First Things First
Last year the world lost Steve Jobs. This year Stephen Covey passed away. I have long been a fan of his views of life management. If you have not read his work, you should. First Things First, while relatively less famous, is a much more important book than the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
I do try to balance my life across the different roles I have and leveraging the interdependence between them. Here is a short summary for 2012.
Back to School (again)
Sharpen the saw is an important and often neglected part of one's life. Working with different startups with the latest web technology requires some level of learning. Heading back to school part time however made it official. The process actually started at the end of 2011. I decided to apply to the MIT advanced study program, designed to let working professionals take graduate courses at MIT part time. Application forms, transcripts, letters of recommendation. Remember those?
The MIT "kids" are great. They are intelligent, creative, attack everything with a passion. It is very refreshing to be able to work with them. Since my part time MBA experience was pretty much show up for lectures in the evening, this is the first time I have a view into normal college life in the U.S. It is very different from the more structured style at Imperial. Think of this as long term planning so that I understand college life for my kids when they get there.
We have continued to work on new and old projects at Imperial. We have done more work with Wordpress integration, as well as entering into the IOS world. There are a few exciting new projects that I wish can be finished soon so that we can talk about them in public, but that's the down side of operating in the start up world.
I talked about this each year . Move away from the city? More living space, saving money from switching to a public school, clean air and backyard. This year we did it. An offer for our loft got the process started. I left the loft in Boston and moved back to Lexington.
The moving process was difficult. I moved six times in my adult life prior. I thought I have this down to a science (link). But that was before children. We had 100 boxes of stuff packed, about three times more than what I had before. I took the opportunity to donate, sell and discard most of my own belongings. I like to think we have a minimum amount of toys for the kids, but still it took up a lot of space.
The process was difficult because, for three months I could not find a single house to move to in Lexington. A lot of people are doing the suburban migration. Lexington is one of the hottest market. Houses were either too small and too old, or too large and expensive. We were close to panicking, but the end result is great. It was real serendipity how I found our new home, materials for another blog post.
Our new home fits us wonderfully. Walking distance to all things Lexington Center, open floor plan, 11 foot ceilings, walls of windows, We basically brought our loft and city living to Lexington.
Luck would have it, The town of Lexington runs a Lexington Citizen Academy in the Fall of each year where interested residents can attend. For one night a week, in eight weeks I learned about all operations of the town. I now have a much better understanding on how Lexington operates, and I am continued to be impressed with the town. One of the reason for Lexington to run the "academy" is to recruit new volunteers. I joined the Citizen Advisory Committee for the Lexington Library as the library is working on its strategic plans for the future.
A major reason for moving is the public school system. So far our experience has been great. We have dedicated teachers, modern facilities, a strong PTO. Of course I am working on starting a Scratch Club. Meanwhile I am running the Science and Math clubs with a few other like minded parents. More importantly, the kids are loving their new schools and new friends. Going to a neighborhood school we runs into other families more often in after school activities, something that is new to us coming from the Boston private school scene.
The suburb move is the catalyst for so many things. A wonderful Martial Arts teacher happened to start a new school in Lexington soon after we moved into town. Now not only the kids can start on their martial arts practice, I can add to my regular Tai Chi practice. Sword and Bagua are just a few of the new things that I get to restart.
The Dalia Lama was in Boston, and I got to attend one of his talks! While he was at least 100 feet away (we were in one of the largest conference space at a Boston hotel) and we were mostly watching him on two giant projection screen, you could feel his presence. He speaks with both authority and a genuine child like sense of compassion and openest that is amazing. I am certainly inspired by him and try to carry his philosophy with me as we cross over to year 2013.