5 min read

2020: Year in Review.

Phew, here we are again. Has it really been a year since I last wrote one of these? For me, everything and nothing happened simultaneously, a feeling many of you will recognize. The year I turned 30, got infected with “the ’rona” but still was able to create some lovely memories. A year with such a double feeling that they named it twice: 2020. If you’re reading this, congrats—you made it! 👏🏻

Let’s move in together!

Not once, but twice. Hear me out. At the beginning of the year, my girlfriend and I were in the process of buying a house. You might say that’s fast, but once you know, you know—you know? I cancelled the lease on my own place and officially moved in with my girlfriend. That would help us save up on rent to go “all in” on our dream house. We went to countless viewings and made offers on several places when we finally hit the jackpot—or so we thought. A two-bedroom apartment with a view over the lake? Where do we sign? Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, we had to withdraw last minute. And you know what? That was a blessing in disguise.

It was quite far from the city centre and we would definitely miss the hustle and bustle. In the meantime, my girlfriend’s landlords decided to flee back to Amsterdam during the COVID-19 outbreak in the country they were residing in and ended up moving back into that same apartment. In hindsight, agreeing to even try to live with another couple… was not our finest hour. Was paying less rent really worth more drama and stress—things we could miss, especially during a pandemic? Let’s rethink this.

We decided to take a step back and, for our own sanity, move out and find a place to rent. And here we are, in a lovely two-floor apartment on a 5 minutes bike ride from Vondelpark. Best decision we made this year.

Can we hop on a quick call?

I learned a lot this year, and not only from a technical point of view. I’m glad to have contributed to Framer Web; by far the coolest product I’ve worked on in my career. I witnessed the process of launching something of this magnitude and everything went suuuper smooth. These people have done this before, that’s for sure.

We made the switch to a remote-first company pretty early on, and while at first it sounded amazing, I really miss going to the office. I miss the in-person meetings. I miss the the commute through the park to “unplug” from work. I miss the water cooler espresso machine chats.

The more I worked from home, the more I started noticing that I struggle with respecting my own time. The distinction between working hours and personal time is so blurred that some days I end up working way more or that I feel “guilty” for taking a walk during working hours. This is something I need to figure out myself, find a better balance going into the new year.

Yep. I got infected with Corona.

I’m still puzzled on how this happened, exactly. We didn’t have electricity at home one day, so I hopped on my bike to work from the office (where everyone was fine, I found out afterwards), got myself a sandwich nearby and… that was it. Imagine staying inside 99% of the time to end up getting it anyway. Tough luck?

Saying I was bummed out would be a bit of an understatement. Thankfully, we (yeah—that’s what happens when you’re in the same house 24/7) ended up having only very mild symptoms: lacking energy, but no coughing and never out of breath. Losing the ability to taste or smell anything however drove us borderline insane. The smell of freshly ground coffee? Gone. Should I cook with the “fancy” olive oil? Who cares! It took an eternity (read: a solid 3-4 weeks) before everything was back to normal, but I’m very grateful to have it back. You don’t know what you have until it’s gone!

Meal prep

Once we could finally smell and taste again, we jumped on the meal prep bandwagon. Having more free time during weeknights, spending Sunday afternoons cooking together, wasting less food, experimenting with different recipes, and eating healthier in general. Uhhh, why didn’t we do this earlier?! And ever since I got a Le Creuset Dutch oven as a birthday gift, I really have no excuses anymore!

That’s a wrap

There are a few things I’d like to keep doing or improve upon. Keep on taking care of my physical and mental wellbeing. I want to go on more little getaways, discover more of The Netherlands and get out of the Amsterdam bubble. The long walks around my neighbourhood to help me unwind. Working out in the morning to give me a feeling of achieving a small victory before the day even started.

Looking back at 2020, it wasn’t all that bad. I realized that being happy is priceless, and that life really is all about the little things. Don’t take anything for granted.

Stay safe out there.