Personal Evaluation

23 08 2008

Every now and then, it’s worth the time to take a step back from your regular life and ask some important questions. What questions you ask yourself depends highly on your character. Here are a few questions that I want to know the answers to:

  1. Would the your 8 year old self like the you of now?
  2. Is this what you thought you’d be doing 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Ever?
  3. What have you missed that you wanted?
  4. What do you have that you never wanted?

The purpose of this exercise isn’t to make you (me) cry, or to try to bring up regrets of the past. This is a gut check. This is to make sure that all the turmoil in your life as it’s occuring now is the life you really want. And, while it can’t change over night, with the knowledge you gain from answering these questions, perhaps you can make a change or two that will realign your journey along life to the path that will be the most fulfilling to you.

Starting from the top:

Since my 8 year old self was 24 years ago, it’s pretty tough to know how I would react to myself. I’d like to think that I would be able to get along with my 8 year old counterpart. However, being the introvert, I’d have a hard time talking to him, and getting him to talk to me. Although, I would easily bring up the subject of computers, and video games and get a whirlwind of words.  I think my 8 year old self would still find me funny just because I still seem to have a way with kids.

Five years ago, I was leaving Colorado after having been with IBM for five years. It was a tough time, and I never thought I would have a chance to work for Intel. Ten years ago, I was just finishing college with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering. Clearly a time for joy and happiness, if for no other reason that I didn’t have an exam or a homework assignment due the next day.  From a career standpoint, I should be further along. I’ve had some pitfalls and bad luck along the way. I’d had to learn many things from the school of hard knocks, but I’ve become a better professional for it. I feel I am on the verge of taking it to the next level as my technical skills have never been in doubt no matter where I’ve gone. From a personal standpoint, I had no idea I would be the first amongst my closest college friends to settle down with a family. It has been a pleasant surprise, and it has encouraged me to be a better person one day at a time. Some days, that doesn’t quite happen, but I try to learn from those days. I always had a plan for my fatherhood. I knew I would do things a tad differently to my kids than what my parents had done for me. That’s not because my parents did anything bad; far from it. However, there is always room for improvement, and I want to do things for my kids the way I thought would have been best for me in my childhood. The bottom line to the question at hand is, sure, I thought I would be doing what I am back then. Although, some things I would have thought were to happen later, occurred earlier.

Have I missed out on some great opportunities along the way? Sure. The best examples I can think of are: High School prom and two month trip to China, as well as just time wasted doing meaningless things like watching television. While it was just a one night thing, the High School prom was just one of those things that I wanted to know what the whole fuss was about. This isn’t anything other than curiosity. The trip to China would have been pretty neat though. I had studied mandarin Chinese for one year at college level up to that point. I was to leave after school, but before my working adult life. I should have gone, is all I can say. While I have no plans to rectify that error, I still wonder how I can achieve a trip like that with my current responsibilities. It may seem odd to some that I married a Korean woman, yet I try to pursue learning the Chinese language. I am a student of the world, and I admire aspects of all cultures. However, I found that throughout my life, I have constantly gravitated back to the Chinese culture. Perhaps its the history, the odd government, or just the sheer contrast to American culture, the Chinese language, art and culture just keep peaking my interest. And it’s not to say that the Korean culture doesn’t interest me, I found many sites and history compelling on my trip to South Korea (over 5 years ago).

What do have now that I never asked for? The easy answer, my kids. The second easy answer, my health. The politicaly correct answer, my wife. I know that none of these answers contains any of the material things I do have these days. I have a nice house, a decent portfolio, relable cars. The other items in my possesion that are priceless to me, other than my family are items like this blog, my work of photography over the years that shows me growing as an artists versus an analytical computer guy. These photos can never be restored if lost, which is why I have gone through great pains to back them up in several places: amazon.com and a 4-disk redundant drive array.

Other opportunities that I’ve seized were the chance to get married to a woman who was able to see the kind of man I was, and would become despite an extra 70 pounds. I jumped at the chance to return home when offered a job back in Tucson, only to jump at the chance to work for one of the computer industry’s revolutionary companies, Intel. I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit New Zealand, if only for a week. I’m most happy that I decided to become a physically active individual using cycling as my vehicle to a better life. I never thought I would ever have the ability to ride my bike across the Rocky Mountains, or from one large western state to another. Cycling as changed my life, and I will have to ask for more from one of my favorite pastimes.

What does all this reflection tell me? I don’t know yet. I’ll explore these questions in a near future post. Thanks for allowing me to indulge myself, and feel free to send me any comments regarding my experiences or answers.

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