back up to speed >>> Welcome to the real new millennium. Hope you had a good time ringing it in; I certainly did.

Since my last update, I’ve spent basically no time web surfing (hence the lack of links in this update). Dave, my gradual school buddy, was in town for a couple of days, so I did spend a lot of time hanging out with him. We saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, we did the New Year’s Eve thing, we went to Ikea (and ran into a ratbastard). It was good.

year end thoughts >>> This was a good year. I finally finished gradual school, and I think getting my Ph.D. has to be good for several hundred points in the ‘win’ column. Getting a kick-ass post-doc and moving to a great city hasn’t hurt a bit, either. I’ve met a lot of new people, made some new friends, and in general have come out of the asocial shell I was in for the past couple of years. I’m a lot less angry than I have been, and I think that’s a good thing.

My marriage, even after seven and a half years, continues to get better. Lor continues to complete me, and I think I’m starting to complete her more and more as well. I can’t imagine where I’d be without her, or how much poorer my life would be if she wasn’t in it.

I’m not usually a resolution type of guy, but there are a few things I’d like to try to improve on in 2001. I figure if I list them here, maybe I’ll have a better chance of following through on some of them.

Exercise more/lose weight: I like to drink beer. I’m not into any activities that require lots of running or jumping around. I have a job where I sit on my ass all day (don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but coding just doesn’t burn all that many calories, eh?). All of these things together mean I’m carrying around a bit more weight than is good for me. Add in a genetic predisposition to hypertension (controlled via meds, but…), and you get a situation where I need to be doing something.

Strive for balance: I have a tendency to get into one thing to the exclusion of others, realize I’m way behind on everything aside from the one thing I’ve been concentrating on, then panic and thrash about wildly trying to catch up. Or, I get really into something then burn out when I’m 75% of the way done with the project. This needs to stop; I need to work on staying caught up with everything equally, all the time. I need to realize when I’m getting to into something and letting other things fall behind. Mostly, I need to maintain focus on projects, and see them through to the end.

Keep learning: One of the reasons I got my current job was because I’d managed to develop some coding skills while picking up a biology doctorate. Not the most common thing to do, but not all that uncommon either. I need to keep looking around for new interesting skills, and keep picking them up — not just computer-related things, either, but biology, math, etc.

Keep blogging: Blogging has been one of the best things I ever started doing. It played a part in me becoming more social, in picking up those new skills, and keeping me informed and opinionated. Sometimes, however, that lack of balance I talked about has caused me to let the blogging slide a bit. Genehack was not as good this year as it was last year; I let myself get into a rut, I started second guessing the content I put up, and I started to care a bit too much about whether people would like the things I wanted to say. In the coming year, I want to update more frequently, and I don’t want to worry as much about the content I’m putting up.

Be a more active presence in the blog world: Once upon a time, I was all over various weblogging fora, I commented on discussion boards, and I dropped people email when I liked something they said, or even when I disagreed with what they said. Due to that lack of balance thing, I’ve let a lot of that stuff slide. I need to find my voice again, and in order to do that, I need to exercise that voice.

Figure out what I want to be when I grow up: I still don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life. I like my current job, a lot, but it’s definitely a temporary deal. By this time next year, I need to have a very clear idea of where I want to go, and what I want to do — stay in the DC/Balto area, or move again; stay in science (either industry or government — academia is out, I’m sure about that) or jump ship and try my hand at coding or PFYing.

Anyway, that’s what I’m looking to do in the days ahead; we’ll see how it actually goes. I’ll catch up with you kids later this week.

(PS: If you’ve got any ideas on how I could accomplish some of these goals, or if you just want to jeer at the likelihood of me actually following through on them, drop me a line at jacobs@genehack.org.)

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