October 27, 2018: Me Day - Age 33

Year seven of this Me Day tradition. I started a new fitness quest, was surprised by my possessions, and noticed significant leveling up in my CEO, dad, and Chinese skills. I started with personal inventory but got pulled away before finishing my traditions. By the end of it, I realized that I have grown far from my vital habits of reflection and creativity, and I need to make some adjustments if I'm to live according to my values.

Wake up and watch the sun rise.

A miracle: I got to sleep in until 6 am! Fed the kids and played "reading" with them; then skateboarded up to that awesome staircase garden by Coit Tower and caught the sunrise. Loved the fog rolling in. Four very drunk girls extending their night into the morning were being amusingly rowdy and ended up leaving their phone nearby, which I helped return later with the help of a Brazilian entrepreneur who was also catching the sunrise.

Measure physical stats.

Since the beginning of 2018, I made a small change to my Beeminder lifting goal that I've been using since 2012, which is to add some fine print clarifying how I would count workouts: 2 points per week, 1 point for a full gym session (~20 minutes), only fractions of points for something less intense, like a home workout. I was much more consistent about actually lifting with weights in the gym instead of doing bodyweight stuff at home. So even though I only spent about 40 minutes per week working out, I made some decent progress this year. Example: in January, my main lifts went from: trap bar deadlifting 1x5 @ 205 lbs, squatting 1x5 @ 215, benching 1x5 @ 135, to: trap bar deadlifting 2x2 @ 295, squatting 3x5 @ 225, benching 3x5 @ 140. I also increased lat pull-downs from 2x5 @ 187 to 3x5 @ 209 and overhead press from 3x5 @ 85 to 3x5 @ 95.

Although I still can't justify spending a ton of time on fitness, with competing demands of running CodeCombat and spending time with my kids, I can maintain this exercise habit and keep progressing. In order to give myself some extra excitement, I challenged my dad, who just recently got a power rack and started powerlifting, to compete to see who can do the most 1x5 on bench press, deadlift, and squat by October 4, 2019. I challenged myself to lose body fat for 7 weeks this summer before a family reunion and it worked well, so I want to continue the family angle, since my brother and my dad are both more fit than I am and good targets to measure up to.

Weight: 137.6 lbs -3.8 lbs
Body fat: 12.0% -1.3%
Chest: 32.50" -1.00"
Right arm: 11.00" -0.25"
Left arm: 11.00" +0.00"
Waist: 27.00" -0.75"
Hips: 34.25" -1.00"
Right leg: 20.75" -0.25"
Left leg: 20.25" -0.25"
Sitting HR: 67 bpm -5
Resting HR: 59 bpm

Measure my max push-ups and pull-ups.

40 push-ups, -1: fast, strict, chin touching the ground.
20 pull-ups, +2: fast, no kipping, chin above bar.

I had gotten up to 46 push-ups last month, but got sick recently and was still not 100% when testing. Room for improvement next year; I hope to break 50.

Take a long walk.

Did a long Boosted Board ride instead, including going at nearly max speed up a super steep hill. Some research indicates the hill was at a 30% grade! Just short of the top ten steepest streets in San Francisco and not too much less than what the Guiness Book of World Records thinks is the steepest residential road at 35%. I was taking at maybe 15 mph; the board was more than capable of going faster, I just couldn't handle the terror of riding at that angle in the dark when the street was so poorly paved.

Read from a favorite book.

I sadly didn't have the time to pull out an old favorite book this year. Next year, I will do the Goodreads Reading Challenge and significantly increase my focus on reading books, which fill me up and inspire me to be better.

Get blood tests.

I ordered the same blood tests from last year from DirectLabs. Haven't seen anything interesting this year, or in the past few years, which is perfect.

Count my possessions and get back down to 99.

This year was the best year yet for avoiding materialism and not wasting any mental energy on physical possesions. I didn't even update the list the entire year. Usually counting possessions and updating the list is the forcing function for getting rid of junk, but when I took inventory today, I somehow had only 88 things! Perhaps I am finally starting to internalize some measure of minimalist mindset that helps me avoid acquisition of marginal items in the first place.

Most of the point of limiting myself to 99 things is to avoid spending valuable mental energy on stuff, which has definitely been achieved this past year. Most of the rest of the value is in needing very little physical space, which currently doesn't matter very much since something approaching 98% of the stuff in the house is Chloe/family/kid stuff--no benefit from optimizing my 2%! Biggest change: not replacing worn-out clothes.

