2011 in Review: Part II

In Part I of this update, I reviewed 2011. Now I’d like to look ahead and plan for 2012. At first I was overly ambitious and wanted to change ALL OF THE THINGS. But that’s neither wise nor achievable. I’m going to set goals in the following areas: Health, Finances, Adventure, Programming, Writing

2012 Theme

I want to brand 2012 as The Year of Excitement. I don’t want it to simply be a repeat of 2011, and I’ve overall felt very lethargic – due to poor fitness, sleep deprivation, stress, boredom, etc. I want to get excited again about programming and writing and I want to explore and have adventures. Strong health and strong finances are key to achieving this.

Health

My single highest priority for 2012 is transforming my health. I firmly believe that health is a lever which can influence each area of a person’s life. I could go on at length about my motivations, but I’ll spare you.

In a comment on Part I, someone suggested I run a triathlon. I think that’s a bit beyond what I can commit to training right now. However, I do like the idea of training with a goal in mind. Running is cheap, requires very few supplies, is relatively effective, and opens doorways to other activities I’ve held off on (playing ultimate frisbee again, and trying soccer).

So, in the next week, I will be signing up for a 5k, 10k, or half marathon (or some combination of these). There are a few reasonable options in mid-February.

For 2012 in general, I will track all my macronutrients, lose 20 pounds, cut junk food out of my diet (except for once a week), and develop a maintainable (for me) bodyweight training routine. More details to follow.

Finances

2011 was a financial success for me, and I expect 2012 to be the same. My overall goal is simply to reduce spending and increase dividend income.

I will be moving to a new apartment, and I’m hoping to find something cheaper than where I currently live. I’m already checking out a few places, but there aren’t many which represent a good compromise between comfort and price. Currently, housing is a whopping two thirds of my total budget. I’m also looking to become a more sophisticated investor, to continue contributing to the financial independence community, and to reduce some of the most egregious expenses (such as stopping by the grocery store every night after work).

Adventure

As detailed in Part I, I simply didn’t take advantage of living in NYC. I also have some savings and it doesn’t make sense to entirely defer my travel dreams until retirement.

After my last trip, I dreamt of returning to Germany, to see the Rhein. I was thinking of taking a week to travel. I typically waste a lot of my vacation doing nothing – on Monday morning I wake up and decide that I just don’t want to go to work. It’s totally ludicrous: I feel guilty and don’t really enjoy these days.

Fortuitously I started checking airline prices and noticed I could stopover in Reykjavik – I’ve always wanted to see Iceland – and then I made the commitment to stockpile vacation days. I sat on this decision for a few days and was practically salivating at the thought of the two week vacation I had planned. So, I bought airline tickets – one way – to Europe. Right now, the plan is to go NYC – Reykjavik – Amsterdam – Köln – Mainz – München. I’ll get to see parts of three kickass countries and it will certainly be an adventure. There’s no turning back now, with the tickets purchased.

Closer to home, I would simply like to try something new each week. One week that could be trying a new restaurant in my area, but it could also be something more ambitious, such as visiting a new neighborhood or restaurant, a museum or concert, or a meetup, I don’t particularly care. As long as I can do it on a budget, I’ll be happy. I’ve been stuck in a rut.

Programming

I did precious little programming on my own in 2011. I’d like to focus on three languages in 2012: Java, Python, and Clojure. Python, I simply enjoy programming in. I like it as a web development language (using the Django framework). I programmed in Java for most of college, but I’m very rusty; it seems competent for game development, which I want to get into. And finally Clojure, because it’s a lisp dialect that can harness java libraries.

I’m currently running through some Clojure code katas, of which there are 130, ranging from basic syntax through complicated tree parsing or list operations. It’s fun, because I’m doing some Code Golfing to familiarize myself with the syntax.

In 2012 want to participate in 3-4 Ludum Dare-like challenges (not necessarily official, I can do them myself). I’ve done next to zero game development, so these would be starting from the very basics. Finally, I’d like to develop and publish a moderately complex Django site.

Writing

I’m satisfied with the way things are going on this site and elsewhere. I just want to be more regular. So I will be committing to posting three updates to this blog per week. They don’t have to be long. I just want to get in a steady routine of expressing and refining my thoughts.

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1 Comment

  1. Mr Crore

     /  February 8, 2012

    Hello from a fellow New Yorker.

    Look up NYRR.org. I am a member and have run many a races with them.

    Also, you seem to be stretching a bit too much with your plans here. Remember it is good to relax and just be, instead of always doing something.

    Nice blog. Will visit again for sure.

    Mr Crore

    Reply

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