Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
– Søren Kierkegaard
Another year is behind us and I guess it’s time to write the obligatory year in review post about it.
Note: Here I’ll focus on the personal side of things and won’t go into details about my OSS work. I plan to write a separate summary article about it on “Meta Redux”.
The Bad Stuff
The bad stuff hasn’t really changed much from last year:
- The war in Ukraine still rages on and the end is nowhere in sight. It also seems that the resolve to support Ukraine is wavering across the world, which is quite disappointing. At least we finally managed to spend some time with my wife’s family who came to visit us in Bulgaria during the summer.
- The global economic downturn continues as well. The IT sector has been heavily affected, including the company that I work for. It has been the hardest year on the job in a very long time.
- Once again I didn’t do much (anything?) on the self-development front. Shocker, right?
- “The Wheel of Time” ruined another year of reading for me. I got to the 10th book, so at least the end is in sight.
- My attempts to replace Twitter/X have failed and for now I’ve resigned myself to the idea that it doesn’t have a real alternative. That being said - I did have a lot of fun playing with Bluesky in 2023 and I hope that the platform will continue to grow and attract more users in the future.
- I dropped the ball on learning OCaml, although I still plan to return to it at some point.
On top of this I really lacked inspiration to write, so it was a pretty bad year for blogging.
I hoped that I’d do more conference talks/trips this year, but ended up doing just one (RubyDay in Verona). I had a ticket for the final edition of “Strange Loop”, but the time of the conference was quite inconvenient for me, so at the end of the day I’ve decided to skip it. The prospects for massive changes on this front in 2024 are modest, but I’ll try to attend a few more conferences, starting with Balkan Ruby in April.
The Good Stuff
Not much to report here - again things haven’t changed much since last year. Same old on the OSS front, less wine (but still plenty) and more travel. And a bit of fun with old-school digital (think Casio) and mechanical watches.
The highlight of the year for me were a couple of vacation trips to Spain and France and a couple of team trips. I finally made it to Burgundy, which is quite the achievement for any wine lover!
The political situation in Bulgaria remains very unstable after the invasion of Ukraine by ruzzia, but it was a bit better in the second part of the year. Our new government is flawed in numerous ways, but it re-affirmed the pro-EU orientation of the country, passed some long overdue reforms and provided a bit of military aid to Ukraine. This certainly provided a bit of respite after what happened here in the second half of 2022 and early 2023.
In December we demolished the infamous monument of soviet occupational army in downtown Sofia, after debating what to do with it for over 30 years. I hated this monument and what it stood for, so seeing it torn down felt pretty good. In the final days of 2023 Bulgaria was admitted in the Schengen space (albeit partially), effective 31st of March, 2024. That was another long-awaited event that I was quite happy about. There are still a lot of problems, but there’s always some hope for the future.
- I’ve stopped buying wallets, after getting The Finnigan by Lost Dutchman Leather. I like it so much, that I’ve decided my quest for the perfect slim wallet is finally over.
- On the other hand - I did spent an unreasonable amount of time watching and reading mechanical watch reviews. And I added a couple more to my small watch collection. And several cheap vintage digital Casios, which are insanely cool! And plenty of straps! Watches are a very dangerous hobby, so I really hope I’ll get bored with it quickly. At least it helped me leave the grip of smartwatches and brought a bit more calmness to my days.
- I’m still using the Pixel 6A as my primary phone and I’m now pondering whether to stick to Android going forward or switch back to iPhone now that they have finally embraced USB-C. Overall both the Pixel and Android have exceeded my expectations.
- I didn’t buy pretty much any new gadgets this year, so I’m pretty proud of myself in that regard.
- One year later I can say I’m quite pleased with my Apple TV box, although the difference between it and Google TV is fairly slim.
- The only truly memorable TV show for me this year was “The Bear”. I’d say this was a pretty bad year for good TV and movies. That being sad I did waste a lot of time on “The Last Kingdom” and “Vikings”. I love historical dramas and both started pretty strong, but sadly ran out of gas fairly quickly. I didn’t even bother to watch “Vikings” until the end.
We are what we repeatedly do… therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit.1
– Will Durant
We are what we repeatedly do… Not exactly something new I learned in 2023, but definitely something I was often reminded about.
Also - I have a very obsessive personally and once I set my mind on something I usually go all-in. That’s why people like me should have fewer hobbies, as they often turn into some manias. Oh, well…
And finally - don’t commit to reading long-winded mediocre fantasy series! Seriously!
Goals for 2024
Haven’t figured them out yet.
Not great, not terrible.
And that’s a wrap. One less item in my person to-do list!
I think the words “not great, not terrible” perfectly describe 2023 for me. I haven’t had a truly great year since 2019 and I often dreaming about the “boring” years without political turmoil, major wars, pandemics and recessions. Now I finally understand why “May you live in interesting times” is a curse.
I hope you’ve had a great 2023 and that 2024 will be even better for you!