Gemini version of this post
Although definitely not my best one so far, 2020 was a very important year, full of personal growth and thinking, self-discovery and exploration. I questioned myself and everything around me, turning the answers I found into knowledge. I met interesting people from all around the world, redefined my values and principles, and decided what I would fight for. This 2020, the world changed, and so did I.
The loop of growth
What makes me think I’m a failure? Things I start and never finish, and those I finish being nothing but tons of “Hello, World!” projects for every new programming language I come across, wanting to learn everything by starting from scratch every time. After having spent nearly all my years as a programmer, since 8, doing the same things over and over, but with different languages and frameworks, this year of growth I’ve had enough of it.
Not going to lie, I learned a lot inside that loop, it shaped me and defined my present and future; but the time has come to leave it—just like birds must leave the nest at some point—so I can keep growing. Focusing my programming energy into things that will benefit others, seems like the best decision I can take.
Besides, programming is just a tool, one of many that I can use to change the world, and this year of change, it’s time to expand my toolbox. Time has come to explore new ways of making an impact that will lead to positive change in technology. There are infinite ways to success, and it’s my mission to find one or many, and then lead myself and humankind through them.
Change of direction
When I was 8, my dream was creating my own Microsoft, selling enterprise software and operating systems. At 11, I fantasized about creating popular and innovative social platforms, on the scale of Facebook. Working at Google became my life goal at 13, and the whiteboard interview my biggest fear and reason to feel a failure. Now, at 17, I have lost my admiration for all those Big Tech companies, and my goal is to lead the tech industry towards respecting users, human rights and freedom.
This year of awareness, from blindly hating on Big Tech, I started becoming aware of the way they interfere with our lives, for their benefit and not necessarily ours. This year, I learned more about the dangers of blindly allowing our privacy to be invaded, and allowing every aspect of our daily lives to be monitored, for the profit and power of the guys who are invisible (the top 1% of the 1%, if you get the reference).
I have decided that I don’t want to be part of this abuse; but most importantly, that I want to be part of a change, one that will put technology back in the hands of people, so that we can have control over our own lives, without being judged, abused and treated as products. We must have the choice we’re not being given, our lives are not a product, and we must take them back from Big Tech.
The movement towards decentralization of technology is being lead by nice people who care about people, more than money and power. These wonderful people are constantly working to provide us with the means to liberate ourselves from Big Tech, control more aspects of our lives and reclaim our privacy: all by means of free software and open protocols that are small and decentralized, some entirely distributed.
If only more people knew there’s a whole new world beyond Big Tech’s walled garden, a world where everyone has a voice and a choice, things would be different. If only we were willing to give up the illusion of comfort and control that Big Tech has implanted in our minds, our lives would be in our hands. It’s not too late to make the switch (yet).
This year of exploration, I immersed myself in the multiverse of community-led technology, and explored the products of this liberation movement. I sailed towards the rising Small Tech, farther away from Big Tech; because Small Tech can do Big things, in the hands of everyone. Of course, not everything has to be Small, but most of what exists today can and should, for the sake of freedom and peace.
Wanderlust, from the German words “wandern” (to hike) “lust” (desire), means “desire to hike”, but the meaning has changed, being now “desire to travel” or “desire to explore” the most common uses of the word. This word I recently discovered, perfectly describes my whole being. Exploring the world of science and technology is one of the things I enjoy the most.
My wanderlust on free (as in freedom) technology and decentralization has led me to gather an infinite knowledge on the subject, mostly superficial but better than nothing. I can see possibilities, I can see a future powered by decentralization and self-sufficiency as something possible, but nothing of that will happen as long as we keep selling our souls.
Enrichment of myself
The online communities I became part of, quickly shaped my way of thinking for good. People there enriched me, they turned me into the person I am now, and I’m infinitely grateful. They opened me up to the world, from the perspective of those who constantly fight to be respected by society, and make everyone be respected. Those who are not satisfied with the state of things, and want to make a change.
There’s a positive culture of respect in this side of this little known part of the Internet, where everyone who respects is respected, and treated as part of the family. People share and learn from each other, they express themselves without fear of being judged, because those who judge, harass and cause harm are not allowed by the community, and hardly interested in joining in the first place.
Being involved in this kind of places made me evolve and grow, in a way I freely and consciously decided to, without being influenced by algorithms with corporate interests and questionable intentions. In this healthy and free environment, I choose what to see and what not to see, who to follow, what to read about and how to think. This year of freedom and awareness, I was free to become aware, organically, by means of free will and curiousity.
In terms of individual achievement, this year was the tip of the iceberg; the whole ice underneath holds a great deal of social achievement: the meaningful friendships made, the ones strengthened and the mutual value and support exchanged. This year of friendship, was defined by the quality of the bounds I established with people around the Internet, in the course of my eternal but flickering wanderlust-ridden journey. To the people around the world who became my world, a place in my mind belongs.
Those who guided me through my journey, were my journey. Different people, from different backgrounds, connected by mutual interests and principles, by means of technologies that also share those principles. Those small circles I freely joined without any conditions, became the first ones where I have ever felt listened and part of the family, and where I have felt interested in listening as well. I don’t feel alone anymore, because as much as my own family means to me, the void inside me used to go beyond.
Uncertain of what this new year holds, but certain that every year holds its own window for opportunities, I find myself only partially able to envision my future. Whatever I can manage to extrapolate from my own perceived annual progress, only means little in a timeline full of surprises. My individual efforts, as well as collective efforts I take part of, can only shape my progress this year up to some extent; but in the end, only time will tell if tomorrow we will achieve our goals in this complex universe we can only perceive as uncertain.
To influence uncertainty as fast as time does, is what progress is aimed at. To turn uncertainty into certainty by means of progress, in order to shape our reality to our will, is what success is aimed at. New progress comes with new challenges. This new year, like every year and every second of our lives, is not enough to hope, but to act as well. This new year, like every year and every second, the only way to success is progress, and working together is the only hope. Let’s shape our 2021 together, let’s shape every single second together!
Happy new year!