Where do you see yourself in five years?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself lately over the past couple months. I’ve never really thought about my life long term. In my late teens / early twenties I was mostly concerned with having some individual freedom. From my early to mid/late twenties I was mostly concerned with partying. From my late twenties until now (currently 30), I’ve been concerned with learning as much as possible. At 26 I went back to school for information and computer science and for the past 4 years I’ve been learning so much. Even on a month to month basis I’m realizing I know so much more than I did the previous month.

I’m reaching a point, however, where instead of just grinding away day to day on the task at hand, I think it’s a good time to take a step back and think about strategy. How can I position myself to be in the best position for my own well being and stability? In order to answer this, I think it helps to envision yourself in 5 years. Picture — in your ideal world — where you’re living, what you’re doing, and how you’re feeling. Then construct a long term plan to get you there within 5 years.

Where I see myself in five years

In five years, I’ll be 35 years old. I’ll be coming up on 10 years of solid web development experience. I have a master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction. Professionally, I’ve spent the past five years honing my development and organizational skills. I’m a much better problem solver than I was in the past and am excited about solving new problems in an efficient manner. Constructing interfaces and experiences that people use and enjoy helps me wake up excited every morning.

I’m working remotely for a distributed company doing some kind of front-end development/UX work. I sometimes work long days, but I enjoy the challenge and am compensated appropriately. My wife and I are living in a home in the country. Not too far into the country, but far enough not to outside street and foot traffic outside our home. Far enough into the country to hear absolute silence at night and get a clear view of the stars. But not too far in the country to disrupt broadband internet access.

At this point in my life, I’m at a crossroads. I wonder whether I should keep doing development work or begin focusing on project management and bigger picture issues. I’ve also thrown around the idea of going back to school for my PhD to become a professor. Learning and growing is still extremely important to me.

I’m much more health conscious than I was in my late 20s and early 30s. A routine runs my life and keeps it in balance. Much of our food is sourced from the garden outside our home. I have a regular exercise routine and enjoy the energy it brings me.


 

I don’t want to get too specific, but I believe this is a good blueprint for where I’d like to see myself in five years.

Making it happen

Professionally, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. I’m going to work hard and learn as much as I can. I’m going to try as hard as I can to be a unicorn.

In addition, I will be spending a set amount of time to external projects. Committing at least 5 hours per week to open source or side projects will help grow my skills. I wish it could be more, but for now I have to start with something realistic.

Thoughts on turning 30

Turning 30 is a weird thing for a lot of people. When I was young, I thought 30 was the point in my life where I’d finally be an adult. I’d have my act together and be doing a lot of “adult” things. The truth is, I just feel 18 with 12 years of experience.

The majority of my 20s were filled with self satisfaction, pleasure seeking, and not a lot of forward thinking. My late 20s were the beginning of me beginning to notice there is so much more to the world than that. I’m very grateful I’ve been able to have a kind of introspection that allowed me to notice these things about myself and realize I could do better.

From the time I graduated high school until around age 24, I participated in a lot of self destructive behaviors and unhealthy habits. At 25 I finally got my associate’s degree. At 26 I went back to school for my bachelor’s degree. At 28 I graduated and got a job. At 30 I’m continuing my educational journey by getting my master’s degree. It took a while to turn the ship around but for the first time in years I finally feel like I’m on the right path.

Whereas my 20s were dedicated to pleasure seeking, I’m setting a different intention for my 30s.

In my 30s I want to be healthier; both physically and mentally. Instead of being involved in self destructive behaviors, I want to engage in activities that will encourage growth, change, and positive outcomes.

I’m going to get better at relationships with friends and family. I took relationships for granted in the past, but I’m going to make a serious effort to maintain relationships.

I’m going to take my health more seriously. Starting at the beginning of August this year, I’ve made some changes that gave me some momentum to work with as I turned 30. I’m eating lots more fruits and vegetables and a lot less processed food. I’m drinking a lot less coffee and a lot more water.

