It's the last day of my Christmas / New Year's break today. I used up some of the massive amount of leave I have accumulated over the years to extend the break that most people had, and used it to do... not a helluva lot really. When looking at the items most recently cleared from my to-do list, I get the following:
- put my Red Horizon programming project on GitHub
- pay-off what's left of my student loan
- watch the movie Deliverance (recommended to me by my older workmates)
- take some of my old electronic junk (2 laptop mice and my first ever mp3 player, all broken) to an electronic recycler
- buy a book, The End of Your Life Book Club
Other things I did that weren't on my to-do list:
- get a 2013 calendar (not a huge accomplishment, but in 2011 I just reused my 2010 calendar and had to remember to push the days ahead by 1 whenever I consulted it)
- start watching Once Upon a Time
- develop an Eclipse plugin for Thymeleaf (a framework I use quite a lot for web development/design stuff, both here on this site and in my work)
(A lot of people are surprised that I have an actual to-do list. It last came up during the New Year's party. Shocked expressions appeared on peoples' faces the moment I brought out my phone and consulted a cloud-based list on it. I've been using Remember The Milk for many years now to keep 'to do' items organized, and I've been using it even more for trivial things like my grocery shopping the moment I got a smart phone that would keep these lists just a few taps away.)
So 3 weeks of break, and that's all I managed to accomplish? I now say as I look back on how my Christmas / New Year's was spent. It doesn't feel like too much to me, and when I try to figure out what it is that makes it feel like that, I think it comes down to the idea that none of those items above are very long-term goals, or, hell, even medium-term ones.
With the exception of the Eclipse plugin, every item on that list was accomplished within a few hours, so it doesn't feel like I've really grown or gained anything by finishing them. By contrast, the 2 remaining items on my list - learning to fly, and writing another short story - are both very time consuming; like, months. Yet, both of those items are the ones that I feel will actually add to who I am as a person - to 'level up' if you will.
It's that sort of long-term direction that I'm actually looking forward to getting back when I return to work. Particularly the part where I get to be a designer again. No, not just the drawing of pictures and using PhotoShop to create graphical assets (even though that is really the fun part), but the part where I get to take someone else's vision and develop it through a multi-cycle development process on the order of weeks or months to the point of fruition.
That's the part I'm really looking forward to.
Oh yeah, I just remembered I did manage to do something that isn't trivial by my standards, and that was learning a new piano tune :) In particular, this one:
I know some people can pick up and learn a new tune in a matter of hours, but for me, to get to the point where I can sit down and play it comfortably from memory, takes days.