Hello, 2023! And thanks, 2022 - you were (mostly) awesome!

Hello, 2023! And thanks, 2022 - you were (mostly) awesome!

Like in many previous years, I usually reflect on the past year and configure my thinking for the upcoming year. This year has been challenging – both in a good way, but also in a taxing way. I’ve been swamped with life – building a house, orchestrating the move to the new home, building another company to join our group of companies, attending more in-person events in Europe, keeping a fierce focus on my weekly gym sessions, and completing a few degrees on the side. Regardless, I enjoy it when things get a little hectic.

Let’s reflect for a bit! Starting from January 2022.

We enjoyed a great winter in early 2022. As we lived next to the sea then, it was amazing to walk by the shore and enjoy the crisp winter weather week after week.

We had some minor setbacks when we built the house. In calendar time, we started digging in April 2021 and moved in late August 2022. Due to the harsh winter and unpredictable conditions, we suffered some setbacks in early 2022. Paperwork started back in September 2021, so it was about 24 months from the idea to the completion of the house. I’m happy now, but it was slightly stressful at the time.

During 2022, I did a 3-day split with my gym sessions. Usually, I train on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Sometimes you go all in on a given day, and the smartwatch tells you to take a bit more time to recover. I’m happy that I did about 182 gym sessions in 2022. That’s about 91,000 calories burned and about 270 hours spent at the gym.

Was it worth it? Without a doubt, yes! I’ve since switched my gym regimen to a 4-day split. It took a few months for my body to calibrate, but I’m pleased with the results.

We sold the Tesla Model S and switched to a Volvo. It’s been great, but the Volvo has been to the garage for maintenance way too many times now. It’s frustrating, but at the same time, I guess this is just how a modern car works. The next car might not be a Volvo.

I’ve spent more time fixing my diet and eating regularly. In general, I feel stronger, more capable, and more awake. It’s primarily tiny things here and there.

Eventually, the house started to take shape. I was surprised by how much time, resources, and commitment the last 20% of the house project required.

I’ve been working from home full-time since about 2019. Before that, I worked from home intermittently but had an office. The above picture is from the old home office, which I liked.

I flew much more in 2022 than I did in 2021 or 2020. I guess it was to be expected. The morning coffee at the Helsinki Airport lounge is pretty decent. During the busiest years, I made 6 visits to the US for business and/or pleasure. I’m now unsure how I could do it even once.

I helped out a bit with the European Power Platform Conference, which took place in Berlin. Seeing so many friends and friendly faces – without Microsoft Teams in between was great.

I upped my protein intake on specific days of the week. This pancake mix is simply incredible. I read quite a bit on nutrition and protein intake. On heavy training days, I try to get 2 g per kg of my weight in. It counts as work in itself.

Solar panels arrived! It took quite a bit of effort to get them installed and connected. I’m selling any excess yield back to the grid. It’s a total of 36 panels, with 12,8 kWp. I kept refreshing the mobile app almost hourly during the first two weeks to see the yields and stats. These days, I don’t bother. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, let’s fix it.

In the picture I took with a drone from the lake, you see a plot of land. That’s where the next project started in late 2022. Hopefully, something nice will be built to use during the summer vacation.

I enjoy the occasional wine and dining with friends and family. Not so often these days, but it must be memorable whenever possible.

Sadly, my dad passed away in 2022. It breaks my heart, and at the same time, I’m happy I got to spend 45 years with him. I’ve inherited most of my traits and spirit from him, and I will forever be grateful and miss him dearly.

This year was the first year in 15 years that I watched Formula 1. I subscribed for the F1 TV, and the experience is pretty great.

I refreshed my love for all things LEGO in 2022. It’s a great way to get your mind off work and other tasks and focus on building something.

To prove a point (to myself). I am now running out of space to store the assembled LEGO cars.

I don’t eat that much red meat these days, but it has to be perfect when I do.

We don’t have a lot of stuff, but when you move, you can quickly fill dozens of big boxes with your stuff. I’ve since pruned about 30%, and more will happen in the next year or two. A fun idea I have – which I’ve not yet fully committed to – is in the next 10 years to get rid of everything that doesn’t fit in two suitcases and a backpack.

The home gym is taking shape. I designed the layout, researched what gear to get, and eventually went all in. It’s a pleasure to use but also a never-ending project. There’s always something you could perhaps get.

When I travel, I always bring my gym gear with me. The sad state of hotel gyms is still a major frustration for me. The fitness room – as they usually call it – typically has a couple of plates, a single (!) non-standard barbell, and perhaps a treadmill. I skip this experience and always try to find a proper commercial powerlifting gym.

