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Five months into 2017

Before I start, let me just say that I started reading “Two Scoops of Django” after doing the introductory Django and Django REST Framework tutorials, and….I am so not ready for Django. I probably shouldn't feel this way, but I do; I have no experience whatsoever with setting up backend frameworks properly, let alone coding them properly and being able to deploy them thoughtfully.

Luckily, I bought a course on Rails on Udemy a while back, so I think I'll take this opportunity to pause on the Traveltile development that I haven't really started, take the Rails tutorial (I've heard Rails is good for intro projects, and that it's not new yet still maintained), and if I like it, make my Traveltile backend in Rails. Cause why not. I'd actually get started on a language I reviewed in “Seven Languages in Seven Weeks”, I'd obtain some backend programming experience from somebody who hopefully doesn't suck, and I'll have something to build off of for small projects that could become bigger (Twitter was first written in Rails).


So. Five months into this year. At the beginning of this year, I wanted:

  • To get fit (like six pack abs fit)
  • Go on a date with somebody
  • Make some friends in the area besides office coworkers
  • Double my cash flow by starting a side hustle
  • End up as a Research Software Engineer on the Google Brain team

I have yet accomplished none of those things. Not even close. But I don't think that means I have utterly failed and fallen flat on my face for the past few months, if only because I can't afford to think like that.

So what did I do? For starters:

  • I bought a year's subscription of Calm, and I just accomplished a 12 day streak just now while missing only two days in May (I have the photo screenshot on my phone but I'm not sure how best to upload it here to the blog)
  • I didn't fail yet at my job, and I hope to continue not failing
  • I read through all seven Harry Potter novels in two weeks
  • I read through two of Lee Kwan Yew's autobiographies
  • I read through “The 4-Hour Workweek” (I do a lot of reading maybe)
  • I read through “Seven Languages in Seven Weeks”
  • I built a Lisp in C

Yet somehow it feels like I haven't done anything. Like life is passing me by. When I'm old and gnarly, what will I remember about my 22nd year? What exactly am I aiming for now?


A big life lesson for me is that my work shouldn't be my life. 40 hours a week is enough; indeed, it's probably my ceiling. I remember in college I thought work would be everything. Then I got rung up on deployments at 12:30AM in the morning (30 minutes after midnight) to deal with production bugs, and staying up and thinking until 1:30AM while needing to be in the office at 9:30AM. It is not fun. So not fun. Smart people get computers to automate everything, then go to sleep / have a beer / hang out with their kids. Even smarter people make $30M before they're 30, then put it into Treasuries or real estate or index funds and live off of / reinvest the returns.

Another big one is how important your health is, both physically and mentally. Sitting for eight hours in front of a screen and then coming home to an empty apartment and coding some more is hell on the mind and body. Which is why meditation and exercise are so important.

Last thing is how much routines help. Without school or (possibly) work, you need to get your own routine up and running, to provide some structure to your life, to provide some checkpoints you can audit and compare yourself to.

For the rest of the year, I want to:

  • Just finish all the Udemy courses I bought before they go out of date
  • Get a random stranger to give me $5 for a piece of code I wrote by myself and for myself
  • Keep reading through my books
  • Develop stronger exercise and hygiene habits

I think that sounds more doable.