>>> How did I do in 2012?
- Make my hands pain-free. I’m not totally pain-free, but I’m close enough that I’m willing to call this one “done”. I can accomplish all my daily tasks with a low, manageable level of pain, and that level stays constant over time.
- Exercise more and stay healthy. I really haven’t done this. I’ve done some research, and there’s very little standing in the way except motivation and time. But I need to get off my butt and do it. This one’s “not done”.
- Work on my people skills. This is an ongoing task and there is always room for improvement. I keep learning new things about people, especially through my relationship with R. This one is “eternally ongoing”.
- Buy a house. Once I got my hands under control, I started looking in earnest. It’s been a long and harrowing process. This is still “in progress”, and I expect I’ll be the (proud?) owner of my own living space sometime in 2013.
Since 2011, I’ve run through another bout of doctor visits and hand therapy. It turns out the diagnosis I got last year was wrong, and a different diagnosis (with appropriately-targeted therapy) has done wonders for my hands. Last year, they diagnosed me with a joint sprain, but it wasn’t my joints at all -- it was the tendons in my fingers. I have some combination of tendonitis/tendonosis and trigger finger.
A few months of hand therapy later, I’ve ditched the voice software and I can now make it through my daily typing demands. I’m not pain-free, but my pain level is minimal as long as I get enough rest and stretch properly. My hands are way better than before and importantly, they are staying constant -- not getting worse. So I think I can call that a success.
It’s definitely a chronic condition I will have to manage, though. The only solution for chronic trigger finger is surgery, and mine isn’t nearly bad enough to require that. So it’s a “watch and wait” game -- watch to make sure I don’t get any worse, and wait on medical science to advance. They’re making some good strides in learning how to treat tendon injuries, particularly chronic ones, so maybe in a few years something new will be available.
Nothing new to report here, unfortunately. I bought You Are Your Own Gym a while ago, and did half of one of the beginner workouts, which completely kicked my ass. Needless to say, I am out of shape.
I haven’t picked the book up since, and I need to. It’s just a matter of time, motivation, etc. Also, I don’t like pain very much.
>>> House Search
Hunting for a house has been one of the most frustrating, annoying, harrowing experiences of my life. It’s also the most amount of money I’ll ever spend (except for the next house), so I’ve been taking my sweet time to make sure I get it right.
Worse, it’s a seller’s market. Prices are skyrocketing and there are very few places to choose from. Good places are gone in less than a week. (Yes, people are spending high-6-figure sums of money in less than a week. It’s ridiculous.) So I’ve been sinking huge amounts of time (and gas) into looking at places that are at the upper end of my budget but don’t quite meet my needs.
I made an offer on one place last year, but got very much outbid. I have yet to make a second offer. I’m getting pretty burned out on this whole process, but I suspect it will only get worse until the next crash comes along, at which point it will get better and then get worse again. Unfortunately, nobody knows if that will happen next month or next decade.
Work is going really, really well. I’ve taken on a lot of responsibility and been well-recognized by my peers and my manager for the work I’m doing. We pushed version 2.0 out the door, and our road map has lots of interesting problems to solve. I am excited about what’s next.
I thought by now I would be getting antsy--ready to move on and find another job--but that hasn’t happened. There have been periods of time where that was the case, but there have always been enough pros to keep me around.
There is very little bullshit, and almost no politics -- everyone is focused on solving problems, and solving them the right way. Everyone I work with is smart and brings some unique skills/strengths to the table. We all know this and trust each other to do the right thing.
Even so, a lot of people I know and respect have left the company over the years, and that does give me pause. I would be blind if I didn’t at least acknowledge that and make sure I understand their reasons for leaving. For the most part, I think I do. And I still try to keep in touch with most of them. At the very least, it’s reassuring to know that I have contacts elsewhere in the industry, so if I need to find another job, I’ll have plenty of help.
But for now, Riverbed is a great place for me to be, and I suspect it will be for some time to come.
>>> Personal Coding
Despite the trouble with my hands, I’ve done a lot of personal coding over the last year. I’ve got a couple major projects, and at least one minor project.
homectl is a small, pseudo-package manager for one’s home directory. Many of us UNIX geeks tend to accumulate lots of configuration files, scripts we wrote, etc. over the years, and we need a way to keep it all organized. Perhaps just as importantly, we need to be able to deploy all that stuff quickly on new machines, since without our personal toolboxes, most of us would have a hard time functioning. This is a minor project, born of necessity, and it is both the youngest and the only project of mine to have made it to GitHub so far.
