2021 Review and 2022 Goals
| Will Bamberg
Write monthly blog posts - 5/10
I kept up with monthly posts for the first half of 2021, but then stalled out due to scope creep on two successive posts-turned-still-unfinished-essays. Lessons learned: narrow topics more than I think I need to, and decide up front what ideas I don’t want to cover.
Build a website - 9/10
Willsite alpha is live at willbamberg.com! I have a functional, scalable stack (eleventy SSG + nunjucks templates + gitlab repository + netlify deployment) and a basic responsive/mobile-first design. The theming and aesthetics need work, and I have a long list of features to build, but I have a website now!
Daily creative development - 7/10
I did something creative 264 / 365 days of 2021. I'm happy with this result (72% of days), but there’s definitely room for improvement. My main creative activities were writing poetry, brainstorming, dancing, coding, blog writing, and drawing. I abandoned my music production expectations early in the year when I realized I was overloaded and setting myself up for failure.
Job - 9/10
I started at Seagate in January as a mechanical engineer, but in September I transferred internally to a data analytics team! I’m now in a data engineering role, writing a lot of Python and learning a ton about software, devops, and APIs. It was the perfect opportunity for me, and I’m grateful to have been able to pivot away from mechanical engineering without having to job hunt externally. Couldn’t have hoped for a better first year of my full-time engineering career.
Lifestyle - 8/10
Thanks to time on my own and the regularity of working life, I significantly improved my daily routine. Leaving my phone across the room at night was a game-changer for improving my sleep and mornings. I finally succeeded in building a meditation practice, and started journaling and going for walks regularly. I read more books this year (36) than last, my favorite being “Awareness” by Anthony de Mello. I also joined a new soccer team and found a pickup group at the local park. What didn’t go so well? Injuries sidelined my weightlifting routine, and I never managed to get it back on track. Also, for all of my progress I still find myself pouring way too much time into scrolling on the internet.
Move to Colorado - 9/10
Colorado resident here since May! The move was a great reset for me, and enabled me to get rid of a lot of stuff I’d accumulated. Although starting long distance was painful, I’m grateful to have been able to drive up and spend my first few weeks exploring my new home with my girlfriend. I lucked out with great roommates (one human and two dogs!), who made the leaving-everyone-behind thing much easier. I didn’t get into the mountains quite as much as I’d hoped, but the hikes I did do were amazing (especially in Rocky Mountain National Park).
All things pandemic-and-major-life-shift considered, I’m happy with how the year has gone. I’d awaited the life experience of leaving my hometown (and state) since high school, and it’s been really meaningful to make good on that vision. I’m thrilled to be out of engineering school and more in control of my time and energy. I’m proud of how I prioritized creativity in many forms. Of all of my creative projects this year I’m most proud of getting my website up and running. Reaching that long-anticipated milestone gave me a lot of momentum going into the new year.
I grew a lot in 2021, building on the themes of prior years. Mentally, I’ve worked hard to practice optimism and awareness, and to create my own motivation and drive. I can feel myself becoming more mentally resilient to the ups and downs of life. I’ve embraced my identity as something to actively develop and play with, and I feel more confident and free to express myself than ever before. I also came to a hard but important realization at the end of the year: my status quo of attention and dopamine-sinking behaviors is incompatible with seriously pursuing the visions and goals I have for my life. Most importantly, this idea has sunk in enough to spark some behavior change.
- Build willsite beta, with:
- Polished design, theme, and base content (bio, headshot, etc.)
- Blog, deployed with highlight posts, archive, and tag system
- Updated homepage with introduction and blog highlights
- Subscribe feature
- Launch site and blog: promote on my social media
- Write one blog post per month
- Learn from mistakes of 2021: narrow down topics as much as possible. Long essays do not count unless finished on-schedule.
- [reach] Build Digital Garden alpha on willsite:
- Automatically ingest public-tagged notes from my Obsidian vault at site build
- Support for visible backlinks and note previews on link hover
- Do something creative every day (target minimum 90% of days)
- Dance for 20 minutes every day (target minimum 80% of days)
- Build more physical practice into my morning routine: stretching/yoga and push-up sets
- Reset my dopamine crutches and attention sinks:
- Build practice of physically decoupling myself from devices (intentional use)
- 90 day break from certain habits
- Summit Longs Peak
- Mountain bike with the bike I bought in 2021, but haven’t ridden in the mountains yet
- Ski at least 10 days
- I committed to buying my own ski boots and an IKON pass this season, and I want to justify those purchases with at least 10 days on the slopes! 3 down as of writing this.
- Improve my living situation after my apartment lease ends — hoping to find a house
- Improve at least ⅔ of: rent, location, space
- Make another Good Friend in Colorado (either new or build stronger relationship with someone I met this year)
In 2022, I want to take more initiative to be creative and to work hard on what’s important to me. I want to prioritize finishing projects and tasks that I start. I want to build stronger systems for my life. I want to be aware of my state and my mind and my behavior, so that I can be the best version of myself. I want to embrace growth and change. I want to be bold. I want to dare in my imagination, and to pursue those visions with passion and determination. I want to believe in myself enough to let it all be easy.