I don’t think I’ll ever cut coffee out completely because I <3 it so much, but I was drinking a pot (sometimes more!) of coffee per day. If anything I think it made me more tired because my body was so stressed from all the caffeine. I’ve already noticed a positive difference in energy levels in focus since cutting my intake.

These are just some of the things I hope to bring to my life in the next decade. Health, relationships, forward thinking, and positive outcomes. Here’s to the next 10 years!

Bastille – Flaws (acoustic)

When all of your flaws and all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
A wonderful part of the mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone

All of your flaws and all of my flaws
They lie there hand in hand
Ones we’ve inherited, ones that we learned
They pass from man to man

There’s a hole in my soul
I can’t fill it I can’t fill it
There’s a hole in my soul
Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up; let’s finish what we’ve started
Dig them up, so nothing’s left unturned

All of your flaws and all of my flaws,
When they have been exhumed
We’ll see that we need them to be who we are
Without them we’d be doomed

There’s a hole in my soul
I can’t fill it I can’t fill it
There’s a hole in my soul
Can you fill it? Can you fill it?

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up; let’s finish what we’ve started
Dig them up, so nothing’s left unturned

When all of your flaws
And all of my flaws are counted
When all of your flaws
And all of my flaws are counted

You have always worn your flaws upon your sleeve
And I have always buried them deep beneath the ground
Dig them up. Let’s finish what we’ve started
Dig them up. So nothing’s left unturned

All of your flaws and all of my flaws
Are laid out one by one
Look at the wonderful mess that we made
We pick ourselves undone

30 days; no grains, no dairy, no sugar, no coffee

From March 15 through April 15th (which is actually 32 days), I did something drastic. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired so I made some significant diet changes to see what would happen. Not only did I do no grains, no dairy, no sugar, and no coffee, but I also drank copious amounts of water.  Anytime I could think of drinking water, I would (over 100oz per day). It wasn’t hard to do if I just carried my reusable water bottle around with me. After a while, my body was craving the water.

I’d also like to point out that the changes that I experienced were because of diet onlyI didn’t exercise while doing this 30 day challenge. Hopefully that exemplifies the power of a good diet.

 

The changes were pretty drastic and quick. Here’s a quick summary of things I noticed.

  • I no longer snore at night
  • I stopped twitching during sleep
  • Increased energy levels throughout the day
  • Woke up with more energy
  • Lost ~20 pounds
  • I don’t crave sugar anymore

The first two points were brought to my attention by my wife. I was driving her nuts with the snoring and twitching in my legs at night (is that what restless leg syndrome is?). Within a week or two, the twitching and snoring stopped completely.

Before I started this, 20 pounds heavier, I would drink coffee all day and by 9:00 be exhausted. Now, without the coffee I’m able to stay up even later than when I drank coffee all day. Coffee only energizes you to a point, then I think it has a negative impact on your alertness. Waking up with energy is also really nice. Before I started, I’d wake up groggy and go through zombie-like motions until I dumped a significant amount of caffeine in myself, then I’d become “normal”.

I think the greatest triumph of all is the death of my sugar addiction because I think that’s where a majority of my weight gain came from. Every single night, I’d crave sugar after dinner. And every single night I’d indulge that craving. The interesting thing is, once I cut sugar out of my diet for about a week, the cravings were gone. I was full after dinner and didn’t feel like eating sugar. I will admit for that first couple days, it was pretty hard. It was similar to a drug withdrawl. I wanted sugar so bad. I actually felt a hunger pang for it. If you can stay the course for 3 or 4 days and not indulge, it definitely goes down. After a week its pretty much gone completely.

When I talk about staying away from sugar I’m talking about refined sugar. Stuff you’d find in cookies, candy, and most other processed desserts. I limited my fruit intake to 1 apple per day. If I was really craving sugar, I’d have a cup of tea with a spoonful of honey in it. It really hits the spot without having to consume something really unhealthy for you.

I’m going to keep going to see how much weight I can lose, but now I’m going to be a little more relaxed. I feel like 30 days was enough time for me to form a habit out of eating this way. After a while, you actually crave these healthy foods and wonder how you ate so many processed foods.