GreenReaper (greenreaper) wrote,
GreenReaper
greenreaper

  • Mood:
  • Music:

Five year retrospective, and plans for the future

Since I am 25 now, I guess it's time to look back on the past, as well as think about the future.

Here's some of the highlights of my last five years, in no particular order:
* Got a first-class honours CompSci degree from the University of Bath (one of my first concrete long-term goals, set around 10)
* Obtained and kept a good job in the USA at Stardock
* Learnt how to create, run and promote a community wiki, and presented a paper on the topic at Wikimania 2006
* Founded and led successful community wikis on Creatures and furry fandom.
* Got a driving license in the UK (hard) and the USA (very easy after that)
* Established credit in the USA (like many things, this is still not generally portable internationally; I had trouble getting any kind of card at all, even with a regular salary. Now I have a 3% Amazon rewards card which I pay off each month.)
* Saved the maximum possible into tax-advantaged retirement savings (excluding annuities) for this year and the last
* Wrote several Wikinews articles and made heavy contributions to various Wikipedia pages covering elements of the furry fandom.
* Developed and released TweakVista (I've done other things at Stardock, but this is probably the most popular public-facing one to date)

Overall, I feel I've been very lucky. I did work hard for a lot of these things, but no harder than some do just to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads - and sitting at a computer is not exactly arduous. I am fortunate to rent from someone who can give me a lift to work and charges little more for space than I paid at university; this helps me save a lot of money for transport, utilities and the like. I make my own entertainment, or find it online, rather than paying for it. And I greatly enjoy programming - an area that is currently in demand (why I was able to come to the US in the first place).

Some plans for the next few years, also in no order:
* Learn the clarinet. I've got a good starting position: a nice-quality second-hand wood B♭ instrument, and a pre-existing knowledge of the recorder. I got several good books for my birthday (though I think I might need to get this one as well). I need to practice. Probably won't be able to get to more than adequate without a teacher, but I'd settle for that - it's just for fun.
* Get fitter. I'm 190 pounds right now - no giant mushroom, but too much of that is fat. I've bought some scales, grabbed a copy of the "Free" FlowFit DVD, and I'll see if I can actually get myself to do some of the things it describes. Cutting out non-diet sodas and having parfaits rather than sundaes will probably help, too.
* Acquire the skills and tools necessary to be an amateur photojournalist/documentary photographer/videographer. Made a start on this, both in the photography and the writing side, but I've a long way to go. I've got the equipment necessary for video, but I will need to buy a new camera for photos at some point - probably the Digital Rebel XTi or a successor, with a good zoom lens (or this, but it's a tad expensive), and maybe a good prime as well. This will also take practice.
* Get to the point where my retirement savings will be sufficient for the rest of my life. To be reasonably sure of this I will need to fully fund my retirement accounts until around 45. At that point I can lighten up on the work or spend the extra money in some other way. However, the most important years are right now. If I stopped at 30 I would still be relatively secure; I'd just have to work until 60.
* Save sufficient funds for a masters or doctoral degree. I want to have that option, even if I never decide to use it. If I don't, it is reasonably likely that someone will be able to use those funds, at some point. I've made a start on this, and will probably have $5,000 invested by the end of the year.
* Get a green card (become a lawful permanent resident of the US - as opposed to citizenship, which takes five years after that, or three if married to a citizen). The paperwork is in preparation as I type, though it'll literally take years to work its way through the system.
* Become a better developer. A fuzzy goal, but probably just knuckling down and writing more code would be a good start. Reading's all very good, but writing is the key.
* Create a donor-advised charitable fund which I can use to make gifts to charitable organizations of my choice, receiving a tax benefit on the initial contribution (but not the gift itself). When this happens depends on specific circumstances - I might (for example) get a big bonus at work one year, which I could divert to such a fund along with some appreciated taxable stock (in this situation, nobody has to pay the capital-gains or income tax).

Undoubtedly some of the things I look back on in five year's time will not be in this list. For example, I had never heard of wikis in 2002, nor was I heavily involved in the furry fandom. Both of these are things in which I have have invested large amounts of my time (in return, they have been the source of large amounts of enjoyment for me). But I'm sure I will be happy wherever I end up, as long as I continue to enjoy learning new things . . . and force myself to actually do stuff now and again. :-)
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 0 comments