At the beginning of a new year, I like to reflect on what the past year has brought to learn and plan for the upcoming year so that I can start it on my terms.
2020 was an eventful year, to say the least. I believe no one was expecting it or prepared for it, I know I wasn’t. Just like everyone else, I tried to make the best of it. And just like everyone else, I had my ups-and-downs. So what did 2020 look like?
2020 was definitely the year that I started to be more active in the community.
In the beginning of the year, I started this blog. Even though I did not blog as consistent as I initially planned, I’m proud of the blog posts that I did publish. More importantly, I’m excited to continue blogging! That really is the main outcome I was aiming for. As I wrote in my very first blog post, I had tried blogging before and had given up, which I didn’t want to happen this time around. Of course, the universe threw some curveballs and there are some gaps. Despite this, I’m here in the beginning of 2021 and still blogging. And I already have some ideas I’m working on!
Just like I started blogging, I started speaking at conferences this year as well. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to speak at 2 live events before I was confined to the comfort of my own home indefinitely. Special thanks to Power Platform Saturday Warsaw 🇵🇱 for being the first ever conference I got the chance to speak at! I had some more events lined up that were cancelled and of course several of the organizers decided to move the event online. This resulted in 5 speaking engagements in total. A good start, and I’m eager for more. I’ve already got 2 events lined up for the first 2 months of the year, let’s hope more are added. And dare I hope for an in-person event towards the end of the year?
The theme for 2020 was courage. Stepping out of my comfort zone, trying new things and daring to question myself and my beliefs.
On the one hand, I had a lot of time for introspection because I had nowhere else to be but home. On the other hand, I found that the lockdown took away a lot of my energy and motivation. As an introvert, this was surprising since I get energy from being alone. I believe the uncertainty of when things will go back to “normal” is the main reason my energy level was down. It’s still challenging sometimes, and something I’m working on by trying to find stability and certainty in myself, instead of outside factors. It’s a journey…
Possibly the biggest surprise of 2020 was that in April I started running. And when I say started, I mean started from zero. My first run I averaged 7’52” for one kilometre. I followed a “start to run” plan and after 10 weeks I could run 30 mins straight. I was so proud of myself! To this day, I’m still running 3 times per week, and am on my way to running 10k. I never thought I’d say these words: I’m a runner. If nothing else, 2020 has made me a runner.
I read 13 books in 2020. Most memorable are Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and Good Morning, Good Life by Amy Landino. During my summer vacation, I took a trip down memory lane and teenage/young-adult nostalgia and re-read the entire Twilight series. I’m currently reading Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, also a recommendation if you want to gain some perspective on what we as humans have done in the time we’ve been on this planet.
We spent 1 week in the summer and the week between Christmas and New Year’s painting the majority of the house. Only two rooms left: my home office (picking colors isn’t easy!) and the guest bathroom downstairs. We plan on tackling those last two sometime in the next year.
I’ve picked up a new hobby in the last month: knitting. Completed projects are a headband, a blanket for our dog to lie in front of the pellet stove, a hat for my sister-in-law (Christmas present) and for my boyfriend. Currently working on a sweater for the dog. I’ve been looking for something creative to do in my spare time and knitting is fitting that gap nicely currently. Time will tell if it’s a keeper.
2021 will come with its own set of challenges, opportunities and learnings. The theme for the year will be action. I spend too much time thinking (mostly doubting and second-guessing) and want to turn that into action. One of my guiding quotes is:
The only things you’ll regret in life are the things you didn’t do
I’ve started reading The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. It’s a one-page-a-day book from which I want to get a daily piece of wisdom on the three principles of Stoïcism: control your perceptions, direct your actions properly and accept what is outside of your control. Three things that will help me in living according to my theme of the year.
On the professional side, I will continue to blog and speak at conferences (if they’ll have me 😊). Other than that, I’m working on something together with a community rockstar, that I hope we will be able to share with the rest of the community in the coming months. Stay tuned for that…
All that’s left is for me to wish you, from the bottom of my heart, a very happy and healthy 2021!