- December 31st, 2020


This year’s been an anomaly for me with a host of big life changes. Of course, that can probably be said every year since 365 days is ultimately a long time where different things wil happen. Still with the backdrop of Covid-19, things were even more accelerated than normal. This list is comprehensive but are some bigger things that’ve happened (not in any order):

School - I started my masters in computer science at UT Austin through their online program. First off, it’s a bargain. Ten-thousand dollars, 10 course, all paid incrementally with each class taken, and for a top-10 CS program. I’m pretty thrilled with myself on doing this (at the time of writing, 30% / 3 classes completed). It scratches a few itches, receiving a higher degree (PhD would be ideal..) and becoming a computer scientist. Since transitioning to engineering, it’s been hard to not feel like a fraud and this degree gives me the confidence to not. The classes have also taught me things and are on subjects only tangentially related to my work, which may open up other career opportunities. I’ve dreaded applying to programs thinking I wouldn’t be accepted and it’s been too long since my undergrad. Although the online program likely isn’t as rigorous on being on-campus, I do think it fits the parento principle, giving 80% of the benefits with 20% of the work. Since I’m doing this while working, the time aspect is important. There’s about two years left and although it takes a fair amount of time (sometimes which I wish was used on something else), it’s a goal of mine to finish.

New Job - it’s taken me a while to leave Camino. I think the hardest part is I’m likely leaving at a pivotal time for the company and when I was just offered to be the engineering manger for the backend, and the company might double in size next year. That being said, there’s going to be a lot of personal growth for me at Unqork and I have to keep playing the long game. If I had to guess, I don’t think the long game is be the most money but likely some balance of financial and satisfaction. This company is based in NYC and I’m starting off remote during the pandemic, so will see if this draws back there.

Moving and lots of it - I left San Francisco. Eight years and it’s now behind me, and really some important years. I’m sad in some ways leaving the way I did; I just wanted to get out and didn’t say goodbye to everyone. But I moved to NYC right before Thankgiving and was able to reconnect with some great friends. Jenny and Steven immeditately invited me into their Thanksgiving plans, where I met my first friend from there, Ricky. It was short lived though and in some ways lucky. I moved in with Steph in her Southslope apartment midlease which quickly I realized I’d want to move when we could. That time though - July - was in the middle of pandemic and it was hard to fathom signing another lease with everything shutdown, and so I moved home to San Diego. Less than eight whole months there. Positives though were meeting Steph, reconnecting with friends, finding a job from there (which I would’ve never applied otherwise), playing soccer, and getting a tease of what the city might offer by living there.

San Diego living is odd. I’ve regressed and while the city and living my parents can’t be the blame, I think it’s played some part. The suburbs aren’t as enticing to exploring, and I don’t have a lot of personal responsibilities anymore (don’t have to worry about food or rent!). That being said, this only happened because of the global event happening and will likley remain temporary until I can decide on another stop (tbd!). Overall living at home is a 6/10. It’s positive but I think it’s stagnates my growth.

Living and being a part of the community I grew up is important too. I’m still moving away but this is a thought worth drawing out more.

Regarding the thought on growth - while I might have indvidually stagnated, I’ve put more into my family bonds and trying to raise the floor for everyone. Said another way, I’m putting the interests of the group over mine individually. It’s also something that I see as the western and eastern culture clash. Yes, I’m likley not reaching my peak but that’s because I’m now more collectively living with my family. And that has positives, for them and me both. An example - I’ve been trying to get my brother to go biking with me; if he doesn’t want to go, I pass to. I think it’d be easy for me to ignore this and just do my own thing, but it feels wrong. If I start to go just by myself and get good enough, there’s two effects: 1) I’ll be less likely wanting to go with him because of the skill gap and 2) I think it’ll actually discourage him to go (I wish it would encourage but don’t think it would in the case). So in this way I am sacrificing individually. Being raised in the US I’m bred to believe the individual accolades are more important - and it’s what I feel a lot - but the latter may be better for us, as a human group (there’s likely parallels here too with socialism vs capitalism, where I think the former is a better system even if the latter does produce more breakthroughs; of course as in all things, there’s a balance of the two that’s even better, but if I had to pick one..).

In 2020, I’ve also grown my real estate portfolio to three houses. All based in Tampa and big thanks to my brother and dad for managing them. While there’s a lot to say here, I will share this: I’m now more convinced and aware of the wealth disparities around, and the opportunities afforded to those who have money. To give a little, I bought a house in 2019 for ~100k, putting down $30k. In 2020, I did a cash out refinance by where I took a larger loan on the house for $150k, and received the $50k difference in cash. That means, I now own a house with no money down on a property where rents (when paid on time) covers the mortgage and then some. It’s crazy and not fair.

Covid 19 is a thing and still not resolved. 2021 hoping we get it soon.

So where do I want to go this year - I’ll write another post with some goals.