2019 in review

I've never written one of these before, but I enjoy reading other people's review posts, so maybe someone will find this interesting, too. In the very least, I can come back to it and use it to jog my memory.

Here are a few notable details that shaped 2019 for me:

IndieWeb 😍#

If 2019 was anything, it was my year of rediscovering the IndieWeb. A heartfelt thanks goes out to Zach Leatherman whose static site generator Eleventy enabled me to take a glorious journey from "maybe relaunching my blog" to many of my coding highlights from 2019. I completely rebuilt this site and blog from scratch and then started adding features. The fact that everything from the templates I write to the rendering engine that powers it all is using front-end technologies that I understand is incredibly liberating and invigorating.

I am still more of a tinkerer than a writer, recently proven by my abandonment of the weeknote routine after exactly three entries. Fortunately, I find it easier to write about what I build, so that'll be my hack going forward: build, write, repeat.

My favourite from 2019 is my automated changelogs feature, but I also remixed Max Böck's IndieWeb Link Sharing and use it to save and own all of my bookmarks (an ongoing process of screening hundreds of old bookmarks in Firefox and Chrome). The bookmarks search is powered by my very first Svelte app, which I had wanted to try for ages. I will probably write about both soon, as well as more recent projects like my first feeble attempts at generating fancy shapes with code.

Reading 📚#

Reading is a big part of my life, always has been. In recent years, it is also increasingly one of my most important coping strategies for keeping resilience high and stress at bay. I'm an avid fantasy and science fiction reader, so my bookshelf – an idea I poached from Dave Rupert – is mostly filled with books I'd tag with "escapism", but there are also a few non-fiction ones.

The stand-out book was actually the first of the year: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennet. I'm very much looking forward to the next instalment in the trilogy. Runner-up is the "Expanse"-series by James S. A. Corey. I like the TV series, but I loved the books.

Health 💪#

Overall, 2019 was another healthy year for me. I think I may have taken one sick day, but I'm not exactly sure. I do consider myself incredibly lucky that I rarely get sick, I don't even catch any of the common bugs that make the rounds in our social circles.

But. There's a tiny "but". From late 2018 all the way into fall 2019 was also the time when my tendonitis in both wrists kept me from bouldering. Unfortunately, running still isn't something I enjoy (or actually do), so I have gained about 8 kilos despite walking an average of 5.1 kilometres a day (according to my phone). However! I restarted careful training in November and hope to be able to regularly visit my beloved Boulder's Habitat in 2020.

Obi-Wau Kenobi 🐶#

Hi, my name is Søren and I am a dog person. Who knew? I certainly didn't. Niko – or, as he is secretly known, Obi-Wau Kenobi – continues to be a delight. He came to us in 2018 as part of an experiment and stayed. He is a 10-years-old-ish rescue dog from Romania with a severe heart condition (3 leaky valves), arthritis and hypothyroidism, but the meds are working great and we had a good, drama-free year.

Niko, backlit by the setting sun, is attentively looking past the camera – probably at a food source
Niko, completely ignoring me because he spotted fooood!

He accompanies us to the office every day, so we're rarely apart. I am still not entirely sure how this grumpy, cantankerous, socially awkward and sleepy old furball managed to dig himself this deep into my heart.

Travel 🏖#

We didn't do a lot of traveling this year except for one three-weeks-long vacation in the south of France on our beloved campsite. I'm afraid a sure sign of getting older is my growing fondness of revisiting known favourite places over trying to discover new ones.

No small thanks to Niko, we also explored the surrounding countryside around Bonn on many, many day trips.

Music 🎧#

Thanks to Spotify, I can confidently announce that 2019 was the year when I listened to… Scorecore. A lot. Like, really. To be honest, I don't even know what Scorecore is – all I did was go looking for electronic music, preferably without vocals, to put on as a kind of "active noise-cancelling" at work. But yeah, Scorecore.

I also fulfilled a promise and went to a concert by The Kelly Family in early summer. It was a good gig, but they haven't become a staple in any of my playlists.

Work 👨‍💻#

Work was neither exceptionally good nor bad in 2019. If I had to give it a score, I'd put it at about 3.75 out of 5. We still have the luxury problem of being asked for more work than we can deliver, which resulted in a bit of stress here and there.

On the positive side, I've thought a lot about what kind of work I want to do (and what not) and confirmed my feeling that my current job ticks many important checkboxes. I love that I can focus on things dear to my heart — like craftsmanship, accessibility and performance — every day, while working almost exclusively on projects that are ad-free and that further social engagement, for example the German programme website for the EU's European Solidarity Corps.

I'm looking forward to a great 2020, content in the knowledge that I love doing what I do.

Fewer interruptions 😎#

I've managed to largely opt out of the attention game. I uninstalled my phone's apps for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in late 2018 and have since also disabled notifications for WhatsApp, Slack and E-Mail. What can I say? It's bliss.

Conferences 🧠#

I only went to one conference this year, but I made it count: beyond tellerand (Düsseldorf edtion). As usual, Marc put on an excellent show. I especially loved Mike Hill's talk about The Power of Metaphor. Tickets for the 2020 event are already purchased. Obviously.

Thanks for reading and all the best for 2020!

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