Reflexions on my 23rd Year

Hey Majd, this is your 23 year old self. Let me tell you about this year just in case you need a refresher. Hopefully you’ll have done this every birthday and if you don’t, what the fuck is wrong with you? This shit will come in handy when you write an autobiography about yourself.

22 was a good year. Following up the best summer of my life (Apple class of 2009 representin’!), I crammed 3 semesters into 2 so I can get the fuck out of school, graduate, and start my life. Winter 2010 was a busy semester, but it was also the semester I started drawing again, founded the iPhone Developers Club, was president of CSE Scholars, and took some awesome courses. Mostly, I spent most of the semester waiting for graduation. May 1st came, Obama spoke, and I walked.

After graduation, I started waiting to start my job. The team was so much fun last summer and I learned so much, I couldn’t wait to start. May 18th came along, and I head off to Cupertino. Two days later, I found a room in a house in the Castro and decided to move into it. I wonder what this experience will seem like to you in hindsight.

I’m 7 months into my job now and it’s a blast. My coworkers are my best friends and my managers are incredible. The work is challenging, frustrating, fun, and unpredictable, just the way I like it. I’m half way through losing 80 pounds (at 45 right now), and it has already begun to change my life.

So to recap: When I was 22, I graduated, moved to San Francisco, lost 45 pounds, released some of my best code yet. Like I said, it was a good year.

Now that the “what” is covered, I’ll dig deeper. Here are things that I’m thinking about right now.

Wait, before I start. I want you to remember this:

Here’s to the crazy ones. 
The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. 
The round pegs in the square holes. 
The ones who see things differently. 
They’re not fond of rules. 
And they have no respect for the status quo. 
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. 
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. 
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward. 
And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. 
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, 
are the ones who do.

School. What it meant, what came of it.

Was school a waste of time? I haven’t decided yet. On the one hand, I know for a fact that had I not gone to school, I would’ve accomplished a lot more professionally. On the other, I really value the friendships I built during school, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. Besides, I didn’t end up in a bad place, so maybe it all turned out for the better. The thought of having left Michigan 4 years earlier than I did sounds amazing though.

Current Thoughts

What is going through my mind right now? Work, weight-loss, and girls, in that order.

Professionally speaking, work is going great, but I’m trying to figure out what my next move is. I’m happy where I am right now, but I realize it’s not a permanent gig. The more time I spend in the industry, the more I realize how much shit there is out there. Not just that, but how much people don’t care. I’m not the most technically impressive engineer, nor do I claim to be. What I am (or, think I am), is a craftsman. In terms of money and success, I’m starting to realized that I’m not really after “the big exit”. I want to be successful, to be sure. I want my income to satisfy my ridiculous lifestyle and then some, but that doesn’t require a hundred-million dollar bank account. The reason I say that is because I feel like given a more bounded business, I can focus on making products in a life where money is not a limiting factor. I might be an idiot for thinking that, and I may change my opinion. I want to build products, and sell them.

When I’m not working, I’m primarily thinking about weight-loss. I’ve lost 45 pounds so far, and I want to lose 35 more. I just started reading The Hacker’s Diet and it seems to align itself perfectly with my approach to dieting. I’m thinking of starting some kind of blog where I keep track of my stats and write about how I’m doing, hoping to influence someone else.

Thanks to my coworkers who first got me running in the morning before work and biking with them after work, I unintentionally lost 20 pounds, and when I saw the improvements, I kept going. Now that I’ve gone from shirts XL to Medium, and pants from size 40 to 34, I see the profound ways in which being fit and healthy can affect my life. Biking down a mountain, hiking up a mountain, running in races, these are all new experiences for me. These are all things I couldn’t have done no matter how hard I tried 7 months ago. When I go shopping now, I don’t leave depressed, when I go to the gym, I don’t have to keep holding the towel up as I go to the shower. It’s the little things. Things that to other people seems completely benign, are completely new experiences for me. Majd, if you gained back the weight, then FUCK YOU! You should first be ashamed, then on a diet.

Girls. Girls girls girls….There aren’t a lot of Christian Arab girls around here, at least not that I can tell. I guess American girls are cool too, just not the crazy variety. Are you single still? lower your god damned standards! Right now I’m not “looking” to find someone. I’m waiting to lose the rest of my weight.

Attitude

Majd, you always look forward, never backwards. When you moved from Sayyidet Al-Farah to IISA, you learned to speak fluent English. When you moved from IISA to Livonia, you picked up web development. When you moved from Livonia to Ann Arbor, you got a job at Apple. When you moved to Apple…well I’m still here, I don’t know what you did but whatever it is, it better be a step up. Always look ahead.

Closing Quote

Heed these words, Majd.

There’s work, and there’s your life’s work.
The kind of work that has your fingerprints all over it.
The kind of work that you’d never compromise on.
That you’d sacrifice a weekend for.
You can do that work here.
People don’t come here to play it safe.
They come here to swim in the deep end.
They want their work to add up to something.
Something big. Something that couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Swim in the deep end. Always.