I like to track things over time. Looking back over the last year I realized the path I took was, well, a bit random at times.
- February: Moved, again. So far I haven’t lived in the same town twice yet, but we’ll see how long that lasts. This was the 5th town I’ve lived in here in California.
- May: Bought a Cannon T1i to so that I could really begin to learn photography. Getting out to photograph things has been coming in spurts, but overall I think I’m improving. It has given me a new appreciation for excellent photography. In general, it’s nice to have high resolution reminders of the past.
- May: Bought a meat smoker and experimented with another way to cook delicious food. I’ve used it a few more times since then and have improved my methods a bit.
- June: Embark with friends on an attempt to build a 6 person “bike-car”. Although we’ve so far failed at doing so, it got us to buy lots of fun and useful power tools. I’ve learned to weld steel, which has come in useful for repairs to the Beetle. Most of the other tools have also come in handy. Having a well stocked workspace is incredibly convenient. I hope that even if the “bike-car” is a failure, we eventually do finish some sort of large-scale project.
- July: Traveled to the Washington D.C. area to see some old friends.
- July: Bought a 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. I’ve been interested in the Beetle since I was very young and have always said I’d get one “someday”. During a commute on Caltrain, I have no idea why, I opened up craigslist and looked at Beetles to get an idea of availability and asking prices. I asked myself why I shouldn’t buy one now and I couldn’t come up with a good reason. Found a great listing, checked it out, bought it. It is definitely the most random and awesome purchase I’ve ever made.
- August: Took a family trip to San Diego. The weather and the area was awesome. Relaxed on the sand, went snorkeling, read books, and took pictures. It was a great trip.
- October: Traveled to D.C. again for my friend’s wedding. It was absolutely some of the most fun I’ve had all year.
- November: Apture, where I had been working for about 20 months, was acquired by Google.
- November: Trip to Orlando with the family to see my grandparents. My family is full of silly people.
- December: Started working through a book to learn Italian. I’ve meant to do this for years. So far I’m a couple of lessons in to the book. Hopefully I can keep it up; I get distracted easily.
I’m sure there’s more I’ve forgotten. I classify a lot of the random stuff I’ve picked up this year as a “quarter-life crisis”. I was always using the excuse of being “busy” and that “I’ll do it when things slow down”. Things never slow down. If you don’t do it now, life will pass you by. Sure, there’s more opportune times than others and you may have to plan ahead to meet financial goals – but in general there’s no better time than the present.
I also decided this year that my single track of focusing on software and computers all day, every day was becoming monotonous. Building software products is a great, rewarding, and challenging career which I absolutely love. But to come home and keep doing that at night and on the weekends leads to burnout. I decided to primarily focus on software at work and home was for all the other hobbies. I’m much happier because of the change.
The arbitrary measure of time that was 2011 turned out well.