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New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions:


Woohooooooo! 2021! Last year was pretty good for me, and pretty awful for alot of other people. Hopefully 2021 will be pretty good for me, and pretty good for other people. Let's keep good vibes going, and change bad vibes to good vibes.

I think last year's approach of “soft” vs. “hard” resolutions with just a grounding in feelings vs. some higher-order sense of purpose worked out a lot better than the year before's approach of the carrot-and-stick approach to resolutions (turns out alot of carrots and sticks are imaginary since I would be beating or feeding myself), and the one before that where I just had a whole bunch of hard objectives I couldn't meet. This past year, I succeeded in all the “soft” resolutions and failed some of the “hard” resolutions, so maybe I should just go for “soft” resolutions this time around, or mark all “hard” resolutions as reach goals. Or just toss it into a bucket.

  • Do things that make me happy: I think happiness is probably the most rare and precious resource I have. I never really figured that until I didn't have it, when I had to scratch and claw for every scrap of happiness in my life. Now, things are better, I'm happier more often. Now, I would like to stay happy most of the time, and I should aim to do things that make me happy. Whether that's meeting up with a friend, or getting delivery, or joining a group, or watching TV or reading a book, I need to prioritize my happiness. A happy person is much more employable, can maintain state for longer, and has a much more natural drive to do things because they have self-compassion and self-love for themselves. Mastering this enigma, I think, is a lifelong challenge, but I'm fortunate enough to say I can start now.

  • Explore more: I should be getting my e-bike at some point in time, and I have money to rent a car now, so I should be able to be more flexible in terms of where I can travel. Also I'm paranoid about the metro now because of the pandemic, so I can't really be attached to where the metro can or can't go anymore.

    It'll be nice to travel and go hiking by myself. Or go visit Glenstone Art Museum, or the Botanical gardens or the butterfly gardens. All easier if I have a car and can plan a day trip. That would be nice.

    Exploring is something I haven't really done last year, and it's something that always brought me comfort as a kid. So I think doing more exploring will help make me happier.

  • Find another welcoming community with a productive interest: The writer's group I've joined was a lifesaver amongst lifesavers over this past year. I think my emotional and mental health, and my routines, would probably be a good deal worse off than if I hadn't joined and stuck with it. I'm not sure if my writing's gotten much better over the course of this past year, but I haven't stopped writing, which is nice.

    I think it'd be cool to replicate this success by joining another group. For instance, I gained thirty pounds over last year, and I think it would be nice to find a fitness group to be a part of, like a small trainer's group. Or, since I really enjoy eating food and I pay wayyyyy too much for food on Doordash, I might be better off paying to join a foodie community where we can do weekly cooks, or have a cooking coach of some sort. Or maybe knitting and sewing, or a ukulele group, or something along those lines.

    I think I might not be able to meet this goal if I don't get myself out of my comfort zone, or if the task at hand just takes up too much time (e.g. having to buy a specific set of groceries to make a particular recipe and leaving the leftovers out for too long).


These all sound like work of some sort, so I'll break here with this sentence before continuing.

  • Replace more software I use for life management with software I write myself: So this year I think Google really started tightening the screws on what software works where; Google Meet only works on Chrome and not Firefox, YouTube only works on Chrome and not Firefox, Google Sheets is a bit screwed up on Firefox, etc.

    I need to get away from Google, but I don't want to jump out of a frying pan and into the fire, especially when it comes to migrating and managing my data. Even FOSS software doesn't really do the trick sometimes; it's too complicated, or not targeted towards me, or just plain bad. I would reallllly like having software made just for me. And the only way to do that on the cheap is to roll it yourself.

    I think that if I had a database-backed spreadsheet application that would be on-prem with backups to S3, that would unblock soooo much potential for what I can do. I already have a database with database dumps synced to S3, and I already know about PostgREST and PostGraphile, so really it's about building out that damn frontend.

    Also, photos. I try signing up for dating websites, but they always demand photos to know you're not a bot and stuff. I don't take too many good photos of myself so usually I have to re-activate Facebook and get some old ones. But I'm afraid when I go to deactivate Facebook, I'll fat-finger something eventually and permanently delete my account instead of deactivating it. I need to export my photos out (and make damn sure those photos are usable, cough cough Google Accounts backup) and load them into a personal photo gallery from S3.

    Cough habit tracker, digital Rolodex, password auto-rotation tool. I'm still salty over all of these not being finished last year.

  • Ship personal software to production, with payments: In previous years I mostly read books on software engineering, instead of working with my hands and doing it myself. That approach worked, but it's inefficient and doesn't really improve my optionality. Also, from my sabbatical experience, I learned that while I do love working with software, I also love making money, and there's no reason why I can't do both (…I got into software because money).

    So I should try to ship some software. It will be crap (because I've internalized the different kind of pain of building something so perfect it'll never ship, and if you ship before you're ready / ship at all it will be crap because software is crap), and it'll be tiny, but it'll be mine and people can pay me for it or whatever. I'm inspired by tinyprojects, who built and sold a tiny store for $5k and now can say he's started and sold a business when trying to raise money and do other things.

    My $4k in AWS credits last until 2022, so I can afford to stand up things like k8s or try out MLOps stuff. My workplace is also extremely generous, so I get to learn on the job in the direction I want, instead of having to learn the wrong thing then go home and unlearn that and learn the right thing. Those should all help in terms of freedom of action, and the strategy of turning intellect and time/sweat/tears into capital and passive income.