This is my third annual review (you can see the second one here).
I will base it on the annual plan I made in the beginning of the year. So I will review what worked and didn’t work based on my goals for the year plus any extra insights as usual.
Overall what worked?
This was probably one of the best year for me personally when it comes to relationships. Following up from last year setting the goal for this year managed to keep “relationships” in the back of my mind and prioritise them in the day-to-day decision making.
I feel that I really made an effort to connect to people that are important to me and keep them as close as I can. Probably most importantly to share my utterly honest and untained emotions and thoughts with them and what they mean to me. That was a hard thing to do as I am not the best in terms of expressing emotions, but I feel like it was a very big and a very rewarding step.
Also throughout the year I connected with family by sending postcards from the places we visited and was nicely suprised when my grandmothers showed me their proud collections with the postcards sent. They told me that they are really proud and happy to receive them.
After this year I feel even closer to my special half and trully even more excited about the future that we can create together. It was a great year and I hope this trend will continue.
Health & Training
My training was good this year, nothing exceptional but it kept me fit and healthy. I do feel stronger and more flexible than before as I have added more specific stretching to my routines.
Here are some inisights from the different training sessions as usual:
- January – 15 workouts – 12:27h – 6230 kcal – 34.70km
- February – 17 workouts – 14:24h – 6033 kcal – 35.70km
- March – 25 workouts – 15:12h – 6984 kcal – 57.20km
- April – 7 workouts – 05:35h – 2245 kcal – 0km (doesn’t include the trip around the Baltics)
- May – 22 workouts – 24:13h – 7888 kcal – 70.77km
- June – 16 workouts – 13:05 – 5846 kcal – 0km
- July – 13 workouts – 20:20h – 8649 kcal – 30km
- August – 21 workouts – 22:58h – 10800 kcal – 178km
- September – 14 workouts – 23:04h – 12198 kcal – 296km
- October – 11 workouts – 14:27h – 6786 kcal – 135km
- November – 13 workouts – 12:46h – 5724 kcal – 78.30km
- December – 11 workouts – 09:06h – 4559 kcal – 64.40km
If you compare this to the previous year you would see that the number of workouts have dropped a bit. This is mainly because I stopped going dancing this year and those used to count toward the total number. But towards the second half of the year I picked up cycling again (even though just moderatelly). Overall I feel like I could have done better, but I am happy that I maintained my training.
Handstand & Gymnastics
I did train the handstand regularly in the beginning of the year, but since I also changed my workout program it put a lot of strain on my wrists and adding extra hand-stands with cycling didn’t seem to work very well for me, so I think this is when I dropped the handstands. However, my shoulders are stronger due to the other training and I feel like I can hold the handstand better than last year. Probably for this year I should do the handstand less per week but more regularly.
I am also extremly happy to say that I’ve started going to an adults gymnastics class. This has been a dream for a while and provides an immense level of joy and satisfaction. It is a lot of fun, almost like a kid playing in the playground. We do basic stuff like handstands, kickover, handsprings and front somersault but it is very enjoyable nevertheless.
In the beginning of the year I did the exercises for the ankle rigorously as the physiotherapist suggested. I also went on weekly treatment sessions with them where there were accupuncture and deep tissue massages done. It did help to a certain extent and I even progress to using the thoughest of the exercise bands, but I would still get randomly really bad days were I couldn’t even step on the left leg. So over the course of a few months I stopped doing the exercises. The physiotherapist suggested I get an MRI and I went to my GP with a letter recommending that she adds me to the list of people waiting for a scan. The GP instead sent me to a pedoatrist. This was in August and the session is to come this February.
Because of that with Andra we book an MRI scan in Romania and did it over Christmas. I got a simple diagnosis from the doctors there and am waiting for the image so that I can go with it to some professionals here, but if you are interested, you can read the diagnosis on this link (if you have recommendations where to go next, please contact me).
Overall I feel there has been progress and I hope I can get help for the pain this year.
Food & Eating
At the beginning of the year I was the heaviest I’ve ever been. It wasn’t because I was fat or unfit, there was a fair part of muscle in that weight, but I did feel super heavy at just over 88kg. That’s when I set the goal of controlling what I eat and started tracking my calories with the MyFitnessPal app. I did about 80 days of tracking before the trip to the Baltics which put a “stick in the spokes”. Once back from the trip the habit was resurrected. I have been tracking my calories intake for about 250 days now and it really helped me gain a better understanding of how much calories different foods have, to pay attention to what I eat and how my body reacts to it. My weight is now 83.5kg and I feel much better. I would say the perfect weight would be around 80kg, so not far.
I didn’t succeed in eating within 8 hour intervals. I think it’s just the schedule I have and it didn’t work out. Eating 4-5 portions a day also didn’t work, it is a lot of effort to do that. My typical day still consists of three meals, which is fine and works.
