Swedishfinnpolymath's year of progress

Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

What this thread is all about

Almost everything that I going to mention in these posts up until maybe March or April has to do with a language learning website. The main purpose of it is to help people who are new to language learning and those who learn lesser studied languages.

For the last couple of years I have been depressed, felt bitter about many things that has happened to me. In a nutshell, I always known I had great potential but I have had so many problems that I haven't been able to achieve my goals and dreams. I feel this mega project is just what I need to put many of things in order that have held back.

I am not going to go into specifics of the site until it's ready I will refer to the building of my website as "Operation Memphis".

Those of you who have read my posts regularly will know that I have some high ambitions but I haven't really ever had the peacefulness and enough drive to actually take some huge steps to get where I want to be. I'll be thirty by the end of May this year and since it's a significant milestone, I feel that it's now or never.

Since Jahrine from the Lingq team has encourage people to post their progress I thought I might go ahead and do the same.

I'll be posting somewhat on a whim but I'm hoping maybe weekly or monthly depending on how much I have to tell. One of the lessons that I learnt last year was how emotions can be deceiving. You might feel a certain way in the evening and the next morning the polar opposite.

What are my goals

I want to explore how much my mood fluctuates during this year and offer some sort of commentary on what I think the reasons for my mood is. I feel that many people have doubts if they can learn a language, are frustrated of various things and other stuff.

This might not be anything ground breaking in any way but I feel that it might be useful for people to see that even if I have studied languages for 10 years, like grammar (a thing people usually struggle with) and have a good method, even I have days when I feel that I should be much further along and know more.

For obvious reasons I will not be posting anything too personal but rather clinical observations of how I am feeling and what might be the cause in broad strokes (haven't eaten, feeling anxious having watched a documentary, etc.)

January 22 at 12:52
  • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

    January 2020 up until 24.1

    Before the 10 of January when I started taking notes about what I do and how I feel I remember feeling really optimistic. The October-December period is one of the worst times of the year for me because I live in Finland where it gets really dark in the winter. Most people feel more depressed than they would be during this period that is called talvikaamos.

    As far as I can remember during this new year there has already been almost spring like days which helped keep me going and make great progress. I have felt a bit of dread over my future but I have come up with solutions to some pretty standard problems that once upon a time would have put me in a dejected mood. While I haven’t really wallow in self-pity or have long bouts of depression, I have felt temporal distress. Somewhere between 11.1 and 15.1 I did not sleep that well, probably because I had so much on my mind.

    After having done a lot of writing relating to work stuff, I came to the conclusion that the writing stuff can be organised in a different way than originally planned. On 17.1 I decided that I should focus on Dutch, Portuguese and Catalan and get to an intermediate level by the time of mid-March. Hopefully even further than that.

    During the last week my optimistic mood came crashing down hard, at first it did catch me by surprise. However, after thinking it through it hit me that given how optimistic I have been over the last weeks a backlash was expected. Another thing that contributed to my bad mood was the fact that I watched a “documentary” about True Geordie where he is being interviewed by his best friend Lawrence. True Geordie is a successful podcaster from Newcastle who almost by accident achieved great success.

    Some of the themes in the documentary are for example addiction, people wanting to take you down a peg and other not so light subjects. Still it’s an interesting interview that I highly recommend. Literary the next day I felt really optimistic again after a good night sleep.

    During this week I have felt at times that I should have gotten more done and I have been distracted by watching a YouTuber play Red Dead Redemption 2, a game that came out 2 years ago. I did managed to watch a show on Netflix that is in Catalan. Les de l’hockey which is about a small team in a small village that has ambitions to get promoted to the top division. I watched the first 6 episodes of 13 some while ago but got distracted during this week I did watch all the remaining episodes of season 1. For those that wonder there was an announcement that the series is going to get a second season.

