The Past Year: An Overdrive of Happiness

picnik is awesome

picnik is awesome

Random Observation/Comment #183: In some sense, I feel like I’ve been on vacation for the past year.  I’ve exceeded my set-goals and began aspiring for so much more than just a few degrees.  I really have been taking life in every word, and it makes me extremely happy.  This year has been the best year of my life, and I felt the same way the year before.  It’s like I finally put everything to use and seriously considered a right career for myself.  Everything looks so colorful, and I’m trying to pinpoint its source so I could maintain it for my entire life.  This blog was devoted to finding these little nuances about myself, but I wound up discovering something so much more meaningful.  I walked through a tunnel which inspired me to live a little differently.  I think I finally understand the liberal arts degree (although, it is still quite useless) – it is okay to not know what you’re going to do with your life, although I highly suggest finding a useful degree before finding the answer to this question.  There’s nothing wrong with taking that year off before starting a career and I’m actually not sure why I rushed everything (besides being anal about efficiency).  There will be plenty of time to make money and we will always be in debt in one form or another, so why not make some incredible memories?  Life is short and selfishness is a great temporary solution.  I may later find that devoting my life towards the love of my future wife and children would be an even greater reward, but why can’t we aspire for Tony Stark’s life right now?  “So you’re a man with everything, yet nothing.”

In lieu of the 100 days of presidency (which was quite some time ago, but whatever), I began thinking about the different phases in my life.  I started ranking the top 5 experiences in every topic possible and then evaluated the hobbies that I hold dear.  My personal projects keep me sane and really give this world some color.  How else would I define myself?  Am I just a Frankenstein of all those who have influence me in my life?  The dynamics of this personality growth is actually quite fascinating, but I don’t have enough time to even begin looking into quantifying, or even qualifying, the data in personalities.  It would probably be similar to a person having a hundred different types of “tags” and then comparing them four-dimensionally to the complex society hierarchy.  I think I just blew my mind.

Anyway, the past year has been amazing, but I wanted to statistically see the amount of fun I was having with each of my activities in everyday life.  I’m curious at how everything breaks down in graphs and charts, so I started my own little side project that basically shows my own evolution.  I don’t want it to be simply setup pictures of myself as the days pass – that’s been over-done.  Instead, I’m imagining a full time chart evaluating my favorite hobbies with their impacts on my lives.  I’m sure someone is already building something like this with the twitter api (globally comparing tags of real-time aggregated data), so I’ll just keep it specific.

The presentation of this material still needs to be refined, but I’ll give a sneak preview with a few facts about my photography in the last year:

  • In the 3 months I was in Japan (6/3/08 – 9/1/08), I took 12,511 pictures (24.9GB), averaging 139 pictures a day
  • During my Master’s thesis (9/2/08 – 2/22/09), I took 1,942 pictures (1.78GB), averaging 11 pictures a day
  • Since I’ve arrived in Europe (2/23/09 – 5/5/09), I took 13,930 pictures (28.6GB), averaging 196 pictures a day
  • Of the total 28,383 pictures (55.28GB) I’ve taken since Japan, 2,172 have been of food (3.64 GB), which is close to 1 out of 15 pictures.
  • Assuming it takes approximately 1 second to take a picture, I’ve spent 28,383 seconds/ 473 minutes/ 7.88 hours of my past 9 months holding down that button.

I started with this photography obsession because it’s been the main source of my travels.  The graph for this data is shown below.  (Yes, I just went there.)

see lemons crunch numbersI simply designated the dates for the different trips with the above statistics.  It was not difficult to write a program to search through a directory and save the dates, size, and counts of these dates in a database (I would have been shunned by my computer if I didn’t).

I’m oddly proud of this photography accomplishment (even though it should be embarrassingly nerdy).  It just makes me happy that I’ve looked at this project with a full perspective.  Since I have all this data, I’m going to brainstorm different ways of presenting it.  I’m planning on generalizing this to other activities, but it’s difficult to quantify every aspect of improvement.  The next step is definitely writing.

~See Lemons Statistize