Overall, I ate much better this year, largely due to Andra cooking amazing food for me every day. She balances the meals very well, adding vegetables, salads and greenery. Some might not think this is important, but for me there is another factor in her making the food for me – making it with love and passion. She loves doing it and I enjoy the food much more for it. I think food is a very intimate experience for humans, much like music or beautiful scenery, it influences our mood and how we feel. Since she has started cooking for me I enjoy food much more and am more in tune with what I eat, at least more than before. So, I am grateful to her for her efforts and all the love she puts into it, those efforts have really helped me stay healthy and happy this year.
I feel like sleeping was much better this year. I feel more rested overall and sleeping better. Of course there were ups and downs. Here are some stats:
- Number of records: 405 (this includes naps)
- Number of days: 364 (Missed one it seems, but better than last year)
- Total sleep time: 2626.8 hours (better than last year)
- Average daily sleep: 7.2 hours (this is with naps and the same as last year’s)
- Average sleep/record: 6.5 hours (this is from single records – better than last year)
- Cumulative debt: 285.2hours (this is based on my goal of sleeping 8 hours a day and those are the hours difference between my real sleep and the goal)
I am happy that I kept this habbit. I think an improvement would be to have a bracelet that tracks it for me, but we will see. I don’t like to add a lot of gadgets to my life.
The trend is still true similar to last year’s – I cannot sleep more than 7-7.5 hours for several nights in a row. I just seem to have enough and then wake up. The average seems to be around 7 hours and also falling asleep around midnight and waking up around 7am.
Similar to last year, here are some stats from the time spent on the computer (not including the phone):
- Total tracked hours: 610h 14m
- Software development: 27% – 164h (more than last year)
- Communication (chats, email, work): 16% of which 98h 10m were spent using the Franz chat app both for work and communicating with friends and family (less than last years)
- Entertainment (watching videos on sites and on the computer): 32% – 192h (definitely more than last year)
- Uncategorised: 8% – 50h 57m
- Utilities: 6% – 38h 13m
I have spent more time developing this year, but also quite a bit more time getting distracted and procrastinating. No excuse there, I just need to watch less videos 🙂
Lisbon, Portugal (January) – We decided to start the year by spending some time with my parents and Andra together in Lisbon. It was a very important time for me as I think we had the opportunity to spend quality time together and for them to get to know her and the other way around. As a bonus the weather was amazing and warmed us up in the midst of winter.
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia (April – May) – With my colleague Stefan we cycled around the Baltics for 19 days. Those were some gruelling days as out of nowhere a cold front hit the North of Europe just in that particular part of the month. Temperatures dropped by close to 10 degrees and we found ourselves in snowy coldness. Loved it! As a bonus we managed to raise £955 for Diabetes UK. The trip was an unforgettable experience, but also very hard. You really see the limits of your mental strength in those conditions.
Romania (June) – This was an opportunity to meet with Andra’s family and also go with her to the dentist. I had a little emergency with a broken tooth.
Germany (July) – This was following through with an invitation of my newly married friends Kaloyan and Bisera to visit them in Stuttgart in their new home. I had a great time there and see how they are building their life, catching up, talking a lot about many different subjects including life, politics, society, etc. It was a good time for reflection and exploring the city on a bike (note – it’s as hilly as they get).
Poland, Slovakia (July) – Straight after Germany I headed to Krakow where I met with a group of friend with whom we meet every year (at least once). From Krakow we headed to Southern Poland to Rabka and then crossed into Slovakia to do some hiking. We stayed in a hut near a breathtaking high-mountain lake formed by the melting snow with steep peaks surrounding it. The area is called Zelené pleso Kačacie and is definatelly a recommended one. There are great hikes there too, it is easy to get to and cheap.
Bulgaria, Greece (August – September) – This was my opportunity to show Bulgaria to Andra. We went to many different places, driving as we wanted to move to the next one. There was a rough plan, but nothing set in stone and it worked really well. Some of the places we visited are Veliko Tarnovo, Arbanasi, Etara crafts village, Buzludja, Shipka, Plovdiv, Smolyan, Snejanka TV tower, Smilyan village, Momchil fortress summer outdoor cinema, Devin. I think Andra fell in love with Bulgaria and saw many of the things I wanted to show her (next would be a few more mountain places and the seaside). You can really spend a lifetime exploring Bulgaria.
From there we headed through the border down to Greece and spend some really amazing days with my dad, not doing much and just enjoying the sun.
Bulgaria (October) – A short weekend trip for the birthdays of two friends. It was a great time spent walking in the countryside and meeting some very friendly and hospitable people from the remote villages of South Bulgaria. We also celebrated the birthdays with great food in the town of Melnik.
Barcelona, Spain (October) – Straight after Bulgaria I went through Switzerland for a connection flight and then to Barcelona for a work-related conference with SmashingConf. That was an exhausting experience as all those days I didn’t sleep much and consumed a lot of information and interacted with a number of people. However, I found the experience also very useful. Practicing my Spanish and learning from some of the best names in the field.
Porto, Portugal (November) – This was just a short weekend trip with a few friends. It really was worth it. We had unusually warm weather (20+ degrees), great food, exploring the city and learning about the history through one of the “free walking tours” (highly recommended).
