Reflecting on 2023 - Quite a rollercoaster.

I wish every one of you a happy new year. It is time to reflect on the year that has ended with a lot of memories. I started with good plans for my career and personal growth. I took up a course in Java Backend just before the year began. And signed up for another course in classical dance form - Kuchipudi, for various reasons I will be sharing in this post.

I have been performing classical dance once a year at my dad's office for their annual day function. We had this routine every summer, where we would rehearse with other kids of officers/employees from the same office as Dad's. This happened until I graduated my Intermediate(Plus 2), approximately 11 years. And then boom, I never looked back at my interest in pursuing dance as a skill. As part of taking care of myself being one of my goals for 2023, I decided to take up a course. I pitched it as a physical fitness goal to my partner and got full support to proceed. Although I knew most people around me wouldn't approve of it, I took it as a challenge. Unfortunately, people think that being in their 30s is not the right time to take up such a hobby. When I shared my interest with one of my friends, she claimed that I could not do it with my schedule and my health(she referred to my knee pains), and asked me to drop my thought. Huh! Not surprised, I dropped hanging out with her instead. It was exactly one year that I took the course, and I chose not to give up no matter what. Although I had ups and downs during this journey, I am quite a favorite student for my teacher.

I am forever grateful for my teacher. I was a bit lazy in the beginning but felt like a blessing to be able to wake up and do something I like, both personally and professionally. Just about 10 days into the year, my little one - Rihu had a viral attack, and around 10 days went in coping from fever, cold, and stuff. During this time I thought of going to a temple in the city. So as he recovered we visited Naga Devatha temple and offered "thulabaram" - it is a Hindu practice to weigh the kid opposite Rice and some staples, or Jaggery, at the temple by the end of the month.

Feb went quite fast as we planned a trip. Did a lot of shopping for Rihu for the staycation. Meanwhile, I had a bad time catching up with the Java cohort I took up in Dec. I wasn't finding the instructor relevant. I realized that the course was more for people who already practiced the backend in Java. I put it aside for some time and prepared myself to dive into some nature in March.

The 15-day trip to Goa was memorable. Took off for a few days and worked for a few more from the beautiful villa, that I cannot get over. 10 Adults and 10 kids together for half a month in a house, which was quite memorable. Time wasn't that blissful all the time, but being an introvert, I never thought I could get along with so many people. I found myself capable of learning on the go. My partner has helped in my low times. So I managed. The only thing I missed on the trip was to work from a shack. Will try next time for sure.

It was always clear that I can not do multi-tasking. So, I decided that I would focus on spending as much time as possible with my little one in his holidays. This was the time when I realised that life is too short to give up on anything but taking a break for a fresh start isn't a bad idea. One of the reasons to go easy with the break was that I did not like Java at all after attending the classes from the GFG instructor. It felt hard to believe that I could ever crack it. So, took it slow for two months. I think it is okay after all it is a break and not the end of the world, as it seemed from my Twitter feed :)

Do you have a favorite month as such? Like, usually it is your birthday month or of your loved ones. I am sure for most moms, it is June. As the schools here in India resume in this amazing time of the year, which allows us to finally get some air. We opted to go with the school bus this year, after going through a series of episodes where we returned home with the kid from school even before he stepped in. Like literally, I wake up to prep his lunch, and breakfast and get him ready, only to find out that he doesn't want to go. The poor kid had a tough time going to school, and so did we. But in contrast, this year was so good to see him make friends, and comfortable to start his day. Grateful for the new school, which makes it interesting for the kids to look forward to the next day. Every kid deserves such a school.

I struck off my side-project list to come up with a problem-solving approach instead, after speaking to my mentor. He had a point. Started my DSA journey instead, with the Colt Steele course, and was able to progress smoothly.

The next couple of months went into tackling my work at the office and Rihu's assignments. His first research paper on germs and kinds of germs was exciting for me. Found entry requests for a tech talk on functional programming for 'jsfoo -'. Thought I could try it once and submitted a talk. Didn't get through. However, got my first tattoo. In the middle of all this chaos, I found out that I was pregnant. It was extremely hard until 2nd week of August. I never imagined to undergo an abortion. I cannot explain in words how painful the process was. I had no clue about it and felt terrible experiencing it. Every day passed by painfully, so I decided that I would take as much rest as possible and avoid learning as well to be sane and recover peacefully. This alone could be a post in itself. There was so much that I couldn't do, but I had to take this unexpected second break in the year.

