Man, how did another year slip by? I think I need to count 2008 as a good year. I made reasonable progress on everything I set out to do in my blog post kicking off last year. A quick recap:
- Spend more time with the boys
I feel pretty good about this. Among other things, we went camping, played in Japan, held long discussions about right and wrong, introduced them fine cuisine, hiked the Great Wall, ran through a corn maze in the dark, and started exploring our new home. Of course, it's probably the everyday things like reading, chatting, and playing together that are even more important than some of these adventures; we did pretty well there too.
- Work out more
I barely achieved this goal. I managed to train for and complete a bike ride from Seattle to Vancouver as I set out to do, but I did the least possible training for it and was pretty bad about exercise afterwards.
- Learn to play an instrument well
I played a lot more piano last year and did take piano lessons for the first time in probably thirty years or so. I'm still not proficient, but I improved and really enjoyed it.
- Learn to speak another language to adult fluency
This was another "get started" goal. I certainly improved my Chinese last year, although probably not as much as I'd hoped. This year should be better on that front...
In addition I feel good about the progress we made on IE8 including getting the betas out. It's a good product and will be a solid release I think.
Of course, the biggest news from 2008 was our move to China. This idea was no where on my radar in January 2008; in fact, we had just bought a house and new cars and were ready to continue our nice life in Bellevue. I'm actually pretty proud of all of us for seizing this opportunity instead of doing the easy thing. It's already been a great experience.
I think my personal (non-work) goals for 2009 will center around taking advantage of our new surroundings as well as continuing some of the themes from 2008.
- Spend more time with the boys and Michelle
Of course, this goal doesn't end after a year. We should have lots of opportunities to do cool things together. I'll have to make a special effort here though since my commute is longer here, and I expect to travel more than before.
- Do a pull-up
I'm embarrassed to admit I can't do a single pull-up. The combination of my weight and lack of strength are the killer here. To do this, I'll have to get stronger and lose weight. I've already joined the gym at work and am looking for some more fun things to do like martial arts and finding a riding group that might make it easier to achieve this. Doing a pull-up should be a good measure of my progress.
- Significantly improve my Chinese
I will certainly improve my Chinese just living here since I'm speaking, hearing, and reading tons every day. The challenge will be to accelerate my learning beyond this natural improvement curve. I plan to find an instructor and formalize this effort.
- Take advantage of being in China
We have this great opportunity to experience lots of cool things being here. I want to travel, see the sites, eat the food (making good progress here already), meet the people and really just make the most of our time here. It will be easy to fall into a routine and live a mostly American life here. The effort will be in seeking out new things continuously.
Here's to a great 2009!