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Year in review 2013

At the very start of 2013 I finally came to terms with a constant lack of time to do everything I wanted. I decided to surf the tsunami and not fight against it.

A lot of things happened in those 365 days; some were planned, some not so much. Here are some of the highlights and my thoughts on them.

Traveling

I was fortunate enough to travel a lot this year. Most trips were for business, but some were for educational and private purposes. Cars, buses and trains are standard means of travel over small distances, but you need airplanes to cover a lot of ground in short time. I had flown only 3 times before. Year 2013 … was different.

Air travel stats for 2013.

So, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve discovered while traveling?” you ask. Well, it would have to be the fact that people are same wherever you go. Yes, some are more tanned than others because of the sun and some speak different languages and have different cultural norms. But when you move those superficial things away, what remains is eerily similar to you - a human being confused most of the time and constantly looking for love and happiness. They/we all get hungry, cold, sad and sick, and turn to friends, family, work and hobbies to get better. The best way to lessen the effects of racism and xenophobia is to travel, observe and talk to locals. It’s hard to be mean to people who are like us.

Reading

Many of you are scratching your heads and thinking “Reading as a highlight of the year?”. Others probably closed the tab already. But it’s a big deal for me. I can’t remember a time in my life when I was not reading a lot (or listening to audiobooks). This year I purchased a tablet and read about a half of all books on it. It had become so convenient that paper books are starting to feel clunky and difficult to handle. They are not going away anytime soon, but eventually they’ll become collectables only.

Reading stats for 2013.

The top three categories are closely correlating with my work throughout the year - working with clients and end users as an interaction designer and team leader.

In a new world of extremely short attention spans, catchy headlines and too many notifications while reading online, books give you an opportunity to immerse yourself in an environment of concentrated knowledge without distractions. What’s not to like?

Interesting bits and pieces

Too many things happened for one blog post. Here is a short list of some other highlights:

  • My younger sister got married putting unnecessary pressure on me ;)
  • Finished my Sketch 365 project.
  • Spoke on local and international conferences and gave a lecture at the university I had attended as a student.
  • Lived more than a month in Norway (cumulatively).
  • Wrote my first Vim plugin.
  • Dived Great Barrier Reef.

Me diving Great Barrier Reef.

Saving the best for last

Everything I mentioned is fun (I know we could debate about reading being fun, but this is my post, so …). It becomes even better when shared with others. We often overlook the fact that we did it for or with someone when making lists like this. Traveling is exciting if you have a travel buddy or are visiting an old friend. Sharing something you’ve created with a significant other makes both of you feel better. All the projects “I” have done in 2013 were actually a team effort with my friends and colleagues.

Remember, photos you’ll care about the most are ones with people in it.

What next?

The new year has just started and there are some interesting developments already. The biggest professional change was leaving Five Minutes in December. Working there was a rewarding experience that enabled a lot of things mentioned here and gave me an opportunity to meet some great people, clients and colleagues alike.

I’m taking some time off to spend it with family and friends, and to work on personal development. Let’s see if we can make 2014 even better :)


Don’t miss this one:
Why you should create things

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