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15 so things for my 21

Photo by Julien Riedel on Unsplash

It's been a year since I started writing and I still remember my first blog was on my birthday and it was about the things I managed to figure out before turning 20. Since then I wrote almost 210 blogs and some were readable and most of them weren't. So I am back here again, tomorrow is my birthday, and it's been more like ritual writing my birthday blog where I will be looking back and jot down the regrets, failures, happiness, and lesson learned throughout this blog. It's mainly inspired by Daniel Bourke, the big man.

Plus if you want to read the previous year's version, you can read it here 20.

1. The 20

Neither the best nor the worst drawing a line between them. Looking back, I knew I had all the powers to flip things around but I was too lazy and agreed upon taking some regrets into my 21. But still, I am grateful for things I had and some of the things that weren’t even on the list that happened in my life.

To sum up 20, It could have been better and it didn't because of my negligence on certain aspects of my life. This negligence taught me a lesson to keep myself more accountable and be more disciplined in the coming years.

2. Skill over money (it pays off well at the end)

Something I am proud of myself is not putting my money over my satisfaction, it's always been the case. Last year I taught myself machine learning with no expectation except the fact I wanna have fun and build things with that. It wasn't for a job or something, it's more like learning a skill and building things with that and seek satisfaction around it.

With no mere expectations I was learning machine learning for almost a year, then daniel texted me one night asking if I wanna be a teaching assistant for his courses, that was unexpected, and not sure whether I can pull it off. Then I did say yes and now I am getting paid, but you see if it was for the money I might not learn the skill in a fun and enjoyable way, knocking off money while learning something helped me try different things out of the box rather following the conventional way.

3. Attaining the balance, Creation vs Consumption

I have written many blogs on this and in fact on my previous birthday blog it was one of the things I intended to fix asap. And I did it.

Attaining balance was one of the important things that helped me to accelerate my learning and made it more efficient. I started to channel my learnings through blogs and sometimes even in podcasts, this helped me to learn better, and also making content was fun. This year I promised to make more content and par equal consumption to make this process more consistent.

4. Writing Therapy

Writing has changed my life and I can't disagree with that fact. From a guy who keeps everything under his shell to someone documenting his journey on the internet. Instead of getting myself out of the shell writing also helped me to understand my true self. Also, I saw clarity in myself, something I didn’t for a long time.

I have shared my whole experience on writing and how it helped me in a separate blog.

5. The Ideal list

A couple of months before I was in the darkest phase of my life, waking up every day without an actual goal or any desire to pursue something. It was mostly like wake up, eat, sleep repeat, and can say it was one of the most unproductive days of my life.

With time I hate it, then one day decided to put my shits together and was urged to fix things back to the days how it was before. Then I made this ideal list where I jotted down the qualities and things I want to see in myself within two years. I revisit it every day now and then reminding myself I got myself committed to something.

To know more about this incident, you can read this blog where I picturized the whole scenario.

6. Learning a new skill

2020–21 was full of machine learning, I didn't do much apart from that or we can say I wasn't attracted to any other skill till now other than machine learning.

But learning a new skill wouldn't hurt anything. While studying in discord I came across a random hacker and he happens to be president of a hacking club, I was really curious, and there began a conversation. The more we were talking the more I got excited about cyber security and networking.

Will give a shot to cyber security this year and see how things turn out. Also, rule number 1 is to do something just because you want to, not because you need to, learning cyber security just for fun.

7. Embrace nothing to lose

Last week all of a sudden from nowhere I decided to take up a project which is something way beyond my skillset. I was skimming through papers with code and came across this cool research paper by Facebook ai research team and the second thought was “let's try to replicate it”.

At first, I thought it was a dumb idea given the fact that I don't possess any skill to pull this off but what might go wrong? and I got nothing to lose, I said to myself. And then I started with the project from there on and it's been almost 8 days over though there isn’t huge progress, I am learning something every day and pushing my limits gradually. Reading the code written by people working in tech giants and replicating them in a different framework is all fun and interesting.

If I can’t replicate it within 42 days, trust me I got nothing to lose.

8. Regret-free is a myth

I always thrive for a life where I shouldn’t hold any regrets about the mistakes that I have done in my past and the stupid decisions I made during those days. Tackling regrets from then really didn't change anything except added up the burden of saying Yes to everything in my life.

