2020 keeping only the positives

George Stefanis
George Stefanis

My friend Sam posted this tweet the other day and she did inspire me. I, too, did a lot of memorable things this year. Positive things that I want to focus on. We had enough negative things coming our way from the media so you don't need my blog post for that.

Creating avcud.com

In the beginning of the quarantine I wanted to watch the best movie for each year, starting from 1984. My problem was, what do you define as best movie? I decided to create a weighted function that takes into account Oscars, Box Office and IMDB score. With the help of Python, Svelte and Google Cloud I was able to really quickly create an app that is solving my needs.

I learned a ton out of this, made me feed productive and it's something I enjoy tinkering with. I need to move it to AWS because Google is giving me some trouble with the integration with firebase and I can't seem to be able to solve it, even after posting about it as a bug in the relevant Github pages. I am still learning and it's something I'll keep working in 2021 as well.

Running and Cycling

Unexpectedly enough, this year I did run more than ever. As it stands right now I've run 1051km and cycled 438km. I've lost weight in the process and broke every personal record I had (minus the half marathon that I never got to run). There is a certain amount of pride being able to break records and keep being active especially as you grow older.

Bread and baking

My baking journey continues. I've been baking more, experimenting with different flours and different kind of breads. My friends Paris and Ioanna also bought be a couple of great bread books so I expect to be experimenting more this year with other breads.

In other types of baking I tried to feel less guilty about eating sweet stuff and so I baked some nice apple tarts, some cakes and all sorts of different things. Thanks to running I managed to moderate my weight.

Moving houses

In the midst of all of this pandemic madness we managed to move to a bigger house with more light. Being in the house 24x7 and working all the time we had issues with the fact that we spent our days in the same room where we slept and ate. It makes you very dull. Moreover we realized how dark our flat was. These are non issues when you spent most of your time in an office and only come home in the evening. When you are indoors all the time though you do notice them.

I'm really happy that now both me and my partner have a space to work from and a living area that gets plenty of light. It has done wonders to our daily lives. It was a risky move to move houses this year but one that paid off.

Starting a podcast

My good friend Paris and I talk over the internet on a daily basis. Rambling about all sorts of stuff that catch our attention. One of those days we thought, maybe we should record some of that. And so we did and BadGuys came to be. This is a podcast in Greek and it's a great way to connect with the broader Greek community of developers, technologists and everything in between. Since then I had a lot more people engaging with me and Paris over Twitter, our website and email.

I used to have a radio show back in Greece when I was a student that I really enjoyed doing. This podcast is bringing me similar feelings.

Keeping in touch with family and friends

It might sound counter intuitive but actually I kept in touch with my close friends and my family. More than we'd normally do if things were "normal". Things like Zoom, FB Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber kept me in touch with the people that matter the most. That brought some much needed human contact outside of our four walls.

Reading

That's a weird one. This year I read about half of the books I read on a yearly basis, on average. Turns out I read a lot during the commute. On the bright side of things though I figured out new ways to read. I listen more audiobooks on my runs, I spent more time away from screens sitting on my sofa, listening to an album and reading.

I also did gift me a subscription to the Financial Times and the Economist and that brought some quality journalism in my life. It also helped me to read less negative news on other media outlets and really helped my mental help. That was a great move that I have my friend Tolis to thank for.

Writing

As the pandemic begun I tried to write one blog post every week. I did that for a while but I found out it was stressing me unnecessarily. I decided to stop it and write on a more casual basis. I still wrote more than any other year before. This is the 21st blog post of the year. I'm not sure if my writing is any better (historically my weakest point in English) but I enjoyed it.

Learning

I want to end this post with learning in general. I obviously spent significant time learning about new technologies. Typescript, AWS, GCloud, Go, Rust, Python, GraphQL, Linux etc. I also learned new recipes to cook, new wine pairings, new ways of dealing with my stress, new ways of keeping in touch.

More than anything though I learned that in these trying times it's important to count your blessings and focus on the good that happens in your life and you let it go unnoticed. Here's to a better 2021.