2016 Year In Review

Last year was a tumultuous year for me. Although I managed to accomplish the goals I set for myself and then some, I did that with some pretty heavy trade-offs. Finally, alone in a hotel room some 15 minutes from Osaka, Japan, I have some time to reflect and introspect on the events of the past year.

The year started with me moving into a new larger space. I had planned the move rather meticulously, even calculating a budget to make sure I could afford the higher rent. Then, with the move-out paper signed, boxes packed, and moving date set I was told my contract would be terminated in a month. Nothing to do with bad performance, just that the project I was working on was ending, and there was no other fit on the team for me. Having this foisted all on me at once did put me in a panic for a while. My grand silicon valley adventure was at a risk of coming to an end, and might even have to move back across the country and live with my parents.

Fortunately, a team literally across the floor was hiring, and I went into the interview with nothing to lose. I gave the best technical interview performance of my life, and I got offered another contract position, this one with real potential to convert to full-time in 6 months. I buckled down and worked hard, partially because I wanted to make a good impression and partially because the overtime pay was good. The full-time conversion opportunity that dangled in front of me like a carrot on a stick. Eventually, hints were dropped that I was in line for a conversion, and after 9 months I was given an offer which I gladly accepted.

With the new home came new responsibility. I was now in charge of yard maintenance, which I largely neglected due to the hours I was keeping at work. Even to this day there is still a single unpacked box in my bedroom. For most of the year, I didn’t feel relaxed at home, since even when the chores were done there was still an overwhelming amount of things to take care of, and often I would either procrastinate or escape out of the house on weekends and pretend those tasks didn’t exist.

My parents visited twice last year, both times we stayed around the house to finish unpacking and work on landscaping tasks. Both times they came I had an argument with my dad over putting away dishes in a cupboard. Besides those episodes, we did manage to shop for furnishings and bond over home-cooked meals.

I witnessed one of my friends get married. I witnessed the aftermath of another friend’s breakup a short while later. Another friend started a new job with a 40 minute commute. I’ve only seen him in person once in the past 6 months. I know I’ve personally gotten busy with my constant traveling, but it doesn’t explain the steep drop-off in interactions.

Last year I also started traveling internationally on a regular basis. I went from having an expired passport to visiting Germany and Japan multiple times, all on business trips. My airline status was elevated to Platinum just from those flights. International travel changed my life in many positive ways. I’m more organized now than I was before. It’s a necessity when you’re living out of a suitcase and on a tight work schedule during the trip. Before, I was mostly content with living vicariously through travel programs, but now I want to go places, and not just places I happen to be at for a trip. I am more adventurous now than I was before. It also makes me more appreciative of the diversity of cultures on this planet.

Lastly, I had to replace my car. A week before my first business trip I rear-ended someone waiting at the end of a short on-ramp. My car was later totaled by the insurance company, so I took the payout and bought a new Volkswagen GTI.

Having friendships fall apart in front of me was the toughest part of last year. I don’t feel regret for anything I did, I feel betrayed by people who I thought I could rely on for support. It’s been a constant quest over the past few years to find people I can confide in. Maybe it’s already too late for me, but I haven’t given up. Perhaps it’s a big ask, but I want my friends back, and I’m trying my hardest not to sit and wait for them to contact me.