trying things out and I’ve been thinking of turning it into a YouTube channel for some time.

I don’t want to write much on that here since I’m planning another retrospective for it. In short, the videos suck and I hope to take content creation seriously. I’m proud that I managed to caption every upload, however.

Personally

Honestly, the highlights are that I’m alive and well and I have a roof over my head with a loving family who tolerates a 26-year-old man with no job. It’s just that I’m very vulnerable right now even though I’m supposed to be helping my family.

Emotionally

Honestly, I don’t know. Apathy is the dominant feeling where I just couldn’t be bothered. Also frustrated at how my life sucks and how I just numb myself with entertainment to the point where it nearly makes me sick1.

Also, I find it hard to get anything done unless I get a bout of inspiration when I get super productive. As great as that sounds, it’s such an unreliable way to work. I also get distracted easily, pursuing rabbit holes and uncovering details that reveal that things are far more complex than they seem. Something will consume my attention after which I can’t dredge any energy to address it the day after.

It took me a while to find a word to describe this and it’s languishing. Lots of people have felt this since the pandemic began but I think I was doing this since I graduated in 2018.

Mbuya (Grandmother)

Mbuya’s health deteriorated in late 2020 so she had to move in with us from the village so she could be under caretaking. I’ve always had a hard time communicating with her, but though she was really (for a lack of a better term), there were times she made us laugh.

Sadly, she passed away in late May. Honestly, make sure to communicate with your loved ones because you don’t know when they’ll be gone. If the caretakers, Mai Jessie and Gloria, happen to be reading this, I want to thank you for looking after her. I wish you all the best!

Financial

I’m still broke as shit, but things are turning around thanks to a half-assed programming project along with a couple of posts I contributed on CSS Tricks. Outside of that, things are dim given my reckless spending habits.

Failed Travel

I was supposed to go to Cape Town but I was too disorganized and I didn’t get money in time. I was then supposed to go to the US over Christmas but Omicron hit and every country hit Southern Africa with a travel ban, despite shaky evidence that it came from here. It sucked, especially for my mum who was really looking forward to the trip as we’d planned a cruise and a week in Orlando, Philly, and Qatar.

Then again, given the record-breaking cases, flight cancellations, and the long wait for PCR tests in the US, I’m grateful I didn’t go as we wouldn’t be able to get back. Hopefully, we’ll go in March.

Health and Finances

Let’s not go there. I’m reckless with money and a walking comorbidity.

My Lesson of The Year: Gradually, Then Suddenly

There’s this quote out of Ernest Hemingway’s book The Sun Also Rises2:

“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

“Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

This perfectly captures how things decay, whether it’s unsustainable car-oriented development or personal finances. Things aren’t bad straight away, it gradually builds up until things suddenly give way.

Over the years, I’ve built up many bad habits that have left me in a new. Only through a loving family am I not completely screwed. But I can’t rely on that for long and I’m honestly unprepared if something happens.

As much as I beat myself over it, I can’t change the past and I can only move forward. Just s as gradually as things descend to shit, they can slowly become something worthwhile. The quote works both ways.

I think it’s the premise of Atomic Habits though I haven’t gone through it yet. This coming year I hope to make this concept work in my favor. It isn’t easy, especially for someone who’s never down discipline, but is anything worth doing easy?

What Up For 2022

Having a steady source of income is the biggest goal. The reasons for this are threefold:

  1. I need to be able to stand on my two feet. I appreciate my mother letting me live rent-free but I can’t rely on that forever. Besides, I want my own space.
  2. I need to build a nest egg. I had one but I wasted half of it which is especially painful given that it appreciated 10x over the year. Big “gradually then sudden” vibes.
  3. I want stuff.

To do that, I hope to continue contributing to online developer publications and taking programming seriously. One thing I’ve realized is that a lot of people suck ass and the best way to get business is to not suck ass. Unfortunately, I suck ass because of how unreliable I am.

Ideally, I’d like to move to another country, but that’s incredibly difficult given COVID, my inexperience, and a lot of countries not liking foreigners now. It’s still a dream, but I’m not sure how to make it a reality. If you have any ideas that don’t involve seeking asylum, let me know.

I also want to travel. Here’s where I plan to go:

  • The United States.
  • Cape Town I planned to go but I couldn’t get the money in time.
  • Turkey and Georgia. It’s the cheapest and most exotic place I could go to. Georgia doesn’t have to be there, but it’s just a hack to get a Turkish eVisa. I also learned that they’re hosting the World Nomad Games and I’m looking into attending them. It just sucks that’s there isn’t much information on it, at least as I’m writing this.

In addition to this, I’m hoping to finally lose some weight and gain some sort of fitness. I can’t keep living like this. I can love my body all I want (I’m kinda apathetic tbh), but it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t like me back. I should be kinder to it.

I’m hoping for 2022 to be a pivotal year in my life, one where I move forward rather than languish. To get there I’ll need to get more disciplined because at my current rate, I’m a flop.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll encourage me as I go into 2022! I also hope you’ll have a great year!


  1. Hard to describe sick, but my body will kinda scream at me to stop consuming content. Maybe I should try a detox. ↩︎

  2. Coincidentally, the book is now public domain. ↩︎