Here are a few things I did this year and some goals for the coming year.
This year, I had a few big changes from the work standpoint. I got promoted to senior software engineer at Braintree and soon after that, I started my new job at Bolt. The promotion certainly felt validating and provided a confidence boost that I couldn't imagine a change in title would. It essentially didn't change my day to day by much but my responsibilities towards the team definitely increased.
I always wanted to work on the frontend and I couldn't get that opportunity on a backend focused team. I also wanted to explore what working at a startup felt like so I went through the interview process with a few startups and eventually decided to join Bolt as a full-stack engineer on the checkout team. It was overwhelming to go from having a deep understanding of the system built over the last two years to training wheels again. I had to essentially learn everything from scratch because even the tech stack at Bolt is completely different. With about five months in, this is still work in progress but I think I am slowly and steadily getting there.
One other thing worth highlighting is Bolt's four-day work week experiment. Over the past few months, Bolt has turned Fridays into something more like Saturdays or Sundays. This extra day has allowed me to explore interests beyond my normal work and I've started deep-diving into Crypto. In the coming year, I plan to more actively learn about blockchain/crypto related work. More on that later.
I almost gave up on running this year. I only ran a total of 165.1 KM which is a distance I would have covered in less than two months last year. I didn't have any injuries that would have prevented me from hitting the road. The only excuses I can think of are an increase in workload and just sheer laziness.
Towards the end of the year, I registered for a 5K to at least motivate me to get started again. There was no way I could have run anything more than that. I ended up running the Golden Gate Half + 5K race and finished it in ~30 minutes. It is far from my best time but it was my very first in-person race and I am happy with how it went.
Next year, I want to keep an achievable target of 500 KM and focus on running better with a mix of recovery runs, long runs, progression runs and race days.
Travel was a continuation of the past year. I didn't really go anywhere other than short trips to Tahoe, Seattle, Champaign and Chicago. Towards the end of the year, I went home to India for a couple of weeks but that is about it. I don't expect much will change the following year either so I have nothing planned just yet.
I got a lot of reading (at least compared to the past) done this year. Here are some of the books I really enjoyed:
- The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
- Made in Japan by Akio Morita
- Principles by Ray Dalio
- Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Company of One by Paul Jarvis
- Stakeholder Capitalism by Klaus Schwab
- Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
I've noticed that I sleep better if I end the day with reading a book in bed. I hope to make a regular habit out of it in this coming year.
With the pandemic continuing for the second year, a lot of movie festivals allowed remote participation. I was able to watch quite a few movies that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). I really hope this trend continues even after the pandemic because it provides exposure to movies that wouldn't be as widely available otherwise. Here is a short list of some of my favorite movies of the year:
According to Spotify, I've listened to 15,379 minutes of Music this year. Here are my top songs from 2021:
This year went by in a flash and I felt like I barely even noticed it. I did end up doing some of the things I had planned last year but most of them didn't quite pan out. I read a fair bit, learned to cook a few dishes and moved to San Francisco from South Bay. I worked a lot on my job and barely had any time off in the first half of the year. The second half was spent stressing out to catch up with all the new things I needed to do. I didn't find a balance.
On a positive note, I maintained my journal throughout the year and altered the prompts like I had planned to last year. I saw decent results but I want to try something new. In addition to describing the day to day events, I also plan to capture gratitude. While it may sound like a self-help schtick, there is plenty of research to back its benefits.
I started getting into crypto and NFTs quite a bit. From an investment standpoint, it does sounds very enticing (although speculative) but just from the technological standpoint, it is absolutely mind blowing. I have a tinge of remorse for not getting into it sooner, but better late than never. In the coming year, I plan to dive into it more seriously.
Overall, this year was certainly productive as far as work is concerned but other than that, I didn't really feel like I did anything. I hope to acheive balance in the coming year with the obvious goal of being happy doing things that make me and the people around me happy.