September and October 2011 Review

Barebones app for tracking expenses

Today is October 20th, I should have written this post three weeks ago. But, I’m lazy.

Last time, I wrote several goals for September, and boy howdy, did I not do most of them:

Waking Early

Daily Meditation

Good Diet

Weekly Weight Lifting Exercise


Tracking Expenses

Web Design / Web Developer Work

So, I haven’t been doing daily meditation, waking early, or socializing much. I have been attending two meditation groups though. In October, I also got a new roommate who was the #25 or something roommate I’ve had. He’s a good guy, but not the best roommate and made sleeping early or meditation a bit difficulty. I’m also getting a new, replacement roommate next week. This means I will have had a new roommate each month while I’ve lived in Orlando.

I have a good weekend group of friends here so there’s less incentive to meet new people. However, it’s pretty surprising how quickly I established a network here in just 1-3 months whereas in the past, it took much longer. I’m pretty confident now that I could venture into any new city and quickly have a good circle of friends.

I have been eating well and going to the gym weekly. Right now, I weight around 125 pounds, which was the highest I ever had before so I gained back all the lost weight. I’m still hoping over the next 1-2 months I gain an additional 10 pounds. I know, I’m skinny as hell. The downside is that I am constantly hungry. Insatiable. I wake up in the middle of the night with a rumbling stomach and wanting needing to eat another meal. My monthly grocery bill could rival my housing rent money.

I’ve been tracking every penny I spend again. I actually built a webapp with a backend database for the task because paper and excel sheets always get lost. Being conscious spending my money means I’ve been cutting back a lot. No frivolous purchases. I also know that my Pho monthly bill is around $60-$100. Maybe, I’ll publish my expenses online on the sidebar one day.

Finally, my web development work has slowed in October. I just started reading White Space is Not Your Enemy: A Beginner’s Guide to Communicating Visually through Graphic, Web and Multimedia Design. I have a few web coding projects in progress, but they’re all in the grind, not fun anymore state. The beginning of every project where I plan and learn new things is the funnest part. Afterward, it’s the grind of the detailed implementation, interface design, and optimization that’s absolutely boring to me.

This Saturday, I’ll be doing a full day Zen retreat including koan interview practice with a Zen teacher. I’ve never done koan practice before so I’m looking forward to it. As a former philosophy student, I’m not sure how my need to rationally figure things out will work with non-rational Zen questions.

Next week, I’ll be flying home for 6 days. I’m really looking forward to it. I miss a lot of my friends back home and trying to hit multiple cities. I’m also coming up specifically this weekend for a full day company meeting and should be interesting to see what our agenda for next year will be. In the Spring, I will have worked at my current company for 7 years!

Chances are I’ll be staying in Orlando until early December. Then I’ll travel back home and see various friends in the South along the way. Recover at home for a while and then figure things out from there.

Once again, I’m heading towards a crossroads except this time it’s much more sharp. I’ve been thinking about two, completely different options.

One is living long term at a Buddhist center as a resident student while working or not. It would actually be cheaper than what I pay now for housing and food, but it would also mean I’d be a vegetarian and basically living a monk-esque life. It’s been a persistent dream of mine. It would only be for several months or years but quite a change of lifestyle.

The other option is transitioning into a full time web developer / entrepreneur working basically ridiculous 60+ hours/week. The startup, entrepreneur culture and lifestyle appeals to me.

Both cases are highly unorthodox, slightly risky but with very high, possible rewards. All I know for sure though is that I want some changes.

I added a Life Lab section to the site. Currently, it doesn’t have much information. In the future, I intend to write longer pieces about the various experiments and habits I’ve attempted and/or integrated into my life.