This is the fourth year that I am writing one of these. I was really not looking forward to it this year.
- I didn't die.
- I didn't get very sick.
- I was self-employed for all of 2020, working remotely for multiple clients as a technical leader and engineering manager.
- I started teaching self-management professionally
- I discovered how much I enjoy ring training
- I wrote two articles on commission, for the first time.
- I started streaming programming
- I gave 4 talks.
- I released my first single-purchase product.
- I took three months off work.
- One of my free coaching students got a remote Haskell job.
2020 was a mess, but I have been fortunate, everything considered.
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.
I plan to make this work a big part of my efforts in 2021 as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.