Ah, the new year. Time again to set some goals for personal and professional development. I’m going simple this year, as tweeted:
Let’s break these out a bit more.
One of the big changes in 2018 was taking a new job as Principal Software Engineer at FM:Systems. In this role, much more than my previous job as Director of a consulting division, I get to write code. Lots of code. Every day code and more code. It’s fantastic.
So Goal Achieved, right? Yes, but there’s more. Returning to a full engineering role has reminded me that there is so much out there that code can do, but also so much that needs practice and coaching. Coding, like any skill, can have both a certain muscle-memory, as well as atrophy when not exercised. So the practical application of Code More is to really focus on depth of knowledge with .Net Core and C#, as well as best practices for architecture, unit testing, and new things like Infrastructure-as-Code.
This Goal is a bit hard to measure per se, so my metric will be blog posts for things I’ve learned, tried, continue to need practice in, and success stories.
Eat like a vegan
For most of my life, I have dealt with a couple chronic health conditions, namely asthma and eczema. Over the past decade I’ve dabbled with a variety of what I’ll call non-medical solutions, including acupuncture, cutting out or minimizing certain foods, and supplements of all kinds. In short, nothing has moved the needle.
This past week, my wife and I watched Eating you Alive, a movie promoting adoption of a Whole Food Plant Based diet. Participants in the documentary told story after story about how giving up meat, dairy, sugar, and oils had dramatic impacts on their health, including reversal of cardiovascular conditions, cancers, and obesity.
Thankfully, I am in generally good health. I have been blessed (cursed?) with an ectomorph body type. My weight has been unchanged for 20 years. I feel good when I work out (as well as any 40 something, right?) and I’ve been spared any major health incidences.
But I don’t feel healthy. And clearly, as evidenced by my itchy red skin and wheezy congested lungs, there are some things, shall we say, out of whack!
Adopting a vegan diet is not going to make me happy. I have a real fondness for steak. I am probably addicted to sugar. But for at least a month at a time, I’m going to try. Here’s to kale in 2019.
To track progress on this goal, I don’t plan to write out my favorite recipes -but rather be an engineer about it. I’m working up a series of actual, measurable, health tracking values that I can monitor and report upon. Since redness in my face is my primary visible symptom, I’ve thought about taking pictures in a controlled location/environment, and using histogram data to track my actual appearance. More to come on that.
Build fun lamps as a hobby
All my life I’ve been a builder. I am comfortable working with my hands, I have a full workshop of tools, and in 2017 I took on the significant project of finishing my basement. However, like coding, I wanted to define some parameters around building that allowed me to really practice my skills. To that end, I have decided to build lamps.
Lamps are simple objects. But they can take unlimited form. They can be made of wood, pipe, or found objects. They can be upcycled, recycled, made out of uni- bi- tri-cycles. They can be classic or modern, industrial or country. Basically, there is no wrong answer.
They don’t know it yet, but my metric of this goal is to produce enough lamps during the course of the year to give as Christmas gifts to each of my family members. Parents + 2(siblings) + 2(inlaws) + wife + 4(children) = 10 creations. Roughly one per month.
I’ll use this blog to post my designs, and where appropriate, talk about the challenges or discoveries I made along the way for each one.
So that’s it! 2019 is planned and sized and ready for action. I’m excited to share my progress. Thanks in advance to those who might follow.
Photo credit: PlusLexia