Year 2020 review

Posted on January 4, 2021 with tags life. See the previous or next posts.

Surviving, but what a year…

Year 2020. What a year! Sure, already around early January there were rumours/noise about Covid-19, but who would have thought where it will end up! Thankfully, none of my close or extended family was directly (medically) affected by Covid, so I/we had a privileged year compared to so many other people.

I thought how to write a mini-summary, but prose is too difficult, so let’s just go month-by-month. Please note that my memory is fuzzy after 9 months cooked up in the apartment, so things could ±1 month compared to what I wrote.

Timeline

January

Ski weekend. Skiing is awesome! Cancelling a US work trip since there will be more opportunities soon (har har!).

February

Ski vacation. Yep, skiing is awesome. Can’t wait for next season (har har!). Discussions about Covid start in the office, but more “is this scary or just interesting?” (yes, this was before casualties). Then things start escalating, work-from-home at least partially, etc. etc. Definitely not just “intersting” anymore.

In Garmin-speak, I got ~700+ “intensity minutes” in February (correlates with activity time, but depends on intensity of the effort whether 1:1 or 2 intensity minutes for one wall-clock minute).

March

Sometimes during the month, my workplace introduces mandatory WFH. I remember being the last person in our team in the office, on the last day we were allowed to work, and cleaning my desk/etc., thinking “all this, and we’ll be back in 3 weeks or so”. Har har!

I buy a webcam, just in case WFH gets extended. And start to increase my sports - getting double the intensity minutes (1500+).

April

Switzerland enters the first, hard, lockdown. Or was it late March? Not entirely sure, but in my mind March was the opening, and April was the first main course.

It is challenging, having to juggle family and work and stressed schedule, but also interesting. Looking back, I think I liked April the most, as people were actually careful at that time.

I continue upgrading my “home office” - new sound system, so that I don’t have to plug in/plug out cables.

1700+ intensity minutes this month.

May

Continued WFH, somewhat routine now. My then internet provider started sucking hard, so I upgrade with good results. I’m still happy, half a year later (quite happy, even).

Still going strong otherwise, but waiting for summer vacation, whatever it will be. A tiny bit more effort, so 1800 intensity minutes in May.

June

Switzerland relaxes the lock down, but not my company, so as the rest of the family goes out and about, I start feeling alone in the apartment. And somewhat angry at it, which impacts my sports (counter-intuitively), so I only get 1500 intensity minutes.

I go and buy a coffee machine—a real one, that takes beans and grinds them, so I get to enjoy the smell of freshly-ground coffee and the fun of learning about coffee beans, etc. But it occupies the time.

On the work/job front, I think at this time I finally got a workstation for home, instead of a laptop (which was ultra-portable too), so together with the coffee machine, it feels like a normal work environment. Well, modulo all the people. At least I’m not crying anymore every time I open a new tab in Chrome…

July

Situation is slowly going better, but no, not my company. Still mandatory WFH, with (if I recall correctly) one day per week allowed, and no meeting other people. I get angrier, but manage to channel my energy into sports, almost doubly my efforts in July - 2937 intensity minutes, not quite reaching the 3000 magic number.

I buy more stuff to clean and take care of my bicycles, which I don’t really use. So shopping therapy too.

August

The month starts with a one week family vacation, but I take a bike too, so I manage to put in some effort (it was quite nice riding TBH). A bit of changes in the personal life (nothing unexpected), which complicates things a bit, but at this moment I really thought Switzerland is going to continue to decrease in infections/R-factor/etc. so things will get back to normal, right? My company expands a bit the work-from-office part, so I’m optimistic.

Sports wise, still going strong, 2500 intensity minutes, preparing for the single race this year.

September

The personal life changes from August start to stabilise, so things become again routine, and I finally get to do a race. Life was good for an extended weekend (well, modulo race angst, but that’s part of the fun), and I feel justified to take it slow the week after the race. And the week after that too.

I end up the month with close, but not quite, 1900 intensity minutes.

October

October starts with school holidays and a one week family vacation, but I feel demotivated. Everything is closing down again (well, modulo schools), and I actually have difficulty getting re-adjusted to no longer being alone in the apartment during the work hours.

I only get ~1000 intensity minutes in October, mainly thanks to good late autumn weather and outside rides. And I start playing way more computer games. I also sell my PS4, hoping to get a PS5 next month.

November

November continues to suck. I think my vacation in October was actually detrimental - it broke my rhythm, I don’t really do sport anymore, not consistently at least, so I only get 700+ intensity minutes. And I keep playing computer games, even if I missed the PS5 ordering window; so I switch to PC gaming.

My home office feels very crowded, so as kind of anti-shopping therapy, I sell tons of smallish stuff; can’t believe how much crap I kept around while not really using it.

I also manage to update/refresh all my Debian packages, since next freeze approaches. Better than for previous releases, so it feels good.

December

December comes, end of the year, the much awaited vacation - which we decide to cancel due to the situation in whole of Switzerland (and neighbouring countries). I basically only play computer games, and get grand total of 345 activity minutes this month.

And since my weight is inversely correlated to my training, I’m basically back at my February weight, having lost all the gains I made during the year. I mean, having gained back all the fat I lost. Err, you know what I mean; I’m back close to my high-watermark, which is not good.

Conclusion

I was somehow hoping that the end of the year will allow me to reset and restart, but somehow - a few days into January - it doesn’t really feel so. My sleep schedule is totally ruined, my motivation is so-so, and I think the way I crashed in October was much harder/worse than I realised at the time, but in a way expected for this crazy year.

I have some projects for 2021 - or at least, I’m trying to make up a project list - in order to get a bit more structure in my continued “stuck inside the house” part, which is especially terrible when on-call. I don’t know how the next 3-6 months will evolve, but I’m thankful that so far, we are all healthy. Actually, me personally I’ve been healthier physically than in other years, due to less contact with other people.

On the other side, thinking of all the health-care workers, or even service workers, my IT job is comfy and all I am is a spoiled person (I could write many posts on specifically this topic). I really need to up my willpower and lower my spoil level. Hints are welcome :(

Wish everybody has a better year in 2021.