2020 Year in Review

2020. What can I say? It was a year I don’t think any of us need to live again. Here’s a brief overview of my year.

Life

In February on Valentine’s day, Elva and I adopted Noona(!), an 8 year old Siberian Husky. She’s the chillest, sweetest dog. Due to lockdown starting 2 weeks later, I’m sure she thinks that spending all day at the house giving her attention is normal.

Noona relaxing at Dolores Park.
Noona on a hike.

Books

I read 22 books this year. Here are my top books from 2020:

  1. Daring Greatly
  2. An Embarrassment of Mangoes
  3. Super Pumped: the Battle for Uber
  4. Steve Jobs
  5. Inherent Vice

There were 2 unintentional themes this year. I read a couple Pynchon novels to see what the hype was about. Gravity’s Rainbow required an exegesis, which was invaluable at explaining whatever the heck was happening in the book at the time. This year I also tried to educate myself more about finance. I ended up reading a few books by Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard and inventor of the index fund. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing stood out as a gem.

Running

Right before lockdown (literally one day before WFH started), I ran the Napa Half marathon with a few friends and broke my Half Marathon PR. My running went downhill from there…. haha.

SF Half Marathon February 2020

Though I was able to get out inconsistently and have some fun trail running, I did not run much this year relative to previous years. To be completely honest was difficult creating boundaries at work, and running in the immediate area around my house got boring quickly.

Races in 2020:

Race Month Distance Time
San Francisco Half Febrary 13.1mi 1:35:36
Napa Half March 13.1mi 1:28:59

Personal records as of 2020:

Distance Time Year Set
1 mile 5:32 2018
5K 18:48 2018
10K 41:22 2019
13.1 1:28:59 2020 🆕
26.2 3:59:44 2019

Career

At the end of 2019 I joined Waymo to build machine learning infrastructure. This year at work was challenging and rewarding. I’m super excited for the road ahead and the benefits driverless cars will have for society in general.

Chinese 中文

I began studying Chinese in 2018 by attending classes at KaiXin Language School in San Francisco. After I got married in China in 2019, I’ve been sporadically keeping up with the language through weekly chats with my language exchange buddy at Google, and my favorite language apps, LingQ, Pleco, and Anki. I data-mined a flashcard deck of the top 2000 conversational Chinese words for Anki.

Personal Development

It may sound silly, but one of the biggest personal revelations I had this year was coming to terms with being a perfectionist. I never thought I qualified as a perfectionist because my image of a perfectionist was a straight-A student who’s devastated when they get an 95% on a test. I was never that person.

(You may notice that I set an unrealistically high bar for being a perfectionist that’s always just out of reach – very meta).

Perfectionism has affected me deeply throughout my life. I have chosen college courses and made life choices while in a perfectionist mindset. The most helpful method I’ve used for combating my perfectionism is writing down a list of my personal values. This way, I can tie actions back to values I hold, or realize if something is a frivolous pursuit of perfection that doesn’t really advance any of my values.

2021

I no longer set yearly goals – however – after being in lockdown so long, I’ve had time to ponder some things I really want to do in 2021:

Edit 2021: Checking off boxes!

That’s my year, in a nutshell. I love reading year in review posts, so if you’ve written one, please share it with me! Hope you have a happy 2021.

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