A Double Self Retro On Its Way To A Multi Self Retro

So, I read Bruce’s post (and the blog post it links to, as well 😄) over on Twitter:

I liked the post and Bruce wrote:

If you wanna join in, please feel free and I’m sure we’ll both be happy to share what you write!

Bruce, the legend

Thank you the invitation, Bruce (and Chris, I assume)!

What is this and why did you agree to do a double self retro?

We’re approaching the end of a year that swooshed by rather quickly (especially the part after mid-March) and which was … different, to say the least. To me, it’s worthwhile reflecting on what happened and where it has led to.

What did you think your goals were when you started the year?

Simply put: To survive. After battling cancer in 2018 & a good part of 2019, I hoped to return to some form of normal life. — As far as that’s desirable or possible after that time. I hoped to find a project to work on. And I did. In fact, I had the opportunity to (re-) join the same project (but different team), that I left way to abruptly due to the illness. It’s incredible to find such acceptance.

How did your goals change through the year?

After the first follow-up examination, when it was clear that everything’s totally fine, my doctor advised me to enjoy the summer. I took this as a goal, and am pleased to say: It worked well. I started to go swimming in the North Sea — and didn’t stop going (but I do stay in the water a lot shorter!).

How did you recalibrate in the year, when things changed?

They didn’t change that much. During the chemo therapy part of my treatment, I had to pretty much self-isolate, so I was used to it. It was ‘just’ that everybody else now also kept a good distance.

I also started working on “Softwarepeople … Work From Home“, a free ebook with contributions by people from all over the planet. I helped me to have a reason to contact folks and see what the situation is like elsewhere.

Highest point of the year

When people whom I admire & respect a lot agreed to contribute to the book.

Lowest point of the year

I had to have one (small, compared to what I went through before) surgery early March. Coming out of the hospital, into a lock-down, was frustrating.

Which item of clothing have you worn the most?

Probably this super-cosy jacket I bought on Rømø in Denmark. It has a few labels on it saying “Alive And Kicking”. Apart from being really comfy, I find that to be a nice fit to the whole situation.

Have you discovered any new tools?

I rediscovered GraphViz, a tool to, well, visualise graphs. I even wrote a small tool to turn tables that describe paths though a set of steps in to a graph description, that GraphViz then turns into an image file. I wrote posts about GraphViz and how I used it:

Best coping mechanisms

I started going to the gym very regularly, well until they had to close due to the pandemic.

Did any songs help you cope with the year?

  • Amy MacDonald – Pride
  • Neil Diamond – Beautiful Noise

and, I admit it,

  • Adriano Celentano – Prisencolinensinainciusol

TV shows that helped you cope

None.

Who is your favourite new friend of 2020, and why is it Chris?

Because, he’s Chris (Baumann). With apologies to the other Chrisses I know. I took the question verbatim from Bruce, and it explicitly asked for Chris (but not which Chris). 😃

What have you learnt about yourself this year?

Swimming helps me to focus.

Any regrets?

If any: That I didn’t switch from gym-based sport to home-alone sport faster.

What have you enjoyed?

Swimming, even since the temperature dropped below comfortable, working in my new team, the online edition of the Agile Testing Days and the coding puzzles at AdventOfCode.

What advice would you give to past you…January 2020?

I’d use the words of Douglas Adams: ‘Don’t Panic!’

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