Austin Gilliam

Checking In: Q1 2022


It's been a quick three months! Between studying, new projects, house hunting, and all of my hobbies, there never seemed to be a quiet moment. Like I talked about in my last article, I've had some interesting experiences now that I'm leaving the house again, but it still feels weird being out and about.

But ruminating aside, it's time for the quarterly check-in!

The Almighty List

At the end of 2022, I set the following goals for myself. One of them is already done, one of them was changed, and another might be in trouble.

I passed my AWS Solutions Architect Associate exam at the end of January, earning an easy win for 2022, but I realized early on that the walking goal wasn't going to work for me. The number of steps felt pretty arbitrary, despite being directly related to metrics set by my health insurance rewards, so I changed that goal to a mix of smaller goals around my health, and that's been going well.

As for novel writing, although it was initially my "big ticket" item for the year, I've had no motivation to do it. I think that's in part because GMing for The Centurion's Riddle is eating up my creative energy, but it may need some further evaluation throughout Q2.

The Highlights

Starting out with some of my more tangible goals, the AWS training is done, and I'm in the middle of a giant course on JavaScript to act as a refresher (the last time I professionally used JavaScript was 2015). I've assigned myself some courses on React and testing via Jest for some additional front-end work, and three courses around CI/CD focusing on Docker, Terraform, and Jenkins respectively.

My progress on the trainings and certifications exams I intend to complete in 2022.

I finished Clean Architecture by Robert C. Martin (a.k.a. "Uncle Bob") this quarter, which served as a decent introduction to software architecture. I learned about halfway through my read that some folks aren't a fan of the approaches discussed within, but I would recommend the book regardless — at the very least you'll understand the discourse around the book, which is its own form of learning.

My progress on the 2022 Technical Reading List.

Diving into the personal side of things, I read an absolutely phenomenal book by Susanna Clarke, Piranesi. Without spoiling anything, it's a great book for anyone who is craving a "light" fantasy, and a story that'll leave you thinking. The Near Witch was also a 5/5 recommend for me, although that's true for practically everything I've read by V.E. Schwab.

My progress on the 2022 Social Reading List.

As far as video games go, my quest to catch up on content from my 7-year hiatus of FFXIV is in full swing. I've also got actually "completing" (four candles) a Stardew Valley playthrough on the list, and getting at least end credits on Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Disco Elysium, Control, and GRIS. Last, but certainly not least, I've got a super-run of Skyrim on the docket, but in particular some of the top-rated mods that I've either only tested out, or never gotten to.

My progress on all the games, mods, and MMO goals I'm working on in 2022.

I'm at 415,444 words in WorldAnvil (up ~100,000 since late 2021), and we just completed Season 7 of The Centurion's Riddle. I got a headstart on 3D printing and painting this year as part of a birthday gift with a little army of Gnolls, putting me at 12 models for both goals.

So many print failures... But some kitbash and a coat of paint, and you can hardly tell!

Diving fully into the realm of the personal, we're about to close on a house! Q2 2022 will be flush with physical activity for the move, and combined with some diet changes, I'm pretty confident about my health goals.

A very tasty salad. All the hard work done by my wife, photograph taken by yours truly.

Wrapping Up

In general, I'm happy with progress made, and I continue to enjoy this experiment in mindfulness around my time spent. It's teaching me what parts of my day-to-day are a detriment to my long-term goals, what I need to work on to achieve them, and where my limits are. It is a panacea for the burnout many of us suffered in 2020-2021, and offers moments of clarity in these still-murky waters of 2022.

I hope all is well for you and yours, and I'll see you in the next one.