It’s the end of the year, the beginning of a new one. Time to look back and see what happened and plot a course forward.
2022, the downs
Let’s get started with the bad stuff, get it over with. As some as you know, my mother got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is a process that has been going on for some time, but at the beginning of this year, it got more apparent. After some tests the diagnosis was set. We got a case manager who did her best to check out all the possibilities to let my mother live in her own home. But whatever she tried, it failed. After the diagnosis late april, she moved to a care home early november. The amazing people who take care of her make sure the last part of her life is as human as possible while we take care of everything left behind. 70 years of her memories, collectables and ‘things that may be handy at some point.’ Her house, the place I was born in and grew up, will be for sale in januari.
Combined with work, this presented me with a mental challenge. Not only did I have to drop out of a session I was supposed to help out with at Data Saturday Oslo (again, many thanks to the other people there who filled in for me) but there were messages on a daily basis on things that had to be arranged, weird things my mother was doing and just daily struggles. My employer was there for me this year and arranged coaching to keep my mental health in check.
One of the things that has been dragging me down is the volunteering for speed skating. I still like the technical side of it, but the expectations, the assumptions, the criticism are overwhelming the fun. In the end, the return on investment (time and energy) is not there any more. As this is something coming back every single weekend between October first and march 31st, with a lower intensity during the summer; it’s something I need a good think about.
2022, the community
Besides Data Saturday Oslo, I had the honour to speak in London (SQL Bits), Gothenburg and Mechelen (DataMinds Connect). There were a number of online events as well. This created a nice flow and my manager mentioned the improvements in presenting skills. An improvement that is a direct result of going out there, standing in front of people and telling the story. But moreover, getting feedback. Personally, I’m always looking at the things that have to be improved, things that need to be done better. The feedback helps with that, but also focuses on the parts that went well. Those ‘well dones’ are the hardest part for me. Not only do I have a little bit of fear of failure, but also a fear of success.
2022, the ups
As improvements are one of my core drivers, not only have I tried to improve on my knowledge by getting a number of Azure certifications and tried to follow a number of sessions at all the (online) conferences I attended. Also I joined a small group of people who are working on improvements on the SQL Bits helper app. One of the things I’ve learnt there is that if you want to join in, you need to unmute yourself. It took the best part of an hour to find out…
Starting with the SQL Bits buddies, the growth of people I’m connected with started growing really quickly. This improved the experience at any conference. It’s not only about gaining knowledge but also about the hall track. Meeting people. Now, don’t force yourself to do this, if you’re more comfortable in just being there, please do so. The best thing of the conferences I’ve been at is that you’re accepted as you are.
Just like 2021, my agenda had a lot of classes I got to teach. Not just the SQL Basic and Advanced ones, but some official Microsoft Azure ones as well. The other main task in my agenda was building a new solution. I got to dive deeper into Terraform, Azure DevOps and pipelines. All good stuff though sometimes frustrating when you spend about a day looking for an error, only to find out that and underscore is something else than a minus sign.
The blog series on Azure SQL Databases were a lot of fun to write and at the end of the series, really valuable feedback started coming in. There will be more coming next year! The traffic to my blog increased a lot last year, mostly because of multiple mentions in Brent Ozar’s weekly newsletter.
The new year has a few things outlined. The 2022 project will continue into the next year. I’ll be volunteering (sadly not speaking) at SQL Bits. I’ll be blogging whenever I can. But I’ll also try and find more balance between work and life. One of the things that I’m on the fence about is the volunteering for speed-skating. I’ve been doing that for, close to, twenty years. As mentioned above, something to think about.
I’m hoping to go back to the Scandinavian conferences again. They have left a lasting impression on me. I’ve already applied for Stockholm and will certainly do the same for Gothenburg and Oslo again. Being with these very nice people is something to really look forward to.
I’m hoping you’ll have a healthy 2023 where you can be who you want to be. A year where you’re allowed to grow at your own pace and on your own conditions. Where you can enjoy the things you want to without fear.
Make 2023 yours!