As I started to recover and feel better, I made some achievable todo list for myself. Tried to tweet more often. And in the process of getting addicted to this social media platform, something interesting popped up in my feed. I have registered for pyconf Hyderabad, for the 30th and 1st Oct. I was so excited. Meanwhile, booked a session with Aman(an SDE2 from Microsoft) to get some feedback and learning path for my DSA course and progress. It turned out well and got some good feedback. I understood where I was lacking and picked up pace.

And then the day came. I was happy to be at Pycon India. Great meeting community volunteers from across the world. Tried to get Pyladies hyd handles, but found out that the owners did not want to give up, as I seemed new and thought I could not handle it. Could not convince Vandana enough. Meanwhile, attended another coffee morning at Rihu's school, where the central idea was 'conservation of water, water pollution, and preventive measures'. Applied to many remote jobs and got rejection emails. Progressed well on node js, express js, typescript, mono repo for frontend, and Postgres SQL. Posted an article on the pyconf experience. And did not get any update from pyladies, on the talk I submitted. I have had 10 more days this month, where I wanted to focus on office work and also learn production-level coding for the backend.

//need to edit from here.

Need to work on couple of projects(doodh waala and humara ghar). Will start working on pipe haul only after a discussion on terms and equity.

November - couldn't make it to pyladies speaker list. Applied for react conference Mumbai. Tried to solve a bug for open-tacos open source project, couldn't get my PR merge as it had other dependencies. Started backend project for reward-your-child. Going good with middlewares, error handling, and security using session tokens. Started spring course alongside DSA. Colt course made it sound easy and now I have confidence that I can pull it off. Didn't get through the ReactMumbai speaker list either. I have got my increment at work. Pretty happy with the hike and now I feel financially sorted and hope to get a good project to work on. Took up peer learning with Phani on the Spring framework.

December - Started with a short trip to a resort with friends so that Rihansh can have fun. It paid off as a good weekend for the little one. No regrets! The next 3 days went into spending the monthly subscription to rest alongside planning the big day for the little one. Also completed Spring Core from the Udemy course that I took up last month. Planning to finish the course by the end of next week, before I get back to work.

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There are some things that I thought would be nice to pick up but after brainstorming with my partner regarding my priorities and how I should be spending my time and energy to be sane, I decided to let go few deals. Masters in USA being one of the projects I wanted to pick up, I had got this offer from my previous employer to be part of his next startup. My previous employer is one of the founders of a logistics business. The products that they need to build for their business, were fascinating to me as they need some good machine learning and data engineering work. I thought I would be working on the products on the side, while my focus would still be on my work and learning the Spring framework. I believe that my god Vinayaka(Ganesh ji) always shows me the right path in my career and learning. Henceforth I believe in my husband who helps me sort things in todos in life.

During this time we had to travel 1000km up and down for my partner's uncle's funeral. That is when I decided to slow down and not continue with joining the startup idea. Phani has been very patient with me and so helped me catch up with the Spring course. I finally finished SpringBoot fundamentals and Hibernate (JPA).

This is the section where I set some goals for the next year 2024. I am happy and extremely grateful for the year 2023 has been. With that, I carry some of the ongoing courses that I started in the year 2023. So, I will continue with the Spring course, and anticipate getting some work on it by the middle of the year. As my employer insists on taking some real certification from a board on a skill that I like, I will explore a couple of new technologies(thinking of Terraform and AWS) and learn the one that seems feasible to fit into my work and schedule. Learning Java(backend) and getting work on it being the priority of next year, I would try to do some side projects on it. In regards to personal growth, I would continue to learn Kuchipudi, and hopefully give my first performance with this academy. Also, planning to pick up a new skill to learn. I will be choosing from Art and Child Psychology. Whatever fits best with me and my little one. After all, the world revolves around our loved ones.

Looking forward!

Thanks for reading so far! Wish you the best!