2020 in Review: Still Thankful

☕️7 min read

A look back at the weirdest year I've lived yet.

What a year. An unprecedented novel coronavirus, all kinds of lockdowns, politics, racism, aaaahhhhhhh. Yet, here we are. On the other side of it, we made it! Here’s a short look back at my 2020, highlighting one special moment from every month.

I hope this gives you hope and makes you smile at the joys we can share, even when the whole world is forced into distance.

January

Rob and I before the event
Rob and I before the event

This is Robin Böhm. He helped organize a Global Diversity CFP day back in January, where I was able to meet a ton of vibrant, interesting, and talented people in tech.

The collaborative energy in the room, along with the open, tolerant, and diverse atmosphere made this a definite highlight of January 2020.

Also lockdowns weren’t even a thing back then, so there’s that.

February

Me and my parents in Sydney
Me and my parents in Sydney

I GOT TO SEE MY PARENTS!!!!!!!! Thanks to an invitation from my dear friend Jed Watson, I was able to visit Australia to speak at ReactConf AU.

While there, my parents decided to meet me in Australia to celebrate my mom’s birthday. It was an absolute delight to be able to spend my mom’s birthday with my immediate and extended family, speak at an amazing conference, and make a ton of new friends.

March

ThenNow
Dwikie and I when we first met, February 2011
Dwikie and I when we first met, February 2011
Dwikie, PJ and I in March 2020
Dwikie, PJ and I in March 2020

This is Raden Dwikie Wicaksono Pranindityo Pinontoan. One of my best friends in the whole world. We met on a boat in Qatar when I was 18 and, to this day, have a friendship that knows no borders. I love Dwikie and was extremely thankful for the opportunity to hang out with him in transit on my way back from Australia.

April

Hannah, Lea and I
Hannah, Lea and I

Hannah is an extremely creative and talented artist in Berlin. One fine day in April, when her internet wouldn’t let her complete an upload, she came over to our house with a USB stick and we finished her upload here.

It was great to catch up with her, even in the middle of the first lockdown.

May

Mischa, Fabien and I coworking at Contiamo's old office
Mischa, Fabien and I coworking at Contiamo's old office

In this photo are two of the most talented engineers I’ve ever worked with in my entire career, but more importantly, a couple of my really good friends in Berlin.

Fabien, Mischa and I worked together back when I worked at Contiamo and — they were so much fun that we’ve stayed in touch ever since. We schedule time now and then to cowork with each other and get lunch and things. It is very life giving.

June

Shaw, Katharina, Elijah, Eleanor, Lea and I in Stechow (or somewhere)
Shaw, Katharina, Elijah, Eleanor, Lea and I in Stechow (or somewhere)

We spent a weekend glamping in the middle of nowhere with our good friends Shaw and Katharina from The Limelight Collective. They've been good friends of ours for years and pour so much valuable wisdom and joy into our lives.

It was an extremely beautiful and enriching time we spent, lost somewhere out in the German countryside, away from the busy city vibes.

Fear and anxiety surrounding the pandemic seemed nonexistent so far away from the media, but we were still cautious and vigilant.

July

The squad by Rathaus Schöneberg
The squad by Rathaus Schöneberg

MY HOMIES. There’s a bridge at Rathaus Schöneberg where I get together with these lads. We’ll talk about the others later, but this one’s about my boy G (dude to my right).

G — not to be confused with the moon emoji 🌚 — loves cooking and has a wealth of information about pretty much any topic you can think of. Hanging out with G this year was a total highlight because he can relate to pretty much anything — and the food he cooks always hits the spot.

August

My perfect lady and I
My perfect lady and I

My wife. The love of my life and the most beautiful person I’ve ever met. We got married last August, and celebrated a year of marriage this August in Vienna. We saw sights, ate local food, and had a photoshoot to make it the perfect weekend anniversary getaway.

I am very, very thankful to have been able to celebrate our wedding anniversary the way we did this year, despite the pandemic.

September

Schickling showing me something rad he was working on
Schickling showing me something rad he was working on

Johannes. Freaking. Schickling. Dude founded GraphCool, then Prisma, and a bunch of cool things — but beyond that, a lovely, kind, smart, reflective friend and brother whom I genuinely enjoy interacting with.

We got sushi together and talked about life and growth and Jed Watson and software and it’s an interaction that left such a positive impact on me that I will not soon forget.

Johannes and I especially bonded over the gift of coaching and understanding ourselves for the joy and profit of those around us.

October

Adrian and I orchestrating a livestream
Adrian and I orchestrating a livestream

ADIWHOMST. As in, Adrian. Adrian is a volunteer video person who is SO FREAKING GIFTED with live-streaming things, it’s nuts.

I had the privilege of volunteering with him at a local church here to help with live streaming. His sense of humor and ridiculous ability to quickly grasp things was a blessing to have experienced this year.

November

Kapli and I
Kapli and I

KAPLIGNAT. This dude is a fitness freak who’s pretty much always ON AND about to GET IT. I’M KAPLI UNNNGGFHH!!

I met Kapli this year as he finished up university and got a job. Watching him grow from one blessing to the next was a definite highlight of this year.

He also got me into running at the end of November and now I run 10K every other day — something I’ll probably be eternally thankful for.

I LOVE RUNNING. If you'd like to enjoy running too, maybe check out this playlist I curate for cool songs to run to. I use it often and comfortably run 10K while grooving to the songs.

December

Family.
Family.

It was an incredible blessing this year — in the middle of a pandemic — to be able to celebrate Christmas with people I love and hold dear.

In this picture is my wife, her family — and my brother JB: my brother though not by birth, but by choice. We’ve been friends since we were children in Qatar, through today in Germany. I am/we are deeply thankful to have been able to spend Christmas surrounded by family.

JB and I over 10 years ago.
JB and I over 10 years ago.

Summing it up

While 2020 was generally not the best year, I am thankful for the people and the relationships with them that I got to enjoy throughout the year: new and old alike.

And yes — I earned more money in 2020 than I did in 2019, I am physically stronger in 2020 than in 2019, I have a whole new league of skills in 2020 than I did in 2019 — but ultimately, I believe it’s the people we meet and the experiences we have that make us richer as humans. In the words of Jon Foreman, I want to be rich in memories, not money — our love is our inheritance, honey.

With that, I’d call my 2020 — despite the circumstances — a year that I am thankful for as I eagerly peer into 2021.

❤️🔥💞🙌🏽🤝🎉
Tejas' Face

Tejas has a special love for humans and code that sometimes finds its way onto this blog and other parts of the internet. Say hi on twitter!

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