The 2019 to 2020 transition post.

Welcome to 2020 folks!

In retrospect, I really should have written this post during the vacation, when it is substantially easier to wax all optimistic about the year to come.

As it stands, we’re slightly more than a week of work into the new year, and most of that vacation naiveté has been brought summarily crashing down to earth as part of a sort of planetary body check.

Perhaps it’s better this way after all. Let’s keep it real.

A sample of the view as I was walking to the main beach in Betty's Bay, listening to a super entertaining radiolab podcast about a recent 50 mile race between humans and horses. (Hint: A human won!)

During the vacation, I did manage to find all (most?) of the previous (year) transition posts all the way back to 2010 and retro-tag them, for your and my reading pleasure, but mostly because I like to keep things orderly around here.

The rest of this post is a very brief and spotty review of 2019, followed by my far-more-grounded-than-usual (see above) hopes and dreams for 2020.

Learnings and events that I found important, through the lens of this blog.

I now find sleep at least as important as healthy eating (and not eating) and exercise for human wellness. I started writing about sleep in the 2017 to 2018 transition post after reading about Matthew Walker for the first time in a Guardian interview.

In 2019 I got around to reading his book as well, and I now I’m even more scared of losing sleep over anything.

(For a giggle, contrast this with my early morning work sessions in WHV #161. On second thought, in Summer time one could probably get this working again.)

Our home is now solar powered. In fact, this post is for the largest part made using power directly from the sun!

Stone Three Healthcare, a new med-tech company I am officially part of, was officially launched after a great incubation period.

Exciting times lie ahead.

Reality is just a different type of dreaming, and other implications of brain-based reality simulation.

We are still feeling the loss of a clan mother.

ABC stands for Always Be Compounding.

Maybe that will be my main theme for 2020.

Blogging Stats.

In 2019 I published 35 posts on this blog, slightly down from 2019’s 36 posts.

(I also published 12 more nerdy posts over on vxlabs, slightly up from 2019’s 11 posts.)

The static log analyzer tool I installed in March of 2019 (awstats, if you have to know) reports 37403 unique visitors reading just under 160000 pages between them.

It could be that all of that is due to my small group of friends voraciously re-reading everything on here, each time with a new dynamically assigned IP address.

Whatever the case may be (voracious) readers, thank you for reading the things I write!

Technical changes to the site, with implications for the writing process.

In March of this year, I ported this whole site from wordpress to the Hugo static site generator.

Although this has resulted in a significantly faster and more secure site, the real benefits only dawned on me a few weeks in.

With Hugo, my main input modality is the humble text editor, where I write the markdown, that is semi-structured plaintext with a few tricks, of each post before converting it to its final published form.

In contrast to the WYSIWYG of Wordpress and especially of its new-fangled Gutenberg visual editor, the latter which was probably the biggest reason for me to make the jump, I see only text and the markdown heading structure when I write posts, with very few other distractions.

This has magically resulted in me applying significantly more focus and discipline to how I write these posts, which has further resulted in an unexpected increase in writing satisfaction.

(I am carefully optimistic that it might even contribute ever so slightly to post quality.)

In November of 2019, I also moved all 20 years of super valuable (to me) reader comments away from the Disqus silo and into a self-hosted open-source commenting system called isso.


In 2019, Strava says I ran 1086km, down from over 1200km in 2018.

I am happy with this.

At the start of 2019, I slowed down a bit (again) to help save my ankles.

That seemed to have worked, because I had no mentionable injuries for the rest of the year, and that makes me happier than more distance would have.

For the sake of this retrospective, I do have to note that I did attain my secret-until-unlock extra 2019 running goal, namely the casual 20km jog on one not-too-hot Saturday morning in November.

For 2020, my main goal is simply to continue running throughout the year (see ABC above) without injury.

The secret additional milestone has not yet been formulated.

(I still enjoy running the most on barefoot or sandals, but for the longer runs, I am really happy to have made the Altra connection in September.)

Plans and life directions for 2020.

The January 6, 2019 transition WHV were definitely more ambitious than I currently feel.

Traditionally, Experiment Alcohol Zero (EAZ) starts around this time and then continues for a month or more.

That’s a great tradition, so Monday, January 6, 2020 marks the date this time around.

Other than EAZ and my humble running goals, it is probably relevant to mention my recently started experimental daily list of life directions.

At the start of 2012, I wrote the following about life goals:

Don’t set life goals, but rather set life directions. Instead of defining the point that you want to go towards, define your preferred direction. If you do it right, you’ll pass those points as you go along in any case, except you won’t land in the depressing goal vacuum right after reaching the point that you’ve been moving towards for so long, because you’re motoring along in a direction, and that’s what’s important.

(I should have added then that life goals, especially the new year’s resolution variety, are also incredibly easy to fail at.)

Finally applying this advice concretely to my note-taking / PKM system, I have recently added an “Experiment: Articulate your directions / systems” heading to the daily planning template.

In other words, every(ish) morning during day planning, I attempt to write down (again…) my current life directions.

This is a neat trick to force me to be reminded multiple times per week of these guidelines.

It also gives me the opportunity to adapt the wording, or even the list itself. Your surroundings change continuously, and so do you.

The most recent version is as follows:

  1. nurture your clan.
  2. grow the business.
  3. keep on writing, also for publication.
  4. keep on programming, also for publication.
  5. keep on learning, and sharpen tools.
  6. optimise physiology.

All of these are compounding.

None of them are concrete goals which I can quantitatively attain.

They are all directions of movement, along which any decision or action can be measured.

If that action furthers one or more of the six directions above, we are good to go.

If not, it’s probably time to go to bed.

Wishes for 2020.

Dear readers, thank you for being here.

I wish you a brilliant 2020.

I look forward to all of our meetings, both here on these pages, and everywhere else where they may happen.