It’s 10:38 AM. I’m sitting at the kitchen table and the house is a warzone of opened presents and to-be-put-away special dishware and decorations from Christmas. I’ve got three loaves of sourdough that are halfway finished fermenting. One child is running around the house with a candy cane and sticky hands (my nightmare). But the youngest is napping so it’s going to be now or never. I’ve tried to sit down and write this blog post for a week straight now, but life is just a wee bit busy these days.
So How did 2023 go? Let’s do a quick recap of my resolutions and goals I set in December of 2022.
Consume less, create more.
This was a mixed bag.
My main goal in “consuming less” was to spend less time scrolling/swiping on Instagram, Twitter, etc. I went through phases where I did well with this (eg when I uninstalled them from my phone), but ultimately would fall back into old patterns. Maybe I need to permanently remove these apps from my phone and force myself to use less convenient methods.
Create more: I hoped to have a finished app/project launched but I did not achieve this goal. I did spent a lot of time making sourdough bread, and I am happy with that. I did do more writing this year than last year, and I am proud of that as well.
- Run 500 miles
- According to Strava I ran 455 miles this year. I was on track to pass 500 but a wicked bout of back-to-back sicknesses in December destroyed that reality. Sometimes, that’s what life with kids gets you. Still very proud of the running I did this year, and I even set a “modern” (eg post-Dad life) personal best for a 10K race, finishing in under 50 minutes.
- Read 5 books
- I finished 3, and am about 75% of the way through a fourth (Alexander Hamilton). Not great, not bad.
- Complete 3 video games
- I only truly “finished” one game, but have really enjoyed playing several this year (namely The Legend of Zelda - Tears of the Kingdom and Dave the Diver.)
- Write 5 Blog Posts
- This is number 5/5!
- The true highlight of the year, our second chld - Emma Ann - was born in April! She’s a wonderfully happy and healthy baby and we could not ask for anything more.
- I attented KubeCon 2023 in Chicago. This was my first post-COVID conference and to say I was excited is an understatement. I had a fantastic time attending with some of my co-workers, learned a lot, and caught up with some colleagues across the industry.
- Paid off the last of my student loans. This one stings a bit because, as a Pell grant recipient in college, I was eligible for $20,000 in loan forgiveness under Biden’s plan that was ultimately canceled by the Supreme Court. That’s $20,000 that would have been nice to use on improving the house or putting into college funds for our kids. Oh well! Happy to have this weight off of my shoulders finally gone.
- I got my open water scuba diving cerification! This was a lifelong goal that I just never got around to doing. I was able to find some time to do it while on paternity leave this summer. We have an upcoming Cruise planned in 2024 with some diving opportunities in Cozumel, and I really wanted to be able to dive with that trip. With the rate the oceans are changing, there’s really no knowing how much time there is left to see the amazing ocean reefs of the world. If this is something that interests you, go out and do it now.
- I lost about 35 pounds. I have a complicated history with my weight and health. Turns out I’m very good at losing weight, but bad at keeping it off. I’ve gone through 3-4 cycles of losing (and slowly re-gaining) not insignificant amounts of weight. Outside of my weight, I’m actually quite healthy. Vitals are all good, I run and excercise frequently. But I have family history of both heart conditions and diabetes - and now that I have two young kids this is omething I feel like I need to address permanently.
What Challenged Me
I struggled at times finding a balance between being a Dad, taking care of responsibilities around the house, and getting a full day of work in. Working from home 3-4 days a week both helps and hurts this! It means less time spent commuting, which saves about an hour each day. But it also means that its easier to get distracted by things around the house that need to get done, or more often, kids getting home from daycare and me feeling guilty for not immediately coming out of my office to play with them.
One of my major goals for 2024 is to be more intentional with my time. I need to make sure I am not wasting time during the day so that when my kids get home I can go play with them without leaving work unfinished. This also means fewer late nights getting stuff done (another con of having work available in the other room is its easy to “go finish something quick” and wind up working until well after bedtime).
Looking Forward to 2024
Goals for 2024
This year I decided to split my goals into four categories:
- Finish the Chicago Marathon in under four hours.
- Read six books.
- Launch at least one side project as an app/service for sale.
- Maintain a weight under 180lb.
- Travel and enjoy new experiences with the kids (we already have two vacations booked!)
- Don’t be afraid to eat out at restaurants with the kids.
- If there was one thing that we did way too much of in 2023, it was carryout food.
- Pick a date and dollar amount for retirement. Re-evaluate current retirement investments and formulate new plan based on set date.
- Eliminate/rotate through streaming and entertainment services.
- There’s simply no need to subscribe to 6+ streaming services at the same time. There’s not enough time to watch a fraction of the content available. Costs have gotten out of control.
- Achieve or be on track (eg feel confident it will happen in 2025) for promotion to Staff Software Engineer.
- Submit a proposal to speak at a tech conference.
What I Want to Avoid in 2024
- Less “mindless” screen time (Instagram/Twitter/Hacker News scrolling mainly).
- Less fast food.
- Avoid letting clutter acumulate.
- If it takes less than 5 minutes to finish/clean/put away, just do it right away.
- Be more intentional with my time!