2020; Year in review

Date 2021-02-04

This is the fourth year that I am writing one of these. I was really not looking forward to it this year.

Highlights

2020 was a mess, but I have been fortunate, everything considered.

Self-management training

I started teaching self-management. The entire process has been fulfilling to really be able to help people, and the feedback has been amazing. It turns out that if you can reduce stress in people, they will be happier. Who knew, right? The effort has also required me to learn more about sales, marketing and design.

Self-management training website

I plan to make this work a big part of my efforts in 2021 as well.

Rings

During the first lockdown, I slowly started to lose my mind. The gyms were closed, the dancing and the fighting were cancelled, and setting personal records in callisthenics was getting seriously boring. I bought a set of rings, and this allowed me to continue my training outside of the gym. Ever since then I have been able to continue my training under a tree in my neighborhood. I would not say that I'm good at it, but it is humbling and enjoyable.

Ring Training

Health

Mental health was a bigger focus this year than physical health was. I learnt that I was wrong about how to deal with unhealthy food: You can definitely go too far with trying to eat healthily. I don't necessarily mean that you can be too healthy, but rather that you must not terrorise yourself with a compulsive focus on what you eat. The whole story is long and sensitive, so come talk to me if you have been struggling with similar issues.

I have always been the person who, when given an axe, will chop down an entire forest for no reason. As a result, I have usually found relaxing to be a difficult and unnatural skill to use. A silver lining to the whole pandemic situation has been that it forced me to slow down my life a bit and really practice relaxing.

Holiday

I took the last three months of 2020 off. I wanted to figure out how I can determine what to work on, so instead of working on whatever would make me the most money, I took some time for myself. This let me conclude that I am in the fortunate position to spend some of my time on things that are not intended to make money. I already contacted universities again, so I can start teaching again, and hope to teach dance next year as well.

My brother taught me that there is an alternative to the "standard" approach of "having a big dream and making it happen": "Do whatever seems interesting at the time". I have started exploring this concept and hope to learn whether it has the merit that appears to have.

Nonviolent communication

When the pandemic first hit, I made a website where health care workers can find empathy during crisis. This has been a collaboration with BlaBla, an organisation in Belgium that promotes nonviolent communication. I started learning about the concept this year, and found it helpful to be kinder when talking to myself. It has also helped me to deal with what it would call "violent feedback", which I had been struggling with.

Worldwide Empathy for Medics

Writing

As part of my new "taking things easier" approach, I stopped writing here on a regular schedule. While I still maintain that consistency is valuable in itself, there is also no point in stressing about writing.

2020 was also the year that I started writing on commission. You can find two of my articles in the Human Readable Magazine. Please contact me if you would be interested in having me write for you.

The cover of 'Dealing with Friday the 13th' in the Human Readable Magazine, issue 2

Automated income

Rereading my previous "year in review" blogpost, it looks like I managed to keep to my goals of "being healthy, feeling happy, and becoming financially independent" relatively well. The financial independence goal has, correctly, been on the backburner a bit this year. However, two of my students have completed a new, generated, Stripe client library for Haskell and as a result I have been able to monetise three of my products.

I now make a total of 11 CHF of monthly recurring revenue via my products. Every once in a while someone buys a Haskell template as well, and makes my day.

The Haskell templates product

Focus for 2021

I hope to continue the trend of being more kind to myself, and to work on things I find interesting at the time.

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