Whether we’ve already met and you’ve known me throughout years, or you’re a new visitor into my life – I’m glad you’re here. Let me get you caught up on what’s been going on.
I turned 33 this year and despite the state of the world – things have been going well in my realm. For the last few years I’ve been on a self-improvement kick and it’s paying off. So much so that I’ve felt inclined to now start regularly sharing what I can and offering up some goodness to whoever happens to visit this site. Who knows? You might get something useful out of it, we’ll see.
Not all of these daily blogs will be as long as this one. They might just be a paragraph or two that sum up the day. Maybe just a sentence… I don’t know. The point is to just keep posting blogs and building up a habit of writing regularly.
For the last two years, I’ve been working as a programmer for a military contractor and I’m making a great living wage. I’ve been attending a really good online university to finish my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and I have about a year left until that’s done. I’m living with my girlfriend Amanda in a nice house we started renting back in August. I keep myself busy with projects, hobbies, and as many adventures as I can. To say I’m lucky and blessed is an understatement because despite my schedule I can still get some time to skateboard at the local skate parks; jam out on my guitar writing music; play video games and have fun writing code on the best computer I’ve ever had in my life.
So with as happy and fulfilled as I’ve been feeling right now, I also really feel the need to share what I’ve been doing in order to have such a good life. Not too long ago my life was far less enjoyable and I didn’t have nearly as much as I do now. The path between there and here was a rocky one, but I’m hoping that if I keep up my recent efforts I can show others what they could do to get into a better living situation. Although I have some ideas, I expect it’ll just be up to trying to be more social and connect with people. Getting into this habit of blogging every day, maybe making some youtube videos, and starting up a couple of projects focused on sharing what I know will probably be a good start. More on that later.
The year came and went with, what seemed like, the whole world struggling to deal with the Coronavirus. Between infection rates spiking and getting shifted to mandatory work-from-home status a couple of times, I felt really lucky to not have been infected. I spent all year being fairly healthy and well, at least until this month! Around the beginning of December, my girlfriend’s daughter brought home the virus. Even though she tested negative for it and her symptoms cleared up quickly, the whole house came down with something so we decided to get tested for the virus too. Sure enough, we tested positive. Thankfully, we didn’t need any drastic treatment and we didn’t get hit hard with it. I had a set of symptoms that progressed between a few different phases. A fever for a few days that reached the low 100s Fahrenheit, a strong migraine that had me in bed for a day, a sore throat that lasted for another day or two, and then lingering fatigue that forced me to take regular long naps for a couple of weeks. All throughout, I had a dry cough… that’s about it. Now 22 days later I feel 100% my normal self. I could definitely tell that if I was in worse health or had some other pre-existing condition this thing would have been a nightmare, but I lucked out.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas
My girlfriend, her mom, daughter, and I spent the day opening gifts and hanging out – so I still really enjoyed it. I tried to put serious effort into finding gifts for them to make it special and that felt nice. We got a big 8-foot tree and decorated it with a bunch of garland, lights, and ornaments earlier this month. On Christmas day, after waking up early to open our gifts we just hung out and played with our new stuff. We watched the new Disney/Pixar movie “Soul” which totally made me cry by the end – it’s really good. My girlfriend enjoyed her new Ps4, her daughter played with her new LOL Surprise dolls, and I took a nap after staying up all night the night before. 🙂
This time of year I’m always reminded of the family I don’t talk to enough and all the friends from throughout the years I’ve lost contact with. It’s usually been a bit of a bummer. I’ll visit my closest family on a few choice days throughout the month and on Christmas day. But, I’ll spend the rest of the holiday season doing what I normally do. This year was a bit different because I couldn’t really go and visit anyone, I was in quarantine! This is my new little family’s first Christmas together so I tried to get them good presents and join in on their holiday traditions. Yet, I still feel like I need to reach out to my own family and old friends – so after writing this blog I’m going to put together a bunch of Christmas cards and send them out with a Christmas newsletter, a personal message, and some pictures. I’m hoping it might make people feel ‘thought of’ and bring them back into my life. I’m not a kid anymore, it’s up to me to keep connections with people going… I need them just as much as I think they might need me! If they don’t feel the same way, no hard feelings. We all have our own paths to walk.
New Daily Tasks To Do Throughout Next Year
I’ve got a lot of projects I’ve been working on and dabbling with. For at least a few years now I’ve been REALLY trying to stay busy and focused on being ‘productive’. To be honest, I’ve been kind of a maniac. I got a taste of serious progress in my life and I’m hungry for more. Chomping at the bit.
Last year around this time I posted some blogs with the same thought of continuing to post them monthly. I wrote about all the stuff I’d been working on, all the stuff I wanted to get done in 2020, and a bit about organizing/planning all of it. I wanted to read books often, dive deep into my skills and hobbies, and write tons of descriptions and reports on all of it. Yeah, that didn’t continue for long.
I definitely read a lot and work on a lot of projects, but I didn’t keep up with the blog habit because a monthly blog had me wanting to write these long in-depth essays and interesting focused studies on academic or intellectual topics that… really… no one is going to read. I mean even this relatively short blog post here that you’re reading now isn’t going to get very many eyes. If any at all!
