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Year in review: Life as a 24-year-old

Posted: - Modified: | life, yearly

I’m turning 25 in a little over a week. Birthdays are a terrific opportunity to look backward and look forward–what I’ve done, how I’ve grown, and what I want to do or be next. I’ll be celebrating my birthday in the Philippines, among family and my oldest friends. But I’d also like to celebrate my birthday with you, as through my blog, you’ve shared my journey too.

The blog makes it easy to review the year. So, how am I different from the person I was in August 2007?

There were three major changes in my life, all related to each other.

The first is my relationship with W-, which began in March 2008 and is now such a core part of my life. I can’t say enough good things about it without sounding like a Hallmark card.

The second major change is the transition from the academe to the industry: I finished my master’s degree and joined IBM Canada as a technology evangelist and application developer.

The third major change followed naturally from the first two: instead of going home to the Philippines, I’ll be in Canada for a while. Because of W-, I chose not to return to the Philippines after the completion of my studies, and because of my work, I had the means to support myself here. This change was the most challenging, but I’m sure it will work out somehow.

Along the way, I learned how to sketch, cook, defend myself, do yoga, drive in winter, make it across the monkey bars, go on the static and flying trapezes, grow a herb garden, script virtual worlds, manage my retirement investments, survive the conference circuit, dictate to the computer, inspire my colleagues, share thoughts about my generation, develop with Drupal, and connect with amazing people.

I’ve grown as a person. I’ve learned a lot about love. I’ve learned a lot about fighting for what I feel and building bridges after the storms. I’ve learned about the wonder and delight one can feel in ordinary things. I’ve learned about the kind of person I can be.

I’ve grown as a writer, speaker, and developer. I’ve learned about how writing fits into my life. I’ve learned about my personal style of presenting (interactive, enthusiastic, practical). I’ve learned about configuration management, testing, and all sorts of tweaks to make my development environment a better fit for me. I’ve shared what I’ve learned along the way.

What will the next year be like?

I’m looking forward to deepening my relationship with W- and seeing what another year of shared experiences will bring us. I’d like to get better at connecting with friends and family. I hope to get an even clearer idea of how I can contribute professionally, and to do so. I’d like to explore other ways to work and live more fully.

Here are some of my measurable goals for the next year. By August 2009, I’d like to be able to look back and say that I’ve:

  • completed a book on Emacs (whether published by No Starch Press or self-published)
  • increased my reach and responsibilities at and outside work
  • completed my paperwork for the permanent residency application (Canadian experience class?)
  • continued to donate 10% of my income
  • continued to save at least 50% of my income
  • developed another income source aside from salary, interest, and index growth
  • learned how to cook at least 20 new recipes

Join me as I figure more things out! =)

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A fantastic year

Posted: - Modified: | yearly

Every year is better and better. This year was more intense and
tumultuous than the last, filled with challenges and accomplishments
and new opportunities. I growed a lot, too. It was painful,
particularly coming to terms with the very real stress that travel and
distance can put on relationships. But it’s the kind of pain that
forces you to keep growing, and I’m looking forward to next year and
the years after that.

The key lesson I learned this year was that of finding my own
happiness. Not that I’ve figured everything out—no, I have a long way
to go. But I’m getting better at making my own decisions and standing
up for them; not accepting just what everyone else accepts, instead
reaching for more; and also being open to the experiences and insights
of other people around me—open, but selective.

This year, I felt the limits of books and magazine articles. Some of
the things I think about, some of the things I deal with… I can’t
find best practices. I can’t find research. I just have to keep
figuring things out until I get deeper insights that connect to lots
of other people’s experiences.

I’ll share some of my goals for next year in another blog post.
I know it will be an amazing year. =)

Random Emacs symbol: message-subscribed-address-functions – Variable: *Specifies functions for determining list subscription.

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Reflections on 2005

Posted: - Modified: | emacs, yearly

This year saw me in three countries: Japan, Philippines, and Canada.
On the surface level, I learned about a fair number of things: Jakarta
Struts, Ruby, engineering psychology and human performance…

Other things I learned:

  • I love writing. One article in the Linux Journal resulted
    in dozens of e-mail. My column in Computerworld On Campus got a lot of
    feedback from students whose lives I'd touched (even if only lightly).
    My weekly posts on diyplanner.com get feedback, too. I love writing. I
    can affect people through it. What took me so long?