Neko is my music organizer. I’ve accumulated a lot of music over the years, ripped CDs multiple times in different formats, etc. and my collection has grown to be unmanageable. Neko’s job is to help me weed out duplicates and fix up all my tags so that artist/album names are consistent, etc. This is a much bigger project, and though I’ve made a lot of progress with it, a lot more work remains to be done. It’s on hold for now, though, since I just haven’t had much time for it.
Dryice is the oldest, biggest, and most ambitious of my projects. This is an idea that’s been around, in one form or another, since my college days. My goal with Dryice is to create a programming language that helps developers write correct, fast programs with minimal effort, targeted to diverse environments.
Of course, that has been every language creator’s goal since the beginning of time. It’s not a goal at which one “succeeds”, really -- we just make better and better approximations of the ideal as time goes on. There are some really good ideas that are spread across multiple languages, and I want to mesh them into one language (with a couple ideas of my own).
I don’t have anything usable, yet, and it will probably be a while before I do. But if nothing else, it has been a fun and rewarding hobby project to think about and to work on.
It's hard to believe I've been dating R for over a year now. It's certainly been a ride, and nothing like I expected it would be. That's not a bad thing, though. In fact, it's been a good thing, because I've learned a lot from him and from this whole process of relating to each other and discovering our similarities and differences.
It's weird to be in a committed relationship. It feels so... normal. And yet, communication is still hard. It's a thing we'll probably always be working on. We argue and we fight, but that's okay because we always try to stay honest with ourselves and each other. We hold each other accountable, too.
It's important to be open, but being open is hard. We have to help each other do it sometimes. Sometimes, we don't even realize we are holding something back, out of fear or whatever, until the other one points it out. But we are both learning.
Our relationship has been tested in more ways than one over the past year. He was unprepared for how stressful and protracted the house hunt has been. I was unprepared for... well, a lot of things. We fumbled our way through it, and it has been hard, but worth it.
I can't imagine doing this with anyone else.
>>> Social State
Outside of the Boy, I feel like I've hit my social stride this year. I have more friends than I have time to see at this point, so whenever I feel like being social, there's always someone to see or something to do. I am finally starting to fit in well in the Bay, and that makes me happy about deciding to stay here for the long haul.
Part of that has to do with the fact that my college friends have slowly been moving here as well. In some ways, my social life is starting to feel like college all over again, and that's not a bad thing. It's great because I can introduce my new furry friends to my good old friends from school, and for the most part, everyone gets along well.
If I had to sum up my feelings over the past year in a word, I think that word would be "driven". (I asked R that same question, and his suggestion for me was "stressed".) I feel like I have been falling behind in some intangible way, which isn't really true, but it still serves as a strong motivator to keep my butt moving on things I want to accomplish.
I expect 2013 will be much the same. I fully expect to buy a house, and once I have done that, a lot more things will get easier -- I'll have more time to focus on the other important stuff like my friendships and relationship, and on my health and the things I want to do in this life. There's no reason I can't be doing those things now, of course, but I always seem to be bad at maintaining any semblance of balance. ;-)
That, too, has been a source of stress for us. I'm not always the best at paying attention when I have something else on my mind. I often focus on one thing for long periods, to the exclusion of other equally important things in my life. I need to learn to balance better, and I'm going to try to do that this year.
>>> Plans for 2013
- Buy a house. Carried over from 2012. I’m really ready to have a nice, “grown-up” place I can call home for a long time to come--not just a bachelor pad. And I want it to be in the south bay.
- Exercise a healthy amount. This one’s going back on the list, because yeah. I really need to do this. I’m getting older and more out of shape.
- Reconnect with my friends. I've done a terrible job of staying in touch with some of you, and whatever the excuse, I want to do better this year. You all deserve that.
- First release of Dryice. It’s time to create something real out of this long-held dream.
I have 4 goals again this year. If last year was any indication, 4 is an overly ambitious number, but I think I will be able to make a good start on all of them, if not finish a couple. I know I can buy a house, and once I've done that, I know I can spend more time with my friends. The others will take discipline and creativity, and they are much less of a sure thing.
But, I think I can do it, and right now that's what’s important. Let's find out, shall we?