Retrospective 2017

Before looking at the future, briefly look at the past.

2017 was a year where:

  • I decided to suspend my activities at the University of Amsterdam, so as to seriously focus on developing my technical and soft skills.

    It was sad to realize the university could not, principially, challenge me in these areas (notionally, the university can challenge one in other areas, but eventually I realized it wasn’t challenging me in those areas that matter to me).

    It was also sad to lose a steady stream of teaching opportunities. I’ll be on the lookout for more incidental teaching opportunities.

    Result: skills developing successfully, faster than at the university. The decision was justified.

  • I started to care more actively about the balance between work and non-work. Separated the “work area” from “non-work areas” entirely (including space and equipment) as well as “work time” from “non-work time”.

    Results: am more self-conscious when I put extra hours at work. Actively listening to my body so as to not work when tired or weak, and instead rest. Spending much more time with friends and family, also with a more diverse crowd (albeit still not enough for my taste). Still spending too much time at work as an excuse / “safe zone” to avoid facing a general lack of creativity towards other activities.

  • I invested more actively in “family duty” by bringing my mom on vacation.

    Results: positive for me. These trips provide quality time for meditation and self-reflection, as caring for someone else generally detaches one from their inner thoughts.

  • I started a photo log so that I can more easily connect emotionally with my personal storyline a posteriori even when triggers or signal overloads prevent me from connecting with it in the present, as it happens.

    Result: largely successful.

  • I fully stopped caring about the differences between my lifestyle and that what others may consider “normal”.

    In particular, my feeding behavior: omitting breakfasts, generally avoiding cooking for myself, and conceptually separating the activity of feeding (which must be quick and reliably nutritionally balanced) from that of cooking (which has become a social game that’s only worth playing in good company, and needs not feed me). My new normal makes me think of the “average” behavior as a major time sink (groceries for every day? brrr….) which I am very happy and proud to be able to avoid. My new normal now also makes me very sad when I see someone struggling to achieve nutritional balance, given how little work I now know this really requires.

    Also things like: working from home without seeking physical human presence; enjoying airport terminals more than art exhibitions or other cultural events; sourcing nearly all my musical input from a couple web radios; avoiding television, netflix and all manners of entertainment channels what promote addictive behavior;

    Result: largely successful. No fucks given.

  • I worked on letting go of a few hang-ups about personal boundaries and (unjustified) fears about consent and reciprocation—that I had to predict behaviors in advance and take charge of decisions and consequences because others can’t reliably provide me with actionable input.

    Result: largely successful. I realized that my hang-ups were actually removing agency from others; that instead I can trust most adults, even poorly-functioning, to express their boundaries and give actionable feedback when they interact with me, and trust they will accept their share of responsibility if something happens they don’t like when they don’t provide feedback. Said change directly enabled two pleasant, unabashed and uncomplicated hookups. Now working accordingly to express myself more clearly wrt boundaries and expectations.

  • I decided to re-start writing for myself and it even happened.

    Result: the decision was taken at the start of the year, and it only actually happened in December. Will need to watch out for discipline and continuity.