On New Year Resolution
2020 finally comes to its end. It is the time of year to have retrospect of last year, and envision a resolution for next year.
When I was younger, I didn’t care much about new year resolution. Life has been planned out on its own: finishing a semester after another, going through different stages of schooling, finding a job, working on whatever required on the job. Resolution was for someone what didn’t have a clear path. Besides, spontaneity was more fun, let life carried on its own fate. When I looked deeper, I saw a sense of insecurity in that mentality. I had fear that if there was resolution, how if by the end of the year, targets were not hit. Would that be a joke on self or on fate? Either one was a disappointment, why not just avoid it totally.
Then in 2018, I really wished something would change in where I was going in life. I was a public school teacher, feeling bored and burn out of the daily routine, feeling that public school system in USA sank to the bottom. I couldn’t see any hope in staying in a rotten system. I wanted to get out of teaching. However, there were not employable skills that I had gained as a teacher. I made a bold decision- learn programming and web development, learn it well so that someone would be willing to hire me.
That was the only new year resolution I had for 2018. I didn’t go into details as how much time to put into learning every day, how long I needed to check if I was hirable or not. It was a desperate decision, as I came to the end tunnel of teaching life, and not sure where to go next.
Couple months later in March, I gained basic understanding about programming and web development. It was also the moment that I realized I needed to allocate more time and energy in perfecting this craft. I decided to quit teaching. My husband was fully supportive as for me to get out of teaching. He didn’t like the dramas that I experienced at work, and a lot of days, those dramas spilled out into our family life.
I finished teaching that semester at the beginning of June. I started to have more than eight hours a day in learning. The power of setting that resolution was slow grinding its way in my life. It gave birth to patience when I had hard time understanding; It cleared frustration when I was feeling stupid; it lessens pain when there was no tangible outcome. My anxiety level also dropped down some as I have more time to focus on a certain concept and to start working on small pet projects. My relationship with husband improved dramatically. He not only gave me emotional support, but daily guidance on my learning journey. He had been a senior software engineer who had variety industry experience.
After one year of exercise, I knew exactly what my new year resolution was for 2019. In programming, I needed to practice on Database, to understand API and backend programing. It was also time to get into making projects with frontend frameworks, like React, Angular and Vue. AWS was another area that I would like to learn. In other aspects of life, I organized them relating to the important people in my life. I set a goal to spend more time with my son, who was three years old. My relationship with husband also needed more work: respect, patience, spontaneity, etc. I also liked to reconnect with my parents and sisters in a more adult manner. There were much more on my list, I tied a knot when it came to eight.
I began to adventure into React soon after I made couple apps with backend API and database. My projects became more presentable after using React, with more ready to use functionalities. The concepts that I drilled down in precious year started to make sense when I exercised them in projects.
I’ve also started to document in blogging about those technologies I picked up and the process of building projects. It naturally became a way to sort, organize, and more importantly to retain tools, languages and frameworks that I’ve used to build projects. During moments when I was stuck and upset with my inability to figure a certain problem, the resolution helped me to march forward, even in turtle speed.
After React, Angular and Vue appeared like a same character with different outfits. Finally, in September, AWS technologies played its necessary role to host and deploy those web apps I created. The AWS technologies are like a maze, looking like spaghetti at the beginning. The more I read, the more I liked to find out how each AWS service functions and connects to other ones. By the end of December, I had passed three AWS certifications: AWS practitioner, Associate Architect and Associate Developer.
As for the relationship with my son, husband and other family members, I made some progress by changing patterns. There was a habitual behavior in me when reacting to their behavior, which hindered the change that I’ve envisioned. As I made it clear to myself, that I wanted to improve relationship in a more mature way, I began to act instead of react. The original pattern fell off when I acted with more patience and respect for another. Slowly new pattern developed its new life in my relationship with others. There were some old patterns that were off, and new one was not able to grow roots. I had learned to let go and let the universe to decide if reconnection is for later.
That came to the end of 2019, I was pretty happy with the outcome. There was no dramatic change but I could see sparks of changes had been penetrated their way. When it was time for 2020 resolution, it became visible by itself: I was ready to send my resume out to find a programming job; I liked to continue developing dynamic relationship with others.
2020 is a year of change for everyone. I was lucky to land a job at the last week of February, right before the outbreak of COVID-19 in USA. It was a remote developer position, and our whole team functioned remotely. When everyone was required to work from home in March, there was no need to adjust accordingly for our team. The effort that I made in the previous couple years to learn various technologies started to pay off. I was able to learn what was required to function in this job within two months, then I was able to write code for production.
My work on relationships with husband and son as I mentioned earlier also gave fruits in 2020. My husband is required to work from home since March, and my son has stopped going to school as well. With three of us staying at home with different schedules, it is not easy to orchestrate different tasks, to balance each other’s energies, so that we were not on each other’s nerves while quarantine at home for the last nine months. The understanding and compassion we had developed for each other last year really played a role in the extreme situation of 2020.
As 2020 had revealed so many historical moments, I gained a deeper understand what is vital in life. My 2021 resolution would be built based on 2020. I wish in the coming year, I would be enlightened to be more physically, mentally and emotionally balanced, to face challenges the year ahead.
The point to have a new year resolution, is not to focus if targets are hit at the end. The perseverance and retrospect it brings through out every moment of the coming year, is what matters to accumulate to the turning point. Setting new year resolution itself is a skill that takes off on its own, once you’ve practiced it. If I haven’t been able to convince you to give it a try right after reading my experience, perhaps it will come to you naturally in the near future.