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Taking the good out of the bad experiences, wrapping up 2021

What!? It is already the end of 2021! All I can say about 2021 is that life takes you to unexpected places.

Even in the last two weeks of 2021, things happened for which I far from prepared. In some circumstances of the events that occurred this year, I wish I could give myself the potential of just taking a break. Push in a pause button, and let me regain focus. We need to allow ourselves, although we do not take the time for it. Life is not giving you the time. Try to step back, and get an overview of what is happening.

What happens for me is mind mapping my thoughts to see my bigger picture. To be able to think bigger than just the situation that you are in at the moment. It helps me to choose which direction I want to go next. It helps me to regain some calmness over myself.


The year 2021 started with various changes in my professional life. I stopped working at Valo, looked for a new opportunity, started building two products: Squarl and Front Matter.

Goodbye Valo World, it is time to explore something new

At the beginning of the year, many things were happening. I had a lot of energy to manage all of it. Besides working at a new company, working on Squarl, I still had time for my hobbies. Time was on my side; this happens when you stop traveling for work. A supportive partner is vital. Without her, I would not be able to do it all.

The accident that made it so messy

I had a bike accident while working getting Squarl on the rails. I could not and was not allowed to work anymore. The verdict from the accident was a broken vertebra, and rest is what I needed.

For Squarl, it was a significant setback. We just got to be part of the Microsoft for Startups program, the beta was out, and we had our first real users testing the software.

Realizing how lucky I was, I tried to take the good out of this bad experience.

Show image Take the good out of the bad experiences
Take the good out of the bad experiences

Getting healthier

Six weeks I was stuck in my bed and walking. Sitting was limited to 20 minutes. First, I thought it would be fun to watch movies and play games. Although that is not me, I need to create things. My mind needs to be creative and learn new things.

After six weeks, I was finally allowed to go to my physiotherapist. He told me that training my abdominal and back muscles is what I will need to do for the rest of my life. Sometimes something terrible needs to happen to learn to do it differently, to live healthier.

The first time I started training again, I was so happy with the simple exercises. It felt great to feel my muscles working.

At week 12, I was allowed to jump on my bike. I was feeling the wind touching my skin, enjoying the freedom. Damn, I had missed it so much, and I was so happy that it made me realize how lucky I was โ€” just a couple of millimeters from being paralyzed.

One thing I realized, even more, is how important your body is. Besides having one life to live, you will need to do it with the same body.

I made it a habit to walk during work (in front of my computer), do my core training exercises, and still take the time to go cycling.

Show image Total distance walked on my treadmill
Total distance walked on my treadmill

How a broken vertebra got me healthier working from home

Looking back at it, I would not have guessed to be on my bike again after three months. I even started padel to have more social contact during the week and prevent overloading myself with work.

You started at Rapid API. What with Squarl?

There was only one in-person event this year on my agenda: the European Collaboration Summit. At the conference, many asked me what I would do with Squarl.

I can tell you that I still believe in the idea and its product. As life made me focus on other things first, I have not forgotten about Squarl. Some things are going on with it. I hope to tell you more about it in 2022.

I chose to start working at Rapid API because the opportunity was too cool and fun just to let it slip. I have been working in the company for only a couple of weeks now, but I can already feel my colleagues’ passion.

Building another product

It did not stop with one product. I created another one called Front Matter. Development for Front Matter started in 2019 when I moved from WordPress to Hugo. I wanted to create something to maintain my markdown articles’ front matter (aka metadata).

As I was not allowed to work full-time and could only sit for 20 minutes, I wanted to find something to keep my mind busy and learn new technologies.

The best way to do this is by actually working on an actual project. That is how I got the idea to create a full-blown CMS from my Front Matter extension for Visual Studio Code.

Today, Front Matter became a real CMS that various authors have adopted for their blog/website/… Check it out at Front Matter.

Stepping into my traps

Life is about learning to accept you are not perfect. Now and then, I need to look back at the article I wrote in 2019.

Sometimes you have to learn to let go - 2019 a year full of lessons

Still, it happens I step into my traps again and again.

For instance, comparing myself with others is my biggest trap, it seems. Although I learned how to accept this, it does not work every time. Social media makes it so easy to compare but so hard to see the actual work some have to do, which you cannot see. It works when I focus on the good things in my life, see where I am right now, see where I am going, but I am lying if I would not say that it sometimes pulls me down.

Sometimes, you cannot do it alone

There are times when you are alone. Do not think you need to solve it all by yourself. Call for help and allow others to help you stand up again. In the case of my broken vertebrae, they helped me physically stand up as well.

Just sometimes, you find yourself stuck in a room. You try to reach out but do not get the help you need. Instead of them pulling you out, they make you fall deeper. Reconsider if you need these people in your life or if you need to allow what is causing it that you are stuck in that room.

Life would be boring if we knew each outcome

True, but knowing makes it easier to find peace. I want to control so many things in my life, but you need to learn to let go as well.

Learning to be less in control and let life surprise you might be my challenge for 2022.

Allow the unexpected to happen in 2022

Not sure how it will work, but all I can do is try!

Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2022


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