The act of saying Yes might be a good one but at times saying No seems the right choice. It came to light when I realized I have been piling up myself with more responsibilities just to live regret-free. I traded my present satisfaction and happiness for the latter regrets and realized that isn’t something ideal. Regardless of the journey at a certain aspect of life, we will miss out on something, and it's totally fine, but it doesn't mean your life depends wholly depends on them.

9. Love starts with you

Indeed one of the important lessons of my 20s. I always worry about making others happy or loved, but it sucks when they don't feel even 5% of what you do. But also there is no point in being outrageous on them, it's their choice, and it's wise for me to pick mine. And I did.

Self-love became a need of the hour rather than a choice. Though it's hard to adapt to new things especially when it has to do something with your feelings, it takes time but is not impossible. Hereafter for all of my choices, I prioritize myself and then think about others, only when in need.

People come and go in your life, the only one who stays with us, is just ourself.

10. It's all about giving back

When money came into my life I always dreamt of giving back to society, especially to those who are in need, and it could be something that will accelerate someone's life. Luckily this year when I started to earn, it also opened the possibilities for my dream to give back. One of the best moments is when I gifted my old school friend a laptop so he can progress to the next phase in his life. It was just the beginning.

Unexpected, but when unplanned things bring more joy than the planned ones, will you say no?

11. The reset button

2020 is also the year of failures, the more I said yes to things the more I failed. But did it affect me in any way? Probably not, to be honest it didn't. But instead, I learned the skill of giving it a shot again and again regardless of the times I fail. For instance, I broke the chain of writing every day but still, I gave another shot and it didn't well tho, and I will again.

Life isn't a Nintendo game reviving from the checkpoint doesn't happen but you can scratch the surface from where it all started and leverage things from there. You are in control of your own life, do crazy shits, and hit that reset button as much as you like.

12. Smile at the failures

Or we can say embrace the suck, we all suck at something it's not like we are made of gold and glitters. For my 42 days project, I am afraid that I couldn't build the whole model and with that distress, everything seems to fall apart. But why?

I realized the more I am afraid of failing the more limitation I have been putting myself in. It's more like you getting yourself ready for the failure before tunneling inside the whole game. So what have I decided? embrace the failure with a smile.

13. Seek Discomfort

Heartbeats, adrenaline-pumping still you thinking about whether to do it or not?

I love the adrenaline shots, they make you limitless with time. Forget about vodka shots, get some adrenaline pumping. Do things that scare you, challenge yourself now and then, cherish these moments till your last breath.

14. Health, Health, and Health

I feel terrible realizing the importance I gave to my body and health. Being healthy is not just being fit, getting sick often are the clear signs of something wrong with me. And it is.

I wrote about this in my previous annual blog but feeling pity that I haven't taken any steps to fix it, rather fixing it seems like I let it deteriorate more. Health tops the bucket list this time and forever.

15. Lindy life

Recently I came to know about this lindy effect, in short, it means something that had stayed for a long time will eventually stay still in the future. New clothing styles, new trends, new food items might seem good on social media but they also pull off unnecessary distractions into one's life.

From my 21 I want to lead a lindy life and clear unnecessary distraction out of my life and keep it minimal as possible.

What’s in for 21?

The first thing first will be prioritizing my health, followed by creating more content be it writing, podcasting, or whatever, to be a better person.

Not much of dreams or desires, but keep myself pushing every single day and give out my 200%. Attain discipline and consistency in everything I do, it's a must, hence it defines success.

I wanna make this into 21 points but instead stopped with 15, well which shows this year hasn't been the greatest. There wasn't much going on this year and I can squeeze and make it into 21 so points but the rest 6 points won’t be 100% true. This blog holds honesty and my true reflection during my 20s and tampering it with false points will ruin the rawness.

Final Note

Create relentlessly, love yourself and then the others, learn and build things that you like to see in this world, take care of the lovely people around you, and don't let them down, write every day as if your life depends on it, be a good human being.

Don't lose yourself at any point in life, keep smiling and go ahead this world is yours. Always be grateful for what you have, and worry nothing about what you can’t control.

Love you.

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Ashik Shaffi

Ashik Shaffi

Machine Learning Practitioner

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