👋 Hello again!
It’s been awhile since I wrote regularly online, and I’m starting to get back to it. Part of my motivation is an excellent book I’m reading called Show Your Work, which proposes a mindset and practices for sharing your creativity and building an online audience. For the past few days, I’ve felt this inner need to start writing and building in public again, but I’ve had the biggest mental block about what to write about. This book does a fantastic job of getting you to just start talking about the things you think a lot about to develop the sharing habit, and having just celebrated by 37th birthday, I’ve been thinking a lot about life. So that seems like a great place to start.
So in this post, I’ll reflect on what’s going on across a few areas of my life, setting up to establish some goals I’ll be working toward over the next… period of time in which I stay motivated to pursue goals and write about them online 😅 Warning: this will probably be a pretty unstructured and rambling stream of consciousness, so get comfortable.
💪 Health & Wellbeing
I think everything starts with health, from physical to mental to emotional wellbeing. I find that when I’m healthy, the rest of my life just starts falling into place. And similarly, when I’m not prioritizing my health, everything else also seems to fall apart. So let’s start here.
At 37, I’m feeling pretty healthy overall, if slightly less active than usual due to Seattle’s long, rainy season which is finally coming to an end 🙌 I recently got back to lifting heavy weights at the gym every other day, using the StrongLifts program which focuses on big compound lifts like squats, bench press, deadlifts, overhead press, and barbell rows 🏋🏾♂️ I’m eating relatively well (particularly driven by a current habit of meal prepping every weekend!) and may soon resume tracking macros like protein, carbs, fat, and calories to put on some muscle. I’m currently not sleeping consistently through the night so am likely getting less than my nightly target of 8 hours.
👨🏾💻 Work & Wealth
I spend about a third of most days working, and applying my mind toward creating value for the world is a big part of my identity. So let’s talk about work next.
😎 Meta Quest
As of June 2022, I’ve been a product management lead working on a virtual reality device called Quest at Meta for three years. In many ways, it’s a dream job working on such a future-facing technology that the world has been captivated by for several decades. As a product manager, it can feel like being a science fiction author writing ideas into reality to solve people’s problems. As a recently transitioned manager of other PMs, the job takes on an entirely new dimension as a coach to the team and architect of the organization itself.
On the other hand, the job is full of challenges that can feel fulfilling to solve but really add up over time. Growing into an organization of thousands of people makes it more challenging to get teams of teams of teams of people aligned and rowing in the same direction. Whereas it was relatively easy to discover problems and solutions relatively autonomously before, a lot more time is spent coordinating which teams will address which problems and balancing trade-offs in priorities. Maintaining a sense of autonomy and entrepreneurialism to independently identify and go after big opportunities gets more difficult with so much internal coordination to manage. Meanwhile, the tech sector starts its biggest downturn of the last decade, adding more concern about our long-term future. All of this gets in the way of the thing I love doing and have become marginally competent at — ideating impactful problems to solve for people and prioritizing compelling solutions to them.
But on the whole, I’m pretty happy with this as a primary job for the time being and feel like I’m still growing.
🏘 The Eastlake
In addition to my day job, I’ve been a running short term rental business on AirBnb, having bought the property (the Eastlake) eight months ago and being open for business for the past four. It’s been a giant learning journey so far, with a comical number of mistakes, stumbles, and sources of stress along the way. A general rule or thumb is that any business struggles for the first year of life, and I’m solidly still in the “was this a good idea?” phase. But it’s gradually turning into a positive effort that provides a great 5-star experience for guests and generates a modest return on the investment.
❤️ Relationships & Love
At the end of my life, I think the thing I’ll look back on as the most defining element will be the relationships I had with my friends, family, and loved ones. So this is an important one to check in on.
I’m in a pretty good place overall here. I continue to have great relationships with my family, having grown surprisingly closer through weekly group FaceTimes during quarantine. As my parents and siblings start to grow older, it’s been wonderful growing through life together and learning from their collective wisdom. I also now have three nephews who are quickly growing up and bringing the family tons of joy to watch. Staying involved in their lives from the west coast will be a challenge, but they’re a delight to see grow.
I’m also still continuing to prioritize relationships with my friends although in a very different way than the previous phase of my life in LA. Where previously, my weeks were often characterized by wild nights out with friends, it’s been nice to build deeper relationships with them focused on other aspects of life.
Finally, I’ve been dating a wonderful girl who I met at the beginning of the year. We share a love of skiing / snowboarding, musicals, games, cooking, and lazy afternoon naps. And I’m really loving our adventures around town and elsewhere. It’s only been a matter of months, but our partnership feels effortless, stabilizing, growth-focused, and fun.
🎮 Hobbies & Play
Finally, I think it’s important to prioritize spending time on non-productive activities pursued out of enjoyment. This is actually kind of difficult for me, and even the activities I call hobbies are probably more of early business idea inspiration. But nonetheless, I’m trying to spend intentional time just having fun.
One hobby I’m looking to get back into is software development, starting with learning Swift, SwiftUI, and RealityKit. Even though I work on this in my day job, I’m endlessly fascinated by the potential for AR and VR to change the world, and I want to keep learning the latest technologies and creating prototypes of ideas.
During quarantine, I was spending more active time playing piano and recording music, which has fallen off lately. I’d love to get back to this as a creative outlet to balance the technical work I spend most of the day on.
Finally, I’d love to get back to just playing video games, especially story-driven JRPGs which I’ve always loved. As a Final Fantasy enthusiast, I’m still not caught up on some installments in the series, and I’d love to get back to it when I can.
So that’s where I am lately. Looking over these thoughts, I feel really fortunate for where I am in life and optimistic about what’s coming next. In a future post, I’d like to set some goals (maybe even some OKRs) for my life to pursue over the coming year. With this “state of the union of my life” complete, I think I’ll be able to approach it with a holistic view.