Cat Cai

2019 - A Year of Lowered Expectations

Another year around the sun. Another year of this blog being sorely neglected. Whoops.

I liked the approach that I took last year, where I listed some of my accomplishments for the year and some low expectations for what I want to do for the next year.

I’m going to see if I actually checked off any of the boxes I set out for myself from 2017.

Things I Had Hoped to Achieve in 2018

Ship a MVP of my side project

Em nope. Didn’t happen. I did make a huge dent in it in 2018 and I actually roped in a lot of friends to help me out. I’m actually more proud of the growth that we all saw together as a team. The experience we got just growing and learning together was way more valuable than actually shipping this project.

Crush more lifting PRs (Bench: 150lb, Deadlift: 250lb, Squat: 230lb)

I absolutely crushed this one. I discovered nSuns, a Reddit user’s variation on a well-known lifting routine called 5/3/1 at the end of 2017. nSuns, the creator of the program, ran it while he was a on a huge cut.

I wasn’t crazy enough to do that. I decided to bulk while running the program and it absolutely gave me bonkers results.

I’d like to thank both nSuns and eating carbs again for this wonderful accomplishment.

Final tally - Bench: 170lb, Deadlift: 300lb, Squat: 265lb

Learn another language

I certainly did learn another langague, though it wasn’t Clojure, Rust, or Elixir. It was actually C. I had to learn it within a couple of weeks for the OS class I took as a part of OMSCS.

Continue to not go instane though Trump is our president

No comment.

Visit Thailand for the first time

This one didn’t end up happening. However, I did end up taking trips to Iceland, Australia, and New Zealand this year. I think the sentiment behind this one was at least fulfilled (though I am a little salty that Australia and New Zealand don’t stamp your passport so my passport doesn’t reflect that I’ve been).

Visit NYC for the first time

I did go to NYC and I loved it! Well, I loved Brooklyn. Manhattan… not so much. Still a bit of a toss up on this one.

Dress more like an adult (specifically, get my first wedding-appropriate set of clothes)

I don’t know about dressing more like an adult on the whole, but I did get wedding attire. I ended up getting a Wildfang suit and having it tailored. Here is the Instagram of the end result.

Write more WTF Algorithms

Nope. Didn’t really happen. And that’s ok. Just in between writing code for work, writing code for my side projects, and writing code for class, I didn’t honestly feel like sitting down and drilling algorithms.


Not bad. I’m actually pretty pleased with myself for the lifting one, specifically. I thought my goals were already pretty lofty and I ended up smashing through the ceiling. But, I think it does leave out other things I did in 2018.

Things I’ve Done in 2018

I think the difference between this year and last year is that I’m not sure if I feel proud of where I am in 2018. I definitely feel like I’ve grown as an engineer. But I think my fixation on working so much via side projects, starting a master’s program, and stepping up at work has taken a huge human cost. Even though I’ve moved out and started living alone, my apartment’s been relatively untouched and undecorated (and I started living alone in late July) since I haven’t been home. I’ve also realized that my only hobby as of late is powerlifting. With that in mind…

Things I Hope to Achieve in 2019

I think last year I set a lot of goals that were very focused on work (with the caveat of some travel). However, I think the amount of work I threw myself into has really taken a mental toll. I’ve rarely had weekends where I can just sit and watch TV (since I have to be working on homework, or my side project, or day job work).

This year, I’m hoping to be a little more human. I know people would say balanced, but I think balance is a loaded term. People have different tolerations of what balance is supposed to be, and I would say for the first half of the year, the amount of work I was cracking out was balanced and what I needed at the time. But, now that 2018 is coming to a close… I’m tired. And my situation has changed so that that isn’t what works for me anymore.

I guess I’m hoping to go into 2019 with just lowered expectations about achievements… and just being more okay with functioning like a regular human who watches TV, plays videogames, and bakes bread or something.