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2020 year end update and learnings

Another year has come to an end and it is time to reflect back on the year which for many was not the best one, probably really bad for some. For me it was overall quite ok, I would say actually quite good.

Rainbow in Burnham

I share quite lot of things already through out the year on this blog which is no longer just a blog but a proper site but in the past 13 years I have been writing year end and half yearly updates on this site. I think it is a good idea to look back on what happened in the past one year. From time to time I read my own blog which I am sure I am the only one reading them who knows? :) but when I read them I feel so good and makes me calm that I am doing the right thing. Sometime around 2011 I started writing my goals and planning everything I do in my life around these goals which change slightly over time with change in circumstances and it is fine but when I read my old post where I mentioned that I wanted to do something which I haven't done yet, then it is like a reminder to me that I have to try hard.

In 2007 I wanted to write a book on Excel VBA, because I thought I have become really good in it and I can make a career out of it. Excel is used by almost everyone in the industry and there is lot of scope to teach people how to automate their work. I did end up writing that book, which I still have with me but because it was my first attempt at writing a book but I was not sure about many other things like publishing and proof reading. My friend Vinod then suggested me to start a dedicated blog on it and we started, I also tried doing some corporate trainings on Excel VBA but then I got more interested in Drupal and Jira, anyways the idea of writing a book first came into my mind in 2007 and I was reminded about it through my own blog.

Second attempt, in 2011 Vinod suggested to write a book again and we did end up not only writing but also publishing the book called "Your Definite Guide - To Build a Fantastic Blog in Drupal" which was published on Amazon. So finally some success. The good thing about writing blogs and sharing updates publicly is that it keeps you on track. When I really want to do something I don't mind sharing that specific goal with all, not because I want people to read it but because I am showing my commitment towards achieving that goal. I foresee myself achieving that goal. Yes I day dream, a lot. 

Hopefully in few years from now I will refer to this blog and feel good about what I did today onwards since then in the future. I want to make sure I do the right thing and this blog is like a checkpoint.

Things that could have been better

Let me start with things that were not so great this year for me.

1. Health

There are so many little things I could have done better but mostly I think I need to focus on my health properly, for 12 years from 2002 till 2014 I was regularly going to gym, doing cyclingrunning and of course walking but for the past 6 years I have hardly done anything great to stay in shape, well I am not in bad shape but still I would like to resume running and lifting weights regularly. I did restart cycling this year but it was not enough. I want to make health my number 1 priority from now onwards. Also this year I started tracking my calories and bought a body fat/BMI weight machine, which is a good start I guess. However I want to be in great shape, I am also considering getting into long distance running again after many year.

2. Travel to India

Another thing that I was sad about was not being able to travel to India, we had our tickets booked for August but flights were canceled, it was probably not a good idea anyways to travel. This was totally not in my control but I still feel bad. Anyways it's ok, just a small thing that bothered me this year. Delhi is my favourite city and I really miss it. 

3. Learning French

In 2015 I started learning French but after coming to UK I didn't put much effort in continuing learning it. Bit of a shame because I worked in French companies with real French people for many years. I have good French friends as well but still I haven't been able to speak perfect French. Hopefully in 2021, let us see.

4. Zero number of books read

So this year surprisingly I don't remember if I read ever a single book, apart from couple of audiobooks I don't think I fed myself with any knowledge from any book. I do have a list of books that I planned to read and keep adding items to that list but for some reason I never really picked up a book :( Not a good sign but something to improve in 2021.

Few accomplishments

Yes I am happy about few things that I was able to achieve this year.

1. Regular videos

Apart from a taking a short 2 weeks break from YouTube, I was able to create regular videos everyday this year. I was also active on my other YouTube channel called Blackberry Boy where I post videos on Emacs/Org Mode and Linux.

Tag count

Some statistics based on the type of content I have been producing this year. The best part is I don't spend too much time making videos, whenever I have something little or big to share, I record myself and upload it straight away. It takes only 15 mins of my time and sometimes I make couple of videos and schedule them. At any given day I have at least 4-5 videos waiting to be published.

