Thirty One

Today I turn thirty one. As usual, my birthday is that time of the year where I sit down and think about the state of my life. Some years this turns out better than others. This year the state of my life is looking the best so far.

Quite possibly, what follows is not going to sound really different, I guess we, as humans, have a limited set of ways to be happy. This is is just mine.

I have the most wonderful family, they are the main source of all that is good in my life and I look forward, through the day, to share my evenings with them, and through the week, to enjoy the weekends in their company. Thanks to all of them I have made myself the man I am today, and I must say I am grateful for that, since I do like that man much more year after year. Being a husband and a father are my favourite things to be. My main goals for this coming year number thirty two are, of course, to get better at both.

I have an incredibly fulfilling job. Perhaps it is my really unpleasant experience with a previous job that makes me appreciate the current one so much, but I doubt it is only that. I work in a company that cares for its product and its people, surrounded by incredibly talented engineers. A company whose success I believe in. And then there is what I do every day, the work is both interesting and challenging in the perfect measure. So I end up leaving the office with the feeling that I’ve had fun. And I cannot believe I just said that about work, but it’s true!

On the personal level, I am, as always, learning. I have become more organised and more relaxed since the year before. And this I have achieved by applying to myself what I have learnt that is so important for kids: establishing routines. With a routine, everything is easier, that small moment of panic when having to choose everything is no more. Gone are the days when I would not do housework because I didn’t know where to start. Routines mean I choose once and then stick to it. Now I still don’t do all the housework I should, but at least it’s not because I don’t know what to do, but rather because…, you know, I’d rather be writing this. NB: In this particular instance, I’m writing this after I’ve done all my housework routine.

This year I have started to build a personal knowledge base. I did some research on tools to help me capture information and then organise and curate that information. I tried some and ended up with just a bunch of text files that I can manage with a special software. This is not a technical post, so I wont even mention the tools this time. This has proven to be an excellent exercise in willpower, since it requires constant work. I’m quite happy how it’s going and I’ll continue to use in subsequent years.

Inbox zero is a failed subject, again. Email is just impossible to keep to a reasonable number, I am close to surrendering to that idea, and just giving up on it, but I foresee that I might just declare e-mail bankruptcy again and give it another this year.

This year I have also trained myself to become a faster and more efficient reader. I have been been able to improve more on efficiency that in speed, though. My favourite method to improve speed is to quickly judge if I really want to read something based on what I expect to extract out of the material. This seems incredibly obvious, but I can still remember countless times where I would choose my reading materials without asking myself what I wanted to get out of them, and then just stuck to them because I had started.

A great discovery of this year too: I love driving at night, when the roads are empty. Friends of ours had a baby recently and I was frequently taking them cooked meals once my kids were sleeping. I loved it!. The roads are empty and there is silence… I won’t even try to explain it. I’ll just enjoy it when I can.

In terms of my hobbies, I have mixed feelings. I now play a lot less music that I used to and I have not created any new music in a long while, certainly more than a year. That makes me a bit sad, I never cease to have ideas in my head, it’s just that since I’m barely playing any more, they don’t have a chance to become real.

On the other hand, my wife has recently introduced to the joys of Geocaching, which is a somewhat geeky activity that the whole family get to enjoy in different levels. Geocaching is like a GPS enabled treasure hunt plus an on-line community. Random people hide little containers in parks, forests, cities, beaches, wherever and publish the coordinates. Then we go and find those containers, sign the log and get to visit really nice places that we would not have even known they existed otherwise. Sometimes, you don’t even get the coordinates directly, but a puzzle you must solve in order to get them; these are much more fun, since you get the high twice, once when you solve the puzzle, twice when you find the cache. I foresee a lot of geocaching in this coming year.

And finally, there is coding. Yes, that same thing I do at work. Remember I said I had fun, well, I like to have fun like that also outside work. So I write code. Every problem that a computer can solve is a program waiting to be written. I like writing those in my spare time, and I also like both finding new software projects and talking about it with other enthusiasts. I feel I am enabled by github to do this, github is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to open source. Never before was the entry barrier to contribute to your favourite software so low. Fix the thing, send a pull request, BAM!. Love it!

There is probably a lot more to say about this, my thirty first year on earth that completes today, but since I started writing this on an impulse, I admit I did not have an outline, but rather just allowed myself to think with the keyboard. I hope it worked. This is me. I like it.

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