As we come to the end of 2022, it’s time for me to look back and reflect on the past year. I have had plenty of highs and lows across the year. But that is not specific to 2022. It’s specific to life – which is full of highs and lows. As long as the highs outnumber the lows, it is a life well spent.
The year started with my younger brother’s wedding. He has been an introvert all his life so I really didn’t know what to expect. However, it gives me great joy as I look back and see how they have evolved together as a couple.
2022, unfortunately, also had a difficult health scare for my family. In February, my father suffered from subarachnoid hemorrhage. It is nothing short of a miracle that not only did he recover, he recovered well. We feel grateful that he has been given another life. It has reinforced my belief that life is fragile and true happiness stems from spending moments with family & friends. My friends & family took this opportunity to put together a small fund to help brain hemorrhage patients in Pakistan.
Later in the year, my father in law was involved in a hit and run accident in Lahore. He sustained brain injuries and unfortunately didn’t live. In addition to lessons on life’s fragility, it was a reminder of a sustained failing law & justice system in Pakistan.
Mid year, I travelled to three countries including Qatar, Turkey & Georgia and ended up moving to Georgia to give a shot to digital nomad lifestyle that I’ve written about several times on this blog.
Some parts of this lifestyle are great; e.g higher standard of living for a low cost. And some parts just outright suck; being alone in a city with very little Pakistani expat community. Moreover it is hard for friends & family to visit me here as the visa policies are somewhat non-existent for Pakistanis. Despite that, a few of my friends did come to see me here from Pakistan and hence I’m bullish on friendships.
As I wasn’t as social in Georgia as I was in Pakistan, I had more time available. I took some short courses on financial markets. I’m really excited to have learnt more about the things I’m passionate about. I also had a wonderful time home-schooling and bonding with my children. My daughter has really connected with me during this period and has worked on several projects that she wouldn’t have had in a traditional school environment.
Financially, the year started off very lucratively for me. I had big crypto wins, mostly out of luck. A fund delayed my withdrawal due to liquidity issues, and paid a few months later at the market top instead. If you don’t believe in luck or randomness, you should start doing that.
Everything is usually random. Those who know this have learnt to spread their wings wide enough to provide themselves with a higher probability of catching something out of sheer luck.
It was a tough year for financial markets with S&P500 closing ~20% below where it started the year from. Private markets, crypto etc have done even worse. Naturally my portfolio is affected also just as much as everyone else’s. But I’m a long-term optimist in these assets and continue to average in as the discounts get deeper. I plan to continue to deploy more funds over 2023. I have acquired more SaaS businesses along-side Saad. I have continued to write more micro-checks in a large number of startups. My plan with startups is similar to my understanding of concept of randomness i-e to write equal-sized micro-checks to a large number of companies spread over several years to capture the luck & randomness that the life offers.
I’m very close to my plan of achieving a financial state where my assets grow just enough to a) pay for my life b) and still not decrease in value after adjusting for inflation. I’m not there yet, but I see more and more signs that a self-sustainable flywheel can be a possibility.
While spending some time in Kazbegi, I learnt how to start a campfire just with an axe and a lighter which seemed really simple on YouTube but was a lot of work in real life especially in a freezing weather. As I was learning how to light a campfire, SBF was pulling the rug underneath me and others. FTX scammed customers out of $8 billion dollars and I lost some funds too which were held at the platform. Saad kept calling me to tell me how grave the situation was, but it was too late to do anything, so I enjoyed the fire instead.
My wife always wanted to spend a full winter holiday season in a country that celebrates it to the fullest. As orthodox Christians, Georgians really celebrate the season quite unlike anyone else. And she had the blast of her life doing that.
I end this year as well as this blog with gratefulness. For the opportunity to do more things. For the luck. For family. For friends.