2019 redux, what to expect in 2020

2019 was a year in which I expanded my comfort zone and forced myself to face some fears. I haven’t always been victorious, there’s enough to face next year. I see progress and hope; I do not feel trapped in my situation but rather see a comfy base from which I can explore further.

I shed some possessions, mostly donated them or gave them away to friends. This calms my mind tremendously. There’s a song by “Down like Silver” that contains the fitting lines: “everything I own, owns me now”.

One high of 2019 was teaching at FH/Technikum Wien. While I was more than a bit nervous in the beginning, teaching grew upon me over time. Having great students helped, also that I breathe the stuff that I teach. The ability to give back some of my experience to 60-ish students each year feels meaningful. Getting some “thank you”-messages after my lecture was unexpected. Will definitely do this again next year, this term I will focus upon my presentation.

Pentesting at CoreTec is still fun. Sadly I didn’t have enough time to finish my Offensive Security AWAE certification due to too many interesting work projects.. so this is on my list for 2020. Oh, and I am certified to do testing for the EU-Richtlinie zur Netz- und Informationssicherheit (NIS-RL), sounds like fun times ahead.

Traveling: compared to my work trips during my AIT/research-center time I am traveling a lot less. But the destinations and spare-time there matter too. this year brought me to Berlin (We Are Developers conference), Poland (visiting the concentration camps at Birkenau-Ausschwitz), Amsterdam (OWASP Global AppSec conference) and Spain (bouldering trip). That’s a nice selection, widening one’s horizons. Hopefully I will go to another bouldering trip in 2020 as well as travel a bit more far away to find novelty.

Health-wise, I’ve started to bike to work in Summer — and am surprisingly enjoying the freedom that biking the city brings. Small stuff, but this improves my quality of life more than I thought. I’ve just ordered a better cycling helmet: I might be reckless, but not stupid.

Still not smoking too. On the other hand, I am not happy with my alcohol intake and will work on that next year. It’s not as if I’m regularly drunk, but this year’s Christmas parties were tough and I am not that young anymore. Too much recovery time for doing stuff while drunk.

I did a LASIK eye correction for my myopic at the end of November. My eye sight is way better than before, can walk around without glasses but I do have some problems reading text for now. Will to my follow-up check at the end of February, if the situation hasn’t improved, I would ask about a second corrective operation.

Money-wise, life is good. Income from teaching and pen-testing gives me a positive cash-flow. I do have some stock investments that should help me when (if) I grow old enough to miss the state-provided pension. The situation was that good, that I closed down my small-time company to maximize my free time and focus more upon research/teaching.

I’ve cleaned out my goodreads todo list. Actually I started with that last year.. life is too short for not-great books anyways. I’ll try to get my todo list down to two dozens in 2020.

There’s always the quest for finding a new flat though.

After 15 or so years I’ve also bought a new camera (Fujifilm X-T30) and have been neglecting that recently.. should go on some photo walks in 2020.

To quote Frank Turner: “We can get better, because we’re not dead yet”.

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