2019 review

  • Written by: Marko Samastur
  • Published on:
  • Category: Catchall

Even with the best intentions I keep writing these reviews fairly late into the new year. I started this one on the same day in January that I published the last one and here we are in February. Plan for the next one: do it at the end of 2020 or when 2021 is still young enough to be ignored.

“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.”

In many ways 2019 felt like a remake of 2018. By any objective measure, as a whole, it was not a good year and 2020 already has in store for us something I don’t look forward to.

Which does not mean that last year was a never-ending stream of misery. We’ve been to Iceland in summer and went on a bunch of short trips over the year, each of which was fun with a minor exception of a scuffle with a French border guard in Paris. We hiked a lot and I spent on average more than an hour a day being physically active. If only I also ate healthier.

Speaking of food, at some point things got out of hand and I now posses almost a double digit number of various powders for chocolate beverages with a creeping number of chocolate/nuts spreads. Maybe the solution is just to put an acceptable label on this, harmless when tempered, development. A collector? A connoisseur? Cocoa aficionado? Can’t say I like any of them.

I ended last year feeling rather fine, largely thanks to my new job and colleagues at Uptree. I haven’t felt so much enthusiasm for my work in years.

I built nothing last year and don’t expect to this year either, at least outside of work, but hope springs eternal. However, it was the first year in a while in which I felt growing. Obviously not physically, although my feet may differ. I attribute this impression to the selection of books I read, life giving me more to chew on and not being too busy for a good part of the year.

Growth could have been a mirage, but I’ve been pondering a lot and it became really clear that a lot of my thinking last few years was me circling around 3 questions: What do I want to do? What do I want to achieve? And who do I want to be?

Looking back at yearly reviews it is obvious that it was really the tension between the last two that needed resolving. Each of these questions in itself is neutral, but my perception of them isn’t. There’s an introspective quality and aim to “who to be” that I find lacking in “what to achieve”.

And I find it difficult to write about how these two questions relate to me without sounding like a pompous wanker, but what I would say, if I had another month (a month!), distilled, is that “who I am” has meaningful answers only when it describes relationships and those, human or otherwise, are feeling more precious and impermanent.

“What to do,” is neither an independent actor nor a servile servant to the other two questions. Once goals are chosen, paths to them may be different, but direction isn’t. Doing still requires making choices and last year certainly showed that I suck at choosing when I give too much weight to money. This is a privilege.

I did not write much here last year, but more than I did before. It would be nice if I would write more, but my real goal is to keep gloominess limited to these yearly reviews. I don’t feel as despondent as my description sounds. If I have to pick what’s true, I’ll go with bad writing over denial.

So, to make this long post at least a bit shorter, my plans for 2020… support loved ones, do good work, stay active, see world, eat healthy, keep reading, write more, keep learning, surprise myself and ease off sweets.

Now, this seems like a good time to have a nice cup of hot chocolate…