Reading, writing - that's how my 2021 went by.
Today is the last day of the year, and it happens to be a Friday. I left work early and now I'm sitting at my desk writing this year-end review.
Overview of the Year#
- January: Forced to work remotely due to the pandemic;
- February: Started watching "Attack on Titan," which I've been wanting to watch for years;
- March: Beijing had more sandstorms than usual this year;
- April: Reflecting on myself, trying not to fall into dataism;
- May: Been having more dreams lately;
- June: Started using a new domain name and obtained SACA certification;
- July: Had a fun escape room team building activity;
- August: Found many minor health issues during a check-up, take care of your health;
- September: Went home to bury my grandfather;
- October: Started reading Jin Yong's novels like crazy, immersed in the world of martial arts;
- November: Follow-up check-up showed no major issues, thankfully;
- December: Obtained SACE certification.
I recorded a total of 62 books read this year, many of which I rated five stars. I gained a lot from these books, and here is a simple summary by category.
- Literary Fiction: Kubrick and Clarke's fantasy in "2001: A Space Odyssey" made me feel the insignificance of humanity; experiencing the atmosphere of the past in "The South Store"; exploring the crazy totalitarian society in "1984"; revisiting "The Kite Runner" after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan; not understanding "Lover" or Duras; don't casually "To Kill a Mockingbird" as recommended by Adichie; creating "Republic of Light" with my child and feeling the flowing words; enjoying reading mystery novels, try some social detective stories like "The Scream"; listening to stories by the seaside, searching for the "Lost Blood Gift in the Sea Breeze";
- Martial Arts Novels: I still prefer the martial arts world created by Jin Yong. The epic storytelling in "The Return of the Condor Heroes"; the deep affection in "The Legend of the Condor Heroes"; the indecisiveness in "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber"; the freedom and ease in "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer"; the twists and turns in "Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain";
- Biographies: Welcoming "A New Day" for Xu Lizhi who jumped off a building; shouting like Mrs. Eisenhower in "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!"; learning from Feynman's "What Do You Care What Other People Think?"; reading "Tolstoy's Last Diary" to see how a serious person keeps a diary; reading Tara's experiences and her warning in "Educated"; reminiscing with Ji Lao in "Memories of the Cowshed"; "Decoding Instagram" to see how Instagram has become full of ads; reading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance," I even want to buy a motorcycle and travel the world;
- Humanities and Social Sciences: "Immersed in the Matter" - can't stay out of it; searching for the "Lost Satellite" in the Middle East; looking at the "Rural Economy" in "Rural China" from "Homeland China"; experiencing the "Spicy Food History of China" with my taste buds; exploring the truth of "Generic Drugs"; seeing how the seemingly contradictory Japanese society coexists in "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword"; surprisingly discovering the connection between "Cognition and Design".
There are also many great books, but I can't list them all here. They are in another article, 2021 Reading Record.
As the ancients said, "In books, there are a thousand measures of grain, golden houses, and carriages and horses aplenty, and beautiful faces." However, I find this view of reading quite utilitarian, which doesn't suit my taste.
When I read, I often do it without any specific purpose, and this feeling was particularly strong this year. I believe that reading will be an important part of my life - it enriches my knowledge and brings me peace. This means that I enjoy it rather than being driven by external forces.
In addition, in the middle of this year, I created a Telegram channel called Ji Lu Xuan, which means a small house for collecting widely gathered book excerpts, inspired by Xiang Ji Xuan by Gui Youguang. In just six months, without any promotion, it has attracted over three hundred subscribers who share the same interest. I want to make it a pure gathering place for book excerpts - leaving echoes like wild geese, leaving words like flipping through a book.
I recorded 50 films and TV shows watched this year. I'm happy that I finally watched "Attack on Titan" and the "Better Call Saul" series, which have been on my wishlist for a long time. They are so excellent that I could write several articles about them. They have grand narrative designs, the character development of ordinary people, and perfect foreshadowing and resolution...
