Hello hello! It’s another year and these What’s Up posts have become annual write-ups. I’m excited to be writing tonight because I haven’t flexed my writing muscles in a long time, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of my recent thoughts and updating folks on my life.
City Living and Work
I’m glad to say that 2015 has been an absolutely wonderful year. It’s been over two years since graduation and I’m loving every moment in San Francisco. I’ve grown to appreciate my neighborhood, Nob Hill, even more. On a given weekend I’ll grab coffee at Beanstalk Cafe, shoot some hoops at a local park, enjoy a delicious dim sum lunch in Chinatown, walk back to the Union Square area to grab bubble tea from Boba Guys, and head out to meet up with friends in other neighborhoods. I now recognize the familiar faces of locals in my area and also get to enjoy the continuously-changing crowds of tourists.
Late last year I was promoted to Product Manager at Macys.com, and I love my role and finally feel comfortable knowing what to do and how to do it, as well as helping others learn the ropes. It’s an empowering feeling to have the tools (in this case, experience and knowledge) to be able to get things done. Of course, there are still plenty of head scratching “I have no idea” moments, but these have become interesting challenges that add some zest into my day-to-day at work.
Traveling, the Current and Future State
Working full-time has also given me more opportunities to do things that I love to do outside of work, from exploring new restaurants to attending music festivals to going on trips whenever time allows. In the past year, I’ve been to three continents and multiple states in the US, doing my best to take advantage of the limited vacation days that I have. This has required plenty of hustling, including overnight plane and bus rides, very little sleep, and action-packed days. But I loved every single moment of it, and my experiences this past year has further cemented my ideal future state of traveling.
Since college graduation, I’ve had a strong desire to travel extensively – not to tour but to really travel and get immersed in local cultures and environments. After two and and half years, this desire has only grown stronger, and this past year I’ve decided that one of my goals in life is to travel for an extended period of time before I turn 30. The possibilities are endless. I’m not limiting this to a particular country or area, and I’m even open to traveling within the US. The long and short of it is that traveling is one of the few activities where I feel the most alive and in my element.
The question now is how do I work toward this goal? I have some ideas and will continue to think this through in more detail this coming year. Stay tuned!
Avoiding Being Too Hard on Myself
Toward the end of last year, there were times when I felt overwhelmed and disconnected. After thinking it through, I found the root cause – I was setting unrealistic expectations and then being too hard on myself when I didn’t reach those goals. For example, I’d make a mental checklist of things to accomplish each day, only to go to bed finishing one or two items from that list. I’d focus on the things I wasn’t able to accomplish instead of recognizing that I had finished one or two legitimately large undertakings.
In the New Year I resolved to do a better job affirming myself, because I realized for the longest time I had never really done that. I’d always just completed things in the moment and given any accomplishments very little thought after the fact. This coming year, I’ll be doing my best to remember that as long as I’m making an effort and not sitting around doing nothing, then it’s perfectly okay. Sometimes doing nothing is perfectly okay, too.
Respecting Other People’s Time
This past year, I’ve also done more trip planning than I have in previous years, which has been both fun and eye-opening. In the past, I’d always tagged along with other people who’d planned everything out. I’m now much more inclined to take the initiative booking housing, researching activities, proposing itineraries, and estimating costs. I consider it great training for my desire to travel more in the future.
Becoming more of a planner has also allowed me to be more appreciative of people who respect other people’s time. I’d always been the type of person to avoid arriving early to any event, because I didn’t like waiting around and always tried to fit lots of things into small windows of time. But I’ve come to realize that being on time is not just good etiquette, it’s also respectful. The other on-time party made an effort to not waste your time, so why waste theirs?
My preference as a Perceiver is not mutually exclusive from being respectful and aware of others folks’ efforts to be on time, so I’m making a better effort to be punctual, regardless of whether the other party is there on time or late. And if I’m a few minutes late, I apologize in advance. I’m trying, folks!
Discovering Yoga & Fitness
I recently discovered yoga, and it’s already had a huge impact on my well-being. A co-worker who’s also a yoga instructor volunteers her time once a week at work, so I’ve been attending as much as I can on a weekly basis. Some initial thoughts – it’s a lot harder than it looks, the stretch I get immediately improves my performance and recovery in other sports, and I’m also getting stronger while relieving stress. I love the emphasis on breathing. I discovered that the right breathing technique is the key to many sports, and I was able to link that concept to becoming a better swimmer.
I’m still swimming twice a week and playing basketball once a week, and the more active I am, the happier I am. I realized that I’m able to achieve a flow state the most frequently when I’m active. Players are no longer there as I enter the zone during a pickup basketball game. Rows of cars become a tunnel as I’m lane splitting through traffic on my motorcycle. My swim strokes become part of the water in the pool. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love being active because it’s life giving, and I’ll continue to pursue that as long as I’m able.
Goals: Coding & Reading the Bible
I’ve set two personal goals for 2016. The first is to (finally) begin learning to code, and the second is to finish reading the Bible in one year. I’ll explain my reasoning and what I’ve gained from these goals so far.
My church, Reality SF, is participating in the Year of Biblical Literacy, which is basically a year of sermons, discussions, and lectures centered around reading the entire Bible. As a professed Christian, I’ve never read the most important book in my faith in its entirety (to be fair it is quite a longgg read). And I’m afraid many other Christians haven’t either, which has been especially evident during election cycles, church scandals, and misplaced politics. So I’m making it a goal to follow along the reading schedule this year – I’m about 20% of the way through and on track.
I think the basic motivation behind my desire to learn how to code and to finish reading the Bible is the same. I want to understand the foundation and building blocks of these systems, and even if I don’t become an expert in either, I’ll have newfound appreciation and context that will help me see the bigger picture even more clearly.
So here’s to HTML, CSS, the Torah, and the Gospels. 2016 is shaping up to be another great year, and I’m excited to continue living, learning, and exploring!