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WIR: Leisure Reading, Java, Writing, Personal Musings, and Goal Setting

saramccombs profile image Sara McCombs (she/her) ・4 min read
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

So why a WIR (Week In Review)?

We're seven days into the new year. What better time to start with some new habits than right now.

I want 2020 to bring a bit more accountability to myself. Since April 2019, I have dove entirely headfirst into the goals I set for myself 20 some years ago, and that passion drives me full steam ahead. However, I need more accountability via my writing as a way to express the various musings I have each week as well as to document my adventures in this progress.

For the longest time, I kept a significant portion of my writing to myself. I volunteered to write with little to no credit given or even left my words in their roughest forms strewn in five different locations. I want 2020 to hold me more accountable to that written word, to respect it more, and to share it more publicly with the world. The world has given me so much over the past year, now is my time to give back.

Leisure Reading

This past week or so I have read five books. Yup. Five. I'm a voracious reader and can polish off 500-600 pages in a day. However, since starting my learning adventure in April, my leisure reading significantly slacked off. I had replaced leisure books with various technical books that are often not consumed as a whole in one sitting. Hence why my reading challenge for 2019 included zero professional books. I plan to amend this for 2020 to truly track my reading habits better.

Java

I'm most likely bucking traditional advice for new software engineers when it comes to learning more than one language at a time. However, I'm enjoying the variety. Flatiron currently has me working through Rails in-depth, a language I have met before in a more shallow manner. While I'm enjoying the chance to learn Rails more thoroughly, I'm loving the personal focus on Java just as much.

So, why learn more than one language at a time when so many senior engineers advise against it? For the same reasons that I read 4-5 books at a time, variety to match my mood/mental state. There are times when I want something "fun" or "leisurely." But there are other times where I'm hyper-focused and want to dive deeper into a subject I might already know a little about. For me, my learning topics are a direct correlation to my mental health. Bad days have me pursuing more fun or leisurely subjects, while my best days have me diving deeper into topics I'm only familiar with.

Java, for me, falls into that fun and leisurely category and something that helps me to prevent burnout while pursuing random goals and wishes I have for myself.

Right now, I'm still in the basics of Java (currently reviewing Java data types), but I'm immensely enjoying it. I also look forward to becoming more proficient with IntelliJ through my Java lessons and projects.

Writing

Writing is a bit hard right now for me. It feels clunky and less than eloquent. I ended 2019 with some weighty mental burdens that have affected all aspects of my life. I sense my writing is showing that burden the most. However, the mantra that has gotten me through this turbulence, "Do it anyways.", is being embraced for 2020. I'm merely going to work through the clunkiness.

My goal, moving forward in 2020, is to write weekly. To be more transparent in my writing in regards to my struggles personally, emotionally, physically, and in my education. My goal is to show the world what being human looks like and to normalize the ups and downs (and way downs) that we all experience.

Personal Musings

My brain is always churning. It's somewhat a pain in the ass at times (like when you want to sleep), but other times it is refreshing to take a closer look at something. I'm not one for shallow conversation and often times find that not everyone enjoys discussing heavy topics. This leaves me to my own headspace.

Right now, this article on invisible illnesses is at the forefront of my brain. This is something I've personally struggled with. And a topic I discuss with very few people to my own disservice. For 2020, I plan to change this.

I am physically disabled.

I'm announcing it to the world and no longer hiding behind the fact that my disability is not as evident as others. Am I fortunate for this? Some would say yes, I'm sure, while others would say no. For me, it is just a fact.

I've been blessed to have grown up with my disability that only mildly affected me. But as I've gotten older, the impact and burden are far more significant. I can no longer hide the cane I often use to walk or the need for accommodations. This quote from that article hit it right on the head for me:

My fears were real enough, but they also reflected a lot of internalized ableism. Why should "capable" look a certain way if it wasn't healthy for me? What good is trying to be "normal" if those standards aren't accessible to everyone?

If I hid my body's unique needs, I was exiling a whole portion of my existence, as well as that of people more visibly disabled than me. By trying to appear able-bodied, I was only propping up a system that makes life miserable for millions of others, including able-bodied people. A culture that celebrates "the grind" stigmatizes anyone who acknowledges their limitations and needs for rest and support.

I'm going to think about this for a long time. I need to stop hiding.

Goal Setting

The above musings are definitely going to be goals, as soon as I can fathom what that should look like.

However, past that, I don't have too many goals just yet. I'm open to suggestions.

  1. Graduate Flatiron
  2. Get a remote software engineering job
  3. Read 48 books
  4. Be kinder to myself and my body
  5. Give more to the communities who have inspired and supported me, Project Alloy being one of them.
  6. Finish my home remodel project, we are so very close.

That's it for this week. Let's see what the next week brings.

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