I watched many old films. Director Xie Jin's "The Herdsman" and "Hibiscus Town" - the older the film, the purer the taste. Both films are about the Cultural Revolution, but the former is full of vitality and hope for development, while the latter serves as a warning. I watched "Paris, France," which is erotic but artistic, and also thought-provoking, even with Mao Zedong; I watched "The Great Tang Dynasty" and praised mainland China for producing such beautiful ancient costume dramas; I watched Du Qifeng's "Infernal Affairs" series and once again realized that the underworld is not the darkest place, as Michael in "The Godfather" and Ni Yongxiao in "Infernal Affairs" would agree; I watched "The White Tower," where climbing a tower is not a matter of absolute right or wrong, good or bad; "Basic Instinct" is a bit sexy and mind-boggling, I guess it's because my brain lacks blood supply from the philosopher's time.
I also watched many new films, but they didn't have the same impact as the old ones. Could it be that I'm getting old? "Doses of Addiction" has a good theme, but if it could be made and dared to be made in China, I guess the Americans wouldn't have much to say, it should be included in the "In My Lifetime" series; "Night in the City" - if it weren't for Rose (Kate Winslet), I think 80% of people would fall asleep in the first half of the first episode; "Squid Game" is a rare success for Netflix, finally hitting the mark after a hundred attempts, but it's still full of clichés.
An interesting thing is that in the first month of this year, I watched "Death to 2020" released by Netflix; in the last month of this year, I watched "Death to 2021" also released by Netflix. People haven't changed, Netflix hasn't changed, and this damn year hasn't changed, even my favorite character in the series hasn't changed - the scientist who hates background music.
As faithful as I am.
Today, I realized that the total number of words in my diary has reached 300,000 - who writes a diary these days? Only someone like me who is not normal. Of course, it's not 300,000 words written in one year, but rather the 100,000 words I wrote this year (see last year's year-end review).
If you count all the notes, I've easily written hundreds of thousands of words.
Writing has become a part of my daily life.
Speaking of writing, I have to mention Obsidian, which has been my greatest discovery this year. Looking back at my Daily notes, I first learned about Obsidian on October 17, 2020:
Today I discovered a free bidirectional linking software called Obsidian. After reading some articles and watching videos, I found it to be very powerful and meets my note-taking needs. I feel like I want to migrate some of my notes to it because this is the true way of taking notes - being able to link and connect knowledge, instead of scattering it in individual files.
At that time, I migrated some notes, but because there was no mobile version and the note-taking functionality was not as powerful as it is now, I didn't use it as my main note-taking app for a long time.
On July 12th this year, the mobile version started beta testing, and I immediately downloaded and tried it. At first, I thought it would be a semi-finished product, but I didn't expect it to be so complete during the beta testing: the functionality was almost the same as the desktop version. I synced my note library and configuration files to my phone, and I could use it right away without any learning curve. Since then, it has become my main note-taking app.
People and tools evolve together. While people create tools, they are also shaped by them.
Traditional note-taking no longer satisfies us, so we have better options: tools based on bidirectional linking. My biggest experience with writing in Obsidian is that I can see which past knowledge points are related to the sentence I'm recording. This constantly reminds me of the knowledge that once existed, allowing them to be truly used instead of being isolated in endless folders.
Obsidian makes writing more efficient and knowledge connections closer. With the help of the graph view, backlinks panel, and bidirectional links, I can connect various knowledge points. This is the note-taking format I desire, and it also confirms Obsidian's slogan: A second brain.
I have always despised participating in activities that require others' certification. When I was in school, many people were taking various certification exams, but I never participated because I believed in the saying "The aroma of wine is not afraid of the depth of the alley."
After being tempered by society for a few years, I gradually realized that times have changed. People no longer have the patience to read long articles, let alone take the time to understand a person.
"Internet celebrities" are thriving, and even the aroma of wine is afraid of the depth of the alley.
This year, I had the opportunity to obtain an analyst certification. Thinking that I didn't have much on my plate, I decided to give it a try and see if my exam skills from graduation to now have deteriorated. I obtained the SACA (Certified Analyst) certification in June, and after half a year, on the last day of 2021, I obtained the SACE (Certified Expert) certification.
Will I continue to do these kinds of things in the future? In most cases, I think I will. I used to think that it was seeking validation from others, and I was very repulsed by it. However, now I think it is a way of being accountable to myself and receiving feedback.
Today is the last day of the year, and it's a great time to make some New Year's plans that I won't follow. So in the coming year:
- Spend more time with my family;
- Read more books, good books, and reread them;
- Continue writing and record everything about myself.
But on second thought, since I'm prepared not to follow through, there's no need to waste time making specific plans. Just go with the flow.