Twenty twenty

I think a year recap is in order. Definitely a crappy year but there were some upsides.

First, the pandemic. I remember the first few days of March when it was announced here and the streets were completely empty. Cases were still growing but there were very few deaths. Everybody was in a panic and rightly so. Fast forward to December, we are reaching the peak of the second wave and it seems nobody cares anymore. Like we collectively ran out of fucks to give. With the announcement of new vaccines (none yet approved for use in the country), it seems people relaxed and there is news of huge parties every day. Just like the virus likes.

Then there was the divorce. It was a painful moment and it took me a while to adapt to the emptiness. Luckily, I didn’t stop my treatment (more on that in another post) so my depression was kept at bay. We managed to stay friends and I wish her all the best in life. As for me, I feel more resilient now being alone. There is still emptiness but it’s manageable. Things will only get better, I’m sure. I’m working on my network of friends, which I have neglected too much over the past few years. It made me realize how essential they are.

At work, I managed to go back to the same research institution I worked for a few years before, after having worked for Wikimedia and a fintech in Spain. It’s the same kind of work, as interesting as the other two. But here I’m among personal friends, some life long. It makes a lot of difference while working and outside work hours because we have fun activities together to relax. It’s been awesome and I wish it continues for years more. So that’s the main upside of 2020 for me. I’m really happy about this opportunity. The work is technically engaging as well, which is great.

With the divorce, my cat count went from 11 to “just” 7. Although I miss the 4 cats that left very much (Rajão, Estrelinha, Gordon, and Mitchan), it was for the better. I live in a small house and all those cats were creating a very stressful environment (cats are very territorialist creatures). I’ve noticed that they are more relaxed now and that helps me as well (no more catfights during the night, for instance).

In 2021, I hope to put my financials in order. I’ve accumulated a lot of (good) debt that I’m hoping to pay soon. Maybe even buy a car in 21H3. I don’t live exactly close to grocery stores, pharmacies, etc so it’s been hard only having a bicycle. A car would certainly help. The upside of not having a car is that I get to do more exercise (either cycling or walking). However, I love to travel by car and I’m looking forward to planning new trips this year.

I can’t finish without mentioning vaccines. Many countries are vaccinating against COVID-19 already but my country isn’t. We have a president that denies the virus and has not put the federal government machinery in motion to help fight this pandemic. It’s all very sad and I hope he gets voted out in 2022. If things go mildly well, vaccination is expected to start only in February which feels very late in the game. Here’s hope we actually manage to vaccinate everybody (which I have some doubts about).

Downtime

In my work with computers, I have a constant feeling that I need more time to master all the interesting topics that come up every day. From new programming languages, ways to work better, that new tool, etc. It keeps my anxiety levels way too high most days. The fear of missing out, become unemployable, or let important skills rust. That’s all too real.

I usually want more free time to learn these things. But I’m terrible at managing time so, when the free time does come up, I don’t think I make good use of it. I’ll usually catch up on sleep, play online games or waste time laughing at memes.

The reality is that we don’t have infinite energy and I think that’s what usually happens. Even though I want to do a lot of things, I have to keep reminding myself that downtime is necessary or I’ll start hating my job and everything related to computers.

So I’ve been trying too slow down and let things happen in their own time. Yeah, I have a free week during Christmas and New Year where I could spend at least 40-60 hours learning that new programming language but it’ll make me mentally exhausted. So I’ll enjoy the downtime, play with my cats, catch up on the Mandalorian and Mr. Robot and simply enjoy the time. I know I’ll feel a bit guilty about that but that’s just my upbringing, unfortunately. All I can do is identify these thoughts and let them die (or become not as strong).

So slow down, enjoy downtime and come back renewed. That’s my plan for this week.