2015 Year End Review/Goals for 2016

WARNING: This is not a technical post.

2015 will go down as a good year for me. I suffered no major disasters. My family is relatively healthy. I’m healthier thanks to concerted effort to become so. I still like my job. My children, almost 2 years old and 3.5 years old, are developing into fun little boys with healthy curiosities and a disdain for authority which I can only guess was passed on through genetics.

Here’s a synopsis of my goals for 2015 and where I finished with each.

  • My oldest’s first baseball game.

My wife and I took both my boys to their first live game. Pirates @ Nationals, June 20, 2015. That game happened to be Max Scherzer’s nearly perfect game which also happened to be the first no hitter I’ve seen live. My sons will have no appreciation for what they witnessed except through my eyes. But, it was a great experience for me to have with my boys and my wife present.

  • My oldest’s first real camping trip.

Didn’t make it. Every time we scheduled it, weather killed our plans.

  • My oldest’s first real fun in a pool.

Both boys had a great summer at the pool. Both are taking swimming lessons this winter.

  • 32 rounds of golf, take 6 golf lessons, get down to a 13 handicap.

Did not make it. Lost interest this year as I kept suffering injuries. Which led to an addition to my goals for 2015 in June. It took the form of, “GET THE FUCK INTO SHAPE FAT ASS.”

  • Take 12 guitar lessons, learn two songs by 31/12/2015.

Took the lessons
Learned Star Spangled Banner
Learned Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Working on a bunch of others. Made a lot of progress during my first year of guitar playing. I still sound terrible.

  • Take 12 yoga lessons

Took 1 lesson. I would have taken more but couldn’t find a studio that fit my schedule and budget. However, I am stretching a lot more based on some online videos and home practice. I consider this completed.

  • Be a better team leader at work.

This is a tough one to score. The feedback my team members have provided my boss has been positive as far as I know. I’m pretty sure my boss would let me know if someone indicated I was doing the job badly. However, a great developer left us this year and I’m still not sure if I could have prevented that person’s departure. That lack of clarity may be a sign of a problem in and of itself.

That being said, our junior team members are learning fast and taking the initiative a lot more whereas a year ago they were very, very new. We didn’t fail to deliver a single 2015 project successfully and we’re set to deliver our first 2016 projects on time.

So I’m pretty happy with how this year went.

This is a daily challenge I’m sure one can never “win”. I’ve always found it very hard to define goals for improving my management skills. You either have happy team members and deliver the goods or you don’t. I’m trying to come up with more concrete goals.

  • Become Python literate

I put a very, very small script into production and worked with Python at various points all year. I’ve not found anything compelling about the language over others (e.g. Ruby) but it’s another tool in my belt. At least I can read other people’s code and write it when I have to now. But I doubt it will be the language I turn to first.

  • build something in Rust

I’m working on my first crate at the moment. As noted in an earlier post, I had/am having a really hard time learning Rust and consequently I didn’t really get started on my first crate until late in the year. I consider this a win.

  • contribute to open source monthly

This was one of my complete and utter failures of 2015. I completed one pull request, in January, which, to this moment, still has not been merged despite the maintainer telling me he was going to do so.

But, in my defense, for the majority of the year I had a day job for which I wrote code, I had a part time job for which I wrote code (an additional 10 to 15 hours a week), and I was learning Rust and Python. I just didn’t have it in me to write more code. I really did try but I just didn’t have the energy to get through a pull request or two.

I believe in contributing to open source for a number of reasons and I feel like a mooch at the moment. I will do better during 2016.

  • learn more about distributed computing

I learned enough during the first quarter of the year to know I didn’t/don’t have time to really LEARN the subject. I consider this a win.

  • 2 camping trips

I went white water rafting, back yard camping with my oldest, and winter hiking in February. I’ll give myself partial credit for this one.

  • 200lbs on 12/31/2015.

This goal was added in June as the result of falling apart during the first half of the year. For the first 6 months of the year, every time I did a physical activity I would get injured in some way. In June, after hurting my knee on a golf course, I’d had enough and dedicated the second half of the year to dropping a bunch of weight and getting back in shape.

Since June, I have dropped 30 pounds (40 since Jan 2014 when I hit my lifetime weight zenith). I’m down to 200.8.

I can run 3.1 miles (5K) in 00:23:03 on a treadmill.

I can run 3.77 miles in 00:32:25 on a road course in my neighborhood.

I feel better than I have in a long time.

My strength is starting to return as I’ve hit the weights pretty hard.

I look pretty good these days. I have a four pack which I haven’t had since grunge was popular.

Most importantly, I’m having fun in that part of my life for the first time in a long time. I have more to do during 2016 but I’m not sure where I’m headed with it yet.

  • Catch up on my comic books.

I didn’t even come close. I probably have 125 issues of unread singles and 15 to 20 trades to get through still.

I may have a problem.

  • Read 2 non-technical books.

This was a major goal for 2015. Once we had kids the only writing I had time to read (outside of technical writing) was comic books. I killed this one. Here are a few books I read this year.

Story of O
Pale Blue Dot
The Martian
The Greatest Generation
Nine and Half Weeks
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (finishing currently)

2016 Goals

First and foremost, work less.

One of the first full sentences my oldest learned to ask was, “Papa, Are you going downstairs to work?” Not an exaggeration. And there were stunted versions of that question before the full sentence. So, yah. 2016 is going to be the year I back off of work, a lot.

  • Family:

SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN!!!
Attend 2 sporting events with the boys. baseball, basketball, or hockey
Seth’s first real camping trip.
Take Arlo backyard camping.
Build something with Seth.
Go away with your wife, sans kids, for an extended weekend.

  • Golf:

12 rounds of golf
Get down to a 13 handicap
Take 6 golf lessons

  • Guitar:

public performance by end of ‘16
Wild World, my white whale of the moment
Sweet Child O’ Mine (electric)

  • Work:

contribute to open source monthly
complete 2 open source projects (one Scala, one Rust)
write about what I’m learning regularly

  • 2 camping trips
  • Physical:

185 lbs by 14/04/2016
180 lbs by 31/12/2016
3.1 miles in 00:21:00 on the treadmill
3.77 miles (church run, road course) in 00:30:00

  • Reading:

Catch up on comic books.
Read 2 non-technical books

  • Build a rolling butcher’s block with hidden microwave compartment.

Do I think I’ll get through all of these? No. But if it’s not hard it’s not worth the time.

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