July 2020 Retrospective

· 3 min read

It has become apparent that getting a divorce and preparing for an international move in the middle of a pandemic can be a bit stressful. My physiological response to stress has diminished in recent months and so it wasn’t immediately obvious to me but I persevered.

Despite all the chaos, July felt relatively balanced. I made time to work on some personal projects, take in a healthy dose of Vancouver sunsets, and attend many physically distanced gatherings.

I had intended to write these posts on the first Sunday of the month where possible but I figured I’d just enjoy my time with my family in Ontario and finish it up from quarantine in Taiwan. Sadly, I was denied before departure.

I’d like to write less binary and more measurable goals that could eventually drive data visualizations. I’m doing my best from this perpetual state of transitional uncertainty.

July Tasks

File for divorce.

I fought through some hoops and got it done just in time. The ball is out of my court for a bit while we play the waiting game.

Test backup restore procedure.

I ran through this as planned and the practice proved useful. I use restic to manage my backups and had an exclude pattern of bin which seemed ideal since binaries can be rebuilt from source but I had forgotten that I had a $HOME/usr/bin directory filled with scripts I would most definitely like to restore on arrival.

Many programs don’t fully respect the XDG base directory specification and some mix configuration and cached program data. I had sacrificed some diligence to meet my deadlines and paid the price, losing a few things I overlooked. I may have them backed up elsewhere but not on anything accessible to me at this moment. I’m going to have to find a better solution for this going forward.

Automate bookkeeping imports for primary bank.

I wrote a small program to write the formatted transactions from my primary bank CSV export to my ledger. I’ll put it to use for a while before iterating on it.

Close the lease on my apartment.

I worked my possessions down to six large boxes, two shoeboxes, a piece of artwork, and the two backpacks I planned to bring abroad.

August Plans

Arrive in Taiwan.

The situation is a bit of a mess. I’m still trying but time is running out. If I get the additional special permission, I’ll be putting in at least an hour a day to study for the course placement test.

Rebuild lost habits.

I let a few of my habits slide over the month of July and I need to rebuild them and ensure I prioritize them even — and especially — during stressful times. For me, this includes daily intermittent fasting, fitness at least five days per week, and giving myself at least half an hour without screens before sleeping and after waking up.

Weekly bookkeeping imports.

I automated the imports from my primary bank last month. There is still a manual component to download the CSV as my bank doesn’t offer a public API and there is a chance I’ll have cash transactions so I need to get in the habit of recording these in batch on Sunday.

Write the documentation for my first paid product.

My vision has been solidifying. I’m going to write out the documentation for a minimum viable product so that I know exactly what I’m building and less inclined to scope creep.


August is shaping up to be a month of moving forward and building a solid foundation despite the uncertainties. My vision is refined and my mind continues to clear. These setbacks only strengthen my knowingness of my true desires.