2024 Q1 Retrospective

As Q1 of 2024 draws to a close, it’s a good time to look back and reflect. Have I held up the resolutions I picked at the end of last year? Whats kind of progress have I made? What are areas I’d like to improve in?

It’s almost hard to believe that a quarter of the year has flown by, but it’s been an exciting start to the year. One of my resolutions for this year was to be more intentional about my efforts, and I think doing this retrospective as an exercise will be a good way to gauge how well I’ve been sticking to that.

I’ll be structuring this post to be in a sort of “reverse-order”. The sections closer to the top will be things I tend to write about less on this blog. So if you like my usual content, scroll all the way to the end.



I’ve been making more longstanding commitments with friends such as recurring game nights, which has been something I’ve always wanted to get better at regularly scheduling. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% there, in that there’s definitely some weeks where I forget to reach out to folks. One area I’ve definitely been consistently dropping the ball is reaching out to my friends who don’t live in the same city as me. I try to check in on them every couple weeks or so, but sometimes I just get too caught up in my day-to-day and forget to. Of course, sometimes these friends reach out to me first, but establishing a regular routine of communication takes a lot of initial effort to set up which has definitely been something I haven’t prioritized enough.


I don’t write about it much, but biking and running are some of my favorite hobbies. If I’m not at my laptop, I’m probably out on the trails. Last year, I leaned on those hobbies a bit too much - I used them as a form of escapism, and often jeopardized other goals, or put off work that felt boring or uncomfortable in exchange for a nice long bike ride. This year, I’ve decided that I don’t want to stop running or biking, but I’d like to set clear boundaries on what my relationship with these sports looks like. I’ve done a much better job of either turning down opportunities to run or ride when I have pending tasks, or incorporating those things into other parts of my life (e.g. I bike frequently, but as my primary form of transportation).

As of writing this, I have biked 309 miles and ran 94 miles. To put that into some context, that’s far enough to have gone from my home in Austin, Texas, to Dallas, Texas and back.



My goal for this year is to run a full marathon (no pace target). Currently the furthest I’ve run is 15 miles. While that record was set recently, I also set my fastest time for a half marathon back in February (1:47:34). Overall, I’d say it’s been a very successful Q1!


My goal is to read 12 books this year. I’m currently at 3. This sounds like it’s right on track, but the reality is that 2 of the three were read in one month. I’m not behind schedule, but I do need to establish a better sense of routine in this area. One thing that would help is having the books available - 2 of the 3 books I read were gifts, so they were already lying around - picking them up was a low effort task.

My favorite book so far has got to be Chip War.


I’ve gotten so much better at cooking regularly! My partner and I have been trading off who cooks, we have something resembling a schedule, and we’ve gotten better at portioning food so that we have enough for both dinner and the following lunch. I’ve been trying to get more adventurous with the recipes I take on, and I’ve been trying to focus on exploring diverse and unique foods instead of things I’m already familiar with.

A warm pot of Dal Makhni


It’s been a relatively productive 3 months! I’ve worked on a pretty wide spectrum of things, and contributed to some new repos for the first time!

I have a love/hate relationship with github's stats

I’ll divide this section into two parts, one for my professional life, and the other for things I’ve done on my own.


For a long time, work felt incredibly difficult and I was struggling to adapt to the combination of a new team/project and being fully remote. I’ve started to get the hang of this lately, and something that has really helped me has been working from coffee shops and public spaces. Even if I don’t talk to strangers at these spaces that often, just being around other people for a majority of the day feels nice - maybe I’m more extroverted than I realize.

I’ve also been “commuting” to and from “work” by bike again - having some daily activity feels good, and a commute helps provide a sense of separation between work and home. Maybe it’s weird that I’m trying to emulate in-person work remotely, but for now the remote life also has some huge advantages that I can’t easily overlook (proximity to the community I’ve built). I’m not opposed to relocation, but it’s not something I’d like to do without a clear motivation.

I’ve completed a few different projects, become way more familiar with Java/Kotlin than I was last year, gotten a pretty good handle on a few frameworks we use, namely calcite and numba.

Not Work

Reconnecting with academia

One of my long term goals has been to go back to school for a PhD and enter the world of research. I’ve had tastes of working on research problems through my work experiences and I want more. To that end, I’ve been reading more papers, and built up a habit of recording the information I’m taking in and trying to identify gaps or areas for further exploration. There’s a lot of stuff I want to write about this process, but I’ll save that for it’s own post.

This blog definitely has been a big part of this effort - I’ve been using it to track interesting papers I read. The papers I write about aren’t representative of everything I’ve been reading. For example, I’ve also been reading Database Internals by Alex Petrov, and I plan on eventually making a repo that exhaustively tracks all the papers I read so I can easily reference them, and maybe even backup notes that I take.

Side Projects

As part of being more intentional, I’ve tried to limit the number and scope of side projects I take on. Since the new year, I’ve done a bit of maintenance work on a lot of old projects to make sure that it’s usable if someone other than me ever tries these things out. I’ve also worked on a few new things which have their own posts already.

This blog!

I’ve made 14 blog posts this year. Compared to only 4 last year and 6 the year before, this is huge! While I numerically had more posts in 2021, it was far less consistent. I even wrote a little script to visualize this blog’s history:

post frequency

I’m not sure if I’ll keep this momentum going all year, but I’m starting to get more comfortable with “lower-effort” posts than I used to be. I’d like to also start making more posts that just record interesting things I learned or tried.

I also finally added a comments system for this blog! I’ve yet to receive any comments, but I also don’t really publicize this blog. It’s mostly here for me to record my thoughts, so I don’t really know to what I extent I want to publicize this blog. I may try to post about some of my writing on cohost or something to try to get more readers/connect with other netizens.

What’s on the table for Q2?

For Q2 I don’t have many specific goals other than to keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve started to see some positive results, which means that this is at least the right direction. I’m definitely learning a lot about discipline in general, which feels positive. I’m excited for all the opportunities and possibilities that Q2 brings with it, and I hope to rise to the occasion and continue to grow!

Written on March 25, 2024