A year of tremendous growth, for myself, and for those around me.

Starting the year, I was jobless, burning my savings, living in a 20m2 apartment with coal heat, along with my partner Crista, my large dog, and her large cat. Crista was working overnights at a bar, and my time was an amorphous blob, so we both ended up seeing very little daylight that winter. Funny thing about the greyness of northern Europe: it creeps in at the edges. It isn't the type of thing where you can put two and two together, even if you are conscious of the fact that the lack of sunlight affects your mood. The world just seems bleak, and like it will always remain bleak. Uniform like the sky.

I started really searching for a job in March. Spring came, and I went back to KC for a bit, and to Denver for Tyrone's wedding. I was at my heaviest and most hopeless , but then things started to move. I made peace with some parts of the past, even if I still wish to keep them at arm's length.

Last day or so I was in the states, found out I had a landed a job working as a DevOps engineer for a big data consultancy. Went to work when I got back, hunched over the little coffee table in our kitchen. Started hunting in earnest for a flat. Eventually found somewhere I could take over the lease. A big, light-filled, century-old place on the outskirts of Neukölln.

Kept working at $job, getting more and more frustrated with the mismanagement and general lack of meaningful contribution to the human story. But hey, at least I had health insurance. I worked frantically to get my place in order. Many, many trips to Ikea. Much lugging up the four flights of stairs in the heat of July. Installed a kitchen that I love. Got myself a nice little space to work, and an olive tree, named Ollie, for the terrace.

I thought I might tolerate my job better when my working conditions improved, but it wasn't to be. In mid-July I put in notice, deciding to do two things: dedicate myself to getting in shape, and giving myself three months to see if I could scrounge up work that actually meant something to me.  I do not find it easy to be without work, even though I recognize the blessing of being able to survive a while without a paycheck. Still, with the encouragement of those I love, I decided to take the plunge.

I started going to the gym almost every day. At first just rowing, but eventually adding in some weight lifting, and eventually arriving at a well-rounded regimen. I started tracking what I ate, and the weight started to disappear.

Things continued this way until October, when I was coming up on three months, and had yet to happen on any meaningful opportunities for work. Then I attended the radical networks conference, and ran into some old friends from guifi.net. As we caught up, I learned what they were working on, and it sounded great.

A few weeks later I was on my way to Barcelona to attend their hack weekend, and soon joined the team at Vocdoni.

I ended the year surrounded by my loved ones, down 20 kg, and with work that I find challenging, meaningful, and generally exciting. I have big plans for 2019, but that will be for another post.

I mentioned at the beginning that this was a year of growth not just for myself, but for those I love. Their stories aren't mine to tell, but I want to say that it was watching those people grow, change, and strive that pushed me to do the same. I am so grateful for all these blessings.