So I’m taking a different posture this year. Short, simple, easy blog posts every day. That’s the way to go. Not long, wordy, complex masterpieces every month. I’ll resist diving down insane rabbit holes trying to craft literary masterpieces. Just keep it to more of a journal that people are free to read and browse if they want. That just makes more sense.
Overall, I’m happy with my progress. I want to keep that progress up, focus on simplicity over complexity, and organize my tasks. I have a list of stuff I’m going to work on a little bit at a time every day and I’m going to use Task-Tracking/To-do list apps to organize my efforts. Earlier in the year I listened to Atomic Habits by James Clear on Audiobook and took away quite a few useful lessons. One main one is that building up, continuing with, and succeeding in any new habit or skill is dependent on little changes. Small, simple, bite-sized, shifts in behavior. This sounds easy but the key is CONSISTENCY. Consistently, day-in and day-out, doing what you plan to do, especially when you don’t feel like it, is the secret to monumental success.
So, I pulled up the first to-do list app I’m going to try using and made a to-do list. I went with todoist.com and so far I like their interface. A few of the features don’t work unless you pay their monthly subscription of $4.00, but with the many free features I’ve been able to get started. I don’t think the premium features (like comments, reminders, templates, trends, etc.) are required for me right now, so that’s nice. Here’s my little task for writing this blog post:
You can add sub-tasks to a task, which I find handy. Mark them off as you go, and soon enough you’re on to the next task. Tasks can be set up to be recurring, like daily, weekly, monthly, etc. or they can be scheduled for a specific day. I’m setting up my daily tasks I’d like to work on everyday:
Clean and Organize
So first, I want to make sure my work space and my house are clean. It’s easy to get in lazy habits of leaving stuff out and letting clutter build up – especially when you work from home like I do. I added those tasks to just make sure that’s a first priority when I’m getting started for the day.
Create a blog entry
Like I said, I want to make this a daily habit. It serves a few important purposes. It will force me to do something at least slightly notable, practice writing something coherent about it, and get me started with adding content to this website you see here. When I’m networking with people professionally and I tell them my website address, or when they see it on my linked-in profile, they won’t end up landing on an empty website… at the very least they’ll see what I’m working on and they’ll see I can keep up a good habit. With any luck all the practice will improve my writing skills, and with even more luck – all this might actually make me look like someone worth keeping in contact with!
‘Omnia’ RPG and Levelz.app
If you hadn’t noticed by now, I’m a programmer. To keep my skills and continue getting better, I’ve got to write code every day and practice new techniques. What better way to do that than with fun projects that I’m personally interested in?
Omnia RPG is a video game I started making years ago, but haven’t worked on much at all until just very recently. It’s a simple ‘retro’ game in the style of early 1990s 2-dimensional pixel graphics games like Super Mario, Zelda, Metroid, or Castlevania. I didn’t use any pre-made engine and opted to code my own simple game engine to run it. My focus is to practice and study my code skills, have fun, and create something others find fun.
Levelz is a website I’ve been working on. It’s very similar to task-tracking/to-do list websites like todoist.com but with a twist. I’d like to turn it into a bit of a video game. I figured that since video games can be so fun and addictive, there’s no reason that planning and getting things done in your real-life shouldn’t be just as addictive… if not more! I’ll be using this site as my final senior project for my bachelor’s degree program, but I’d like it to be as useful and fun as possible – so that I can use it every day myself.
Both these projects are very far along, but that’s all the more reason to work on them consistently everyday.
Study/Practice C++ and Calculus
C++ is one of the most popular and widely used programming languages on earth. It’s a no brainer that I’d be learning and studying it everyday. I’m enrolled in a Calculus class at school, so I’ll be working on that everyday too. I have a few textbooks for each of these subjects that I’ve been using and I recommend:
Read books from my reading list
Reading for fun has always been a habit I struggled to keep up. Listening to audiobooks the last few years has been a great way to get started, but I know that actually reading a physical copy will help immerse me more deeply. I’ve got a couple of shelves of books behind me here in my office just waiting. Some I’ve already read.. others I’ve only paged through randomly.. and many that I haven’t even really opened yet. By the end of 2021, I want to have finished a sizable portion of them. Here are my lists (books not in order):
- Factfulness – Rosling
- The Obstacle Is The Way – Holiday
- Ego Is The Enemy – Holiday
- Stillness Is The Key – Holiday
- Writing To Be Understood – Janzer
- Doing Good Better – MacAskill
- How to Write Non-Fiction – Penn
- Outliers – Gladwell
- High Performance Habits – Burchard
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Covey
- 12 Rules For Life – Peterson
- Range – Epstein
- Crushing Youtube – Hogue
- How To Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck – Stockman
- The Witcher Books
- Crime and Punishment – Dostoevsky
- The Foundation Series
- Neuromancer – Gibson
- Cryptonomicon – Stephenson
- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
I also want to devote time to learning how to fly freestyle FPV drones, drawing, playing guitar and other fun stuff. Like I said, I think that making sure I do it a little bit everyday is the key.
Beyond all else, I just want to thank everyone that’s stayed in my life or has been in my life throughout the years because you helped me get to where I am now. I’m thankful and ready to share more of my life, give back to others, and keep exploring this wild world. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.