2019 was really complicated. I can’t share all of the things that made it so complicated. There were some really difficult things and some positive things. Here are some more factual bullet-points of what happened, you can decide for yourself how to interpret it!
- We traveled a bit. We were in Sacramento/San Francisco in January, Milwaukee in February, Tulsa in May and then again in the fall, and Tempe in December (my cousin was getting married).
- All of those trips were with the whole family, except for two trips I took alone. The first was to San Francisco in April to give a tech talk at Airbnb (nearly 250 people registered, marking the largest crowd for which I’ve presented). The second was to Columbus, OH, for my friend James’ wedding (this was while Suzi and Nora were in Tulsa). I had a lot of fun hanging out with everyone from the Chinese church there and had some good connections and conversations with a bunch of people.
- I ran one race, the Lake Union 10k with Nora in a stroller, in August. I actually didn’t decide on running it until that morning because it was a big endeavor to get Nora up early and hope that she would comply in a stroller for 6 miles with chance of rain. She did well! And it didn’t rain! And we were unofficially awarded “first stroller” by a random spectator cheering for us on the final turn.
- I also got to run with and meet Ryan Hall! He was in town to attempt a summit of Mount Rainier and someone invited him to do a 5:30 morning run with the Green Lake Running Group, so Suzi encouraged me to wake up at 4:40am and go. I got to run 6 or so miles with him and got a few minutes to talk with him by myself. It was surreal and I don’t know what I was expecting, but he was so humble and relaxed. He was completely content to talk to all of us random people about our own lives and families and running goals, despite all of his accomplishments and accolades (eg him literally being the fastest American half-marathoner and marathoner and running multiple Olympic marathons).
- One other person that I’ve been admiring lately (though only for a year - I’d been admiring Ryan Hall since 2007!) is Jonathan Ogden. He’s a musician from England who made a stop in Seattle during a West Coast tour and I was able to see him (that was the first show I had attended in nearly a decade)! His music helped me get through a lot of late nights/difficult times. So it was meaningful and kind of epitomized a lot of feelings to see him live.
- I gave up Twitter for Lent and ended up just giving it up entirely. Hopefully I’ll write a blog post about the experience some day.
- I read a few books: Ryan Hall’s “Run the Mile You’re In”, Meb Keflizghi’s “26 Marathons”, Tim Keller’s “Prodigal Prophet”, Francis Chan’s “Letters to the Church”, and Emily Chang’s “Brotopia”.
- We were part of Reunion Church in Beacon Hill during 2019 and were in the Rainier Beach community group. For a short time, a few of us new dads were getting together on Wednesday mornings at 7am in Columbia City. The church merged with Icon Church (originally based in Cap Hill) towards the end of the year. This deserves its own blog post too.
- I was an intern manager at work! That was a bit more stressful than I would’ve realized - that was the first time I felt like I was directly managing someone (though I was technically an intern manager at Facebook in the past). Once the internship began, it was hard to rest until it was over, because I just got really worried that I wouldn’t represent my intern properly.
- I did a bunch of other stuff at work that wasn’t directly related to programming (Suzi jokes that I don’t program anymore). I applied and was chosen to be on a “culture leads” committee to help plan events (stuff like the Holiday party). I did a bunch of stuff related to “social impact” and volunteerism - I helped coordinate and promote a school supplies drive and holiday drive for Mercy Housing, a diverse Q&A panel of Airbnb employees to visit Unloop and answer questions about tech, mock interviews/job shadows for Unloop students, and a trip to the Arboretum for my team to have an offsite and pull weeds in the “New Zealand Collection.” I volunteered with Mercy Housing (helping some kids out with homework once a week during an after-school program) and with Unloop (visiting their office and spending an hour with each of their students as they worked on some of their projects).
- I consumed a lot of coffee. Suzi got me a Baratza Encore grinder for Father’s Day, which somehow made a huge difference in the quality of my pourovers. And my lattes have slowly gotten better (thanks to my church friend Michael for showing me what to do! Michael’s a roaster at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery!).
- I launched my side project, Boba Life, on the Apple App store in September. At my peak (aka during a vacation), I put in 20 hours a week. But mostly, it was 2–3 hours a week. I used a time tracking IDE tool called Wakatime which showed that, over the course of 2019, I ended up spending an average of 20 minutes a day working on it. With 0 marketing, I’m almost up to 100 users! There ought to be a follow up blog post on this.
- I bought a really expensive pair of shoes. I thought about getting them for almost a full year. It was worth it.
Though we’re already a few weeks into 2020, hopefully I’ll carve out time to set some serious goals and look ahead. Sometimes my optimism fluctuates, but there’s certainly a lot to celebrate and to be proud of, none more significant than making it through the year with my faith and family intact. I hope within a few years, a yearly recap post like this can be populated more with what I enable others to do and experience, rather than what I do for myself. That ought to be the goal.