Hungary, Romania (December) – For Christmas we headed to Romania, but landed in Budapest as it was cheaper. We spent half a day exploring the city and going on another “free walking tour” before heading to Romania and the wonderful Christmas time with Andra’s family. May I add, there was A LOT of amazing home-made food.
Wales (December – January) – From Romania we landed in London and went straight to Wales for new years in a small cottage in the middle of nowhere. The cottage was absolutely gorgeous and beautiful, in a quiet area near the coast. We were there with four other friends and I think it was one of the best new years I’ve had in a long time. Definitelly my favourite way of spending that time, but also a great way to end a year and start another.
2017 was a really good year from a financial perspective because of a number of things.
First, we hit our saving goal, which was very important as it meant we stuck to our budgets regardless of all the trips. We did travel quite a but, but tried to keep the costs down and let go of other things for the sake of travelling.
Second, we consistently continued investing as planned the previous year and that has been good to us so far.
Third, we managed to set budgets for all the different expense categories and with small exceptions to stick to them. Spendee is a great app in that sence and whilst there are other ways of doing this (automated tracking by connecting to your bank account), I prefer the control of manually tracking each expense as that gives me the greatest control and accuracy.
Fourth, a little help was creating separate bank accounts for investing, savings, bills and holiday budgets. This meant that at the beginning of every month the salary would be split immidiatelly and what’s left is what you have to make it work for the rest of the month. It also meant we can save for trips before we are actually on the trip itself, and it allowed us to buy tickets earlier and cheaper. Using this method we also managed to increase how much we put aside for savings and limit some other spending, so that was a very good improvement too.
Some things didn’t go as planned though. We had four quarterly reviews planned but didn’t get to do them, either because of being away or other things taking over. So the review was only at the end of the year. Also, I didn’t read as much on investing as I would have liked to. Nevertheless, we started experimenting with investing in cryptocurrencies and that has been a very interesting journey. “Investing” is a very strong word when it comes to cryptocurrencies, it’s more like gambling, but still an experience to be learned from.
I am happy with the work I’ve done at TribePad this year. I think it added value and I kept learning new things and improving my skills. It hasn’t been all roses and in every work you do there is a part that you might not enjoy every day, but overall it has been a satisfying and interesting year and I do love what I do.
With the other designers at the team we’ve started to refresh the platform while using better approaches and structuring the design system throughout. I think this is very important and also interesting work that will help both us and the company to perform better and keep the users happy.
A bit unfortunate was that I left out the side project mentioned in the beginning of the year, but that is also for the better as it was one less thing to worry about.
I didn’t take any exams to gain language certification this year and that was probably a far fetch goal. However, I am proud that I got back into Spanish, going to classes once a week with a really good teacher. The classes are very relaxed and fun, but we seem to still move at a decent pace and I trully enjoy them. All the credit goes to my teacher there. Goal achieved.
I really enjoyed dancing last year (2016), but I had to let go of this year. I am putting this in the “worked” section as that was an important, conscious decision. I have other activities closer to my heart and it was more important for me to keep them running smooth rather than try to fit too much in. So even though I learned a lot from dancing, I had to let go (similar to what I did with climbing two years ago).
Doing too much
Continuing from the previous paragraph, I think I did well with choosing what to focus on this year. Since I started thinking about this section in my first annual review things have improved a lot and as a result I haven’t burnt myself out this year (that used to happen at least a couple of times per year before). This might seem like a small thing, but in my opinion it is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned since starting these reviews. It has done a lot for my mental health to learn to let go and to try to focus my attention.
Overall what didn’t work?
Well, it’s not all roses and rainbows. Not everything worked out perfectly in 2017, but that’s how things should be, so that we can stay on the ground and have challenges.
I didn’t write almost at all in 2017. It was very sporadic and nowhere nearly as consistant as I wanted it to be. In heinsight I think it is due to the goal I set to myself to write about the experience in Iceland. In my mind that is a huge undertaking and the longer I leave it, the bigger it gets. Probably if I just sit down and write it out it would be easier to start writing regularly again and it is a goal for the coming year. I don’t like leaving things unfinished and am planning to get over this as writing has been rewarding and very enjoyable.
I did read this year, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. I set myself the goal to read about five pages per day and since I didn’t like reading that much I started listening to audiobooks. That has worked quite well and I have done about 250 days so far, but I wish I did it more consistently and much more than just five pages worth.
Some books I would recommend based on 2017 are “A history of the world” by Andrew Marr based on the BBC series, “The silk roads” by Peter Frankopan, “Cycling the Earth: A life-changing race around the Earth” by Sean Conway.
Currently I am “reading” “The subtle art of not giving a fuck” by Mark Manson.
It has been an incredibly packed year, but a good one. I am deeply grateful for all the rewarding experience I’ve had, all the connections and relationships strengthened. But if I could be grateful for just one thing, it would be that I am alive and can share that with the most wonderful person I’ve had the joy to be around. Trully, and from the heart I can say that none of these experiences described above would have been as remotely enjoyable as they were without the support, smile and love that Andra surrounds me with. I am very excited for the future and hope to continue sharing it and making it special together.