The Zen of

My Goals for My 24th Year

My Goals for My 24th Year


I turned 24 this weekend, and , as with any birthday outside of childhood, I have conflicting feelings. On one hand, being a little bit older gives me more legitimacy in my field -- I normally hide my age professionally in fear that I won't be taken seriously or that people won't believe my experience level. I've been really lucky to have a good career at my age, and I worry that if people actually knew how old I am that the same opportunities wouldn't have presented themselves. On the other hand, I feel closer to "true adulthood" (whatever that means) and closer to no longer being young.

I have a lot of goals for my 25th year, that I want to push off until my "true mid-twenties" for various reasons, but I wanted to also set some goals for this year, before I get to that point.

  1. Say "no" to more. I know this goes counter to most career advice you see, but I need to know my limits more and be more selective about what I do. I definitely lived by the "say yes to everything" career advice for most of last year. Do I regret doing that? No! I had so many amazing opportunities and got to learn so much. But, was doing multiple speaking events most weeks sustainable? No! I still want to push myself and take every opportunity I can, but I also need to learn my limits and only get involved in things that I am truly passionate about.

  2. Keep blogging, a lot. I just started blogging last October, so this is all still really new to me, and I feel like I'm just starting to learn what and how to write. I started college wanting to be a political journalist, so I feel like writing about code was a natural progression. Now writing about my life a little bit more is even more fun! I want to keep learning about blogging and stay more consistent, even when life gets tough. I've written every day so far (which isn't saying a lot and is probably not a reasonable goal), and I want to keep writing a lot more this year.

  3. Write a new talk (or two). I've given my main two talks a lot of times at this point. Learning CSS Through Creating Art and Augmented Reality in JavaScript have both been given five times this Spring, and, even though I really enjoy both, I think its time to start working on something new -- especially since there will be recordings of both talks out soon. I've got some ideas for talks that I want to give, now I just need to write them down and start sending them out. So, stay tuned for that -- and if you know of any events hit me up!

  4. Code something really cool. I feel like I need a tough coding challenge. I feel like I've gotten comfortable with what I do normally, code wise and I need a new challenge. Maybe I should revisit a lower level language or try a tough graph traversal problem or something -- I just want to challenge myself!

Overall, I'm excited to move into my 24th year, and I think some really good things are in store. I will definitely revisit these as the year goes on, and hopefully I can stick with them!


Ali Spittel

Hi! Welcome to the Zen of Programming where I talk about programming and my life surrounding it!