Year 36, a 🎂 Retrospective

I’m usually not doing birthday posts, but a lot has happened, and it feels like more change is about to come.

  • We got married in July.

Ok, that’s the biggest change, and I could stop here.

But there were other things that do pale in comparison, but which were still important:

  • We brought in our 2nd ‘harvest’ this year (at my in-laws place). It’s incredibly grounding to do something that’s immediately meaningful like this. Feels like we’re preparing for being a family.
  • We went to the Urban Sketchers Berlin meetup with ~1500 other sketchers and had a lot to draw and paint and talk. It’s great to meet people – especially outside!
  • We moved into a new apartment down the road. Slightly bigger, much better insulated, and so far: mold free!
  • Our Urban Sketchers group celebrated its 6th annivesary in June. (Happy sketching!)
  • I met new friends.
  • I had (still have) a blast at a job this year with 100% SwiftUI and all the new Apple tech. Learned so much, it’s crazy invigorating.
  • I bumped all my apps to macOS 10.13 because of Apple and Xcode. That was a very boring, very tedious task. I’m so glad it’s over – you wouldn’t believe it.


Stats tracked by Timing. Also includes mobile usage, as reported by Screen Time on iOS.

Aggregated time tracking stats on my computers (numbers differ from screenshot because some items appear again further down, e.g. for different app bundle IDs):

  • I spent 1620 hours in a web browser.
    • 550 hours of these reportedly on YouTube – for various purposes.
    • 80 hours on the Mastodon website.
  • I spent somewhere above 400 hours in video meetings. (Hard to say exactly. Zoom dominates, but I have tracked all the various web-based meetings differently.)
  • I spent 340 hours in Xcode.
  • I spent 280 hours in Emacs.
  • I spend 175 hours in chat/social applications.
  • I spent 70 hours in my Zettelkasten (The Archive).
  • I spent 41 hours reading my RSS subscriptions (Reeder).
  • The game I played the longest was “Chained Echoes” at 29 hours total.
  • I spent 15 hours on taxes. That can hbe hardlyaccurate?! Felt like 500.
  • We played 10 hours of music together, as far as my computer can tell. My wife plays the guitar or bass, I play ukulele. This doesn’t account for the two hours we dressed up as Blues Brothers characters and played sax at a movie theatre.

Playing a computer game for 30 hours over the span of 365 days is a rounding error.

Spending even less time together to play music makes me a bit sad. I expected this number to be higher.

Then again, I expected my time in Emacs to be much higher, too, because I do code reviews, code commits, email, project organization, website stuff, typesetting LaTeX books, managing server infrastructure, … in Emacs. But no, Xcode still beat that!

So much for experienced time, and the duration of things you do and either enjoy tremendously (time spent with my wife on music), or despise (taxes), and the mental space they occupy.

Work-to-Food Ratio

I would estimate that we were in the garden to plant and harvest crops maybe 4 days? But not full-time job days, of course. Plus watering in the evenings, maybe 10 minutes per day. So maybe we spent 80 hours on plant care, total? All my time on Mastodon is worth more than 250 kg potatoes plus many beans and tomatoes and squash. (Pears and apples don’t count because the trees have been there for decades. Their yield isn’t due to anything I’ve done. Which makes having fruit trees even more impressive.)

Then there’s cooking time. I can’t eat raw potato, and we need to cook or freeze fruit or make jam to preserve them in an editable state. That’s extra work, too. (I recall preparing cherries of a very plentiful harvest until 1:00 a.m. once.)

I didn’t track how long it takes to go to the grocery store. That takes 45 minutes per trip. – The comparison with time spent tilling (or no-tilling) soil would be silly, but I’m still curious how the ratio of “satiety per hour spent” is.

The Price of Being a Digital Native

I spent 3206 hours doing something digitally traceable.

Granted, 2 hours of meeting on a Mac with a phone used for video could count as 4 hours. It still amounts to ~8 hours of tracked device activity per day. Even if that’s not equal to life-time spent, it’s an awful lot of cumulative time of screens emitting photons.