2019 in Review

Posted on — | 6 min read

Another year done, and like always time flies by quicker and quicker every year. 2019 has been quite eventful in a few aspects and I took some time to reflect on how things went. This time I categorized my activities and personal growth into 3 sections - things I did more of, things I did less of, things I explored. Let’s begin!

Things I did more of

Running

I was faster (compared to last year) in almost all my races in 2019. I also participated in more races and set a few PRs.

Stats

All in for Autism 10K - 53m 33s

Mother’s Day Half - 1h 57m

The Big Run 5K (trail run) - 29m 1s

Evergreen Half - 1h 53m

Craft Classic Half - 1h 49m

Iron Horse Half - 1h 42m

Fly 5K - 25m 46s

Snohomish 10K - 51m 51s

Snohomish River Run Full - 3h 56m

I started off with the 10K in April with no training and I’m happy to see that my time only improved from then on. There was a time when I was running half marathons every couple of weeks and it got a little exhausting. But it feels great to look back and see all the races I’ve done.

Marathon

The full marathon gets a special mention because the training was fun and the race, even more so. In 2018, I did my first full marathon and the training was quite brutal - mostly because I didn’t know what to expect. And, I got first hand experience of what mile 18 feels like in a full marathon. But in 2019, I knew how the training would be, I knew how to prep and how to recover, when to push myself and when to take it easy. I used Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 training plan and made my own modifications to it. Overall, I improved and set a PR.

Traveling

I did some traveling in 2019 with a few road trips - one in Oregon, couple in Washington, and few hikes around Seattle. I also visited Los Angeles. The most amazing and memorable one was the 4-day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu which was a birthday gift from my wife. Highly recommend going there and doing the 4-day hike, it’s totally worth it. Also, a shout out to Alpaca Expeditions for their awesome crew that helped us with the hike, food, camps, etc.

Things I did less of

Reading

I fell off on the reading habit and ended up reading only about 14 books (compared to 24 in 2018). This is something I want to get back into.

Working out

I hardly worked out last year and thanks to my training for marathon, I just didn’t have the time or energy to work out at all. When I wasn’t training for my marathon, I was just plain lazy.

Bouldering

This fell off also because of my marathon training. I used to be regular and climb twice a week. But it just wasn’t feasible.

Things I explored (aka Side Quests)

Snowboarding

I picked up snowboarding in early 2019, thanks to my wife. I fell in love with it. I wasn’t super interested in winter activities before, but after giving snowboarding a try I was always looking forward to driving to a nearby mountain and keep getting better at snowboarding. I’ll be doing more of that this year for sure.

Self Hosting

I stumbled upon self hosting recently and it looked very appealing to me. The fact that I could just use Raspberry Pis to self host few things is what made me more inclined towards trying it out and playing with it. I see privacy concerns with storing my data on Google servers or with any other big corporations. I’d rather be in charge of my own data. So, I decided to slowly move things off of cloud services that I’m currently using and host my own data. I already set up a private cloud server and it’s working like a charm. I got to learn lot of new technologies and it’s been fun tinkering with Raspberry Pis.

Learning new things

In my journey of learning to self host, I stumbled upon Docker, Traefik, Ansible, Prometheus, Grafana and I’ve been keen on learning these new technologies. I’ve also learnt a lot about networking, DNS, dynamic DNS, VPN, etc. I’ve spent many hours playing around with these, failing, learning and redoing a lot of the setup. It’s a fun exercise which will continue this year as I get better at hosting a robust system with everything I need.

Indie Web

I stopped using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram few years ago. I knew about what Mastodon was in principle about a year ago, but never really got around to exploring it much. But towards the end of 2019, I checked out few instances in Mastodon and started exploring. I really liked the idea of instances that are built on certain set of principles and people adhering to it, and federating with other instances. I’ve only started with Mastodon, but I’ll soon be exploring Pixelfed, Pleroma and the likes.

Lessons Learned

You can’t do everything

Here’s how my brain works. I find something interesting, I want to learn more about it. But I also don’t want to give up on all the things I’m already doing. I fall short on some of the things (because it’s not realistic to master everything, given the limited number of hours in a day). I get disappointed that I’m not doing enough. I’ve been doing this for years, even though I know that it doesn’t make sense. What I should constantly remind myself is that I can’t do (or master) everything. I should identify core areas where I want to grow and then focus all my energy on that. I should still explore things, and some of them may grow into something bigger and more important for my personal growth. But I must always acknowledge the fact that there is only limited amount of time and I must use it wisely.

Less consumption, more creation

What I didn’t do more of is work on side projects, or create more. Even though, I don’t use social media, I still check a lot of blogs and stuff myself with information. It’s exhausting. Every time I have couple of minutes free on my hand, I check my phone and try to read a blog post. I have to practice to sit still, not touch my phone and not look at any screen. I used to meditate regularly and it definitely helps with being mindful about what we do. This is something I really want to do this year.