It's only barely the end of January and a lot has already happened. I was laid off at the end of November 2022 and recently accepted an offer for a new job that will start at the end of January; more details to come after I've been there for a month or two!
My 2023 yearly theme is "the year of enough". I am enough. I am not defined by how many tasks I check off of my todo list. I am now defined by how many side projects I complete. I am not defined by how much money I make or save or invest. I am not defined by any self-inflicted societal expectations I feel pressured by (buying a house, starting a business, etc). Instead, I am the culmination of the habits I build, the things I learn, the people I connect with or help, and probably a few other things I am forgetting.
Below is a brief unordered list of things (not people, that'd be a much longer list) that are important to me. Being on the list doesn't neccesarily mean I will master or finish it, but it should give an idea of what I want to spend this year doing.
- I want to spend significantly less time on TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, Hackernews, etc. Some of these are useful (if properly filtered), but mostly they are an excuse to procrastinate on the things that I'd actually want to be doing. If anything, I'd much rather play a video game than passively scroll the internet. Either way, I don't want to spend my time on these things. If I'm going to have unproductive fun, I want to fully commit to it instead of being passive about it. If I'm going to watch a movie with my partner, I want to fully commit my attention to the movie and my partner. If I get the urge to scroll through TikTok after waking up in bed, I'd much rather get up and walk to my gaming PC and play something with more substance.
Elixir, Phoenix, LiveView, and the BEAM ecosystem in general.
- Instead of getting trapped in any hype cycle or analysis paralysis, I'm going to focus on them and them alone. I love TypeScript and Kotlin and really want to learn Rust as well. I'd love to learn the ins and outs of Svelte and Solid.js. I always tell myself that I'll someday build a game with the Godot game engine. For my own benefit, I cannot let myself get overly distracted.
- I've always loved perusing GitHub, Reddit, HackerNews, YouTube, and Twitter to learn about the hot new languages, frameworks, and libraries. Because of this, I have starred over 2,700 GitHub repos since 2015; if you asked me for a tool/library/framework to do some technical thing, I could easily give you a list of several options. I'm not going to stop doing that, but I am going to try to reduce the amount of time I spend on each new thing. I want to learn about the existence of a thing, what it does, and its pros/cons, but I don't want to spend time thinking "I should use this hot new thing to rewrite/rebuild this other thing!" That's counterproductive. So I will focus on Elixir and Phoenix and the other pool of technologies I already know.
- This also includes coding more in general and getting out of "tutorial hell". Obviously I'll be writing code during my day job, but I don't neccesarily want it to stop there. I'm not saying I want to put in hours of coding outside of work, but if I can at least write a few useful lines/commits on something unrelated to work every day, I'll feel content. Ideally I'm working on my own random projects or someone else's open-source project, but even something as simple as an Exercism/LeetCode/HackerRank exercise could be enough.
Reading more and reading actively.
- I have an ENORMOUS backlog of books (physical and digital), blog posts, wiki articles, recorded conference talks, YouTube videos, and more; they are scattered amongst my browser bookmarks, my Pocket account, various Notion pages, my Obsidian vault, and probably more. These huge lists do me no good unless I actually read them and find some way to retain/summarize that information.
- By the way, my current book recommendation is Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman (which I'm currently going through via audiobook).
Writing (non-code) content.
- This blog post will hopefully be the first of many. I want to be a somewhat consistent (mostly technical) blogger. I don't even care if I have a huge audience; I want to write for myself as much as I do others. What good is learning about a bunch of new technologies, ways of doing things, or other interesting things if you don't internalize them somehow? Writing things down seems to be the best way to do that for me. For every book I read, I also want to have written a summary of its chapters along with my favorite quotes and tidbits. Whether or not I share that content on this website/blog matters less than the act of me writing it in a way that I can find later. I'll try to share as much as I can though!
- One of the things that often kept me from writing is the desire to have the "perfect" website. I've easily spent many hours over many years going back and forth on what tools I wanted to use to build my website. Dozens of CMS options, Hashnode, Medium, Astro, Hugo, Next.js, Obsidian Publish, a public Notion page, or even something custom built with Elixir/Phoenix. Fast forward to the Twitter aquisition at the end of 2022; I learned more about the #IndieWeb movement and federated/decentralized alternatives to mainstream social media platforms. Now I had to figure out if I wanted to use Mastodon or Pleroma and which instance I wanted to join (or maybe I wanted to host my own). Again I was met with analysis paralysis. In the end, the tool does not matter. I decided to go with micro.blog because it is a nice cross between a social network and a blogging platform that supports federated protocols like ActivityPub and Webmentions. It is also built on Hugo, so I can (in theory) customize my theme as much as I want, though I'll need to avoid doing that excessiveely. Lastly, it can cross-post to Twitter and LinkedIn and Mastodon. What's not to like? Let's hope I stay strong and stick with it!
- This list probably sounds like a lot, and it kind of is. Being a human entails doing a lot of things, but I want to make sure to keep a healthy approach to leisure and relaxation. I'll keep playing video games, I'll keep watching cool new movies or YouTube videos from my favorite creators, I'll take naps when I want to.
- I won't go into too much detail, but once I've got insurance again I will be finding a new therapist/pyshciatrist ASAP. Regular therapy has done wonders for me in the past, and I know it's a healthy thing to do.
- Other than that, I am a strong believer in mindfulness meditation and other aspects of Buddhism and Stoicism. I want to meditate more, at least once a day for 10 minutes at a time. I'd also like to journal more, preferably in the form of gratitude journalling.
- This is probably an obvious thing. I don't have the best eating/exercise routines. I've enjoyed a myriad of spin classes over the years, but I'd also like to have an at-home routine in the home gym I spent a decent amount of money setting up.
- This also includes diet; I don't have any particular weight loss goal, but I want to make sure I'm slowly reducing the amount of alcohol and sugar I consume. Alcohol is an easy escape in a post-pandemic world, but drinking during the weekdays is an especially trap to fall into. I take vitamins and drink things like Soylent and Athletic Greens, but I'd like to do that more consistently. Instead of stuffing my face with crackers and cheese, I'd much rather have a little bit of a snack and then fill up on water.
- I'm okay on money for the most part (though the layoff last year didn't help). I used to be a lot better about budgeting but in recent years I have been awful at keeping up with it. I used to use YNAB but eventually moved over to TillerHQ; it's is a great product... if I remember to actually use it, categorize purchases, and budget for the future. That's something I need to be better about if I'm going to save for some longer-term purchases.
I'm not a fan of "goals" or "New Year's resolutions", hence my careful phrasing in this post. I have a theme for my year, I have a series of habits I want to build up, I have an idea of the person I want to be. That is what will guide my year.
I'm sure I'll edit/update this post a few more times, but the general message should stay relatively static.