The last Year in review had started with „A crazy year is coming to a close.“ This sentence didn’t age well, looking at the still pretty crazy state of the world. Surprisingly the crazy is turning into normal. Surprisingly again my mind is getting used to the new normal and accepts it as a little less crazy every day. This applies to all areas of life or my big five for life in my year in review 2021:
Agile Project Management
Working from home has prevailed as my new normal. That is particularly surprising for my rather social field of work. Job-wise 2021 has brought some changes: For four years — with varying intensity and two parental leaves — I had been servicing the same client and had now not extended the contract. A turning point. Business is still going strong: The first six months I had held several (remote) trainings, gathered feedback and flexed these muscles repeatedly. During the second half of the year I could help an exciting new client bring order into the project and ease the organizational pain of two teams a bit.
- A new logo (see above) for the professional presence (here’s the brief origin story)
- New client and working with many new and a few old colleagues
- Only one published article on Medium — I promise to improve in 2022.
- First complaint about me in 14 years of professional experience.
Another big change was “moving” to my new (rented) office. You can now find me here and while you’re there, leave a review. Why an own office? Well: I think, my partner and the kids deserve not to limit themselves at home – my continued presence however had led to just that: Rascals had to stay away from the desk, be quiet and not disturb Papa etc.
Therefore the journey continued: Client office -> home office -> own office. Finally home was a private place again and work returned to the office.
Traveling the world
Wow! I just flicked through first my long term memory and then — to be sure — photos: There hadn’t been much going on in 2021. Most of all it was local and regional:
The moment it had been even remotely warm enough we took the 15 minute “trip” to the Dahme and Spree rivers, where there’s lots of nice bathing areas. To the delight of the son, huge barges pass by there from time to time, loaded with either wood, scrap metal or all kinds of other hoopla. On top of that came (short) vacations in the Peene valley and on Rügen:
Travel-wise I expect more to happen in 2022. If things don’t work out, there’s still THIS right behind our house:
Acting in an at least medium sized theater
The third year in a row with nothing happening regarding this life goal. But that wasn’t to be expected either, after the birth of child #2. What’s important: The goal is there, I’m thinking of it actively, not losing touch with it and I’m pleased to see an active (amateur) theater scene in Berlin Köpenick (Zilles Stubentheater, Stadttheater Cöpenick, Schlossplatztheater).
Intense family and friend Relationships
This aspect has been turned upside down properly: First baby #2 was born end of 2020 and second the continuing Covid-19-related restrictions. So while friendships have suffered, family was flourishing. Qualitatively and quantitatively 🙂
Towards the end of the year, by using a simple and small method, we had tremendously improved our relationship: As soon as the kids are asleep, we’re doing a short standup!
We briefly talk about the things that need to be done today and who’s doing what. On top of that: Who’s taking what next steps in our respective projects or wants to spend the evening (or part of it) together lazing on the couch. All of that helps with:
- supporting one another through feedback and/or active collaboration
- seeing one another, by explicitly articulating our wishes
- holding us accountable, because we “promise” one another to get these tasks done
(Since we’re doing this, we get so much more done each evening. And it doesn’t cost energy – quite the opposite: Doing things for ourselves and each other gives us energy!)
These 15 minutes of each evening are an established part of our evening routine and tremendously help (most times) to not go crazy given everything that hails down on our little family.
Also this routine helped us stay organized during the final phase of my fiancés current main project. Beginning of 2022 “Baby Erzählabend” will launch and soon after be available via the shop on Erzählabend.de.
Active political or charitable Engagement
The few SPD-(German Labor)-Facebook-Posts and Whatsapp-Status-shares probably don’t count as political engagement. 2021 for me — like for most of us — has been under the star of political change through the German general election. The wish to finally get off the brakes, starting progressive politics and sending German conservatism to the opposition benches was strong. Of course 2021 was also still dominated by the influence of Corona-measures including all their effects.
I do think the many conversations in our circle of friends certainly count as charitable engagement. They did help understanding friends and acquaintances and help be understood. Often it was a tough battle of the “pursuit of freedom” (parenthesis intentional) and the pursuit of solidarity. Solidarity to me means voluntary restrictions and voluntary, speedy and timely vaccinations. Personally I am happy about how widespread the belief in science is in our families and circles of friends and that only very few conversations had been so divisive (and still are) that I’m sometimes lost for words.
The bottom line…
is that this has been a good year. In hindsight, stress and exhaustion fade away, so do shed tears. Consciously thinking about this year in review 2021 all of it comes back to mind, but merely causes a weary smile. Of course, only two of five life goals show progress – but the others are well in my scopes. What’s important now: Catching some sleep. Until one of two kids wakes up. And then the other. And the night is over again…
2021 Reading Challenge
After having only read 8/12 books in 2020, in 2021 something remarkable had happened: I had read 15 books, or rather listened to them as audio books. Parental leave of course contributes to this: Going for a walk with #2 in the baby carrier = 1 hour of audio book. It has been good. Great highlight and strongly intertwined with the aforementioned Covid-19 topic: “Project Lightspeed” – huuuge recommendation! Link is in the list below: