As I type this, I realize that we are almost halfway through December 2021. It feels as if the older I get, the faster time flies.
Interestingly, I feel inspired and energized. And optimistic. I am looking forward to doing some “new” things, which is great given we are near the time for New Year’s resolutions.
Much of what I want to do in the year 2022 revolves around things I’ve already done. And this is very exciting to me. I’m sure I’ll get to try and discover new things, but that’s not what excites me now. What excites me most is looking forward to the things I’ve done before, and doing them better than ever before.
For me, this includes: VR development, going through some classic books, drawing, writing essays and finishing a book, designing parts using 3D modeling software, printing those parts, building computers, building websites, and pushing forward with some ideas that I have. This already is a lot, and for me to achieve much of it I’ll need to practice being focused, and avoiding any and all distractions. 2022 shall be the year that I give up on social media and reading “news articles” to distract me.
2021 has been an interesting year. Definitely not the most productive year for me, but much more productive than 2020 which was the year that I had major surgery in the middle of a pandemic. I had to relearn how to walk in 2020, and had a foggy mind for over half the year. 2021 was a year I could move faster and had a better ability to concentrate. My goal is to step up my game in 2022 and take on some projects that I’ve dreamed of doing for a while but just haven’t gotten to. In particular, I have some VR projects in mind.
2021 was also the year that I practiced completing projects. It may sound trivial, but I noticed that all my life I tend to conceive and talk about complex projects, but then when it comes to executing and going all the way, I noticed that seldom do I actually complete a project. In the cases when I do, it typically has to do with something on the line, such as the involvement of a paying client or being hired for a job. I.e., I noticed that the reason I often don’t come through with an idea has to do with not having an environment of accountability. So I have taken on transforming that, and most importantly, transforming my relationship with myself when it comes to even the simplest projects.
So I did that. As many of you know, even the simplest project can turn out complicated or long when you finally get to it. That is often the case with me. My mind races fast, but when it comes time to execute, things move at a lot slower pace. Plus I have to deal with a world of distractions and other obligations: things that do not occur when my mind is having all these brilliant ideas that seem plausible at first.
I started 2021 with a new hobby: I got my first 3D printer, a Creality CR-10 Mini. It was my dream to get into 3D printing for probably over a decade. I also wanted to get into drone piloting, but that will be some other time. I was dead set on not giving up on 3D printing. And that wasn’t easy. In addition to 3D printing, I took on 3D modeling. I had always wanted to do 3D work but had always been intimidated by the challenge. All in all, I did very well and am pleased with my results.
Around June or so, I decided to take on a project that would be relatively complex: the making of a bird carrier. I completed the project, and you can see it at deluxebirdcarrier.com. I figured that I’d be able to do some complex math and make a product that would be difficult for anyone to copy given it involved some 30 unique parts that had to fit together. The project turned out way more difficult than I had imagined. I’d work every day for weeks, moving forward one step or two, and then sometimes take a step backward. Several times I’d wake up after weeks of intense work and think “I have gotten nowhere, this thing is not going to come together and I’m a total failure”. But the important thing is that despite whatever discouragement I felt, I was determined to push through. Like walking through a tunnel and never stopping despite not seeing a light, or climbing a mountain and never stopping despite not seeing the top. It was rare a day that I took a break.
After about 6 months, I got to a point that I was satisfied with the results. I didn’t have a cover made of fabric, but I had gotten praise from a boutique bird store that approved my product. I listed it on Etsy, and was able to sell it. This has not been a moneymaker for me, but keep in mind I have done no marketing. I learned a lot during the process, and most importantly: this is an idea that I had and carried it through all the way to the end. I’m very proud of having done that.
Recently, I had the idea to make a Christmas tree. I imagined these attachments for wood that I could make with a 3D printer. I also would need to do this in record time given that Christmas was approaching, and we were already in mid-November. Well, today I completed that tree almost in mid-December. The tree looks neat, but it’s far from what I had envisioned: an item that I could make multiples of, and sell for a profit. This tree ended up being too expensive, too time-consuming, and more of an art project than anything industrial. Again, the most important thing for me is that I did bring this project to completion. This makes me very happy as this is a victory over the past for me: actually completing a project and declaring it done. As a perfectionist, which I love being, it’s very difficult for me to look at any projects as complete given I continually see ways to make improvements over what’s been done.
This project did get hard, and I kept pushing through, and in particular, I learned how to make a 5-point star (could easily have been made with more points), and the Christmas star proved quite difficult to print neatly. After all kinds of attempts, I decided to print two halves of a star and then glue the parts together. This was the first time I used glue in a 3D printing project, and I liked the final star as I was able to control all aspects of the job and get exactly the size, shape, and rounding that I wanted.
If you have read this far, congratulations. I would not expect anyone to, and I am writing in part because I feel the need to practice. I enjoy writing, and intend to launch a book I have in draft mode – hopefully, 2022 is the year for that!
If you’ve read this far, please do share your thoughts and what you want to accomplish in this coming year of 2022 which is just around the corner. I’d love to hear from you. And Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!