i didn’t write a post for 2021 but no matter because it was all gearing up for 2022 anyways. i’ll split this update into 2 parts: timeline and learnings.
- Jan – started new job at Meta after a grueling interview season
- Feb – grandma arrives from China to help with baby
- Mar – my first child and daughter Sunniva was born
- Apr – injured my lower back yet again and got official diagnosis of degenerative disc disease (DDD), overnight bouldering trip for Minaqa’s birthday
- May – night nurse for baby
- June – picked up my Rivian R1T 8 months after preorder
- July – covid infection, Sunbreak-ish, George & Amy visit, Becca and Mike’s wedding, Above & Beyond Weekender w/ siblings and SOs
- Aug – mom and dad visit, first time offroading, overnight camping for Jess’s birthday, another round of couples therapy begins
- Sept – PT for my back brought me back to game-ready shape so i could continue playing ultimate, London and Dublin for work (business class for the first time 🤩)
- Oct – DFW datacenter visit for work, honeymoon period for new company ends, body is tired from all the travel and drinking
- Nov – grind at work to a near burnout, Thanksgiving in Hawaii gets canceled due to RSV infection
- Dec – marriage stabilized, Lizzie visits for Xmas, hanging around the house and focusing on family
the year unfolded mostly to plan and yielded the results i wanted.
deep down, i knew change needed to happen because my trajectory wasn’t great. perhaps my family and i presented fine to the outside world – but the cracks in the foundation were threatening to tear it all apart. i was hoping that the arrival of my first child would force a course correction, and the gamble paid off. i spent months wrestling with my immaturity and bad habits until i was able to convince myself to become a better man, husband, father. i don’t recommend this risky behavior but i am admitting it for what it was.
so what nuggets of wisdom do i have for us?
- improvement happens day by day. intensity matters for competition, but the way to get there is by practicing every day. i’ll give you the practical: spaced repetition + good sleep = results. i’ve used this formula to achieve success in many arenas. the most recent one is job interviewing. there are many more detailed posts on how to crack the coding interview, but the gist of it is that you do some coding problems daily and build that mental muscle. unless you are a genius, there is no shortcut that enables you to skate by just studying on the weekends. commit to the daily practice and the results will come.
- admit to your bad habits and evolve past them. seek professional help if necessary. the beauty of life is each organism strives towards a perfection that can never be achieved. each generation constructs its own ideal of perfection and thus, perfection is a moving target – but it is a target nonetheless. the deadline of life is an amazing forcing function that generates change and evolution.
- don’t use your family as an excuse. i suppose this is one instance of “don’t be a victim.” great persons have come and gone, and many of them have had children. they made their situation work. use the constraint to your advantage. feeling like you’re out of time? Parkinson’s Law applied beneficially is called timeboxing. feeling like you’re out of energy? understand your chronotype and schedule work appropriately. feeling like you’re out of motivation? saddle yourself with a bunch of debt. i mostly jest, but obligations can be a source of motivation. find a purpose that can drive you – family, fame, success, mastery, whatever.
- invest in yourself, continuously. i’m a fan of nonfiction audiobooks, especially autobiographies. the human experience gets better with each generation due to the compound interest paid by reuse of knowledge. leverage all that condensed human experience so you can adjust your trajectory. as a personal example, reading about abusive upbringings forces me to reckon with mine – and then work to expel the toxic behaviors from my personality and life.
- a job is a job is a job. don’t sacrifice your health for your company, especially if you have no ownership. try this mental exercise to understand the wealth that you possess and live in: how far are you from becoming homeless if you stopped working? include all the favors and relationships you can leverage. include all the governmental safety nets like unemployment. if you realize that most of your labor is simply generating all these layers of luxury and comfort, you can mindfully choose how fast you want to set the treadmill of work.
- do financial planning whenever your life circumstances change. i conflate financial planning with retirement planning because it’s about understanding how your finances support your expected lifespan. there are a lot of plenty of free resources out there; maybe start in /r/personalfinance if you know nothing. you might be interested in FIRE. start grappling with questions like: what is my ideal retirement age? what lifestyle do i want to have? are my children still dependent on me? what if my partner or i die early? the pandemic made me realize i want to work for a while and maintain a sense of purpose, so i’m personally aiming for retirement when all my children have left the nest… probably 2042.
- hope for the best, plan for the worst. Meta had its first layoffs ever this year. reading the online discourse via internal Workplace and external Blind, it was a bit pitiful to see the rose-colored glasses shatter across so many young employees. companies come and go, even unicorns. the gravy train will eventually stop so ride it while you can :)