2019 with hindsight

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2019 is over, at at the time of writing this, 2020 is getting into full swing.

I figured I would recap my year, in general terms, and share a story or two. Maybe at some time in the future this will teach me something.

So, 2019…

I would say that last year started and ended on a low note.
My uncle passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly in late January, and that gave me serious pause. In all honesty, he wasn’t an uncle of mine that I had spend much time with, not for any particular reason, but probably just because he and his family (Wife and my cousins) lived far away. I just never made the time, and that’s on me. In 2018 when my own father died I had the opportunity to spend an amount of time with my uncle that I had never before, as we both visited and cared for my fading father. My uncle made an impression on me with his warm kindness and measured approach to all things.
At the conclusion of my trip, and seeing my uncle, we made the usual show of commitment that everybody makes when they part ways.
“Lets see each other soon!”, “Let’s not leave it so long!”, “Come visit!”, “Of course!”, “Definitely!” we spoke to each other. I didn’t much think about it for some time, until his death hit me so profoundly. I cannot explain in words how it sent me into such a tailspin of regret. Instantly I knew that I should have taken the time, but it was too late. The least I could do was honour him by attending his funeral, knowing that I would be a relative outsider as a now-distant family member who never showed up until now. I’d never met my cousins, I couldn’t remember my aunt even, but I had to do this.

So I went. I’m glad to say that I was wrong.
My extended family, in their own grief and dealing with a funeral, welcomed me with the warmth and kindness that struck me the same way my late uncle did. The extremely short and rushed trip left a deep impression on me as I connected with my cousins and family as though I had known them for a lifetime. A year later now, I still miss them dearly. I need to go back, I can’t let it be so long.
I wished my own family was as close as them, that we could come together in such a way, and support each other so selflessly in our loss.
But that’s how things are.

As that was the beginning of 2019, at the end of the year things came to a head at my employment.
Looking back, I have to say that I worked really hard, and I overstretched myself in many ways. I took advice from people that didn’t have my interests, naively and candidly trusting some that I should not have, and I also ignored familial issues that continued to linger and affect me, ignoring that I still needed some time to process my own grief. I had wrapped myself in my work, seemingly to kick facing my own sadness down the road. All that, coupled with organisational issues outside of my control meant that I saw the writing on the wall thankfully early.

So I parted ways with my employer, first taking some time for myself, then forged on alone starting my own company around IT Contracting and Home Automation. Turns out that, in hindsight, starting a company that deals directly with people right before a global pandemic is not a great idea.
Figures. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As it is, I’ve done pretty well for myself, and have lived through the beginning of 2020 relatively well (Especially when compared to most others). I’m thankful and I’m blessed to be fortunate enough to weather the recent storm as well as I have.

So what about the rest of 2019?
I’m happy to say that I experienced so many good things, and in reflection its been a positive year. I’m very happy that this has become an annual trend for me.
The situation with Brexit has deepened, but significant progress has been made in recent months to clarify the foggy situation. Now, the end is in sight and I personally have some clarity on what to do.

I also travelled more, met amazing people, and learned so many things.

I spent more time working on my house, and managed a complete Kitchen and Bathroom renovation that I’m very proud of. Part of that includes a new kitchen from IKEA that I installed completely by myself. I’m an avid DIY-er and I’m definitely proud of this each and every day, especially because I really use my kitchen a lot each and every day.

I visited, Belgium, West Germany and North France again a few times this year. Those are amazing countries. I hope to be able to see more of them. Also been back to England a few times, using the Eurotunnel, which I think is my favourite method to cross the English Channel.

I finally built a new AMD Ryzen-based Workstation/Server for my dream Unraid build, based upon the idea that I would virtualise my working desktop within my Server. There’s a YouTube video that exemplifies this idea very well called “2 gamers 1 cpu“. It’s turned out more amazing than I thought and I hope to build upon this model in future. It’s not a solution I would recommend for anyone that isn’t totally committed to fixing a thousand different issues, but it works for me and further deepens my knowledge. For a long time I’ve had an idea in my head of “Why don’t people just virtualise the whole PC, then dual booting is as simple as booting up a VM?”, well this is it or as close as it currently can be for me.

I again visited a state fair in America, this time the Washington Spring State Fair, near Seattle (WA), which is a smaller version of the main fair later in the year. I met great people out there, and Seattle, Washington is fast becoming one of my favourite USA locations. Highlights of the Washington State Spring Fair: Watching the Destruction Derby and Monster Truck Rally, Washington Fisher Scones, “Fresh BBQ”, energetic Rabbits (Gonna miss Buster), Touching more horses, Washington Honey (Thanks Honey Express), Massage chairs, Hilarious Hot tub salesmen.
I’ll definitely be visiting Washington again in the near future.

Sometimes it’s easy to look back and remember the low points, especially when the year ends on a low note, but this reminds me of how many great things happened and how blessed we can be. Remember the good times, they give us hope for the future, and makes hard times much better in perspective.

Going forward into 2020 I’m reminding myself, again, to not be afraid. There is so much out there, and it requires risk to experience.

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