20 things I do better thanks to 2020 … for all sorts of reasons, and in no particular order

  • Stay in touch with friends and family. I long ago stopped being active on social media, but I have started reaching out more directly over text, WhatsApp, Marco Polo, FaceTime, and even phone calls and email.
  • Get help when I need it. I’ve dropped the stigma around hiring people to clean my airbnb units, keep up my landscaping, or do my shopping. I’m getting serious about changing from “I have to” to “I choose to”, and knowing when I can change my mind easily in the future so don’t sweat it now. These don’t achieve my current goals, and I’m not a less-valuable person because I don’t do them myself or teach my children to do them with me right now or any other such thing I used to think a lot.
  • Distinguish between subjective thoughts and objective facts. Why is that important? Because understanding what is subjective helps me know what is and open for interpretation, and gives me or anyone else freedom to interpret it differently. And just because many people interpret it the same way, it doesn’t make it true. Credit to Jody Moore for getting me to realize this.
  • Keep control of my brain. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve masted self-control, but I can say that I scan catch myself sooner when I’m getting caught up in thoughts that don’t serve me as well, like spiraling in worry, or focusing on things I cannot directly control.
  • Get the company I work for to make large donations to charities. This sounds more impressive than it is, as GitHub has a policy to match up to 15k USD of donations made by each employee to qualified charitable organizations, and all I had to do was fill out a small form to make it happen. Many thanks to our Social Impact team and their GitHub Gives 2020 program, which got THE MAGNIFICENT DJ Jazzy Jeff to do a live event for us where in between busting out serious dance moves we were reminded to make donations and let GitHub know so that they could match them.
  • Have a 3-2-1 data backup process now for all of my family’s devices. Even if it’s not a revered practice anymore, I’m glad that I have more purpose and practice to keeping my treasured digital content preserved.
  • Keep a single, shared timeline view of all of our photos that is built automatically. This is worthy of a future blog post, for sure. I was looking for a way to unite all of my family’s photos into a single shared library with a timeline feature, without over-complicating backups. I can now get photos from each of my family’s cameras and GoPros and iPhones assembled into a single library (Synology NAS Moments) that has timeline capability and is backed up in the cloudosxphotos (thank you GitHub and OSS!!!) and rsync make this easy.
  • Bake and decorate a decent cake. Thank you, Great British Baking Show for the inspiration (this is a great show if you haven’t seen it yet!), and this decorating kit for making it easy.
  • Don’t go crazy over the latest tech. This one satirical perspective sums my thoughts up well, and I similarly extend it into tech at home, too.
  • No need to be everywhere at once. I’m talking about you, Slack, and this sums it up nicely– the newly continuous-and-agendaless meeting. I also relax about keeping up with the news and social media and such, and get really purposeful about what I give my attention to now much better.
  • Address my core needs. To me, this is a combination of Maslow’s hierarchy of needsand Paloma Medina’s core needs aka BICEPS Suppressing them or talking myself out of it not only doesn’t work, it just means they’ll come back again even stronger. Take the time to look through my thoughts, sort out if my needs are being met, process the emotions, and do something about it.
  • Watch my language. My 11yo will say I should watch my language more, but he is talking about swearing. I do need to get better at swearing less still, and ack that I’m much better than I was many many years ago, what I mean here is being intentional about avoiding slang and phrases that won’t land with others, and getting curious when someone points out why a term or phrase doesn’t sit well with them, like “just”. I became aware this year that using just can have a diminishing or belittling effect on what you’re saying. And I started paying attention to it, and … yeah, it can. Sometimes right back at myself even. So I ~just~ try not to say that word as much now.
  • Fight overwhelm by figuring out the next step. I’m the absolute best at getting overwhelmed, as many of my friends and family can tell you. I have certainly felt it less this year, because I now try to process the feeling, and remind myself I’ve done a lot before and will again and it will all be ok. Then instead of trying to figure it all out at once I pick one small thing to do next. If I have to build a boat and have no clue how, I could start by finding how to obtain the tools I need to build it, instead of freaking out and not even trying (related scripture). It’s perfectly ok, preferable even, to figure things out as I go.
  • Deliberately take time each day to disconnect from the online world, and connect with earth and heaven. Yes, living in Hawaii now makes this easier. Yes, not having as busy of a social calendar now helps. Still, I’ve strengthened this very important muscle.
  • Learn about and practice allyship. Just a time where I was feeling quite lost, a mandatory company training came along about allyship, by Kenji Yoshino–he touches on some of the covered topics here. In less than an hour, it addressed so many questions and worries of mine, and gave me energy to the passion I didn’t know what to do with.
  • Give more feedback. I have a three sentence policy when wanting to make sure my input is clear, and this year I learned the 3-part formula equation for giving feedback at a fantastic course offered at work (thank you Lara Hogan and thank you GitHub!), and married the two in my mind and was able to practice using this again and again. I even sought opportunities to do it more, because I love it so much! It’s not that I have copious amounts of good advice bursting out of me, or that I am trying to be super judgy – it’s just the opposite. It can start good conversations and build relationships. And I so love that.
  • Be ok with me when I’m ok and others are not. I think this is the first time in my life that I’ve started to not reflect other people’s emotions. I have a lot of work to do in this space still.
  • Love anyway. It happens now and again – I goof up. People get mad at me. And I’m more ok when this happens than I have been previously, because I’m human and will make mistakes and I can love me and love them still, regardless. And this applies to anyone and everyone – I will always love you.
  • Lose the perfectionist. Obsessing about how well I do everything only gets me in trouble, so I’ve let go more and am more satisfied with a slow and steady pace to arrive at something completely acceptable, and a commitment to keep iterating from there. And besides, life isn’t meant to always be great- sometimes it will be, and about as many times as it is, it won’t be. I expect this more now and am getting to be more ok with that.
  • Have my own back. I can really let people be wrong about me, and so I can care a lot less about what anyone else thinks about me. I care more about what I think about me, and making sure I’m the best version of me I can be.

At least one thing for 2021 – git push at least as much as I git pull

I grew up journaling, and stopped for a while. I write a lot at work, and I recognize its value there – I need to do the same in my own life. I’m going to write more. I like looking back on what I’ve written previously, and reminding myself of things I’ve learned. I like reading about other people’s ah-ha moments, too, so I’m going to share some of my own more often.