2016 was a weird shift year for me. When I think back on where I was in December in 2015 and where I am now in December 2016 I’m not sure I feel there has been a lot of changes and accomplishments. Internally I feel similiar though I’ve known that I’ve done some things.
This year has gone by pretty quickly and I feel that the first 7 months was a whirlwind of training and developing but the last 5 months was a weird mix of work and not sure where my time went.
The San Francisco Marathon
The first major accomplishment was the San Francisco marathon. I spent the majority of my time in first half of the year in training. I was running almost a 100 miles a month which is an almost 3-4x increase for my normal mileage in any period of my life. 18 mile runs on weekends and hour long runs at least 3-4 days during the weekdays.
The actual marathon itself was okay. I finished it which is an accomplishment in itself but because I took a month off between my last training run to go camping and adventuring I wasn’t sure prepared. I ended up slacking on my training during my month of hiking and adventuring. The actual race day I finished the marathon but I lost my ability to keep jogging at my regular pace around mile 20.
My saving grace was really some friends coming to cheer me on around mile 20 and more importantly my friend Jill keeping pace and walking/jogging with me for the last few miles. It was nice to have someone to talk to and keep going with and I think I was far more motivated when someone is next to me than without.
I know I “finished” the marathon, but something about not being able to keep my pace up makes me feel I never “ran” the Marathon. I know I’ve been told that this is dumb but for me the marathon for me wasn’t about just doing some arbitrary goal but a proof of accomplishment for me that I can do something that takes dedication, time, and energy and I can follow thorugh on it. I feel my inability to actually jog the entire thing though is a sign that I didn’t dedicate myself to training enough.
The following months after the marathon were dead. My running went down to almost 0 and I immediately gained a lot of my weight back from before I had done running training. I even had a half-marathon in October but it was hard to motivate me to go running for training for that.
I’m only able to motivate myself by pushing myself to accomplish something new. The distance thing is not a big fan of but I can go for speed. I’m hoping to accomplish greater speeds is a worthwhile goal and I that’ll be far more fun and worthwhile and slowly reduce my training time anyway.
The 2nd major shift was from tiny startup to large tech company. I switched from being one person iOS team to becoming one of more than a dozen iOS engineers. Part of this shift in realizing that while I pride myself on being that swiss-army knife engineer that I can’t do this forever. If you want a feature made I can do everything involved in it to get it done was my pride but with that you are only so knowledgable about so many subjects. At Lyft I can focus on iOS. I wanted people to learn from and that’s been pretty awesome at Lyft.
There is always a part of me though that’s concerned that Lyft is a difficult spot. It’s kind of initmidating as all fuck to know that your direct competitor has 3-4x your team size when competing against you. It’s kind of interesting and impressive that Lyft can still compete against Uber in this regard.
Of course I’ve been travelling a bit.
One of my major trips this year was India for a month. When people talk about how amazing and adventurous and crazy India is in the past all I could recall was staying with my family. My family are amazing people but travelling with them is comfortable. It does unlock certain experiences I wouldn’t get otherwise like going to temples in eastern Goa with my mom. It’s rarely on the list but having a private driver take us through the jungles to visit these places was amazing.
BUT I wanted to experience India myself and I did.
I confirmed my absolute love of Indian food, it’s so delicious and I can eat it forever and ever.
I absolutely hate haggling. It’s never my thing and I just want the damn price to be set.
India’s a nation of hustlers god damn’t. Everyone is out there to make a buck. It’s crazy.
During this trip though I did realize something important. I am not one of those people who could travel the world forever. Or even for an extended period of time. Especially during my travels in the North East of India I met many adventurous and well seasoned travellers. People who told me about their adventures throughout the world and their experiences. But these experiences all felt the same. Yes, they are fun and exciting but it just always felt to me they were something that you saw. Not something that you did. Not something that you earned and developed and became better for.
I’m wondering if there’s some other mechanism that can enable both the ability to experience new places but in a more active way. I’m not sure WHAT this actually entails, maybe volunteering? Maybe developing some kind of purpose to my travels versus just seeing interesting things? Maybe a more active type of tourism that involves pushing my boundaries? Unsure how to express this desire or how to accomodate it. At least to me vacations aren’t time for relaxing, vacations are time for adventure and growth and the things I can never do at home.
Suggestions are appreciated.
I had an amazing camping in Yellowstone and travelling through Utah with the marvelous Jeff Schwinghammer. I got to connect and understand my friends more and talk through some things as I transitioned myself to Lyft. I still remember one of my favorite moments was actually we were waiting in the lottery for The Wave, a spectacular rock formation that people from all over the world came to see.
We had already lost the previous day and we came mainly because the ranger was so saucy. We started applauding people who won. For everyone else it was one less chance to get the lottery but for us we tried to appreciate and congratulate them. I think that good karma ended up working for us and we ended up getting our numbers called.
Mexico (Double Trips)
Mexico is one of my favorite trips ever. The food is delicious, the infrastructure is good, and the adventures to be had are amazing. Mexico City has probably some of the best food I’ve had in a long time.
Travelling through Oaxaca and other regions has it’s usual staple of annoying scams and troublesome trips but the people are the best. Everywhere in Mexico, unlike India or China, was NICE! Everyone took their time to help us and reach out to us. It was amazing. The food though is heavily meat based though which left a bit of trobule in my stomach.
Beyond that Mexico has some amazing sights by itself and the Mayans are easily a match to the Incas in terms of their capacity to build lasting structures.
Run A marathon
30 Days Challenges
I was actually able to accomplish a few of these 30 day resolutions particularly I kept up Spanish streaks and 1SecondEveryday but I stopped caring about them as I focused on other things. I think I need a clear goal when I want to create a streak.
App Store App
I ended up competing in a comedy Hackathon in January and I developed an app called Equitable. The app would help you split your bill according to the wage gap. It was a part political commentary and part comedy and I’m going to count it. It’s been published in the App Store and achieved some decent press.
I had a friend post an interesting post. What can you do in 2016 than you couldn’t do in 2017? I think that’s an interesting way to phrase things so let’s do this year’s resolutions that way instead.
I ended up being able to get some basic Spanish skills now. I was able to communicate somewhat effectively in Mexico though it was nowhere near as good as conservational Spanish. More importantly, I was highly motivated because I wanted to be able to use my Spanish in Mexico.
So a resolution for 2017 is to plan a trip to some Central American or South American country. Perhaps Patagonia will finally be on my docket? I think it will help motivate me to learn Spanish and develop a new skill.
Skill: Conversational Spanish
I want to be able to run faster. I don’t think I have the time or the energy to run a marathon anymore. But I do want to be able to become a better runner which means focusing on that strength. I think interval training will make that a lot easier to do.
Skill: 8 Minute Mile
Long Running Volunteering Opportunities
I think I’ve been focused so much on myself for the past few years. I’ve done plenty of one-off volunteer moments (The Moth, Charities, FUF) but I’d like to commit to something more.
I’ve enjoyed the people I’ve met at FUF and they have a good community. It’s also an opportunity to learn more about something. I was going to do this last year but then the community forrester training was in February the month I was in India.
Skill: Mantaining and caring for trees.
I’m not really sure which direction I want my career to go and I’m curious about what I can do in this category that I’ve never learned before. I’m not really sure in terms of programming or development what I could do here.
My former manager mentioned that to become the next rank of engineer: I need to be able to lead a cross-platform initiative but as a client engineer I’m not sure I can be given that opportunity. We’ll have to see how that works.