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2019 Life and Priority Tweaks

New year, new beginnings, new you, isn’t that what they usually say? For me, it’s more like pressing play after having paused everything during my Christmas break. I’m continuing my smaller life and priority tweaks instead of making big changes and resolutions :) But it is a new year. It’s going to be different than the last one. And the ones before that. (Like every year, really. Funny how that works.)

I don’t often write personal posts, but these life and priority tweaks might affect how active I will be in our community this year, so I felt like writing a little bit about why.

Life and Priority Tweaks - A Winter Sunrise

Oh, who am I trying to trick? I’m really only writing this so I could show off this picture of a pretty winter sunrise, taken from my parents’ house during Christmas :D

Life and Priority Tweaks

All of these tweaks can be summed up into one sentence: Take better care of myself. Isn’t that why we all set goals and make resolutions? :)

Fewer events and speaking engagements

I got a new, full-time job in 2018. I absolutely love it, but it also means that I have less time for traveling. In 2019, I will cut back on events and speaking engagements. Right now, I’m planning to go to SQL Server Konferenz in Germany, SQLBits in the UK, MVP Summit in Redmond, DataGrillen in Germany, SQLSaturday Oslo, and DATA:Scotland. I’m also hoping to go to Microsoft Ignite, meaning that I most likely won’t go to PASS Summit 2019. (I’m not entirely sure yet. This is one of the more difficult decisions I have to make this year.)

Now, that’s still a pretty long list of events! But you might notice one thing: there’s only one SQLSaturday in there, and that’s the one I’m co-organizing. With several multi-day conferences and independent events already planned, it’s difficult to take more days off for weekend trips. And that leads me to the next part…

Disconnect more

vacation. Since I started speaking a few years ago, I have spent most of my vacation days on events. Either directly, by attending, or indirectly, by spending my vacations creating content like slides and demos. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! But in 2018, I went on a proper summer vacation without even turning on my computer, and it was glorious. I fully intend to spend at least two vacation weeks completely disconnected in 2019.

This is embarrassing to admit, but I’ve been pretty addicted to my phone. It’s still one of my most important tools, but I’m actively trying to break the habit of picking it up every five minutes. I never had a lot of notifications enabled, but I’ve reduced that number even more. I’ve also completely removed several apps that were mostly time sinks. Instead of mindless scrolling on my phone, I want to spend more time on disconnected activities. Things like reading, coloring, and finishing jigsaw puzzles.

Improved mental and physical health

Disconnecting more has already had a positive effect on my life. In addition to that, I’ve made two major tweaks to improve my mental and physical health.

The first is… not something to brag about. In fact, it caused a lot of hurt and pain, but it felt absolutely necessary. In 2018, I took a step back from friendships that had turned toxic. Where conversations and interactions made me feel drained, unhappy, annoyed, and even angry. I turned into a person I didn’t like. My negativity wore me out and started affecting my sleep, my work, and even my other friendships. In the end, I, and I alone, am responsible for my own actions and feelings. When I realized this, I decided to change. I didn’t want to be that negative, angry person anymore. It meant risk losing some of my best friends to help all of us. While I’m still struggling with this, it has also had a big impact on my overall happiness. In 2019, I will continue to nurture healthy and happy friendships.

The second is much more positive. I’ve joined my local gym! Long story short, I’ve been absolutely terrified and embarrassed to work out around others, so for the last ten years I’ve been working out alone in my living room. In 2019, I’m changing this :)

So… what does this mean?

In 2019, I’m re-prioritizing. I’ll be spending more time taking better care of myself, whether that’s by disconnecting completely or working out. More time on that means a little less time to produce content.

You may not see me at as many international events as in previous years. Maybe blogging will slow down. There might even be days where I won’t tweet anything at all *gasp*

…or I might find the energy to do even more. Who knows? All I know is that these tweaks will have a positive effect on my life. They already have.

Happy 2019! Make it a good year :)

About the Author

Cathrine Wilhelmsen is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, BimlHero Certified Expert, international speaker, author, blogger, and chronic volunteer. She loves data and coding, as well as teaching and sharing knowledge - oh, and sci-fi, chocolate, coffee, and cats :)


Hi! This is Cathrine. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please keep in mind that I'm not technical support for any products mentioned in this post :) Off-topic questions, comments and discussions may be moderated. Be kind to each other. Thanks!

Best of luck! Hope to see you at both SQL Saturday Oslo and perhaps Summit!

Sounds like a great plan! May you have a refreshing and revitalizing 2019.

Hi Cathrine, I loved your blog. I have also decided I won’t attend PASS Summit 2019 either because I can’t afford it. I’ll look forward to seeing you at MVP Summit, though.
I know what you mean about toxic relationships and friendships. One of the best things I ever did for myself was step away from people that had a toxic impact on me. The way I see it, it’s like blackcurrant and chocolate – two great flavours that just weren’t meant to go together. I think people are the same, in a way; some nice people just aren’t meant to combine and although it hurts, it does leave you room for new friendships and new outlets for your time.
Like you, I’m spending less time on Facebook etc. I’m spending more time reading and I’ve taken out some paid subscriptions to good quality newspapers. I have downloaded them to the phone, so it means that when I bring the phone out, I force myself to read something positive rather than scroll on Facebook or Quora or whatever. Perhaps that’s a little gift to yourself? I also have an audible subscription and I lose myself in a good book, which is also on the phone. It didn’t remove my phone addiction but it meant I was using it for better things.
Sending love and your photo is amazing! Perhaps you could think about taking up photography more. IMHO I think you’d be really good at it.

Oh, I really like the way you phrased that: “two great flavours that just weren’t meant to go together”. Such a good way of looking at it. It’s not at all about blaming one or the other, it’s simply recognizing that it’s not good match and that staying would cause more pain than walking away. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Jen. I’m glad you’ve found better and more positive ways to spend your time as well. Best wishes for 2019!

Good for you and I hope it goes well. May not see you much this year, but always looking forward to the times I do.

If you want to join my for some yoga in Bellevue, let me know. I’ll likely try to get at least one class in at the MVP Summit. A good way to relax and work a bit.

Hi! This is Cathrine (again). Just a reminder. I'd love to hear your thoughts, but please keep in mind that I'm not technical support for any products mentioned in this post :) Off-topic questions, comments and discussions may be moderated. Be kind to each other. Thanks!

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