For many, 2016 (or some events in the year) was devastating, and a trash fire of a year – a year of war, terror, death, violence, loss, power shifts and major political events. (Shout-out to the Me at the beginning at 2016 vs me at the end of 2016–meme. And because good news are good to hear sometimes – here’s the list of good things that happened in 2016; and the great doggos and puppers of 2016; all of which still feels like a poor consolation though.) And with much of what just started in 2016, the future doesn’t look particularly bright at the moment. For many, it is outright terrifying, and very, very understandably so.
So what’s below is only a very personal look back at the year that was 2016 – by month, with some numbers (I love numbers), my learnings and some thoughts about what may come in my life next year.
Not going to say anything about this month.
I draw a flowchart about Codes of Conduct. Write about how to prepare for tech conference talks. Get to do fun photo shootings with wonderful people. Jan and I give an interview for an article about ethics in software development. Do my first embroidery project. Meet someone again who will become one of the most important persons in my life. Meet someone else without whom I wouldn’t be where I am now.
More cool photo shootings with great people. Boardgames night. Get a chance to reconnect with a wonderful friend. Do my last embroidery project.
See Hans Zimmer (and many more musicians) live. Suddenly job interviews. The infamous Boardgames nights continue.
Participate in a research project with the goal of finding out how many people can be squeezed into a tiny cabin with a built-in camera. Travel to Manchester for Upfront Conf. Travel to Oslo for CSSConf Nordic and dig out some the first photos I ever took before flying out. Spend some time with great people on a boat. Get sunburnt. Climb a horse statue.
Get back from Oslo. Start the new job. Had possibly the most intense 48 hours of my life.
Have a lovely house guest and we have pizza together. Play Pokémon Go for 3 weeks. See a rainbow right when I need it. Figure out how to do business the right way.
Get a haircut. Get a tattoo. Have an important appointment that I should’ve had 15 years ago. Start a big new personal project. Manage to get into pouring rain (without umbrella) six times on one day. Do a short trip to Copenhagen and Malmö and have all the coffee.
Give a talk about mental health. See fireworks. Get glasses. Start something that would eventually become a wonderful tradition. Leave the amazing group blog Kleinerdrei.org, which is edited by a bunch of wonderful people I learned so much from in my time with them. Upgrade to the next version, together with many marvelous friends. Participate in a panel on public speaking.
Computer breaks down. The Friday Coffee. Having TONS of fun with Visa. Company Offsite. Get to go horseback riding again, for the first time after 13 years. Meet the Seal of Disapproval. @Saltinejustine and I give a talk about Selfies and it is fab.
Have good-bye drinks that are literally on fire. Travel to Australia, which makes this trip the 4th time ever for me to leave Europe. Meet many lovely friends again. Get to close JSConf Australia, get off the adrenaline rollercoaster, and have an excellent time in Melbourne. Have too much coffee.
I find myself. Fail at taking a Wombat back home. Wrap up work for the year. Go to Finnland. Have a Christmas weekend that was less bad than expected. And I go south. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting under an olive tree.
- Traveled around 49,152 km: to Budapest, Manchester, Oslo, Copenhagen/Malmö, Melbourne, Helsinki, and a couple other places;
- spoke at five conferences, of which I got to close four and open one;
- wrote 12 blog posts,
- made 217 contributions on GitHub (I’m really not sure why I keep this number in these lists),
- posted 2,138 Tweets,
- took more than 5,786 photos,
- read ~106 books (of which 98 are an estimate based on what I read in Pocket),
- listened to music for more than 22 days (it was a year of great music),
- went to 6 concerts,
- started a new job,
- and had around 400+ cups of coffee. (Possibly highly inaccurate number.)
2016, the bigger picture
- Learnings: It was the year in which I learned about the meaning of being there, and the meaning of having people who are there. Professionally, it was the year in which I learned more about leadership, time management, self-organisation, and, again, my limitations.
- Endings/Beginnings: Like 2015, it was another year in which many things came to an end; some of which left huge holes in my life, and I haven’t come to terms with all of them yet. But, unlike last year, it was also a year for me in which some new opportunities came around, and some things started.
- Life events: For me, 2016 was one of the most intense years I’ve ever had – by sheer quantity of events, and by what each of these events brought – the work, the emotions, the impact, the consequences. It was often draining, tough, sometimes existential, and often very scary. And even though time is a construct, right now, I’m not sad that there’s at least a chance for a mental shift.
- Change: Not so much changed on the visible side of things. Very much change happened in other places. Every bit, every tiny step towards this change was a lot of work, and cost a lot of energy. I’m not there with everything yet, but I got to a point now where I see how far I’ve come; and to a point where, finally, there’s no way back.
- People – I got to meet many incredible people who are just fantastic humans. Made a bunch of new friends, strengthened a few existing friendships, and had many wonderful conversations with these people who all helped me learn so much, and understand so much more. So much gratitude, so much <3.
- Bits and pieces: It was also the year in which I finally outgrew the last bits of red hair. The year in which a significant number of people from my past came back (and all around the same time). The year of too much coffee, the year in which places became home and people became friends.
There are a few things regarding 2017 that I know for certain – as far as certainty can go –, and there are some possibilities, some ideas. As far as as all these are concerned, it could be an ~interesting~ year (and by interesting, I mean: very uncertain, very unclear, likely challenging, demanding, intense; and, in parts, also scary af). It will be a year of more learning, much more work on myself, and, hopefully, a year of growth.
Things I want to do in 2017
- Grow. – As a person, as a friend, and in my work.
- Nourish friendships. – Because people matter.
- Support others.
- Speak less. Give less conference talks.
- Write more. – I want to publish 7 posts on work-/activism-related topics, and write at least one short story per month. A few months back, I restarted keeping personal and professional journals, and want to keep that habit.
- Read more books. – I read very few actual books this year, and the equivalent of ~98 books in Pocket, most of which was work-related though. Ever since I learned to read, books have always been a great source of comfort, knowledge, wisdom for me, and literally opened up new worlds to me. I got back to reading books a while ago, and want to read more fiction, poetry, and non-fiction.
- Improve my English. – It still frustrates me how limited my English vocabulary is, and how this narrows my ability to write well, describe observations accurately, and express myself. I hope that reading more, especially fiction and poetry, will help with that.
- Get back to making music. – Miss it too much.
- Travel less frequently. – I’ll limit the number of my travels significantly, at least until autumn 2017.
- Give less fucks, but also not. – Started that this year, and it’s been a decent strategy so far.
- Figure out some things.
- Love more. – Because.
Quem me acode à cabeça e ao coração neste fim de ano, entre alegria e dor? Que sonho, que mistério, que oração? Amor.
(Who touches my head and my heart at the end of this year, between joy and pain? What dream, what mystery, what prayer? Love.)
– Carlos Drummond de Andrade
We’ll see each other in 2017.