  • I need people. This was the year that my current barkada
    really came together. The year started with the Digital Pinay fiasco,
    which was how Clair and I really got to know each other. The year also
    saw Slycesoft developments and our little triumphs and crises. I'm
    also very glad I have Dominique and my family. =) With them, the
    future looks even better.

  • I have much, much more to learn about the working world.
    If I could do one thing over this year, it would be that span
    of time at a company in Cebu. Looking back, I can see how I could've
    been more politically sensitive. It was a valuable lesson, and one
    I'll keep in mind.

  • I want—no, _need_—to make a difference. =)
My biggest challenge for 2005: graduate school

My biggest challenge was adapting to graduate school. I found it
difficult to be motivated and confident. I had a really bad attack of
the impostor syndrome that made me almost quit my teaching
assistantship because I felt I was doing the students such a
disservice by teaching something I didn't really know. The students
reassured me, my professor and the previous teaching assistant helped
me, and even the assistant department chair called me in and
half-scolded, half-encouraged me.

The engineering psychology and human performance class was
interesting, too. The lab reports really helped me review statistics,
and I enjoyed writing. If I could do one thing differently, I wish I
had kept my new-found study habits instead of getting frustrated in
lectures. I used to read ahead, but I found it difficult to pay
attention in class, so I ended up just reading afterwards. Maybe
graduate-oriented classes will be more engaging.

Searching for a good project was also very difficult. My research
supervisor and I went through so many ideas. Because I didn't have a
clear research question in mind, I felt adrift and frustrated. I
wasn't sure if graduate school was worth the opportunity cost. I'm
happy now, though. We've found something that not only fits in with
our short- and medium-term goals, but also helps me with my long-term
goals. I think social search provides interesting possibilities,
particularly if we can make it much easier to do, much more
mainstream. I'm curious about whether we can make it easy to filter by
multiple networks, too. I still feel a little guilty about not having
completed my reading paper, but I resolve to turn in an absolutely
wonderful one next term! =)

I think the secret to life is being fully in the present, wherever I
am. I'm looking forward to throwing myself into the metadata course
when I get back to Canada, and I'm setting aside time to read papers
while on vacation.

Best memories for 2005

Listening to my family's stories. Chasing horses and ice cream carts
while learning photography. Hanging out with my friends. Geek lurv.
(Hi Dominique! Hi Clair and JM! Hi Paolo and Kris! Hi Marcelle and
Gin! ;) ) Digital Pinay smackdown. Long phone calls and Skype
sessions. Cryptograms. Graduate House people and activities. New
friends and old friends. =)

Goals for 2006

  • Read more. I want to read at least a book a week and a
    scholarly paper a day.

  • Write more. I want to write a scholarly paper. I want to
    continue writing articles for magazines. I want to post thoughtful
    pieces on my blog more often. =)

  • Study more. I want to make my department glad they took a
    chance on me. =)

  • Do more. I want to lay the groundwork so that I have an idea of
    what to do after my master's degree.

  • Live more. I want to make more friends in the Philippines and
    in Canada. I want our barkada to grow—fresh blood! =)—and I want to
    find a group of people I can hang out with in Canada.

  • Be more. I want to make a difference (even a small one!) at
    least every week.
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Resolutions for 2004

Posted: - Modified: | yearly
  • Speak slower and lower.
  • Check requirements within 3 days.
  • Log all of my expenses in plain text in Emacs so that I get forced to develop a ledger mode.
  • Journal every day. 23:00 – 23:30 is my journaling time. Drop everything and write (unless have earlier substantial journal
    entry).
  • Visit at least one new website related to computer science education every day.
  • Play at least one game of chess a week.
  • Chat with friends at least once a week in order to swap stories and get ideas.

Plans for 2004

  • Visit AU and NZ during the summer. Sit in classes, visit friends, meet professors.
  • Collect or compose at least 100 exercises, examples, and ideas for introductory computer science education.
  • Collect at least 30 CookOrDie recipes and stories into something publishable.
  • Apply for an MS or PhD program in computer science education or computer science.
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