What I’ve learned in 2021: in languages and life

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





One response to “What I’ve learned in 2021: in languages and life”

  1. Pascal Avatar

    Lindie, first of all, a HUGE thank you for your courage and heart to underline that teaching/learning languages MUST be fun and that one cannot burn oneself energy wise, to “perform” in a continuous way, as that only brings people to break.

    So, ALL is about balance. I shall continue also , via an online translator, for your privacy then in Afrikaans, French and Latin American Spanish for fun.

    Ek het self meer as die meeste gedoen, as ‘n feit en baie verniet gehelp, want geestelik is God my meester. In elk geval, ek het dalk nie rykdom opgebou nie want vir my is geld net ‘n hulpmiddel om mense en jou omgewing op te hef as jy kan, maar ek het, met alle nederigheid maar waarheid Siener vermoëns en kragtige holistiese wysheid: jy is ‘n wonderlike siel Lindie! En geen man of vrou is ‘n eiland nie. Moenie vergeet om tyd te neem om saam met mense te wees wat jou liefhet en waardeer nie.

    Goed, weereens gaan ALLES oor balans: dit is beter om ‘n paar tale goed te praat en dit te geniet, so min as wat dit is, as om te veel te doen en dit het boeie vir die siel geword.

    Hierdie jaar is, soos ek dit noem, binne die “Nexus” deuropening (tyd / energie gewys). Van 2020 tot 2025 sal wat uitgaan goed of sleg terugkom. So, as jy vir ‘n bietjie “TLC” gaan, behoort dit ook terug te kom.

    I speak French (I am so), am bettering again my Latin American Spanish (Mexican as I lived 12 years in Southern California and Costa Rican as I lived 1 year In Long Island NY (within the Costa Rican diaspora NY and even some Columbian Spanish).

    Une langue est une manière de penser et de résoudre les problèmes d’une certaine manière ainsi que d’expliquer les spécialités de certains pays de l’artisanat à la sagesse populaire : d’où pourquoi, en 2100, il y aura ENCORE environ 3000 langues et des dizaines de langues internationales (comme souligné scientifiquement en 2020 ).

    L’anglais est utile et continuera pour ses bienfaits en certaines affaires et de la diplomatie du premier degré, mais pas comme avant !

    Ahora, y no estoy hablando política sino diplomáticamente de muchas maneras, sobre el hecho de que Trump fue elegido en los Estados Unidos durante cuatro años y millones de extremistas Trumpistas todavía están aquí, así como el Brexit (aunque entiendo por qué Gran Bretaña lo ha hecho). ) con su confinamiento diplomático, el inglés será reemplazado de ahora en adelante, en algunas transacciones de comercio internacional y cooperación diplomática educativa / cultural por español, ruso, hindi, francés, portugués, ruso, polaco y más.

    I am now back to Hebrew in addition to being well versed in English, American, French, reviewing and re-editing in español mexicano y español costarricense…

    As a final choice for a fourth language, to Hebrew, because I love its letters, but more so, not only open doors for careers and education within Diaspora Jewish communities in the world, brave stories through some generations, but its powerful vibrational balancing sounds for the spirit like: I discovered it with Victoria Hanna!



    Even the amazing Hebrew teacher Alisa Zingerman:


    Moreover, Hebrew is a resurrected language!


    AND I ADORE the smooth and swift sound of Afrikaans to relax also and shall learn some words/sentences of it, which for relaxing/opening some first cultural context are cool …like:



    MERCI pour m’inspirer Et merci beaucoup de m’avoir inspiré à utiliser, du mieux que je peux, les langues que j’apprends/rafraîchis pour ouvrir encore plus de portes aux contes culturels et folkloriques des pays qui parlent les langues que je connais et aussi pour communiquer avec communautés de diasporas !

    A plus! Pascal

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