    Today on Friday (24.1) I have a huge pile up off dishes that I haven’t gotten around doing. I’ll have to wash them up, during that I’ll try to listen to something with my headphones and audio files downloaded to my phone. For some reason I haven’t really gotten around of actually listen and watching documents on YouTube the way I should have.

    I think one problem that I have in this regard is that I am very obsessive about order and doing some things a certain way. I can’t remember something specific at this moment but I know that there are things that I have done a certain way just because it’s my way of doing it so, even if I know that there is a better way of doing something.

    I have had a tendency to be obsessed with listening to equal amounts of certain languages but from now on I’m going to go with what I want to listen to and make sure that I don’t neglect a certain language for a long period of time.

    The True Geordie document that I mentioned is called “The fall of True Geordie”.

    January 24 at 13:04
    • ericb100 us United States

      I bought Red Dead Redemption 2 when it first came out...I loved the first. Unfortunately, I've only played about a half hour of it. Just never have time it feels like!

      Hope your mood picks up.

      January 24 at 15:05
      • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

        Yep, it will pick up actually aside from the sharp dip last Friday, my mood has been consistently great. Part of this thread is to show how much moods can wary from time to time. The past days slagging of has been in part because I been quite surprised with how much I have gotten done. I know how effective I can be when I need to so I have been taking it easy and let my mind wonder.

        I haven't played video games in years, I think my PlayStation 3 got broken somewhere around 2012-2013. At the time I'd noticed that I hadn't really played it in a while so I put off buying a replacement and now it's 8 or 7 years later. Also, language learning has in a way replaced play video games as my primary hobby.

        January 24 at 15:19
  • levmyshkin us United States

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and language learning plan. I find it very motivating to see an experienced language learner set such ambitious goals. Please keep us updated throughout the year with your progress!

    P.s. Im especially happy you're tackling Catalan so hard, I'd love to make some nice progress in Catalan this year. I will definitely check out that netflix series you mentioned.

    January 24 at 13:20
    • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

      Yep that's the plan, Catalan, Portuguese, Dutch, Finnish and the (peninsular) Scandinavian languages form part of a huge project that is going to hopefully be beneficial for all parties involved. I'll be adding languages to the list as the project moves along and the exact nature of my project will be kept hidden for now, to build up the suspense 😁😁😁.

      January 24 at 15:01
  • khardy us United States

    "I'll be thirty ...I feel that it's now or never." Lol! How many languages did Steve learn after the age of 60? Thirty isn't "over the hill". You're still plenty young. But 30 is an age to start putting into action, if you haven't already, plans to achieve your adult dreams. Sounds like you have a plan for that, at least as far as linguistics are concerned. Good luck!

    January 24 at 15:42
    • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

      Edit: My language learning plans have helped me also come up with a plan to help me resolve some other problems that have held me back as well. In November when Finland qualified for the Euro 2020 certain things went in a such a way that I got really exited and a belief that I can still achieve a lot of things despite having wasted lots of opportunities.

      Yeah, I guess it depends on many things, I have had some false beginnings so to speak. Opportunities have open up and they have dried out. I was dealt a huge blow at the worst possible time about a year and a half ago but I'm fine now. The progress that I've made in many different aspects over the last 3 months have been very exhilarating.

      January 24 at 15:49
  • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

    27 January 2020

    A small update

    Certain working habits are not that effective at this stage as they were between October-early January. I have felt a bit of stress as I have realized just how much I have to do. Once I realized that the reason for my stress was because of certain working habits my stress reduced significantly, at the time of writing I have already come up with a way of organizing everything in a great way.

    Another thing is to start to listen regularly to podcasts, "watch TV", etc. and of course read so that I can hit my word count targets.

    During this month I have noticed that at the beginning of the week I have had lots of ideas and have worked hard whereas towards the end of the week I have started to justify sloppiness. Of course, it’s important to not burn yourself out but as I have so many things to do within a certain deadline, I think I need to hold myself accountable in some way.