2. SAFe Program Consultant

This year I got few SAFe certifications and also trained others. This was a bit different and challenging for me for sure because I am a geek who loves spending time on the computer whereas SAFe is about culture, processes and it involves talking to people :) so I am glad I did this and hopefully next year I will get chance to do it more.

3. AWS Certifications

I had absolutely no knowledge about AWS which I believe is a necessity especially in our field of work, this year I started doing some of the certifications, I feel good about it. I will plan to do more in 2021.

4. Own your data and digital detox

Few years ago I started following IndieWeb principles. This year I took it further, I stopped using Twitter directly and post everything only on this site here. I did that using IndieWeb Drupal module. I made a video describing how to configure it.

I also was able to successfully stopped using facebook and whatsapp. I wrote about digital detox recently explaining why it was necessary. I did that by changing few things, from 1500 to 100 facebook friends, following 1000 to 50 twitter accounts and leaving all the whatsapp groups. I feel much relaxed now. Life in simple like it used to be, like it should be. I don't think we need to keep up with hundreds of friends and want to know what is happening in their lives. I am not going to leave these platforms because it is indeed a good way to be in touch with people but only to those I really want to. Next in the list is Linkedin, which has become absolutely annoying. I think it is a bit necessary these days to be on Linkedin because lot of people are there, but over the years I had 1500+ connections and it was insane. I am now reducing my connections to only my colleagues or people I worked with closely in the past. Now a days all you see on Linkedin is memes or motivational videos that too from people you don't know. If you like a post then it is showed to everyone in your connection list which is stupid.

We should all try to minimise distractions in our lives. We can achieve so many things if we just do things that are supposed to be done but we don't do them because we are busy watching videos of cats.

5. Started writing Groovy book

I have plans to write a programming book and I chose Groovy because it also helps me at work. Most likely the book will be free and available to all. Lately I am getting signs that I should keep my content free for all. I am not 100% sure if I will self publish it or keep it online or contact a publisher but you can still read the ongoing draft of the book here

6. Published blogs using Emacs and Org Mode and Literate Programming

This year I started publishing 3 blogs with nothing but Emacs and Org Mode, you can also learn about how to do it if you want to do the same. Main purpose is to publish blogs easily, convert my existing rough notes into public posts in few minutes. The other two blogs are and which were earlier on Drupal.

I also started adopting Literate Programming earlier this year which I believe is absolutely amazing thing. If you write code and that too in multiple languages then following Literate Programming principles will really help you. Basically it is all about writing code within your document that you can run and export whenever needed. Did I mention that the Mastering Groovy book that I am writing, I am using Literate Programming and of course using Emacs and Org Mode?

Overall I am very pleased with 2020. I am happy. These are the things that I don't mind sharing publicly, I do also have some private goals that I don't want to tell everyone, when time is right you will know it. In case you read my blogs.

7. Crossed 1000 posts on Atlassian Community

I recently crossed 1000 posts on the community which made me feel good. I wrote a blog about it sharing the benefits of helping others, do read it if you have time.

What else?

There are other things as well.

1. Streaming platforms

This year I finally took Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney Plus subscription. I have started watching series and movies in the evenings which I think is probably ok if done in moderation. These days I am not going out, no bars, not meeting friend or going to office so I think it is ok. As a kid I used to watch lot of tv and watched lot of movies so I know these things are addictive so I have to be careful.

2. Home DIY

I did some repairs myself this year. We had water leak in our living room from the window and I was able to fix it properly. Last year I did another roof repair all by myself. We have a kitchen extension which was leaking. I had to paint the roof of the kitchen with a special paint to repair it along with a tape. I also fixed the leaking roof gutter and leaking radiator. In Delhi we never really have to do things ourselves because labour is cheap so we never bother but here in UK labour is expensive but it is not that difficult to do some repairs yourself if you try. I was satisfying that I was able to do these things. There are plenty of videos on YouTube in case you want to learn these things. I think basic DIY should be taught at school. It makes life easy.

Plans for 2021?

Well I will write another blog but it will be mostly around the things that I couldn't achieve this year and continue to pursue my existing goals.

I wish all of you reading this blog a very happy new year 2021 :)



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