Ooooh man. 2020 was a shit show of a year. The pandemic caused huge shock waves throughout all our lives and the entire year has been a clusterfuck. At least the Democrats have the White House so no more Trump news for the next 4 years (at least not just him complaining or something). We had a whole trip to Japan canceled but otherwise I’m lucky that I didn’t lose my job or get sick or anything. I didn’t take that much vacation and only realized in November that I should at least time some time off so I staycationed kind of hard near the end.
So let’s just go over some things that happened this year.
Moved in with Mel
The biggest news of the year is that I moved in with Mel. We live in a nice 2 bedroom apartment in Oakland now. After a month or two of unpacking, painting, and organizing it feels like home. It feels nice to have separate rooms for things, something living in a studio for almost a decade I kind of forgot. Some real changes have happened while living together and that includes:
- Having a real office space. I have a desk that I actually work at. I debated about improving my home office set up but I didn’t feel like investing in that. I think at this point I’ll just wait until some people are looking to offload their fancy home office setups sometime this year. With an increased commute expected, I’m hoping to just work 3 days of the week in the office instead of all 5 days. I was already doing work from home on Tuesday’s pre-pandemic so it won’t be that much of a change.
- Eating healthier. Mel cooks and I’m awful at it. I don’t like cooking but Mel encourages us to do cooking. I clean and handle some other remaining tasks but we’ve settled on a healthier meal plan than if I did things by myself. We’re probably are going to add some type of meal plan service in the future though just out of a non-desire to figure out what to make all week.
Filed a patent
During part of my work at Lyft I ended up building our nationwide ADT integration. Parts of the integration are now in the patent! I have no idea if we’ll actually get the patent. In the mean time I got this cool fleece jacket from Lyft to show that I’ve at least applied for one. I also have my first product idea being sent to implementation since I’ve been at Lyft. I pitched a few other ideas before but this is the first one that I’ve written from product idea to full UXR interviews to we’re in design phase right now.
After a long hiatus from gaming in general I bought a Switch this year and started playing games. I’ve already played a lot of Slay the Spire and Breath of the Wild (thankfully the sequel is coming out soon). I’m hoping to pick up a few new other games and start playing them instead of just watching old TV shows. It’ll be a bit better spend of time though I still want to take up some non-hobbies.
Took Ryoga backpacking
My friend Karen planned a trip where we all went to Tahoe area and did some backpacking. Another of her friend’s pup came so Ryo had a doggy friend for the entire trip and he had a lot of fun but after 2 days of hiking and playing he was pretty exhausted. I think he’s going to have about a 10 mile a day limit if there isn’t another dog on the trip. But he loves backpacking but he’s also not great on leash if there lots of animals around. I’ll have to work on his recall and his leave it commands and I’ll have to get him a proper doggy backpacking bag. The other lesson learned is that people who go pee in the night makes Ryoga go on alert and starts backpacking so I’ll have to stay on the edges of any tent layouts.
Running Virtual Games
I’ve been able to contribute to my friend Alex Statan’s virtual games. I helped build a Wheel of Fortune minigame and did some buzzing on Jeopardy. It was all super fun and I’m glad I was able to contribute to some silly fun games and stuff during the pandemic.
Some lessons learned from pandemic 2020
- Smaller habits make a world of difference. I have a few routines now that have improved my sleep significantly such as stopping using my phone in bed at night, no TVs in the bedroom, doing some light cleanup before bed to wind down. With a better sleep schedule I’ve felt a lot better in general so the goal is to keep things up. The last few weeks of the year during the holidays I broke this and I’ve felt like utter crap.
- I really appreciating having a long term dedicated volunteering activity. I’ve been doing some volunteering in pantry work but honestly I miss having FUF (Friends of the Urban Forest) and planting street trees. I liked learning new things, the physical work, the impact it had, and the socialization aspect. Unfortunately Oakland doesn’t have an equivalent and 9am time to get there with rental cars will be quite difficult. Gig Car Share is a nice rental program but unfortunately it has limited parking spots in SF.
- I cannot work remotely for long periods of time. I hate it. I love being in an office and meeting my coworkers. I work better when talking face to face and honestly video chats I just can’t gage body language and other factors as well.
Resolutions from 2020
Pay for a Tour
Well. This never happened because we never went anywhere. We had a long trip in Japan set up and paid for in March but because of the pandemic we ended up not going to it at all. So I’m going to say I didn’t do this resolution mainly due to external circumstances and not internal ones. Even regular tours like canyoneering suddenly were more dangerous because it’s now a health risk. I’m not going to count this against me though b/c it was totally not possible in the short time frame I had.
I ended up not doing any of my racing resolutions. I never signed up for a half marathon or any longer race because of the pandemic health concerns and honestly trying to get mileage up when I was exhausted with everything else felt hard. So I tried doing what I can and instead set up a resolution to run 1 mile a day but I didn’t hit that. I was actually up and a head of time until about August and then the fires started destroying the air quality. I didn’t even try to run during those times and with moving in September I basically lost track. I tried catching up in November but I couldn’t add enough mileage to do it.