    Second of all, I have decided to give this project a code name like the ones that you’ll find in spy novels. I am going to give it the name of Operation Memphis. Literately my first thought was something along the lines of Operation Rosetta’s stone but it was a bit too obvious but as I “googled” Rosetta’s stone I found out it was founded in Memphis, Egypt. Which is the perfect name, it’s related to languages but still vague and mundane.

    Third significant change is that I am going to ditch the 5 000 words target for Romanian and use my Romanian studies as a tool to test out some theories for future language related posts.

    January 27 at 12:00
  • Administrator
    ericrobertz ca Canada

    Good luck!

    January 27 at 22:49
  • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

    A recap of January

    January has been a hectic month and that’s why I have been all over the place. I want to be more organised in February. I might post something sporadically in February about lessons learned in January or stuff like that but from now on I expect myself to post towards the end of the month a recap that looks something like this.

    Looking ahead to February

    I feel that in order to maximise my productivity I need to have something monotonous and challenging going on at the same time. Thus, I am going to start to make plans my Japanese and Russian learning. I feel I don’t want to rush things so I’ll dedicate part of my time in February to planning learning more challenging languages. I have both time and financial stability to truly make this project a glorious success. Whereas in January my emotions where mixed between exaggerated joy and despair. I expect the mix to be being content and pleased but always asking myself can I do more.

    How January has been

    To say that January has been chaotic feels like a huge understatement, I have wondered a lot how I could most effectively convey it without coming off as boastful. I have a lot to write and when I sat down to write this, I didn’t know how to express myself clearly. Though, right now I feel cool as a cucumber and sort of know exactly what to say. My targets during this month has changed radically as many times as cup of coffees I drink in a day. Last week I pushed myself to the limit, I worked on a “do whatever you want as long as you do it intensively”.

    I was absolutely elated but the backlash was that I had a horrible headache during Monday. I only manage to get 110 minutes of listening during that day (that was 27.1). Considering the circumstances happy and I promised myself that I’d allow myself to “take the Tuesday off”. If I remember correctly, I did have some small headache symptoms but Tuesday was still my most productive day, though I think one of these days after Tuesday has surpassed it once again.

    Last week I pushed myself to the limit and I expected that this week I would not reach the same heights. I am at some point going to review one year of my life in detail but I don’t think I have enough distance to fully to process just how much I have achieved in these past three months or even this past month.

    If someone had said that you’ll reach your target by the end of December 2020, I would have been filled to the brim with joy.

    While on New Year’s Eve I was dreaming of doing all kinds of stuff, some realistic some not so much. My overall mood was that I am past my darkest hour and I can afford to relax. I am the sort of person that even when things are going great, I still always try to think ahead. The first two weeks of January every great idea and huge milestone was followed by a wave of exaggerated angst and a general fear of this project not leading to anything.

    I am not good with technology so the thought of start building a site was daunting, I had a great idea but I knew execution is also important, since I feel it’s a life or death situation I was also under a lot of pressure. For that reason, I made myself work based around the notation that the site would be very bland and so the blog, grammar guides, etc. must be absolutely top notch.

    I am in a such a good state of mind at the moment that I can hardly relate to myself two weeks ago and even earlier today. This transformation from a depressed unemployed mess who had potential to the dynamic uber ambitious go getter is so stark that this whole situation feels very Kafkaesque. Some of the negative (exaggerated) feelings that I have had include.

    “My English might be good but it’s not good enough for people to take me as a serious writer, I don’t know the proper rules of comma and other small stuff that nobody thinks of”

    “TV-Series analysis, football top-notch articles have all been done before and even if I think they are good are they really good enough for me to earn a living”

    “I have felt deep angst over the fact that I have spent 10 € on food when I could have been frugal minimise my spending significantly.”

    I should note that I didn't ever rationally thought these things were true. No matter how well you are you’re going to get angry, sad, happy etc. at one point or the other. The intensity of my negative emotions was because I knew I had to commit myself to working hard. I know myself all too well to say that there was a risk that too much doubt would creep in to the point that I would lose time with feeling down.

