Five Awesome Things I Experienced in 2020

Yes, folks, I am back! I’ve been away from blogging for some time, and item #4 on this list will explain why. As we wind down an undoubtedly difficult year, I thought it would be good to share one final post to focus on some positivity I personally experienced in 2020.

Of course, I do not want to diminish how difficult this year was for many people, including myself. I personally had a very difficult time adjusting to the whole “work from home” thing, and my grandmother also passed away just a few short weeks ago. So I’m not going to be the person who says that 2020 was a great year. Simply put, it wasn’t.

But still, I’ve found a lot of value in focusing on the positive. It wasn’t a great year, but for me personally, it definitely wasn’t my worst year. By focusing on these areas of optimism and gratitude, we cultivate a mindset that helps carry this positive energy into all aspects of our lives. I don’t know what 2021 is going to bring, but I definitely want to bring positive energy into the new year!

With that, let’s jump into my list!

While we couldn’t do a whole lot this year, the one thing we did have is the now infamous Zoom. Thanks to the powers of technology, I was able to stay in contact with a number of different folks to help them grow in their personal development journey. It’s been very cool to see how these folks have evolved this year, and it makes me excited to see what the next generation of folks in these STEM fields will do! Some of the folks I mentored included…

  • A group of high school sophomores working through an AP-like computer science program
  • A traditional college student trying two decide how they might consider their next steps in their higher education journey
  • A multi-month mentorship with a Lambda School student (who is going to rock the socks off the data science world!)
  • A couple other lighter interactions with several other Lambda School students

Yup folks, this is why I’ve been missing! I do all my blogging and extra learning in the off hours and between my regular work, spending time with my family, and now video gaming, I just haven’t had the extra time for blogging.

2020 undoubtedly rocked the entertainment industry hard, but this one piece of the industry quietly had a very strong year. Of course, we saw the appearance of new consoles in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, but I’m actually more so thinking the games themselves. I’m actually thinking about writing another bonus, fun post about all the games I played this year, so stay tuned for that. But yeah, the amount of quality games that came out this year was staggering. In my opinion, gaming had one of its best years ever!

As I mentioned toward the top of this post, I had a very difficult time adjusting to the whole “work from home” thing because my home office was super drab. I wish I had a before picture because before I made all my renovations, the only things I had in here were my basic IKEA desk and office chair. Since then, I replaced the ceiling fan, added lots of wall decorations, added a sit-stand converter, added cool Hue lighting effects, and added a whole entertainment piece off to the right there for gaming and watching movies. (Off hours, of course!)

I don’t think I would have done this if I hadn’t been forced to due to the pandemic, but I’m super glad I did. I also did it all myself, so you might be surprised to learn that it really didn’t cost me all that much to do all these renovations. I’m also fortunate to have a super handy dad that helped guide me along the way, but I’d encourage you all to consider renovating your own home, too. It’s less difficult than you might think!

It’s hard to believe that I technically haven’t been a formal machine learning engineer for quite a year yet. I joined my current team the second week of January, and it’s proven to be quite the ride! It’s definitely been my busiest work year to date, but it’s also been the most fun. It’s been so cool to see the fruits of my labor come to life inside these machines, and the people I work with have been equally great. I definitely look forward to what 2021 brings in this role. This whole field is very cool!

If you know me, then you saw this one coming a mile away. As awesome as everything on this list was, this number one item is far and away my favorite thing about 2020. My beautiful little girls are 2 and 3 years old, and it has been so much fun to see them grow this year. We’ve shared too many laughs to count, lots of hugs, and lots of fun times despite being hampered by the effects of the pandemic. I remind myself daily that they won’t be this age forever, so I’ve been drinking in every moment as it comes. Each day with them has been an absolute delight, and I am 100% sure that when I think back to 2020 when I’m old, the times with them are going to be what I remember most.

That wraps up this post! What cool things did you experience this year? I know 2020 was a difficult year, but I hope you can also find the lovely, beautiful things that happened this year, too. Wishing you all a happy holidays!

Machine learning engineer at a Fortune 50 company, 5x AWS certified, 2x HashiCorp certified, 1x GCP certified, M.A. in Organizational Leadership, PMP, CSM

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