2019: Year in Review
Remember my Year in Review 2018? It was the most popular article on my Medium so far. So I decided to use the same pattern in sharing my (professional) experiences. Each chapter marks an important period of this year, followed by “What I’ve learned” section.
Freelance All the Way
It has been two years now since I worked full time. The first year was a struggle, but the second one felt like riding a bike. Until March 2019 I worked for a company based in Zagreb, and right after that I jumped to a new project connecting arts and tech at Hooloovoo. For the third year in a row I managed the Heapcon project, but it turned out to be the last one.
What I’ve learned
Routine is crucial. Without it you won’t be able to perform your daily tasks. Avoid the “I have time” trap.
Learn to stop working. Everyday between 5 and 7pm I am obliged to move away from the computer. There are always things you can do.
Start reading books before sleep. It can be comics as well, just have a hard copy under your nose for a while in the evening. It boosts creativity and productivity.
Piloting an Arts & Tech Project
My first real job was in an art gallery and the second one, in an IT company. For the past eight years I’ve repeated as a mantra that I want to connect arts and technology in one job. Adding an “artsy” component to every project I worked on incentivised several people to reach out to me saying: “Hey, I know you are trying to do something with arts and tech, so what do you say to this idea…?”
Hell yeah, that’s what I say :)
That is how Predrag and I found a common ground and created Artikoolacije. His company lent its office walls to young artists and during 2019 we’ve organised 4 exhibitions presenting 17 artists and 210 artworks. In 7 months, 45 art pieces were sold and the total value was a little bit over 3000 euros.
In September, I received an email from Vlada Mitrović:
“…I need some help with my upcoming exhibition in November at KC Grad and you seem to be the only person in Belgrade who understands both arts and programming :) ”
For a brief moment, I wondered when this happened, but it looks like I repeated the mantra of connecting arts and tech out loud to too many people. His exhibition “Unwelcome gaze” at KC Grad was a success and I found a partner in crime when it comes to the arts & tech affair.
This month, Vlada and I will be launching a joint project.
What I’ve learned
Believe in yourself and in what you do. It might not make sense at all times, but in the end you will be surprised by how much you’ve accomplished.
Avoiding obstacles by going around them. Take a longer path. Sometimes obstacles can’t be jumped over, because we are not able to estimate how high they really are. Taking a longer path will not save time, but it will make you rethink your choices and figure out future strategies.
Kickstarting “Speaking at Conferences” Efforts
This year I moderated a lot of panel discussions, but one of my goals was to start speaking at conferences. The hardest thing was to figure out a topic. I was sure the talk will be related to communication, because we all think we are so damn good at it. But the truth is that we all suck. Even me, okay? :)
I sent several talk proposals for a tech conference in Zagreb and they’ve chosen the talk “Communication (Doesn’t Have to be a) Breakdown”, so on September 28th I had my 30mins slot and it was a full house!
A month before that I participated in a panel discussion regarding content personalisation and event management at an annual ICCA meeting.
A big thanks to Nemanja Čedomirović for recommending me as a panelist!
What I’ve learned
I am stage-addicted, seriously. I love sharing knowledge and answering all sorts of questions. I will be doing this more in 2020.
Back to Ashtanga Yoga Practice
I’m entering the 6th year of Ashtanga yoga practice. Of course I was “on and off” due to work and lifestyle changes, but this year marked my return.
What I’ve learned
Persistence. Sometimes it takes me 6 months to bend just one inch in order to ameliorate a certain posture. But when the mind acknowledges the body is learning to do something I once believed impossible, it makes an enormous impact on everyday life. Yoga practice made me more persistent in everything I do.
Appreciating your body instead of neglecting it. Think of yourself as a whole, not just as of head or brains. Your body is not just a utility, merely a tool for your brains to give orders to. Consider yourself as one and act like it.
Travelling in 2019.
Ever since I worked in Zagreb, I got hooked on traveling. So this year, I went for several short holidays.
End of May: Trieste, San Polo di Piave, Slovenian seaside
First off, Piran stole my heart. I think I will be coming back to the Slovenian seaside, it’s very peaceful.
This short and my first visit to Italy was even more refreshing when we decided to visit Casa Belfi, a winery near Venice. The owner, Maurizio, took us in as if we were his best friends and showed us around. You’ll see the picture of a jolly crowd as you scroll down. We enjoyed Casa Belfi back in Zagreb for a year, as it was a recommendation of a fine wine connaisseur Ivanka.
June: Podgorica, Herceg Novi and Dubrovnik
I met Jasenka 15 years ago in Petnica and since then we’ve been in somewhat sporadic contact, but this was our year as I spent a week with her in Herceg Novi. I visited Perast and some other places at the Montenegrin seaside I hadn’t visited before.
Dubrovnik was breathtaking. It was a short visit, but I will come back one day :)
August: Keszthely at the Balaton lake, Hungary
This was a one-day trip from Zagreb to Keszthely at the Balaton lake. The lake is the largest one in central Europe and it is a popular holiday resort. Near Keszthely, we’ve discovered lake Hévíz, the biggest thermal lake in the world! Definitely on my bucket list for 2020.
The year 2019 was daring. Here are some key points:
I Spring cleaning
This year I’ve been in situations I could have never imagined at the most inconvenient times. This made me see how people I once held dear changed their faces, narratives and attitude. Challenging periods bring to the surface the truth about those around you.
I’ve learned to appreciate these periods which give you the opportunity to do a special kind of spring cleaning, the final one.
II Empathy is often abused
People in Serbia have just heard a new word — empathy. So every time something in a professional/personal relationship doesn’t work, you can blame it only on one person who is not empathetic enough. What an excuse!
The notion other people give to this word can be a double-edged sword, so be careful.
In conclusion, if you don’t like something in how someone else behaves, try to practice empathy first and then blame it on others if you fail :) Or simply, try using words other people actually understand.
III Letting go
Instead of trying to impose your own opinion which can be very tiring, try to let go as often as you can. Let people do what they want to do, delegate and give them the opportunity to do their best.
If they prove you wrong, cherish that acknowledgment and learn from it.
IV Tolerance and acceptance
Don’t try to change the people you are with. What makes you happy might change their paths and make them unaware of what they actually want. Also, don’t let others change you. Compromise is one thing, submission is another.
Start making new paths and concentrate your energy on future experiences. Don’t waste your time on creating boundaries, rules and regulations in your personal life. Instead, try accepting what comes along the road and remember to ask yourself every once in a while:
Am I happy?
Thanks for reading this through!
May 2020 be spectacular! 🎉