A year in review

  • Personal
  • Accomplishments
  • Life Review

This has been an interesting year for us all, and I am no exception. But I wanted to take a moment to put in writing some of the things I've been up to, am working on, and have completed in the past year.

I do feel the need to initially point out that I am incredibly blessed. Many people aren't in such a good position, and the way of the world recently has for many been a living nightmare. It would be remiss to ignore that fact. Many of us in the tech world live in a bubble, not realizing that while our field has been one to grow and perhaps be even more prosperous than ever due to the growing reliance on technology for everyday needs, especially in a world where going outside our homes became something we avoided out of necessity. But some are out of work, still struggling, behind on bills, etc.

It's apparent to me when I talk with others in my field that this is a blind spot for many with affluent backgrounds. The majority of my family is in the precarious situation of being out of work and relying on the few societal fallbacks that exist to help those who are down on their luck.

What did I do/accomplish this year?

Going into this year I was completely unsure what was to come. But here are a few of the things I was able to accomplish during the past 12 months. Sometimes when I look back it is surprising how much I had forgotten before reviewing:

Started the year in Austin, TX

So I could say that was the first trip of the year! This was a carryover because I had already spent the previous week or so in Austin for Christmas.

Spent Texas Snowpocalpse in Houston, TX

During Texas' "snowpocalypse" which also happened to coincide with my birthday I was holed up in an electricity-less AirBnB in Houston, Texas along with our hosts. It was a total coincidence that I happened to be here because originally it was supposed to just be a surprise weeklong trip for my birthday. But to be honest, having the company of my partner and our host family, it was probably better that we were here than stuck in our homes. And we ended up making the best out of the snow and the misfortune anyway!

Visited many coffeeshops/cafés

I visited a large array of new and fun coffee shops, one of my favorite activities, and partook in many photo-ops with my partner. I've probably visited the majority of all cafés in Dallas, TX where I reside and I've probably tried more than the average person who has lived in some other cities as well during my short visits!

I had one of my motorcycles stolen

One of the bad things - I had one of my motorcycles stolen, and the other was disabled for about a month due to an attempted theft a couple of weeks after the first one. This was probably the lowlight of my year and the most depressing time for me. I don't have a car, so my motorcycle is my method of transportation and due to the huge supply chain issues, it turned out to be a longer wait than I would have liked to be able to ride again. This prompted the next point...

I moved apartments!

I decided to move out of my old apartment which was a 1 Bedroom across town to a studio in a nice location. The reason for this was that the area was a bit more secure when it comes to parking and location and I didn't quite need the space I had. I was using my 1 Bedroom as basically a combined yoga/stretching room and storage space because I slept in a corner of my living room due to it having better lighting.

I got my first tattoo

I got my first tattoo just before a flight out of town the very next day. I got some strange looks on the plane with my forearm wrapped and looking very disgusting with plasma/blood everywhere. Getting a tattoo was something I had been wanting to do for a while, but it took a long time to find an idea that I would be happy with getting placed on my body. The session turned out to be less painful than I was expecting which was nice and I was very happy with the result!

I went and "lived" in Chicago for a couple of weeks

Over the summer I went and "lived" in Chicago for a couple of weeks as a fun getaway. I say lived because it wasn't a vacation and I was still working during my time there. Nonetheless, it was tons of fun and I stretched to the limit a free trial on a WeWork membership while I was there, visiting essentially every WeWork location in the downtown Chicago area.

I took a vacation to Colorado

Directly after my Chicago trip, I flew from there over to Colorado to enjoy a weeklong vacation there. While I was there I did a ton of nature activities, hiking, climbing, walking, and a lot of driving (road-tripping)!

I visited Tampa Bay, Florida

A few months after visiting Chicago and Colorado I went on a small weekend getaway to Tampa Bay, Florida which ended up very fun! Funnily I had to delay this trip for about a month due to a hurricane/storm that was through the area the month prior which canceled/refunded my original plans. But when we got there the weather was so nice and enjoyable and walking by the water and the cozy AirBnB made for a very refreshing weekend.

I visited Guadalajara, Mexico for a week

My partner went on an extended trip to Mexico while I stayed behind due to work. Unfortunately, I work in consulting and on projects that require tons of time in meetings, tons of unexpected changes in direction, and occasionally crunch times that I don't think I would have been able to manage from both a different time zone and location. I likely would not have been able to enjoy it very much because of the constant need to be checking my phone/email for updates, and always worrying about finding wi-fi, which is unfortunate because I would have loved to go. But all this to say I eventually did get away for a week to join her in Guadalajara, Mexico which was super fun. I did a lot of walking, experienced the city like a local, and lived in a very cozy AirBnB which was right in the thick of everything. My command of Spanish is so much better than about 1.5 years ago when I first started learning to the point that I didn't have very many problems communicating with anybody. Even when there was a lack of knowledge, I treated it like a learning experience, and usually, we could work it out.

I continued my Spanish education

I started more targeted tutoring in Spanish again with a tutor from a school in Oaxaca, Mexico, where my partner and she met. She turned out to be a great teacher, very easy to talk to and converse with, and a great way to get daily practice again. I already practiced daily by way of listening to music all in Spanish, consuming media, solo study, and talking with my partner primarily in Spanish, but having a native speaker who is also a teacher also helped out a lot. I do remember her being impressed that my partner and I had only been learning for just over a year when compared to the level we are speaking at, which to me just validates the work we've put in to learn.

I visited family in Oakland, CA for Thanksgiving

This was my first time visiting back home in almost 2 years so it was a very different experience. My parents are divorced so it was the usual jump between my Mom's and my Dad's for Thanksgiving dinner/meals. But overall it was a good experience seeing them as well as my 2 younger brothers for the first time in a long time.

I'm changing jobs

And as I end the year, I am also changing jobs! Don't get me wrong, I love the company I've worked for as well as all the people there, but as mentioned before the projects I'm on recently have such an unpredictable schedule that it makes doing some of the things that I would like to do difficult. For example, working from another location where having a more predictable schedule would make things easier to plan around. And in general the types of projects I have been on tend to be very stressful due to how we subcontract a lot with larger consulting companies with very different expectations in terms of working hours, ways of working, etc. I have also been doing much more "client resolution" and management lately, which are not things I enjoy doing. I'm very much so more interested in developing and having heads-down time, which is hard to come by. But the exciting part is I'm moving to a new job where I will likely not need to do as much of that.

When it's listed out, it's a little hard to believe. I'm sure there are smaller things I have missed as well that I'll think of after I finish this, but I think sometimes we forget all that can happen in a year.

What's to come?

I'm excited for the new year, especially with more places opening up and being fully vaccinated/boostered along with more health advancements hopefully that opens up the opportunity for travel to places that have been closed down for a while taking necessary precautions, of course.

Currently, I don't have many fixed plans, but I never really do 😅. I plan to stay in Mexico for a while at some point soon to continue my goal of immersing myself in the culture and language. Outside of that, we'll see what's to come. Not included in the above were things I accomplished at work which were also pretty cool and exciting, but only in a tech capacity. Also, as an unfortunate circumstance of consulting I can't say who I worked with, otherwise, I'd be pretty excited to drop a few names and projects of some really exciting stuff I worked on this year!

If you read up until now, what did you accomplish this year? Put some thought into it if you'd like, it can be however small or large you like. I'd recommend jotting them down somewhere or confiding in a friend or family member. I find doing so helps me to not downplay my accomplishments and activities because I know I do that to myself sometimes.

Thanks for reading!