It's that time of the year again when I force myself to reflect and write about my goals and experience for the year. I thought about skipping it this time because of sheer laziness and the so-called "non-fruitfulness" of publishing an article that does not add to the skills of my fellow netizens. But philosophy has taught me to present your thoughts to the world as there's always somebody willing to listen. 😉
I'll begin with a quick recap of my goals for 2019 before going ahead with an in-depth review. This year, I decided to:
- Continue delivering on the new initiatives from 2018
- Eliminate the failures
- Transform from healthy to athletic body
- Publish 15 articles in design and philosophy
- Launch UX Assist 2.0
- Help as many people as you can
And this is how things went this year:
- I partly delivered on this resolution. There were a few design meetups and podcast episodes. But a lot more could have been done.
- I continued on my failures from last year. Not good.
- I failed in this department because of several health issues.
- I "micro-blogged" on Twitter but failed otherwise.
- Yes! This was satisfactory.
I indeed failed to deliver on most of my resolutions but completed other objectives that I did not plan earlier.
This brings me to the whole point of deciding on goals for an entire next year based on your current circumstances. Is that even rational? I'll deep-dive into what happened this year to determine the rationality of setting resolutions.
The year of the philosopher 🧐
Philosophy was the dominant theme for me this year. I returned to academics with my Master's in Philosophy and wrote my first exam after a long gap of 12 years. It was nostalgic - preparing for exams and the anxiety of the examination hall. But the significant difference was that there was no pressure to succeed in examinations. I'm studying philosophy for the love of the subject. My career does not depend on it, and I don't have anybody judging me on the results. This gives you the freedom to explore the depths of the subject without worrying about future prospects. And this is incredibly powerful. You break away the shackles of material expectations and enter the realm of Thoughts where you think just because you like doing it and nothing more. Some of the philosophers might call this too metaphysical, but that's not the point here. When education is linked with material gains, you create barriers that prevent you from looking beyond the objective goals of a career. I'll not deny that good results make me happy, but that's not the reason for studying philosophy.
Apart from reading, I spent a lot of time listening to philosophy podcasts, watching related YouTube videos, and leading all discussions towards philosophy. 😁
Following is a list of some of my favorite philosophy books, podcasts, and videos/channels for this year:
- Language, Truth, and Logic - Ayer
- The history of philosophy - A.C Grayling
- Modern moral philosophy - W.D Hudson
- Critique of pure reason - Kant
- An essay concerning human understanding- Locke
- The moral law - Paton
- Indian Philosophy (Vol 1 and 2) - Radhakrishnan
The job and the city 💼
After spending close to three years at PayPal, I decided to look for opportunities that challenge me as a designer, more specifically in collaboration, facilitation, and systems thinking. There's nothing like Enterprise that fits perfectly in all these categories. I came across an opportunity at ServiceNow and went ahead to join them as their Staff Designer. It has been six months in the job so far, and I'm thoroughly enjoying both the work and the team. I'm getting all the support and co-operation from my peers to execute custom games at the company.
I also moved to Hyderabad with my family. It was a big decision to leave Bangalore. I've my close family members there, and the city is known for its vibrant design and startup community. The former put me in a real dilemma while the latter did not matter that much. I want to contribute through books and podcasts rather than attending conferences and seminars. So, staying away from community events for a while is a good thing.
By the way, we are rapidly expanding our team at the Hyderabad office. So, let me know if you're interested in design or research opportunities.
An apple a day, did not keep the doctor away 😔
This year was not so good for my health. It started with a diagnosis of an auto-immune disease related to my Thyroid gland. I'm still on medication with a strong possibility of continuing it in the future. But things are better now.
I also suffered from lower back pain in the last quarter of this year. Physiotherapy sessions are still ongoing. Hopefully, the problem should be resolved soon. All of this led to a lot of stress, fatigue, and weight management issues.
But as Nietzsche said - "What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger"
My aim will be to come back strongly in 2020 with even more focus on health.
Some other highlights from this year:
Attending Google I/O 2019 - This was my first experience at I/O, thanks to the Google Developer Experts program. It was a tremendous three-day experience with lots of learning, interactions, and tons of fun. I've shared my I/O experience on this podcast episode.
Speaking at Google Devfest - I talked about "The symbiotic relationship between designers and developers." You can find the talk slides here.
All is well 😊
I did not deliver on my resolutions this year. But I still had a satisfactory year regarding family, job, and academics.
Not everything goes according to a plan. What matters is how you respond to unplanned situations. The health issue, switching jobs and city, and giving three exams in a single year; none of it was planned for this year. But more or less, things went better than expected.
What's coming in 2020 🙌
I will not be setting any objective goals for 2020. Instead, I want to focus on holistic vision rather than discrete objectives that do not integrate towards a purpose. So, here's what I'll be aiming for:
- Contribute more than you consume - Help young designers, influence educational reforms at a policy level, promote and elevate critical thinking in your social sphere.
- Stay healthy - that's a no-brainer.
‘The greatest use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.’ – William James
I wish you all the happiness and good health for the new year. Stay safe, but party hard! 🥳