Our New Year's Eve dinner party with friends has wrapped and I'm reflecting on the year that has passed.
Dinner parties we host often make me think of our table leaves stored under our bed when not in use. They are a hassle to pull out and fit into place and a hassle to put away. After our last big dinner a leaf stayed in place for a week or two.
I expect I will look back on 2019 and recall the year my personal and professional flywheel began moving with a quicker and more steady momentum.
Early in the year, I discovered my passion for the career of Engineering Management.
I've long solved problems with bits while practicing software engineering. This year I learned that enabling humans to solve problems is both more rewarding, gratifying, and challenging. This is the first real career transition for me in over a decade.
Not realizing it at the time, this period also included both an introduction to, and farewell from someone I can now recognize as a great mentor. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to share time and ideas together.
There were also challenges. While things were getting rocky at work, greater than 50% of the leadership team let me know that "I was not set up for success". A hard pill to swallow at the time, I am grateful for the lessons learned.
I left that role on my own terms in July. Over the Summer and into the Autumn I enjoyed a mini-sabbatical.
During this time I reflected on the person I am and the person I intend to become. An outcome of this reflection was the choice to stop drinking alcohol.
I have found the compounding effects of living with a clear mind have enabled me to achieve more than I could have otherwise. I enjoyed drinking alcohol and I do miss it. But I've created and strengthened habits that have more meaning to me. Without the absence of alcohol I know I could not have achieved these.
Among these habits are mindfulness, practicing empathy and presence, and nurturing relationships. I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep nearly every night. And I wake between 5:00 am and 6:00 am nearly every morning. I have been writing more, journaling, reading more, and exercising.
One of the first things I noticed was a reduction in both procrastination and of surrendering to temptation. By leveraging this and climbing a habit ladder, I've been able to strengthen the foundation of my habits while slowly increasing the ease of the climb.
I'm now about six weeks into a new role as an Engineering Manager at a startup that excites me. Over the next year, I look forward to having a professional impact unlike any other year. I am taking full responsibility and accountability for setting myself up for success. I am working with a career coach and am seeking a good match in a personal therapist. I am grateful for the privilege I have that I can afford to do so.
I enter 2020 with no goals but rather the intention to create and strengthen more long term habits. Healthy habits will result in achieving any specific goal I can set.
But if I had to set one goal for the New Year it would be more dinner parties with friends and family. As I prepared to clean up from tonight's, I surveyed our dining room and kitchen. I acknowledged the missing sense of procrastination. And before tackling the kitchen, I put away the table leaf.
Here's to a healthy and happy New Year!