2016 is quickly coming to an end, and overall it was a great year for personal growth. In this post I share some of my biggest wins and things I want to do more of next year.
Win #1: Moving to Montreal
The biggest change for me this year was my move to Montreal. I’d been wanting to move out of Ottawa for a while so I was really stoked to finally make it happen.
Montreal has been great thus far. I’ve been having a blast meeting new people, picking up new hobbies (more on this later) and discovering great places to eat. I can definitely see myself staying in this fine city for a few more years.
2017 Goals: Explore more of the city, get more comfortable with speaking French.
Win #2: Getting my feet wet in the jazz scene
One thing that I’ve started doing since moving to Montreal is play jazz shows with my upright bass. I’d been studying jazz for quite some time now with a private teacher, but the fact that I wasn’t doing anything with it was picking away at me.
In September I met up with some jazz musicians at an open jam and continued to attend every Saturday afternoon. I eventually became their regular upright bassist, and since then I’ve played two shows with them: one at a fancy Christmas party and another at l’Éscalier in downtown Montreal.
As I play more shows and perform more solos I can feel my confidence as a jazz bassist growing. Many jazz bassists can walk along to tunes, but being able to improvise solos puts one on a whole other level. I want to become a solid soloist that can turn heads.
2017 Goals: Continue playing shows and attending weekly jazz jams, as well as meet more musicians. Listen to more jazz bassists for inspiration (ex: Charles Mingus, Christian McBride).
Win #3: Growing as a front end developer
Outside of work, I did several writings and open source projects, including:
- Writing about building mobile-friendly, accessible data tables.
- This one garnered quite a bit of attention on Twitter 🎉
- Writing about common web accessibility issues
- Shipping Liquid Documentation redesign with my good friend Adam Hollett
- Plotting out Montreal’s murals using the city’s open data
Win #4: Getting rid of a bunch of possessions
As part of my move I got rid of a bunch of stuff that I no longer needed. This felt great and it was sweet to make some extra cash off of items that I’d never use again.
One thing that I was really happy to get rid of was my car. Having a car was extremely convenient… but there was way too much overhead involved, including
- Tire storage
These factors made owning a car not worth it for me. Starting next month I plan on using a ride-sharing service such as Car2Go or Communauto.
2017 Goals: Be more aware of material possessions. Get rid of even more stuff. Don’t buy things that have very limited use. Don’t buy another car.
Win #5: Learning to protect myself
In June I almost got my ass kicked on Bell St in Ottawa, a sort-of sketchy part of town. I was on my bike when I noticed a car parked like an asshole, right on the pedestrian crossing. I guess I must have stared too long because shortly after a big thug-looking dude popped out of the car and started confronting me. I was on my bike so I decided to just book it out of there, which I think was the best thing to do.
When I moved to Montreal it just so happened that there was a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) gym a stone’s throw away from my apartment. I joined in September and have been hooked ever since, attending three to four times a week. It also turns out that my friend Bernardo is a brown belt in BJJ so I started training with him as well. He is the humblest dude I know and makes for a great teacher.
I’m not expecting a Hollywood-style montage where I go back to Bell St and confront the meanie – most likely I’d still get my ass beat. However I want to become more confident when I get into sticky situations in the future and I feel BJJ helps with that.
2017 Goals: Continue attending BJJ class 3-4 times a week, keep working on technique, and start thinking about competing.
Win #6: Reducing the use of social media
Back in May I decided to get rid of Facebook. I was scrolling through my Timeline one day and I realized that I’m not getting any value out of it. I even had this distracting ‘twitch’ where I’d check my feed every few minutes even though I wasn’t really seeking any information or updates in particular. Interesting enough I didn’t miss Facebook at all once I deleted my account. In just a couple of days my habit of opening a new tab and going to Facebook had died.
I wish to continue to get rid of these types of distractions in my life. Admittedly, I do still use Twitter and Instagram from time to time. I like Twitter because I can share posts like this and other accomplishments like side projects and writings. Instagram is nice to share some cool life moments but I’ve been thinking about moving that to this blog.
2017 Goals: Think about what other social media and distractions I can remove from my life.
Other things I want to do more of next year
- Travel more. I’ve got a trip to Iceland lined up in May with the girlfriend that I’m super excited about. What I’d do to go on another epic trip with my homies too…
- Read more: I dropped the ball on that this year, having only read two books 😢
Here’s to a dope 2017, happy new year y’all. 🍻