We had a chance to do a long weekend wine tour with a great group of friends in northern Germany. It’s a great way to catch up, spend time in fantastic sceneries, and enjoy excellent wines.

Inevitably, the excellent wines you bring home might encounter an accident. Why does it always have to be the oldest wine bottle you drop?

One of my boys found a ‘hack’ in his favorite mobile phone game. He knew nothing about JSON but learned how to open this data file and edit his possessions in the game. I’m a little bit proud.

We postponed a few of our trips during the pandemic and eventually decided to make one more extended road trip in the US. The direct flight from Helsinki to Los Angeles is pretty convenient!

We spent 3 weeks in California. I found this garage gym somewhere in Santa Barbara and did my regular thing. When I was back squatting with something not-too-heavy, someone local looked at me with a worried face. “Just checking if you can manage, but then I realized you were strong!” is perhaps one of the better compliments I’ve received this year. Also, none of the gyms had spotter arms/pins, so you want to take it easy.

I opted not to each french fries during our three weeks in California. It was an excellent decision.

Back home, I spent a few very hectic weeks fixing the new house – Wi-Fi, security systems, servers, storage systems, and kitchen appliances. Fun, but exhausting. The picture above is from my hardware rack, where I threw in the rack-mounted gear to ensure everyone’s Youtube and Netflix works.

The Internet connectivity is a fixed-price 1 Gbps/500 Mbps fiber optic connection. I wish I could get a 10 Gbps connection here, but at the same time, I realize I cannot even saturate the one I have now.

The village we live in now is the one I grew up in as a kid. I know every street and corner – but at the same time, I find it enjoyable that my kids get to grow up in a peaceful neighborhood. The picture above is close to our home, by the sea.

The home gym started taking shape reasonably quickly once we moved in. The plan is to be able to do all workouts at home if needed. You don’t need much for that – a good rack for squatting, bench pressing, and some dumbbells. That’s it.

We wanted to use the sauna in the new house, but the stove didn’t turn on. I started debugging it, and after assembling the thing, I discovered the yellow cable was not correctly connected. It is the small things in life that require your attention.

I was awarded the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for Azure for the 8th time. If you’re keeping track, it should be the 9th, but as I spent a year with Microsoft as an employee, it goes away.

Lots of talk and opinions on Finland and Sweden joining NATO. We had visitors in Helsinki.

After a few years of putting it off, I finally went for an eye examination. The age has caught my attention, and I now need reading glasses. I tried about a hundred different frames. The ones in the picture did not cut.

These did.

It surprised me how much technology you have to – and can – fit into the ceiling.

Once we’d settled in, I had time to set up my new home office. I’ll try to keep it clean and minimalistic.

One primary task we had before starting a new project is to cut down trees from the piece of land we acquired. Otherwise, someone else will do it for you, charge you, and keep the firewood.

Summer isn’t complete unless you visit someone else’s summer cabin and demand food.

My youngest son hid one of his favorite Monster Jam cars in my backpack just before I flew to Germany for a conference.

Once I got back home, we went to see the Monster Jam show. It was loud but quite enjoyable also. I’m not entirely sure why it’s a thing, but the kids seem to like it.

I did the occasional “in-and-out” conference visits when I had a chance. With businesses growing, the kids growing, and the house demanding your time, you want to make the days count. I love seeing friends in their country – and thankfully, some of them want to see me too! (dank je wel, Thomas en Jappie!)

A friend brought me real Ethiopian coffee beans from Ethiopia. I still need to roast and grind them.

I finally resumed my Duolingo challenge of learning Dutch. I’m about 85 days in now, and it’s getting gradually more challenging. The problem with Duolingo is that I must mentally translate everything from Finnish to English, then to Dutch – and vice versa. It’s doable, though. For some reason, the Dutch invented so many words in their language that I’m having a hard time keeping track: jullie, jij, jouw, je, zijn.. Finland at least is super easy in comparison, we just have ‘you‘.

We did a four-day tour in Finland to talk about Azure to anyone who would listen. I’m grateful to have been part of this incredible experience – my sincerest thanks to Lukas, Jouni, Sakke, Roope, and Mika!

To wrap up the year, it was time to visit the European SharePoint, Azure, and Office 365 Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was awesome to meet friends from all over the world after such a long pause.

One more visit to Lapland for the company Christmas party. So cold and so much fun at the same time!

I’ve taken the habit of scheduling specific meetings and calls as audio-only. This way, I can put on my headphones and head up for an hour or two to catch some sunlight simultaneously.

Thank you, 2022 – and welcome to 2023!