2017 in Review: Overview

Note (added on Jan 2): As I started composing this year’s edition of my year in review late New Year’s Eve, I came to realize how I overwhelmed I was to compress a whole year of learning and new experiences into a single post and in a single evening. After procrastinating for a while, finally deciding to welcome the new year in good company of friends, and regretting my decision to stay awake until 3 and hence losing enough sleep to be not productive on the New Year’s Day, I decided to break the task in to manageable chunks and spread them over the next few days. Hence, this overview which summarizes major themes of my past year.

After declaring and successfully finishing 2016 as my year of coding, I had an empty feeling for a major part of January – what next, what goal was I going to pursue in 2017!? At the time, I was applying for and waiting to hear about decisions from PhD programs, hence there was uncertainty about what was in store in the year ahead. In Jan, I also got to visit my family in India for the first time after moving to the US. I found it hard to connect with them and to talk about things that mattered. On the other hand, I also got a perspective on so many things that I did not know about or understood that were happening at home. Something was amiss, perhaps I had already gone so far to never be able to come back to my roots again.

This and other experiences at the time led me to decide on a theme for the year ahead of me. As I wrote in a recent book review, I was

on a mission, this year, to understand people better, learn from each interaction, become better at communicating and reading emotions, form closer better relationships.

What I realized only later was that this theme of connecting with other human beings at a deeper level started at the beginning (and end) of the year itself with me spending time with Terrence at a bar in downtown Providence welcoming the new year. Before that for so many years, I used to avoid being with other people on a new year’s eve, instead choosing to celebrate on the Internet while waiting to see the digits of the clock on my machine turning into a new date and time.

I will write more about the year past divided into following sections over the next few days and make the links here:

  • Reading: A report on my 2017 Reading Challenge, how my reading has changed and some interesting things that I read this year.
  • People and Relationships: People who made this year worth remembering and more on my theme of the year. There will be some interesting stats and stories from my attempts with dating.
  • Work: What I accomplished, where I am in my journey, what has changed and what I could have done better.
  • Food and Health: What have I learned especially about mental health and food over the year.
  • Writing: Why I did more academic writing than personal in 2017 and documenting my new effective workflow to take notes.
  • Travel: I got to visit Europe this year, among other interesting places.
  • Learning about the World: I took interest in learning so many things outside of Computer Science this year, sharing major learnings.
  • Communication & Social Media: How my thoughts have evolved about online communication and what I am doing about it.
  • Misc: Everything else that doesn’t fit the categories above and a new goal for 2018!

I have notes and stats from the past year (and past reviews) to be able to come up with the sections above but because I am yet to write any of these sections, I may have to change the organization as I make progress. Stay tuned!