  • Added - 3

    1. Shorts
    2. Shorts
    3. Bathrobe
  • Culled - 14

    1. Headphones
    2. Spork
    3. Eye mask
    4. Bag of earplugs
    5. Pillow
    6. Pants
    7. T-shirt
    8. T-shirt
    9. T-shirt
    10. T-shirt
    11. T-shirt
    12. shirt
    13. shirt
    14. shirt
  • Upgraded/Replaced - 9

    1. iPhone
    2. Backpack
    3. Wallet
    4. Business shoes
    5. Toothbrush
    6. T-shirt
    7. Polo shirt
    8. Pajamas
    9. Hat

Take stock of finances.

Basically the same pattern as last year: I roughly broke even, if you don't count the increase in the speculative value of my two startups. Raising two kids in San Francsisco is expensive, and at CodeCombat I only pay myself enough to get by, since this is a long-term play. I'm actually okay with not saving, since I don't believe in saving for college education (college is already not worth spending money on and will be far worse in 15 years) or retirement (humans are either not going to live that long or are going to live way longer and the future will not look so much like the past as we intuit) or a house in the Bay Area (short of some awesome exit it's just not worth it, I'd rather rent forever) or a car (I don't like driving and the economics aren't good in SF compared to Uber/Boosted Board).

(If you're me, you get to see finance stats here. Since you're not me, you see nothing.)

Do Quantified Mind testing.

No discernible age-related trends yet. Last year I was seeing a decrease in Finger Tapping; this year there was a bug with that test that recorded a wacky score despite my significant improvement over last year. Got a boss score on Verbal Learning 2; it's almost as if I'm somehow improving on my memory palace technique for recalling the 45 words presented even though I only practice once a year?

Call my family.

Caught up with my dad, my mom, and my bro, really great conversations. Should do that more often, huh? ... instantiating new Beeminder habit!

Have a spectacular dinner with Chloe.

Chloe took me to a surprise omakase sushi place in Potrero Hill. The restaurant was tiny, the service was great, the fish were extremely fresh, and it was a lovely time. It's hard to compare high end sushi because of how infrequently I have it, but it might have been the best I've ever eaten?

Reflect on the past year

It actually took me two months to get enough time to do this, after which I realized how little I've been able to reflect for the past couple years and how much I need it. Now that CodeCombat and Clark are both maturing out of their unpredictable, volatile stages, it seems that some adjustment is needed in how I've been sacrificing everything else for those two priorities and in how I view my role within the contexts of work and family.

What went well? This past year, I:

  • Pulled off the most difficult thing I've ever done (Series A fundraise)
  • Continued to level up as a CEO and leader (still a long way to go)
  • Roughly doubled my number of employees, including an operations team of two to dramatically change my workload
  • Launched CodeCombat in China
  • Continued to significantly improve my Chinese, having gone from 35 minutes a week of explicit Chinese practice to 130 plus around two hours of business meetings in Chinese weekly
  • Was able to give a 15-minute talk entirely in Chinese at a big conference
  • Found that physical possessions have not been taking up space in my mind
  • Improved my lifting and body composition
  • Have really enjoyed gaming with the guys on Sunday mornings

What didn't go well?

  • I didn't spare enough time for romance
  • I haven't found many ways to enjoy parenting as much as I want or to be efficient with household maintenance
  • Sleep was bad
  • I had very little time for myself
  • My personal happiness hasn't been a focus and isn't that high these days
  • My website updates have been bare minimum, including only blogging once in the last year
  • I have not done any personal projects (like making kid birthday videos)
  • I still haven't made time to see many of my friends

How are my relationships?

Max has an aggressive, manic relationship with me; Clark is pretty dependent. I haven't made a priority to see friends or acquaintances. Gaming, brobrek, and the rationality and parenting meetups have been the only regular-ish good things. Have gotten some good family visits this year, including the July pig roast, although I wish it was easier to travel with the kids.

Organize my files and computer desktop.

My organizational scheme has persisted pretty well; I finally got rid of everything I needed from my old laptop and sold that, but otherwise things were all in order. Business records were not well-organized, but now I have an operations team to handle that!

Add at least one tradition.

I was even worse at Me Day this year than last year, couldn't get any extra stuff in. Next year, this must change.

Destroy at least one habit.

I have so few recurring habits left that I'll settle for destroying a Me Day tradition. I haven't been taking the fitness pictures; they always look the same. Maybe I'll do it again if I significantly change body composition, but for now, I'll cut it.