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New Year's Resolutions

Welcome to the roaring twenties! 🎉 It honestly looks very much like the 1920s. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I think this decade will play a large role towards what my future holds, both good and bad. So let's do this.

The “soft” (not measurable) resolutions:

Learn to love myself: I'm not sure if this comes as a surprise to anybody, but I hate who I am and what I've become. I have a very hard time looking at myself in the mirror and staring into that guy's eyes. Ultimately though, the truth is that guy is me, and I'm kind of stuck with him. So I have to find a way to, well, not hate myself. It's hard because regret forms many parts of why I don't care about me, and you can't really change the past. It's important to fix because without internalizing certain, positive, and self-evident truths, things just don't seem to matter and I become a suffering potato of a person. I hate even admitting this, but it's become too great of an issue to ignore and I need to face it, and if I don't, I potato around for longer and that helps nobody I care about.

Make others happy: I've had a subtractive mindset for a long time, one that assumes many parts of life are a zero-sum game, and it's not very rewarding. In fact by definition it can't be rewarding because the reward is not losing something you already have, which feels very different from gaining something. I think it's more dangerous to assume you have nothing to gain than nothing to lose. The hard part for me isn't understanding this at a surface level, but regulating and compartmentalizing my emotions. I think “good” is kind of subjective, and I think a better heuristic for that intention is “happy”. If I can make other people hapy, I'm generally going right by them, because happiness is so unquantifiable anyways.

Find joy in the ugliness of life: So a few years in the workforce and I've found life's kind of messed up in general. I don't think I've talked to a single friend or acquaintance (especially in software engineering) who says they like all aspects of their job, even all the significant aspects. So I need to either reframe my concerns, do an amor fati thing and be grateful for everything, or I need to be in a different position where the truths I believe are relevant. I'm trying to aim for the latter, because I think it's easier for me. This will really help towards building an antifragile mindset.


The “hard” (measurable) resolutions:

Build the software products along my personal critical path towards personal improvement: Right now that consists of a habit tracker in order to track my personal habits, and a tele-rolodex in order to help me keep in touch with my friends and my professional network. I know I don't have the man hours in order to build each of these things from scratch (especially if there are more things that I need to build), so I want to abstract this away into a platform that does one thing well: data-driven event generation. Then I can build my own apps on top of this.

I already uploaded the “Coming Soon” page here, and added an intro discussion on Lobste.rs, which you can find here. I think I can get an MVP of the platform out, then 0.x releases of the platform, then 0.x releases of each of the apps I detailed above, in the time I think I have. It'll take a lot of work, and it definitely won't be as polished as the apps I'm using now, but I think it'll go a long way towards establishing my own long-term independence from crummy software that I didn't write myself. The old “if you're so smart, then why don't you do it” adage most people don't answer? I'm answering it, just like the Comcast sales rep who said “what are you gonna do, disable your home Internet?". That's how pissed off I am about this.

Find a job that I like: I have to start working again for money at some point, and I'm not looking forward to it. I'm not looking forward to it because I'm afraid there are no worthwhile jobs out there, jobs that I can be happy at and where I can learn stuff. I went into software on the premise I wouldn't have to trade my soul for money, and while that's mostly true (investment banking is much worse), I've kind of been doing it one way or another. The nice thing about software is that there should be a job out there that's the right fit for me. It just might be really hard to get. If it's a matter of technical knowledge, hopefully I can learn enough about what I want to continue learning to get my foot in the door. If it's something else (which it very much could be), then I need to look harder. Freelancing or consulting? Maybe starting a company if the projects I'm working on miraculously take off? Working at a big company, or trying again at a smaller place? Who knows. It's something I have to figure out.

Get my first kiss: This is hard and scary for me. So I'm committing to it publicly. Never gotten one, and I think it should be an interesting experience. I know I can go on a date and not have it be a total disaster. Now that I have a bit more confidence, I should probably start finding the right person, and see what kinds of problems and failures happen with a deeper level of commitment (I'm a really big believer in antifragility, and getting more and different kinds of problems is the only way to become more antifragile).


Yeah, I think that sums it up. I don't want to over-extend myself, and I think accomplishing every single one of these and gaining more coverage is more important than having a laundry list of goals I may or may not meet.

We'll see how it goes. 🍷