we wish you a 2023 where you can be your true self…

Since 2007, I’m spend part of my winter holidays looking at all the pictures of the last year, and using them to create a happy new year video. I started doing that because creating a new years card with just one picture was too hard for me. This year our family of 5 had + 10.000 picture. That looks a lot, yet that is about 5 pictures a day per person. With 3 teenagers, that is not much. Yes looking at all these pictures takes a lot of time, yet doing this for 15 years I have learned that taking that time and thinking about the past year is worth every moment. I recommend it for years to everyone that wants to listen, and every year I see a couple of videos created by friends around the world. Especially during the last 3 years where we have not met most of them, it’s nice to see what their families have done the last years.

Let’s look back at what the year that 2022 brought us…

  • Bent passed his theoretical exam for his driving license in January.
  • Bent finished Hotel-Restaurant in July. During his stage he was able to work in the 1 star restaurant Publiek. He was very proud of that, not only did he learn a lot, he loved being part of the team. And yes he felt really part of the team. (During the summer, he also worked at Alberte, Talloor d’or, Yaloo Hotel. )
  • In September Bent started Hotel management at VIVES, yet after a couple of weeks he realised his French was not good enough to be successfull.  He told me and my partner this, proving he was more grown up at age 17 than I was at age 19. He then decided that the best way to learn French was by being immersed in an environment that was French speaking. So about a month after telling us, he was in a school in Namur (French speaking part of Belgium) going for a 7 year of Sommelier, living on his own in a student home, surrounded by French speaking students. He had just turned 18 by then.
    A big kudos to many people in my network who helped with that. Especially Stacey Buys whose efforts made us connect with many of the right people. (And was surprised that his message had such an effect, yes that is what openly asking for help has as an effect. )
  • Joppe is now in his third year at university.
  • Joppe pass his driving license at the end of 2022
  • Geike participated in a video clip for tzitemzo.
  • As the last family member I got corona during the summer. Going to a packed open air concert, got me. I should have known better.
  • Els and me, we spend time on reconnecting. During covid our focus was on surviving as a family and we kinda ignored our partnership as survival was more important. Yet after 2,5 years we really needed to re-align. With kids becoming almost independent of us, we plan to do more of that in 2023.
    Community wise:
  • I started collecting tips on hybrid and remote working. Just like the agile tips from the trenches books, I want to let it grow slowly.
  • We did again two agile week at my major client, where I invited some agile friends. It’s nice to see a company invest so much in bringing knowledge inside. And even more important a large part of the talks were from internal speakers where we focus on spreading the good experience and experiments from within.
  • I did workshops at three of the major agile conference in Belgium:
    • agile consortium Belgium workshop with Stijn Decneut around: reframing agile
    • XPDay Benelux
      • impromptu workshop on remote and hybrid working
      • facilitation of fishbowl on the future of agile
    • Agile Tour Brussel: workshop with Hania Ferdoud on remote and hybrid working
  • I moderated the group discussion at the Breaking the silo event around remote working
  • I did a remote talk for Scrummasters of the universe around hybrid and remote work
  • I recorded +60 interviews for the video edition of Who is agile, 50 of these video’s got published. I got great feedback both from the people I interviewed as from listeners. If you think people can’t get connected remote, check out these video’s, as with many of the people I talked to, this was the very first conversation I had with them. And all of these interviews were really deep, emotional conversations that touched me.

We also had some bad news:
We all know about the war in Ukraine. I was invited multiple times to speak in Київ and I have many Ukrainian friends. As I have the intention to return, I have now spend 305 days on Duolingo learning the language of my friends, in 2015 I was barely able to say спасибі.
вибачте I want to do much better next time.

One of Geikes scouting friends, the 15 year old Mats has leukemia. After the public lockdown his family has now go to a 2 year private lockdown to keep the infections out, while he is fighting his cancer. if you want to help out? Please donate blood, it’s a small investment for you, yet it saves lives, as people like Mats needs lots of blood.

One of my friends from the time I was studying, is terminal ill. A single mom with a daughter that just started working . The moment the daughters life is taking off, her mother’s life is about to end. This comes so close it’s hard to connect to the mother. And I regret every day not doing more energy to connect.

==> yes it was again a busy year. yet all that community work, gave me much energy.
The bad news is putting everything into perspective.
And hence our new years wish for everyone:
We wish you a 2023 where you can be your true self. 

A year where no one is telling you what to wear, what colour your hair should be, what clothes you can or can not wear. Who you can love, or have (consensual) sex with and most important what you can & can not think.

Or like my friend Sofie wrote today:
Too many of us have tried to tone down our weirdness for family(I added this), friends or partners, only later to learn that  we are suppressing the best things about us. There is no joy like the joy of being your strange self and finding that there are people who love you for it. 

(Sofie told me the quote is actually from Boze Herrington. )

Just like other years, I hope to turn this into a conversation much more than a communication. I would love to hear from you, how do you want to be your true self this year? And what support do you need from the world to do so?