Yearly Review - 2016

review reflection

Events and reflections about 2016

Event Highlights of 2016

Attending Pycon 2016 revealed that many people in the scientific fields pair their work with programming. It convinced me that Data Science and Machine Learning are trends, not fads.

Going to Cebu for Pycon 2016 was the first time I flew in an airplane since I was a small kid.

The 2016 Philippine Film Flow Festival was exactly the event I needed to unwind. Mingling with people from different cultures was fun. Their passion for their respective art was evident in their performance and demeanor.

It was my first time going to Butuan when we had a mini-vacation at Ocean Bloom Park. It underlined that sentiment that I haven’t really explored much of Northern Mindanao.

I had a lot of trips with my colleagues where we we explored and enjoyed nature’s delights. We went to Camiguin island to explore Mantigue island at the end of May. I went to my first mountain trekking expedition in Mt. Salumayagon. This was followed by a second trekking expedition at Dahilayan.

Realizations

I am done with Software Development for its own sake. I used to be so absorbed in new frameworks and tools that I forgot what my end goal is: solving problems.

I was and still am not good at Math. But I have grown to appreciate its usefulness in solving hard problems, especially when paired with software. I was especially impressed with how useful Statistics and Probability are in everyday life. Data Science is becoming more important as we continue to accumulate enormous amounts of data.

I used to advise against getting a Masters or a PHD. I have revised this opinion to a fairer one. For some fields, it is the only way to break into the industry.

Cal Newport’s Deep Work book and his blog spurred me to take control of time instead of just slacking off. I have incorporated daily and weekly planning and reviews into my life. Looking at how productive I was in 2016, I won’t be dropping it anytime soon.

I used to be resistant to the idea of working outside my hometown. 2016 reversed that sentiment. I have saved enough to change jobs without fear of having no income for months. I also have that gnawing feeling of being left out by some programmers that I used to know. I am ready for a change of pace and perspective.

I suffered feelings of regret, anger, jealousy and despair because I failed to express my feelings to a person I liked the year before. It’s a very painful lesson to always err on the side of action.

I spent far too much time in social media sites. While Facebook and Instagram are the usual suspects, it was Hacker News and Reddit that took much of my time. I had an irrational fear of missing out on new technologies and paradigms that might be useful. I was also using those sites to procrastinate whenever I am stuck.

I am all played out when it comes to video games. It is still easy to open a game and play. But I no longer hold the same passion for it as I had before.

Art is still my refuge. It remains to be the best way to unwind, have fun, commiserate and relax. It could be when I listen to music, watch a film, play my guitar, write a blog post or draw horribly.

Looking forward to 2017

2016 was the year where I struggled with regret, existential crisis and loss. The lessons that I gleamed from this year was painful but hard-earned. These are the kinds which stays with you for the rest of your life.

2016 was the year when I decided not to coast through life. I was deliberate in my choice of activities. As a result, I was able to enjoy a lot more activities and accomplished a lot more than I ever had.

In the end, it is all for the best. 2016 brought a lot to my life. I am looking forward to what 2017 will bring.