2020 in review, 2021 in preview

Huzzah! It’s 2021, happy new vaccine dear reader. Because of the vaccine i really hope the lockdown restriction will be lifted and life will be more fun again.

Work

Now, this was quite the year to look back on. Starting with a change from working at the servicedesk for 8 odd years to consultancy. This would have meant spending more time at the customer and getting more focus on single tasks instead of all kinds of odd-jobs during the day to fix minor or major issues. How things changed…
About six weeks into the new role we got into the first lockdown that meant working from home, a situation that still exists. I’ve been on route to a customer once. There was no way around that trip because of physical restrictions to get to the database.
The main project I’ve been working on is on Azure and is something still largely under NDA. I’m mostly working with database performance, security and a bit of infrastructure. It’s hard, it’s challenging and some days never seem to end but it;s nice to see a plan come together ;). During this project i’ve learned a lot about the different Azure sql databases, Terraform, network security groups and a lot of related stuff.

Community

2020 was the year i took the step to start speaking. And i managed to this twice. Now, this remark is meant to be somewhat sarcastic, because i was aiming for much more. But my ability to manage time is something to work on. The mentioned project is one serious drain of time and energy, but there are many speakers out there who are working easily over 50 hours every week and manage to create new sessions and present them. For some reason i keep failing at that. There were two new sessions brewing in the back of my head. One of those ideas has been taken up by Jess Pomfret who created a better session than i could have ever done. The other one is an idea i need to work on. Fast because when i kinda pitched the idea to an MVP the first response was “I would attend that session”.

I’ve really missed the in-person conferences. I had tickets for SQL Bits 2020 and was really looking forward to visiting London, meeting both new people and a number of ‘old’ friends. It wasn’t to be. And I missed Data Grillen, the Dutch Data Saturday event and Techorama NL. Off course there were the online substitutes that worked but for an introvert like me it is hard to connect with new people through any form of digital meeting. The organizers are doing an excellent job getting the events going, let there be no doubt about that and I really want to thank them for keeping this going.

Other stuff

Usually a lot of spare time is taken by volunteering for speedskating. This consists mostly of timing longtrack races from the local rink to international events. But with the lockdown, there were no races or, many weekends to do other things. Like trying to get some excercise or preparing the bathroom rebuild (still not done because some screws were missing and walls opened up where they shouldn’t have).

Physically it has been a bit of a challenge. I usually cycle to work to ensure a minimal amount of exercise. When that 50 minutes on the bike went away, combined with hurting knees and working a lot, there was some gain in weight. Making sure my knees function normally again took the rest of the year. Racing my road bike or ATB went ok.

Mentally it’s been a weird year. Working from home and only meeting with teams is something that can really drain me. Although it’s an advantage to do other stuff during long, boring meetings, when there are enough meetings in a day the energy is just gone a some point. When there’s enough drainage and not enough time or happy moments (like conferences) to reload the wall is coming very close. Main mitigation strategy for me is working out. Going for a ride on my trusted Ridley (road) or Cube (ATB) or a run if there is little time usually works for me. Again, my time management prevented me from riding as much as i’d like (though the ATB rides i did were fun). I missed out a bit on the 2000km target.

2021

Now, onto the new year. Where running began way better. I just decided to go for it and after three runs my knees still behave. I’m planning to submit for a number of sessions, just to keep that flow going. Work will be the center of attention. But i need to find a way to reach my goals without burning myself to the ground. That will be some challenge! With homeschool again for my son there will be more challenges ahead.

I’m not setting targets that i can’t reach. I won’t start the year at full power but try and build up gradually. I will see what happens, try and take things by the week or month.

But most of all, i hope you will stay healthy. It’s a nasty virus. Protect yourself and others and let’s hope we’ll meet in person again in the second half of this year.

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