Oliver Gilan

Goals for 2023

New Year’s resolutions are mostly corny and not a very good way to achieve the sorts of lifestyle changes that people hope to achieve with them but it is important to set goals and then take time to reflect on your progress towards said goals at a regular frequency. I like to think of my life in terms of chapters or narrative arcs that usually last multiple years and contain different experiences, lessons, and character developments. Thus my goals generally act more as themes for a given arc along with some specific quantifiable milestones that help me track my progress. Once a year is too infrequent to effectively reflect on my progress and update my milestones but the holidays and the turn of the year is nevertheless a good time to take stock of where I am and where I’m headed.

Currently I’m focusing on the following broad areas of my life.

  • Career
  • Health
  • Adventure
  • Mind

Let’s start with my career. I work as an engineer at Census and I fucking love my job. For the first time since middle school I feel like I’m not only being challenged but the training wheels are off and I get to run full speed. It’s really the perfect situation for me. I spend the majority of my time writing new features, fixing and improving our systems, and learning from my founders and colleagues. Everyone I work with has an equally high IQ as well as EQ making it one of the most exciting groups I’ve ever been a part of and I trust our ability to achieve the mission. Success is not a given here and I wake up every day aware that my actions will have a direct effect on the outcome of the company, an experience that stands in stark contrast to my time at Microsoft. While here I’m meeting some awesome people that I hope to work with in the future even beyond Census and I am gaining the skills to become a far better engineer and founder. It feels like every week I learn something new that will help me down the road when it comes to starting my own company. So this year for my career I want to

  • Get involved with interviewing and hiring
  • Learn about LLMs and how they work because AI might change how my career looks completely
  • The rest of the goals here are redacted ;)

When it comes to my health my goals follow from last year. I want to continue healing my gut and putting on the weight I lost during the two years of my illness in 2019-2021. I currently weigh about 145 lbs, up 10 lbs from a year ago, with a height of 5'10 and by next year I want to weigh at least 155 lbs putting me just shy of my 160 lbs body-weight pre-illness. In terms of general fitness I am pivoting from focusing primarily on strength training and instead I want to increase my endurance and stamina as well as my flexibility. Gut health, stamina, and flexibility will be the core foundations upon which I build an unbreakable body. So this year for health I want to

  • Weigh 155 lbs by EOY
  • Run 10 miles at a pace of 8 minutes a mile
  • Be capable of performing a split
  • Perform reps on the ab wheel from a standing position

When it comes to adventure I have definitely been disappointed the past few years. COVID robbed two key years of my life and I graduated college a semester early just to have Omicron bar me from traveling throughout Asia as planned. And then I ended up moving to NYC (which was a bit of an adventure) but I grew up around here my whole life. I need to get out of the tri-state area and go see new places, experience different cultures, and meet different people. With COVID gone and my health mostly back to normal I want to put more emphasis on doing fun shit and injecting some chaos into my life before I pick up too many obligations and settle down. My character arc demands it. Having said that my career right now is crucial. I simply cannot be backpacking across Europe or working remotely in Asia while I’m grinding and trying to build something successful at Census. There are other things I can do, though, like

  • Live in San Francisco for a month and work out of Census HQ
  • Travel alone to a country that speaks a foreign language
  • 2-day motorcycle trip across the Moroccan desert
  • Wild card adventure

The last big area of focus I want to touch on is my mind and more specifically, my communication. This primarily encompasses my writing and this blog (but also on rebuilding the confidence I lost the past three years). I’m happy I started this blog last year and I want to start publishing more often and more consistently. Writing is one of the few things that I simply cannot do while multitasking so to write more consistently I’ll have to be more disciplined about dedicating time to step back from everything else that’s going on and focus just on writing. This is a net positive. I wish for this blog to be more than just a technical resume-esque website and instead I want it to better reflect my mind and ideas, even the non-technical ones. I want to write about my various interests and what I’ve learned. I want to worry less about only posting complete thoughts and focus more on just posting what I think is interesting. At the end of the day this blog serves as a public extension of my private journal and I want to increase the surface area of that which I show, NOT because I want to build an audience (this blog literally has zero analytics of any kind and I am not interested in being a “creator”) but because I think that’s what makes the internet interesting. To that end I want to

  • Post at least once a month on this blog
  • Share my writing more publicly
  • Add a blogroll of other independent blogs I am inspired by
  • Write some non-technical posts about topics such as education, my illness, etc.