Looking back on the year in general
This year has been full of high highs and low lows. First, here are a few small celebrations through numbers. It was a super fun year with regard to language learning, and I enjoyed sharing my progress with you all on YouTube and this blog.
My free monthly language learning roundup newsletter also kicked off in February, and it’s been rewarding to share languages tips and progress with those of you who have subscribed.
I also had a great time with mentoring calls on Superpeer, listening to your language stories and offering a listening ear and advice.
How many hours did I study?
I would like to preface this with the fact that hours don’t really matter, but it’s what you do with the hours that do. As such, I only track active learning – such as taking italki lessons or reading a book intensively, talking to people at a language exchange or studying from a textbook. Anything passive like listening to podcasts or music is not tracked in these hours. That aside, here are my active hours for 2021. (I don’t want to have favorites but the difference between Hungarian and all other language hours is… very notable!)
A year of reading
At the start of the year, I decided it was a good idea to try and read more. And read I did! I read 24 books in 2021. It ain’t much, but it’s honest work. Some books were absolutely terrible, some made me cry, some motivated me (like Essentialism), and some made it onto my list of all-time favorite books (like The Unreality of Memory). Feel free to stalk around on my Goodreads for all the inside info on my favorite books. And if you’re curious, here’s a video about my reading journal that I started at the beginning of the year.
What did I learn this year?
I learned that I am capable and confident enough to do more than I can imagine. I took on challenges like speaking live on Hungarian TV and meeting my favorite Hungarian band, asking for a promotion (and getting it!) at work, learning new software and personal finance, leading a design team, writing more about design, questioning why I believe what I believe and learning more about theology, co-founding a language learning startup, building more apps, and maintaining 8+ languages alongside running a YouTube channel, newsletter, blog and coaching.
Though I did experience intense depression, loneliness and confusion, overall it was a pleasant year full of learnings.
But now it's time to rest.
There’s a big “but” to all of the above… I learned that I can do anything, but not everything (at the same time). There’s immense pressure to show progress and perfection online. This year, my online and physical safety was compromised with death threats, stalkers, and hacking. The pandemic was horrible. I went through a painful breakup. I also quit my job to pursue my side projects and prioritize my family. A family member of mine is unwell, and I realized that family is much more important than work.
Burnout is real.
Here’s a video I recently made about burnout. It’s a lot more serious than my usual videos, but it’s really important to talk about these things. The language community has been too serious about goals and pressure, and I’m not going to give into that anymore. Instagram no longer really seems like a place to share a hobby, but has become a place for everyone to share their productivity hacks with increasing pressure. I’m all for sharing tips and building productivity, but not at the expense of mental health. It seems there’s an overwhelming pressure to always show progress online these days.
I started the year by setting quarterly goals and reviewing my progress with a planner, and I was so surprised to see just how many people followed suit. It was exciting to see everyone’s goals, but I’m afraid that the language community will move too much towards goals over actual enjoyment! I’m not setting language goals for this year, and am already happy to see a lot of other people on Twitter doing the same.
If you feel stuck or burnt out with language learning now, do check out the video I made earlier this year with Angela from PassionForDreaming where we discuss language burnout and how to overcome it, linked below.
I’m going to start 2022 with lots of rest! I will spend time reading, enjoying calm, pressure-less language learning, and whatever I feel like doing, at the pace I feel like doing it at. I’m not giving up on languages (ever!), but I just don’t have specific goals for next year apart from consistency and maintaining a healthy mindset.
Thank you all for the love, support and encouragement, and have a beautiful new year