Year in Review

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

This year was a little less technology, and looking back that’s totally ok.

There’s no shortage of posts about 2020 and how everyone cannot wait for it to be over. This is not one of those. Don’t get me wrong 2020 was a year filled with frustration and struggle, but as I write this on December 30 there’s little more than a day left and I’m taking some time to reflect on what the year has been. Our lives are not going to change significantly come midnight on January 1st. There will still be COVID and there will still be isolation. Most of 2020 was spent trying to figure out how to navigate having kids online in school every day while working a full time job. I was also in the process of buying a home as all of the shutdown started. There was a lot going on this year, and I consider myself lucky to have avoided significant illness or hardship through it all.

In addition to working full time at Microsoft I also recertified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and began volunteering on an ambulance. There were a significant amount of 911 calls for those suffering from COVID, but there was also no shortage of the many other types of medical emergencies that happen regularly. It was the least I could do given prior experience as an EMT, especially during such a trying time for many people. It was never easy having to tell a loved one they weren’t able to accompany a family member to the hospital; watching them say goodbye knowing it may be the last time they see each other. There’s a lot of seeing people at their worst as an EMT, but it isn’t all doom and gloom. There are the occasional good hearted 911 calls where it isn’t life or death and you do make a difference in someone’s life. It is hard work and it is often forgotten work. There are quite a few parts of the United States where the ambulances you get when calling 911 are staffed by volunteers. It isn’t all volunteer, there are EMTs who are paid to staff ambulances. Sadly, as an EMT you often barely make above minimum wage (if you do) and have to work at least 60 hours in a week to make ends meet. That is 60 hours in a week at different times of the day, maybe you do some day shifts then you have some overnight shifts. Some shifts are quiet and you get a break; some shifts are back to back busy and you barely sit for a few minutes at a time. Regardless, as an EMT you absolutely make a difference in people’s lives helping them when they aren’t at their best.

Looking forward to 2021, I expect to see some more of the same. We have some 2020 experience under our belts as we enter 2021, but that doesn’t take away from the challenges. While I continue to work on the home schooling, working full time, being an EMT I’ll still be working towards doing what I can to continue helping people. I hope to contribute to open source projects and learn some new technology. I’ll certainly attempt to write more. I am going to try and do more in 2021, but I’m also ok if that plan takes a little longer to work out. It is a tough time for every one and it is ok to be just getting by.