Goodbye 2016, hello 2017

Alex Barrera
5 min readDec 31, 2016
Image credits: Victoria Pickering / Fireworks (Flickr)

I’ve been reading reviews of 2016 all morning. Some are ok; others are fantastic. My favorite, by far is Adina’s analysis of her year.

First of all, let me say I don’t care much for new or old years. As I said before, I don’t deal too much in regret so for me; a year is just a fix amount of time. But here we go.

So overall, how was my 2016? Good. It wasn’t incredible, but I can’t complain at all.

The first three months were slow. I appreciated the quiet. 2015 was a crazy year for me, so three months of peace was a blessing. I managed to go back to coding, and that was fun. I’m a computer engineer after all, so I do enjoy my occasional coding.

Last year I visited amazing places. Some are old friends, but others are new cities for me. I was in Riga, Maastricht, Frankfurt, London, Barcelona, Valencia, Brussels, A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, and some more I probably missed.

Barajas Airport, about to board to Amsterdam (May 2016)

In 2016 I went back to Berlin, three times! Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world but hadn’t been back in two years. I finally got back. I missed you Berlin!

Berlin, TierGarten (September 2016)

I was blessed with a fantastic trip to Tehran, Iran, to Mexico City, Mexico and of course to Beirut, Lebanon. Beirut has been special. Out of all the trips this year, I would say it’s been the most special, for many reasons.

Beirut, Lebanon (November 2016)

Summer was hard for me. I was exhausted from work and was looking forward to getting some rest. We took a whole month vacation in August. The first time we go on a family vacation. One word, exhausting. I love my children but hell I miss vacation when it was only Ana and myself.

Happy Nico in Robledo de Chavela, Madrid (August 2016)

In the Fall I got to introduce on stage a winner of the Field Medal, the Spanish national soccer coach, the 11 times Freestyle Kitesurfing world champion and the Prince of The Netherlands, just to name some of them.

With Gisela Pulido, Spin 2016, Santiago de Compostela (September 2016)

I’ve reconnected with old friends, including a friend from 17 years ago and my best friend from school (after like 15 years without speaking).

This departing 2016 I’ve attended three Aikido seminars and several Shodo workshops. It’s been a good year for my other ‘me’.

At Zentrum Dojo, Madrid. Josh Gold sensei seminar (October 2016)

I’ve expanded my taste and knowledge around the tea world. I’ve imported teas from China, Taiwan, and Japan on a regular basis. I think I’ve drunk more tea in 2016 than in all my years put together. Want to have a chat with me? Invite me to some nice tea ;)

Drinking the morning Chinese black smoked tea

I’ve been angry, I’ve been sad, I’ve been happy, I’ve felt lonely, and I’ve been in love. All in 365 days.

I’ve read around 30 books this year. Which isn’t bad, but a little low for my usual yearly mark.

I’ve got wasted exactly one time this year, and it happened only two days ago.

I’ve tackled one challenge this year, writing for 30 days, and I completed it recently. I’m still writing, even after the challenge finished, which is great.

The end of the year has been hard, though. Too many emotions, too many things happening and maybe, too much free time to think and reflect on my life.

I’m becoming better at moving on, at finding closure, at letting go of things that hurt me.


So, what do I ask 2017? Nothing. I’ll keep working; I’ll keep improving.

2017 is going to be a big year. I already have a packed schedule for next year, and it hasn’t even started yet.

Very excited to work with great friends this year. Eager to keep building a wonderful life with my wife and kids. Blessed to be part of my children’s life, to have time to play with them, to see them grow. I want more of this.

Looking forward to slowly but steadily have more time with Ana. Kids are a blessing, but I love my wife and want to share more of my time with her, alone.

Some years ago I had dinner with Daniel Burrus. He was telling Marvin and me how he managed to have so many hobbies. He said that each year he would select something new to learn. He would devote all year to master it and move on to something different the next year.

After that conversation, I decided to try and learn Japanese calligraphy (this was three years ago). Now I’ve reached my first Dan in Shodo, and I keep at it every week.

So I thought that it might be time to challenge myself to learn something new this year. I plan on keeping up with my writing, but I want to try something different.

I’m starting to understand that I need to reconnect with my creative side more.

I’ve decided I’ll devote my year to push my drawing skills further. I used to draw a lot when I was younger. I stopped doing it when I went to university. I’m starting to understand that I need to reconnect with my creative side more.

Shodo was the first step. I’m finally feeling creative with my calligraphies. I’ve finally let go of showing them, of drawing whatever I want, whenever I want.

Writing again has been a second big step. I need writing. I’ve realized I had lost my inner voice, words bring that back for me.

And last but not least, I need to get back to drawing. I’ve been inspired by a friend, and the idea of drawing more has stuck.

So I declare 2017 my year of drawing! (Now I need to get some nice pens!).

Happy New Year people!



Alex Barrera

Chief Editor at The Aleph Report (@thealeph_report), CEO at, Cofounder & associated editor @tech_eu, former editor @KernelMag.