    My past attempts to drag myself out of this despair that I have found myself for much of my whole adult life have failed because I haven’t believed I could make a difference. Some attempts have been more successful than others but the reason they failed is because I felt that there was always something that would push be back into the starting point eventually.

    Edit: This following addition has been written 2 hours and 15 minutes after the original posting. During that time I have solved at least one huge problem. My goal for this month had been to start listening more the way I had done it was to just fill my phone with stuff to listen to and listen. Not worry about if I get distracted if I don't remember to listen to a certain language, etc. I have a plan in motion that I am going to apply to writing. I love writing which is one of the reasons my posts tend to be so long.

    Edit 2: I think I have found a way to resolve scientifically the question of listening vs reading types of questions.

    January 31 at 06:23
  • Administrator
    Jahrine.LingQ.Team ca Canada

    Looking forward to reading your updates! If this is a year of introspection for you, you might find looking into your enneagram type interesting. Not sure if it's up your street, many thinks it's pseudoscience nonsense! I've been doing some reading around my type with regard to negative emotions though and I'm finding it helpful.

    February 03 at 20:50
    • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

      Yep, I am not really sure if enneagram is my cup of tea but psychology and philosophy are something that I feel I should have started reading up on for some while. I think that figuring out what makes you tick and understanding your emotion is always a good thing. There are many different ways of doing these I have always liked the Myers Briggs type indicator but it has gotten some criticism as well.

      In terms of philosophy I have always felt I am quite Nietzschean in my thinking. Right now, I am thinking about starting to read the books of Albert Camus and Fyodor Dostoevsky. If I remember correctly, I think that I read that Dostoevsky had some psychological aspect in his novels. Although that will be in the somewhat distant future. Lingq does have L'etranger so I guess one place to start would be to listen to it on my phone as I have finally made a habit of listening.

      February 04 at 04:48
      • Administrator
        Jahrine.LingQ.Team ca Canada

        The enneagram is much like Myers Briggs (INFP here). I can't seem to resist these personality tests!

        I started reading L'etranger and gave up pretty early on. I've read it in English so thought that would help, but it's just too advanced for me right now. One day! Best of luck with it.

        The Brothers Karamazov is the only Dostoevsky I've read. I really enjoyed it.

        February 06 at 17:04
  • jolanda ch Switzerland

    Getting to Know Catalonia: An Introduction to the Catalan Language, Culture and Society


    February 04 at 13:01
  • Swedishfinnpolymath fi Finland

    As I have said in earlier posts, January was chaotic and we are only halfway into February and everything is going great and I am very organised. This is a mid-month update that will offer some context to the upcoming monthly end of month post. These past two weeks have been fulfilling and productive. Between the 4 and 6 of February I did have some mood swings, there were certain things that I have not wanted to take into consideration and I was a bit worried. These things were boring legal stuff that are necessary I have started to think about that aspect as well in these last couple of weeks.

    What I find encouraging is that while I was worried that it was going to derail everything, I have had a huge influx of ideas. Every problem seems to have some sort of solution, I truly feel that I am onto something great. I want to cover systematically the grammar of Catalan, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish by the end of the month.

    It sounds like a lot but I love grammar and there are tons of stuff about grammar in these languages that I know already. I suppose a great metaphor would be a wardrobe. I have an idea of what my ideal wardrobe looks like and I have already some stuff but there is stuff that I need. The stuff that I have is all over my room and closet and that’s why it’s so damn messy. I have a plan of how to get my Romance grammar packaged neatly like cloths into a closet. It just a matter of organisation and execution.

    One thing that is distracting me from this is that fact that I want to become a writer. I have many book projects, pretty well sketched out. Today I am working on a 12 stories long short story collection. Planning this has been a piece of cake so far.

    February 14 at 13:28