I know I am a little bit late for the “year in review” series but I was busy publishing other posts that were in backlog. Finally I got some time to reflect back on the year that has gone by. Every year at the beginning of a new year, I look back at the previous year and pen down some of the highlights and interesting events that transpired. So here goes. Last year was better than 2022 both in terms of finance and personal life. While a new war has started, it has now become a common place for wars to start and then people forgetting about it. Anyway, COVID-19 and the dark shadow it has cast on us is finally really over, although there are still some cases here and there. But those are all global events. Lets talk about what happened in my personal life.

The first milestone is that I completed six years in financial independence. I was financially independent by end of December in 2017. Since then I never had the need for any income although I continued to work for another 6 months for various reasons which you already know. And in these 6 years of financial independence, I never felt even slightly worried about finances. Even when we went through the Franklin episode or during the COVID-19 period. Thankfully 2023 has been kind to my finances and my corpus grew well. More on this in a future post.

While there was a lot of talk about inflation and how it can cause trouble, it wasn’t too bad for us. The inflation is certainly a bit higher than what RBI would have liked, but it is not out of control unlike some countries far west and also our neighboring countries like Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Our personal inflation was better in 2023 compared to 2022. You will read more about it in my up coming “year in review” series.

I’ve authored more than 400 posts on this blog so far. Before 2023, I was publishing 2 posts a week, but then I figured I was spending too much time on something that very few people will be interested in. So switched back to 1 post a week and that lets me work on more interesting projects. I made several improvements to my solar panel project and now it is rock solid and very stable. The best part is that I can access and configure it from anywhere in the world. I worked on a few other personal projects but never got around to writing about them. All I can say is, that working on those projects gave me tremendous pleasure and I had a lot of fun.

We are still unschooling our daughter and I cannot tell you how many people ask us tons of questions about unschooling. They are unable to come to terms or understand how we can be doing something so drastic. If we were at least homeschooling, they might not be so confused. With unschooling we give too much freedom and throw caution to the wind. How will the kid survive in future without proper education or understanding the basic concepts of math and science?

I don’t have answers to many of their questions, but I am not worried about what we are doing. We did not take the decision on a whim. The kid will certainly not soar to the great heights that every parent wants, but we think she is having a very fun filled childhood. Once you have lived through the childhood, it will never ever come back, so let her live it to the fullest. That has been our driving force and it shall remain that way.

Another important milestone is that it has been more than 15 years since I started working out and started eating healthy. It was sometime in 2008 when I first hit the gym and changed my diet. I took fitness seriously and has never looked back. Did not miss even a single session if I was not sick. Oh and talking about fitness, I am finally 1st Kyu Brown belt. Which means if I pass my next exam (hopefully sometime this year), I will be 1st Dan Black belt in Shotokan Karate. It has been almost 7 years since I joined Karate and I am so looking forward to getting my Black belt.

The purpose of karate is perfection of character -- Gichin Funakoshi

I helped a few folks with their financial planning. Most of them were for free except for one. Thank you to that person for choosing to pay and valuing my time. Other than that income, I did not have any other income for doing any work. My portfolio has been supporting our expenses. You will read more about my income and portfolio returns in an upcoming post.

On the health front, thankfully, I did not injure myself like I did in 2022. Unfortunately however, my kid did not get the memo and decided to fracture her hand and went out of service for a good 2 months of physical activity. She is now all better and back to doing cartwheels and handstands. Yet, our medical bills went over budget last year. Again, I will explain why in an upcoming post. We did not have any other major expenses unlike 2022 when we purchase a new car. However, there was one huge expense that does not fall under the ambit of our retirement corpus.

Finally, we come to the biggest event of our life since my retirement which is the purchase of a farmland. There will be a lot of posts about it in my blog. They will be covered under the category of sustainable living, so watch that space. This is a major life changing event not just for us, but also for our daughter if she so chooses. The farm is intertwined with unschooling in some strange sense. While our daughter may not have the smarts and skills of regular school going kids, as long as she can at least sow, grow, harvest and cook her own food, she can live a decent life. And the farm provides her that opportunity. In addition, if we can make her see that true happiness comes from living in and enjoying nature and not in the life living in an air conditioned room with a large screen TV, that will serve our purpose in life.

Whether that is the life she wants is another matter. In the end, it is her choice, like I chose to do what I am doing. I could live a very lavish lifestyle with great recognition and wealth like most parents would have wanted for their children. I chose not to be the “regular” person. I wanted to do something unconventional and here I am. Let’s see how things pan out with the farm and kid. Nothing is set in stone and everyday is a different. All in all that was a good year. Looking forward to another interesting year ahead.