If you’ve looked at my blog, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted in quite a while. In fact, the last post here was just an apology note that I hadn’t posted at all in 2017 and that I did intend to - but obviously didn’t. To say that 2017 was a tough year would be an understatement, as from what I’ve seen and heard, it’s been difficult for many in an assortment of ways. In retrospect and by comparison, I’d have to say that I had a successful - albeit extremely busy - year. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for other people though. Like most Americans, I think this past year was wrought with nervousness and constant anxiety for what the next day/week/month might bring. In fact, as I sit here writing this retrospective, it’s hard for me to even remember what happened.
A couple weeks ago, as part of the year-end review process, my boss asked me to submit a brief list of what I considered my biggest accomplishments were for 2017. Surprisingly, it was actually a bit difficult to think back about the entire year. Because I never delete any emails (save for spam - that goes immediately to the trash), I had to scan through all the emails I received in 2017 to jog my memory. And once I started to accumulate a list of things that I had done (and achieved), summarizing was difficult - and that was just the professional side of my life!
Personally, things were a haze - a constant navigation through a series of changes, missteps and challenges. Thankfully, through it all, I emerged relatively unscathed and stronger than I had at the beginning of the year, largely thanks to family, friends and colleagues. But thanks to the sheer volume of things that happened this year and my inability to remember even 10% of what happened without combing through emails, text messages and social posts, I have chosen to instead try to look forward to 2018 and the goals that I want to achieve there.
This past year has been fraught with fear and anxiety, and having spent the entire year dealing with it, I don’t want to deal with it any more. Its unnecessary baggage and only works to undermine my happiness and leaves me exhausted. Instead, I want to fight for happiness and sanity for myself, my family, friends and colleagues in 2018.
Here is a quick rundown of my goals that I want for myself in the coming year:
- I want to push harder for my health. I’ve worked with my personal trainer for nearly 2 years now, and this year I was able to include Ashley, and I believe it was the smartest investment in us I’ve ever made. I want to continue what I started, and push myself to be stronger and feel even better than I have.
- I also want to dedicate more time for myself and with family. Throughout this past year I focused a lot on work, and though it has helped me professionally, I feel it pulled me away from my family a little bit more than I’m comfortable with. And with members of my family getting older, the time I spend with them will be more and more important.
- In line with my previous point, I also need to take more time off. Last year, due to scheduling both personally and professionally, I didn’t take a lot of time off. As a result, there were periods where I was impatient, frustrated and altogether unhappy because I felt I was trapped underneath an unrelenting pile of work. This was very unhealthy and only served to negatively affect my relationships - with my family, friends, colleagues, and most importantly, Ashley. And so I’d like to take more time off in order to continue to tend to the relationships that keep me sane.
- Professionally, there are a lot of things that I’d like to do in 2018. In particular:
- I want to continue to push for better integration between our product and other systems in the hospital. I still find it ridiculous how territorial some vendors in hospitals are when we ask for their help with integrating our system with their system to achieve rather small-yet-important improvements to increase efficiency and/or safety for the customer.
- I want to continue to improve development and deployment processes for my group to achieve more consistent build estimates. As the group I work in is involved with integrating with other vendors, our timelines are very sensitive to any and all difficulties we may encounter; seemingly small problems may have big impacts and could delay progress quite significantly. I want to make sure that the integrations we build for customers can be estimated within reason without putting huge amounts of stress on us to complete by a given deadline when we under-estimate (which has happened pretty regularly this year due to the aforementioned reasons).
- I also want to work on expanding and honing my knowledge set. I have been eyeing use of Kotlin in our group for a long time as some of its language features could be quite beneficial for us to turn around changes or entire projects quickly while still maintaining the extensive knowledgebase we have over the Java language. I also want to learn more about the efforts in standardization and new technologies that serve that goal in my ecosystem in order to both help my group succeed and also contribute back to the organizations that promote the standardization.
- I would also like to improve my photography skills. I visit the photography, itookapicture, photocritique, and pics subreddits pretty often and am always impressed by some of the shots that other amateur photographers have captured. I have impressed myself on occasion, and even some family have appreciated some of the shots that I taken, but I’ve always considered those to be luck and so I’d like to improve to be less luck and more skill and technique. As such, I’ve decided that I will try to challenge myself to take at least one shot a day - every day - for 2018. A little like the 365 Project. I might actually post my images here too…
Overall, I want to continue to push the boundaries that I’ve already proven to myself that I can go beyond. I want to see where the limits of my potential are - without putting strain on myself and my family. I want to continue to contribute where I can, and improve the lives of others using the skills I’ve learned thus far.
In 2017, I felt I let the year dictate things, but for next year, I’d like to reverse the roles. For 2018, I want to take control and define how I would like the year to be remembered.