Silver & Gold
I've been postponing writing this post indefinitely. Today however, I found myself with some free time on a fresh, sunny and great Sunday morning, so I pour myself a coffee and start typing.
It's been some sad times since the end of 2019 up until now. On top of that, part of the reason of why I've hesitated to write was because my overall mental health was not in the best place and I was afraid that would influence my writing and pessimisim would percolate into any post that wasn't entirely technical.
Conversely, I believe putting all into writing will have the opposite effect. Laying out the facts and events helps taking out part of the emotional charge attached to them and provide some perspective.
At the end of 2019 a close childhood friend was diagnosed with leukemia, and she died very recently. The avalanche of feelings such an event brings to the table would merit a blog post on itself. Shortly after her diagnosis in 2020 corona hit hard. At the time I used to work in a beer shop as I wrote in a couple of other posts. Then I lost my job due to being thrown into lockdown around March and the shop eventually closing.
The rest of 2020 was not really easy for anyone. Be it economically or psychologically everyone has been affected by the course of events. I went back to Spain at the end of the year to spend Christmas in family and the overall vibe there was one of exhaustion.
As we were entering 2021, someone I know gets incarcerated. Couples split up left and right. Hell, what's happening?! Enough with the gloomy stuff, this isn't helping anyone.
During April this year, I've decided to come back to Spain. After 6 years living in Belgium I felt it was about time. I missed my friends, my family, the weather, the food.. I guess Spain really is different 😄. Three months in, I am enjoying every single day home. Although where I'm from is known to be very rainy, we also have plenty of sun and very smooth and pleasant summers. I'll take my longboard and glide through the beach sidewalk, these people know it too!.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. COVID-19 was a big blow in all aspects of life and yet I've talked to plenty of people that have made substantial life changes in response to the lockdown and in face of the adversity. A compulsory home reclusion and a global pandemic forced people (me included) to make some heavy reflections about the life they were living and whether that was the course they wanted to maintain.
I've had several interesting conversations with people who took a turn in life, changing fundamental aspects they never liked or were content with but the pandemic brought out. Stories range from moving out of a city they didn't like much but was comfortable, to shifting from being a full-time HR manager to selling ornamental flower pots as a side-hustle.
I'm very aware the kind of people that are able to make these changes and take certain kinds of risks are people who are in a comfortable position from the get-go. My point is to highlight the positive impact of being (unfortunately and forcefully) plucked out of a routine I myself was going through in autopilot, and how that isolation was a catalyst for some deep reflection and introspecting.
I am still optimistic about the future, opportunities to help and create something with a real impact are aplenty. Climate change, data privacy erosion & surveillance, healthcare & housing costs increasing worldwide, an escalating depression & anxiety epidemic, etc, all those are problems worth tackling.
That's why I am also taking the risk along with two other co-founders to work on Websie, a platform aiming to be the one-stop shop for online therapy, for now focused on a French & Dutch speaking audience. What was before a latent issue, now since the start of COVID the huge demand of mental health services around the globe has become apparent. It is about time to throw out the window the misconceptions and prejudices about going to therapy and to make accessible what is a fundamental pillar of our wellbeing, our mental health!
As a technical co-founder, stress is constant and challenges are multiple, but I believe it's worth it, and I keep learning on a daily basis on topics I've never had to confront before: sales, marketing, investment concepts, management.. It's a struggle but valuable one.