The good thing is my mileage and running with Ryoga is up to about 5 miles. We can do about 6 together at a max and it’s pretty regular. 3 miles with 15 minute intervals and 4.5 miles with 15 minute intervals are standard runs for me and Ryo now.
Write One Blog Post a Month
I ended up doing 7 posts this year: Resolutions 2020, Habits for the New Year, 3 about police reforms, a tribute post to my old neighborhood, and a long post about Prop 22. This is not bad! I had some other posts drafted but I never got around to finalizing them or writing them out. Given the pandemic nature of the things I’m going to say I didn’t complete this but I did a pretty good job.
Try to fill my time without TV
I feel most of my time has been spent actually playing games this year. I got Breath of the Wild and Slay the Spire and the 2nd half of 2020 was mostly playing these games. I did an Apple Arcade subscription which was also fun for lots of games. This isn’t exactly the best shift since I’m going from TV screen to video game screen but at least it’s not just mindless television rewatches and Internet doom scrolling.
Have Gatsby and Ryo Meet
Not only do Gatsby and Ryo love hanging out they live together and have a great time! They enjoy hanging out and Gatsby is the most spry he’s been in a while and Ryoga likes having a play companion around and is happier than he usually has been. The only downside is that if you pet Ryoga or if Mel and me start hugging Ryoga gets all wanting for attention.
Results: 2/4 (50%)
Resolutions for 2021
Write an App
I want to put an app into the App Store. I haven’t done this in a while and I’m feeling like I need to have something basic out there. The last time I had something in the app store was Equitable and if I had a good reason for a developer account I think I could put that app back into the ecosystem. It would be kind of funny and nice to have it out there again. It would also give me some excuse to start practicing something outside of work.
The questions though are which things:
– I want to make an app of the Oakland tree canopy. Oakland publishes information about so the hardest thing about this is out.
– Better habit tracking app. I want to track a few things in a few different ways and I’ve found that most of them are just missing things that I want.
Running 365 miles
I want to run at least a mile a day. I want to increase my training runs from 3 miles to 6 miles which should make this easy. But we’ll see how it goes. I was pretty close this year but I think as long as I prepare for a bad wild fire season I think I can get this done better. I ran 330 miles this year and last year I ran 320. So I’m on track and just gotta plan some increased mileage to account for periods when I won’t be able to run. Perhaps there will actually be a trip to go on this year too so I’ll need to account for that as well.
Find a new volunteer activity in Oakland
I had Friends of the Urban Forest as my main volunteer activity but I won’t be doing it as much this next year because getting to the sites will be a lot harder at 9am in the morning without a car. I’ll still be doing it but I want to find something in Oakland.
I did VITA volunteering in Oakland in 2020 which involved helping prepare tax returns for people but I felt that I wasn’t learning much. Anytime I ran into a complex issue, I would talk to the actual tax accountant in the room and she was super smart but she tended to just solve the complex solutions herself vs being prepared to help you learn about it to solve it. In the end, I want volunteering to be more of a learning experience as well so I’ll be skipping that. I might pick it up again in 2022 since it is a bit of time boxed volunteering that’s inside during the rainy months.
I’ve looked for equivalent tree planting stuff but I haven’t found much yet but it’s also a pandemic so I imagine things are quiet in general. I might do some type of food shelter work to do some meal prep works since it’s been a great activity do with a friend. During FUF I didn’t get to hang out with friends as much since I had to supervise the tree planting but during meal prep for food shelters it’s pretty easy to catchup. I’ve been doing Food Runners in SF but I haven’t found an equivalent I like in Oakland.
Stop using my phone in the bedroom
The big benefit that I didn’t realize is how much of an impact of separate rooms would be in my life. The one big habit I’ve shifted in 2020 is stop using my phone in bed at night. Just reading my kindle and falling asleep has been a big win. Mel likes to sleep next to me so on sleepless nights where I can’t fall asleep I’ll bring my phone in but those are rare exceptions.
The one habit that I’ve trouble breaking though is that I should get out of bed in the morning and do something else. Right now I just go get my phone, come back to bed, and then laze about it in bed for a while. I’m still pretty bad in the mornings so the goal is to replace it with taking Ryoga out in the morning. If I can just do that I imagine I’ll be awake to get the rest of the things.
Write One Blog Post a Month
I’m going to repeat this one. I was 7/12 blog posts and I think I put too much weight into the topics of blog posts. I think there can be simpler posts like things about villains or just other thoughts and research into what would be interesting.
I’m going to try this one again. I was very close to getting it in 2020.
Some thoughts on 2021
I’m expecting some big life shifts in 2021 (I’ll be hitting 5 years at Lyft and I will at least think about whether I want to stay there) and who the fucks knows what else will happen now. With the pandemic not finished yet I was trying to find the right balance between achievable and knowing that I’m not at 100% right now. The social weariness, the constant news cycle will continue to wear us down and the numbers are going to get worse in January probably before it gets better. So given that I know I’m aiming for 6 resolutions but the thing most of them are things I was already close to not thanks to like super willpower but good habit setting (and lots of free time).