Time for another yearly reflection, the eighth one I put on this blog.
The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a unique year. I spent time worrying that I, my friends, or my family will get sick. Because of quarantine, I spent more time at home. I felt less productive and had to adapt to working differently. I interacted with my colleagues mostly through a screen instead of face-to-face. Ten years from now, I might get confused between what happened in 2018 and what happened in 2019. I will never forget 2020. I think that’s true for most.
In many other ways, life continued despite the pandemic. Here are some of the things that happened during 2020 in my life, in no particular order:
- I’ve read 14544 pages across 40 books. That’s 20% fewer pages than last year. I also looked up that I saw fewer movies this year than the previous years. That leads me to believe that I consumed more short-form content (podcasts, articles, videos) than long-form content (books, movies). I think there were multiple reasons for me trying to go for more dopamine-driven consumption, quarantine being one of them. Here are five books I enjoyed:
- Open. After reading this wonderful memoir by Andre Agassi, I appreciate him as a human first, and as a tennis player second - a sign of an honest and thorough autobiography.
- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I found this book an honest, engaging, and warm portrayal of what happens in therapy.
- Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber. This cautionary tale worked for me as a study on corporate values and how they stem from the founders.
- Judas Unchained. The best science fiction I’ve read this year. Despite some flaws, I found the big story and the smaller story-arcs compelling.
- Leading Lean Software Development. Each time I read about Lean, I learn new things. That was also the case with this book. While other books by Poppendieck can be quite dogmatic, this one is less so and is better for it.
- The five movies I’ve liked the most in 2020: Hamilton, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Marriage Story, The Farewell, and Palm Springs.
- On the same note, I completely loved The Last Dance documentary. In many other ways, this was a not great year for basketball and basketball fans.
- Hades by Supergiant Games was my favorite game of the year. I don’t play many different games. I found the time for Hades, because I loved the studio’s previous creations - Transistor and Bastion.
- Me and the love of my life got married in August ❤️. We were lucky to be able to celebrate our love with our friends and family. At that time, in-between two quarantines, there were only 30-40 COVID-19 cases daily (compared to thousands when I wrote this blog post).
- We bought and moved into a flat. We bought second-hand, thus skipping the worries of setting up a new one.
- We adopted two kittens from a shelter - Atas & Porta. I knew I like cats, but I was surprised by how much I grew to love them.
- We took a three-week vacation to Mexico in March. We luckily got home right before the pandemic hit its stride in Europe, and travel became restricted.
Vinted, a company I’ve been with for eight years, had another good year. I’m proud of how we handled the challenges and what we were able to deliver facing them. We entered important new markets, unified our platforms in Germany as Vinted, and grew our team to prepare for 2021. Each year we inch closer towards making second-hand the first choice ✊.
Vilnius Tech Leads continued with four more events. That’s fewer than planned due to quarantine, with two of the events happening remotely. You can watch them on youtube: The One with Org-Design and The Stressful One.
- I wrote seven blog posts in 2020. That’s seven times more than in 2019. Let’s see if the trend can continue.
- After writing about my experiences in psychotherapy, I also spoke about mental health on IT Taburetė and Mindletic.
- I didn’t craft any new public presentations this year. I delivered two of my older ones in two conferences. I also participated in a Bulletproof CTO panel about the issues the COVID outbreak brought to engineering teams.
2020 is over. Despite the pandemic, it was another good year for me personally. And in many ways, it was a good year for the world: renewables had a record year, more people have access to electricity, Africa is free of polio, and progress was made with some of the most challenging diseases. Even with COVID-19, we were able to develop the vaccine in record time. While I sometimes do get frustrated by some of the decisions my fellow humans make, overall, I continue to be optimistic about humanity’s ability to tackle the challenges ahead.