Before launching into the new year, I try to reflect on the past one. For me, 2018 was a year of transition. I graduated, I got a job, and I started living on my own.
I started in Illinois, but I flew to California immediately to finish the last pieces of my Computer Science degree.
Back at school, I starting learning a technology called Angular. This paid off because:
- I programmed my senior project using Angular.
- I accepted a job offer at an Angular shop, back in Illinois.
Having employment lined up, I focused on my schoolwork. Of course, I also went on lots of hikes.
I finished my senior project, I earned my degree, and I hiked up a hill to take this picture of the campus.
The graduation ceremony wasn’t until summer, so I ran in a local 10K as a symbolic victory lap.
Then I drove back to Urbana, Illinois.
The timing worked out to spend Easter in Boulder, visiting my family and friends.
Back in Illinois
- I attended the U of I Web con. This year, I’m going to be one of the speakers!
- I started my new job!
- I ran in the Illinois 10K. I’m going to do this again in 2019.
I barely had time to catch my breath before…
I flew back to California for a big family reunion!
There were relatives from this side of the family who hadn’t seen me since I was eight years old. It was a fun weekend.
I made one more trip to California this year, to attend my graduation ceremony.
A bittersweet moment indeed, because it felt like closing a chapter of my life.
Two of my best friends, Ray and Maria, married each other! I was asked to provide music along with my brothers – what a treat to be part of that day.
My Autumn months were about getting into the Midwest mindset. I participated in lots of local events.
- A weekend of board games at Gen Con, in Indianapolis.
- Giving speeches at a local Toastmasters club.
- Performing music at the Sweet Corn Festival. This was especially fun because I’ve been going to this event since I was a kid.
I moved out of my parents’ house to a place in Champaign, closer to where I work.
Then, I had my 10 year high school reunion.
I finished up the month with a visit to Chicago, and attended a local arts festival. The festival had a hackathon portion and my team got third place. We made a website about the local election.
This was a super busy month for me, in the best of ways.
- Visited Chicago again and went to the Museum of Modern Art
- Got my SCUBA certification
- Went to lot of Halloween parties
My brothers and I play 1930’s style jazz music, in a band we call the Hot Club of Urbana.
We played a mini-concert for our relatives who visited during Thanksgiving.
We also had two paid gigs this month. Playing music so often might be the best perk of living in the same town as my family.
To top off a great year, my family vacationed in Costa Rica for Christmas.
Looking Back on 2018
Looking at my previous roundup post from last year, I hit these goals:
- Running a 10k – I ran two!
- Contributing to an open source project – I fixed a bug.
- Playing more violin – accomplished with the help of my brothers
The goals I failed were:
- Blogging often – I ended the year with only 5 new posts
- Buying a new desk to help with my back pain
- Replacing my bedtime phone habit with books
- Reading 20 books – I read 14
Looking Forward to 2019
My resolution is to create a website for my band. It sounds fun to combine my music and programming into something new and personal.
I’m also setting these goals for myself:
- Run a 10K in under an hour
- Read 15 books
- Redesign this blog. It’s still using a default theme.
- Record music and post it online. I perform plenty, but recording is a different skill.
- Get an adjustable standing desk for work
- Sleep more than 7 hours a day on average. My alarm app tells me I’m only getting 6.5 hours
- Contribute more open source code
2018 had me completing big life milestones left and right. I don’t expect this next year to feel as groundbreaking, nor do I need it to be either.
I plan to be in the Champaign-Urbana area for all of 2019. I’d like at least a year without feeling like I have each foot in a different state.
I want 2019 to be about consistency. I’m in a good spot, so a nice consistent year would let me finish my 20’s with a lot to be grateful for.
Happy New Years dear readers! Good luck in all your 2019 endeavors.
Well done Ben! Very impressive. Hope 2019 is a good one for you!
If it makes you feel any better, I only read three this past year 🙂
You are so vibrant Ben. Congratulations on all you accomplished in 2018. No doubt 2019 will be exceptional!
Ha, you definitely read more than I did 😀 I think my total was also only like 3….And the Tesla coil demonstration looks awesome, why didn’t I hear about that! Great post!