2019: Year in Review

December 31, 2019

Seeing other people share their year in review made me want to write my own recap of 2019. I think it’s interesting to reflect on the past year and look ahead on what is to come.

Personal

I am writing this from the beautiful Brașov where I am celebrating the holidays with my girlfriend and her family. 2019 was the year where I got out of a toxic relationship and, honestly, found the person I most absolutely adore. Thank you for finding your way into my life.

At the beginning of the year I was reflecting on where I was versus where I wanted to be. Does Ghent still have the same effect on me like it had 4 years ago? Was I doing things that really made me happy? Am I living life to the fullest? A resounding no. So I made the decision to move to Amsterdam in March. Same language yet very different culture. Nightlife scene I only could dream about. Tons of cool companies to work with and even more interesting people to meet along the way.

Needless to say, I have not regretted the move for a single second. Maybe I’m just lucky—or I should get rid of my pink sunglasses—but the people I’ve met, the opportunities I’ve had, the parties I attended… Thinking back on it, it is something I should’ve done years ago!

I started going to the gym for the first time in my life (!) when I moved and you can still find me there three times a week. My goal was to maintain my weight whilst shaping my body and it’s paying off nicely.

On Monday evenings, I can usually be found at the local pub quiz. Together with some friends I met through my girlfriend, we are fighting for that first place (it will be ours, one day). During the week, I’ve cut down on drinking alcohol. Instead, I go to see a movie (with my Cineville card!) or go out for dinner. Or both. Weekends are now dedicated for quality time, with my girlfriend or friends. Or both.

Work

When I first moved to Amsterdam, I left the Teamleader family and joined Adyen; one of the biggest payment providers in the world. I became part of the team in charge of the Customer Area; the application that the merchants use to see detailed information about the payment flow. Eight months in, it became clear that Framer was a better fit. Luckily they thought the same thing and now I’m part of a passionate and focused team building the next generation of prototyping tools.

Along the way, I learned a fair bit about what to look for when applying for a new job. The technical aspect should be fairly easy to determine; it’s most likely in the job description. But the team and environment you are going to end up working in are equally important.

Call me naive, but I firmly believe in a work-life balance. As a software developer, I get bombarded with offers every day and it’s easy to just go for the biggest pay check. I didn’t want to go for a big name that sounds good on my resume. Instead, I wanted to make a real impact and work on something I’d enjoy using myself. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you own the decision. The rest will follow.

2020 goals

Travel with my girlfriend. Go to the gym more often. Get better at active listening. Spend less time on social media, or on my phone in general. Appreciate the little things in life. Take better pictures. Drink more water. Work hard, play harder. Buy an apartment.


I think it’s fair to say 2019 was wonderful. I’ve learned a lot, met some amazing people along the way and I’m excited to see what 2020 holds in store.

Here’s to endings, beginnings, and everything in between. Have a great New Year.

✌️