A rantbox by Michiel Scholten

Goodbye 2016

2016 was... interesting. Globally, it was overshadowed by some almost-disastrous events, and a lot of great and/or famous people left us (I won't even speak about the political... issues the world is having).

Personally, the year was challenging. Having a second kid eliminates all chances of getting some decent sleep. I'm not complaining (well actually I am), but it made me feel worthless. Zombie-like state at the office at times, guilt towards my colleagues about not getting enough done (in my opinion at least).

Thankfully, they actually think I'm balancing my life and work well, which was great to hear.

Kid number one meanwhile is having his toddler puberty episodes, which frankly makes him rather annoying at times, but he also struggles with his frustration regarding not always being able to express what he wants (I empathise greatly with this), or of course not always getting what he wants.

In December, I took a few weeks off (including the first week of January), which helped me clear my head a bit and focus on other things, including my wish to write my own gallery website (imagine-gallery), as I don't like how other gallery software works. However, because of all kinds of factors, I also ended up with quite some days of entertaining our kids, which is both big fun and rather exhausting.

This meant that the ending of 2016 was spent less on relaxing while catching up with some books, series and movies than I intended, but I did spend some time enjoying my kids and programming (what I also wanted to do).

I think one of the things that made me feel so tired and strung out, was (and is) the lack of me-time. I think most young parents will recognise the huge amount of time that goes into taking care of your children, starting with being woken up early in the morning with their cries, getting them dressed, fed and maybe bring them to daycare, after which they will have to be picked up again, fed, your food has to be re-warmed in the microwave, bed time ritual and then finally some plunking-down on the couch, which is halfway through the evening and tiredness is rapidly catching up meaning that not much energy is left for hobbies or even meaningful conversations with your significant other. This of course wears one down after a few years, which means that regular downtime needs to be scheduled in order not to get fed up with things too much. This is one of the reasons I took some time off in December, apart from the obvious ones and the fact that apparently I don't take days off often enough.

This would also be a tip for every young parent: as hard as it is, get some time for yourself. Be it an evening able to spend on your hobbies every other week, a random day off, an afternoon and evening with your significant other with the kids at their grandparent's place, for your sanity's sake Just Do It :)

It's not all bleakness and sleep deprivation though. The first year of a child is a roller-coaster in developments. Our daughter went from the helpless newborn at the start of the year to a little girl with a big smile standing on wobbly legs, refusing to take a few steps yet but moving rapidly through the rooms in a style rather similar to what chimpanzees can be seen doing when holding something in one hand. She is chattering happily along with the din of the household, terrorised at times by her big brother who of course does not want to have her touch his precious toys, but who in turn also keeps gravitating back to what she is doing and trying to join in on the play or run with her toys (he is a big collector of toys, stashing them in piles in his fortresses).

We also started with dancing lessons again. While we forgot some moves in our ballroom and Latin dances, it's great spending 1.5h every week with just the two of us doing something enjoyable.

2016 was not a bad year per se, but I'm sort of glad it is over. Somehow 2017 is inviting me, even though the world is setting up some really interesting plays to behold.

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