Twenty four.

So, what better way to spend your 24th birthday than contemplating what has happened so far and where you’re going with life? Every year I seem to have an existential crisis as I start thinking about life and I almost inevitably get down to the one question – ‘What does it all mean?’. This is followed by an hour or two of wiki-browsing, reading up about philosophy hoping to find some loop hole that lets me justify existence. In short, I couldn’t. The nihilists are right, life is meaningless. There is no free will. But, I also realize nature and society have hardwired me to not accept this response and strong biological/social checks are built in that will try their best to make my conscious mind not dwell on this. 

This year, I won’t pretend to address that question. If I go there, the only thing that’ll happen is me loss of sleep and anxious wiki-surfing for some way out and then being incredibly frustrated while trying to sleep. Then a new day dawns and the rest as they say is history.

This year, I think I’ll just bury my head in the ground and pretend this dilemma doesn’t exist at all. You’ll then be left with simpler questions. What have I learned in life so far? How do I want to live my life, based on what I’ve learned so far, while trying desperately to ignore the meaninglessness of it?

What have I learned so far? That I value productive achievement above all else as the purpose of my life. That I adore travel, exploration in general and the outdoors. That I’d like to travel the world before I’m thirty and then some.

On a more “real” note, my skills, quite by accident, have been driven towards Mobile and Web. I think I got extremely lucky here as I haven’t really planned it out, and I hope to look back on this fondly once I get into my thirties. I say this because there really are only three interesting domains out there in programming. Big data, Parallel computing and mobile. Randomly being thrown into one (possibly the easiest) feels pretty awesome!

Looking back on the year though, I could say it has been fairly productive. I’ve graduated with a Masters, got my first job, travelled quite a bit (Ladakh, DC, Maine, Vegas, Florida), started partying hard, picked up photography, picked up and gave up on the guitar (:(), started my  and acquired reasonable skill in developing for all three major mobile platforms.

That leads me to thinking about what I plan to do for the year ahead. Public commitment apparently works and does push you harder, so here’s all the stuff I’d like to do for 2011.

  • Learn a little bit of UX/UI design. I don’t want to get into typography or why Helvetica sucks because it’s used out of context most of the time etc. I just don’t have the patience for it, and I think it’s a completely pointless discussion for elitist designers who are too busy airing imagined grievances over doing any really useful UX. I look at Helvetica and it looks just fine thank you. I would like to be able to do reasonably good looking, coherent design that basically doesn’t scream out “PROGRAMMER!” as soon as you lay your eyes on it.
  • Write an app every month. I’d like to write 3 in the first three months atleast. Honestly, the best part about programming is knowing you can create anything in the world with your fingertips. 
  • Write atleast one non-trivial app this year, hopefully before the end of March.
  • Blog about the stuff that I do / learn / have learned already. I just seem to forget quite a bit these days. I read a non-fiction book and I couldn’t tell you what was in it a month later. In my experience writing forces me to develop a rational thought process.
  • Exercise.
  • Travel to a different city every long weekend – Seriously, having no financial commitments rocks.  Might as well enjoy this while it lasts!
  • Commit to one hobby and see it through – Honestly, despite wanting to experience everything good about this world, to be able to do anything reasonably well takes bucket loads of practice. That’s all there is to it. I’ll stick to one hobby for the year and that’ll be photography.

If you do happen to read this, please ping me via twitter / fb / gtalk and keep asking me for updates regarding any of the above. Keeps me on my toes.

Adios for now!

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