What I expected from 2020

A journey about what went great and not great and how to manage expectations

Dec 19, 2020 · 6 minutes · Loading views

→ Also available in: Portuguese

We are coming to the end of 2020 and with that it is very common the feeling of hindsight. We try to visualize how our journey has been so far, what was achieved from what was planned, what did not happen the way we wanted and much more. With me it would be no different.

What drove me to write was to realize that 2020 changed my life completely. To list briefly:

  • Moved to Germany
  • Published three games!
  • Back to office after 4 years working remotely! 😱

One certainty is that Inacio of exactly 1 year did not imagine this! I hardly create expectations for a year and I can't help but think that there is a spectrum of events between what I Expected To Happen™ and What Really Happened™.

What I hoped for

I had only two goals for 2020 and, in a way, only one seemed something I might not be able to do:

  • Stay healthy
  • Publish at least one game

For those who do not know me, for many years of my life I was well overweight and between December 2018 and January 2019 I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The family history did not help: many family members were cardiac and/or diabetic too. In 2019 I lost more than 40kg and in the first half of 2020 around 25kg. I left behind pre-diabetes, a sedentary life and above all I became a better person for myself. I made a Reddit post about this transformation. External

Picture of the author

— Left: Me @ My birthday party 2018; Right: Me and Hannah @ Portugal 2019

In 2020 I also decided that I would dedicate myself again to game development and game design. I participated in three game jams with amazing friends in which we released three short but amazing games. Finishing Blimp and Quack show me that I'm on the right track and they taught me an important lesson about finishing projects.

What I hadn't planned

A lot happened without me having control over the outcomee. The pandemic came and it affected me in ways I did not plan. The startup that I had been working with since 2019 had to close its operation and, consequently, my contract as well. The late lockdown came from Brazil and with it I, without a job, and Hannah, working from home, stayed home for at least four months without leaving for any single reason.

The lockdown and the lack of work made me evaluate the options. I decided to turn my attention to projects that I had left behind and it was also the trigger to return to game development. I rediscovered the habit of reading and even published my first text in Medium (only in Portuguese). I created a live streaming channel on the purple platform (and thanks to my friends for the support watching every day!)

Unfortunately this sabbatical lasted only long enough for the lack of income to remind me that the bills would not stop coming: I decided to look for an opportunity and started a new contract with another startup. The contract lasted little for several reasons, but for me it was clear that my heart was not there.

By June 2020 the "expectation vs. reality" ratio was:

ExpectationsWhat really happened
Stay healthy25kg off
Publish at least one gameI lost one contract and terminated another soon after
Back to reading books regularly
Worked in three games and published them all
Learn new programming languages and tools
Published my first online article

Fresh air

In June Hannah and I decided that it was time to pursue again an old dream of ours: move to Germany. We knew it would be difficult to move in the middle of a pandemic, but everything happened very fast. In the beginning of July I received an excellent offer and then we started the relocation process to Berlin.

It was super fast. At the beginning of September I was already going to Berlin and Hannah would go shortly after with our dog, Marte. 🐕

Inacio and Marte

— Me and Marte in Berlin

What really happened

From July to December a long time passed and a lot happened. Moving to Germany made me leave behind wonderful projects in Brazil but at the same time: I took a leadership position in my team, learned new technologies, hired, developed and launched, learned a new language (well, technically I am still studying German).

Like many, I got attached to my expectations as some kind of north star of my success and forgot that the journey to get to where I arrived was the most important.

To illustrate how 2020 was a surprising year, I have set up a small mindmap based on this excellent post from Joe Bell External

Continuos lines represent something expected and dashed lines something unexpected!
  1. Lockdown
    1. Lose a contract
      1. Contracted for only 1 month
        1. Look for jobs abroad
      2. Free time
        1. Join Ludum Dare with 3 friends
        2. Learn Godot
          1. Release Blimp
          2. Release Quack!
        3. Learn Unity / C#
        4. Try streaming
    2. Regular reading habits
      1. Publis first post on Medium
    3. Home workout
      1. Focus on nutrition
        1. Sunday meal preps with wife
        2. 25kg off!
      2. Focus on strength
        1. Better results
  2. Nailed a job on Berlin
    🥳 🥳 🥳
    1. Move to Berlin ✈️
    2. Start using a bike for everything
    3. Learn new technologies
      1. Serverless
      2. react-query
      3. Next.js
    4. Build a team
      1. Hire remotely
        1. Interview around 50 potential engineers
        2. Get 2 engineers instead of 1
      2. Kick-off new projects
        1. Design cloud solutions to fix broken processes
          1. Serverless ETL
        2. Build a frontend monorepo
    5. Learn German
    6. Become a tech lead
    7. Migrate old website from CRA to Next.js
      1. Start a blog
        1. Publish a post!

— Let's check this mindmap again next year


When I visualize, everything turns crystal clear: it's just crazy how unexpected paths changed my 2020 positively. My most sincere wish for everyone is that we learn to enjoy the journey. Stop for a moment, look back and see how your journey so far brought pleasant surprises. 😉

P.S. As you can see, this is my first post. Sorry for any weird grammar issue, I'm sure I'll learn a lot while writing! Also, I plan to post regularly about several topics, but mostly related to software engineering. Follow me on twitter External to know when a new post is live.


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