My life plan

Recently I have formulated what I call a 'life plan' that basically specifies what I want to accomplish in my life and how I intend to get there.  Currently there are four main areas that I intend to focus.

1)      My work at Microsoft.  Obviously I have career aspirations here and I need a plan to achieve them.  This is the most detailed of all of my plans and some time in the future I may discuss it here.

2)      Foreign language studies.  For a long time I have had a goal to learn Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Thai, Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese, and Portuguese to a certain level.  I have already made great progress here but three of the languages remaining – Mandarin, Arabic, and Japanese, are among the most difficult.

3)      Writing a series of novels.  For the last approximately 25 years I have been coming up with different stories that I want to tell.  Recently I settled on a plot line and now I am working on filling in the details.  On the side I am slowly plowing through the Great Books of the World collection, as my series will tie in with it considerably.  For those curious to see the first book though, it will be awhile.  My current plans call for starting the first book in the series approximately ten years from now.  I am also currently in favor of writing all of the books in the series before attempting to publish the first one.

4)      Becoming a master photographer.  My goal is to one day be a photographer that is called in for talks and whose pictures adorn people’s walls.  This is not an easy task, but I have a plan that will incrementally allow me to reach this stage one day.


The primary reason that I have come up with this plan is I realize that no one lives forever and I would like to leave something behind for those who follow.  Of course, the best way to do this is to raise my children so they can succeed beyond my dreams, but if I succeed at the goals above I may be able to leave something as well.


Through my work at Microsoft I effect software used throughout the world, particular with Unified Communications where we are changing how people communicate with each other from down the hall or across the planet.


Through foreign language study I can reach out to people with whom I would have otherwise had no contact.  The results of these discussions will impact how I see things, and perhaps impact those I converse with as well.


Through my series of novels I will leave a legacy regardless of whether I succeed in getting them published.  In the worst case I have some works that can pass through my children to their children and my descendents will be able to see my thoughts long after I am gone.  In the best case, of course, I can affect far more people (and I think this is a very good story – I wrote a first chapter of it when I was 12 and it was used for a class assignment and won a prize in a competition).


Finally, through my photography I hope to create lasting images that will adorn people’s walls.  My grandfather was an amazing photographer who took some of the most stunning photographs I have ever seen.  Sadly, after serving as a photographer during WWII he rarely photographed again after the horrors he had seen.  Still, I greatly enjoy looking through his pictures – seeing his view of the world.  I hope my descendents will have the same opportunity.


In a later post I will discuss my photography plan.


Comments (2)

  1. Jason Coyne says:

    I majored in Japanese in college, and also speak french, as well as some spanish and greek. (In addition to English obviously).

    If you are focusing on spoken Japanese, I believe that Japanese is one of the easiest languages to learn that I have been exposed to, provided that you actually learn the grammar.

    Japanese has very very regular grammar, where all verbs get expanded by adding or subtracting additional bits, following a very regular pattern.

    However, if you try to learn by reading phrase books or the like, you will find it practically impossible, because while the grammar rules themselves are simple, the results of the rules can be very long and unwieldy.

    Written Japanese is much harder due to the fact that to be functionally literate you need to learn several thousand Kanji, which can be virtually impossible for some.  If you intend to go down this path, I recommend the books "Remebering the Kanji" which for some people can teach memorization of the Kanji meanings very quickly.   The second volume "Reading the Kanji" helps to memorize the readings of all the Kanji (some of which have 3 or 4 different pronunciations depending on context!)

    Studying chineese at the same time will have some synergy since a 99% number of the characters are identical, although Japanese has simplified most of them. Usually one of the Japanese pronunciations of the character is somewhat close to a Chinese reading, but not necessarily the dialect you are learning!

  2. Ken Ryan says:

    To keep brushed up on your Spanish here’s a great site:

    Check it out. There are 104 free grammar lessons each with a quiz and a test. Lots of other free stuff, too.

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