For me, 2021 has had a sort of strange duality; it was a year of an ongoing pandemic and civil unrest in the United States, while also a year that marked a return to routine and perhaps even to normalcy. Unlike 2020 which was a complete shock to the system, I was fortunate to come out of 2021 without too much major upheaval in my life.
Compared to last year, my reflections are a lot more subdued, but in many ways are just as impactful to my day-to-day life:
- I am lucky enough to live in a place that had early access to COVID-19 vaccines, and have been vaccinated since the end of the first quarter of the year. While things haven't returned to normal, especially in the wake of the Omicron surge, the vaccines and boosters have afforded some peace of mind that we didn't have in 2020.
- 2021 was the first full year I worked entirely remote, never setting foot into an office or meetup once. It definitely hasn't always been easy, but working from home has proven to be a great fit for my lifestyle. I have enjoyed optimizing my home office and feel like I can be much more productive here than I ever could be in a shared space.
- Professionally, it has been a busy year where I've focused mostly on frontend React development, with some backend and devops work here and there. One project in particular was the smoothest I've ever been involved in from start to finish. There were a lot of great lessons in engineering and leadership learned from that project, and hopefully I can bottle up some of that magic and apply it to my future endeavors.
- About halfway through the year I started thinking about what will come next in my career. To be honest, I'm still thinking about that question, and one avenue I am using to explore my options is returning to academia to earn a master's degree. I'll be starting Georgia Tech's OMSCS program in January of next year, and I'm hopeful the experience will level up my engineering skills and provide an opportunity to survey parts of the field that I don't always encounter with my day job.
- Throughout all of this, my wife and I have been raising our corgi puppy Biscuit, which has provided its own set of challenges. As stressful as that has been at times, Biscuit has given a lot of joy to us both, and helped introduce us to half of our neighborhood since everyone wants to say hi to a corgi.
I'm really happy with the progress that I've made this past year, and I appreciate that most of the change this year was incremental rather than sweeping. Hopefully the relative stability of 2021 will provide a good foundation for the challenges and opportunities of 2022.