2019 & 2020
January 7, 2020
2019 was a year of transition for me. The main event was that I went from being a civilian to a soldier. It wasn’t a smooth transition. I don’t think it would be for most people. Adjusting to a new pace of life and a regimented environment wasn’t easy, and I’ve gone through many challenges and rough patches. I was stressed at times and I often found myself getting easily annoyed at trivial things.
During this trying time, I tried to read as voraciously as possible. I was happy to find out that the army motivates and encourages us to read daily (we even have a dedicated time slot just for reading fixed into our schedule). Thanks to programs like this, I got to read more books than I did in a few years prior combined. It was a rewarding experience overall, but more importantly, it gave me peace of mind when I really needed some.
In the past couple of months, after I had fully adjusted and perhaps even thriving a bit in my limited environment, I was only looking forward to being promoted and become a squad leader. Those were my main motivators to keep pushing forward. But as of January 1st of 2020, I achieved both goals. At this point, I still have half of my service left. With no other motivating goals, I was lost and disappointed for a couple of days, which led me to some goal searching (+some belated new year resolutions).
So here are some of my goals and plans for 2020:
In terms of personal growth:
- I’m going to continue to read more. I also want to explore subjects and genres I haven’t read about before.
- I haven’t studied anything technical or programmed in over a year, and I want to pick it up again. I’ll start by reviewing things I learned in college (but forgotten) and then maybe do some technical readings in specialized topics.
- I’m going to constantly strive to become a better leader. As a squad leader, I manage and care for eight very different people. Plus, as of now, I have over 50 underlings in my company, and the number will only increase. I’m still not sure what kind of leader I want to be or what it means to be a “better” leader. This will take lots of reflection, as well as taking some actions. I’ll write more about it in the coming months.
- I want to think more seriously about what I want to do after my service ends. I’m divided whether if I want to go straight back to college in January 2021 or if I want to spend more time working/traveling before I return to school. Again, we’ll have to see.
In terms of self-care:
- I need to be more stoic. Things come up all the time and often there are physically and mentally demanding drills and operations that we need to carry out. Even during the obnoxious and challenging times, I want to be more stoic and be less titled by all the things that get thrown at me. Even when I’m tilted I do not want to project my irritations to others and spread my annoyance, which I guess is part of being a better leader.
- Get better at making pour-over coffee. I’ve started making pour-over coffee here, and it has been playing a significant role in my daily life as a soldier. As much as I enjoy my coffee, the process of making a pour-over is equally important as it is therapeutic. Again, achieving peace of mind is important not to lose my sanity in this stressful environment. So yeah, my coffee has been slowly improving, but I’m constantly thinking of ways to take it to the next level. I’ll report back on this journey later.
- I want to help others learn and grow. I’ve been running a weekly English class for people in my company. Not in this particular way, but as a whole, I want to help others achieve their potential and mentor them to the best of my ability.
- Earn more vacation days… which is something we do here.
Some would say that my service is largely a waste of my best years. So, I don’t want to waste it. While at it, I want to become a better leader and a better person. It’s a bit cheesy but I’ll take this time to grow and become. I want my technical skills to be sharp enough to be hireable as a full-timer and my coffee good enough to open up a cafe. I’m not sure how I’ll turn out after my service ends. But when the time comes, in 300 days, I’m going to take some time to travel and look back on these days. Then, maybe I’ll know. Here’s to my 2020 :)