2023 ↦ 2024

2023: A Recap

Last year, I had a few goals, mostly around consumption and creation.
I think it's fair to say I accomplished them all, because I am nothing if not a realistic goal-setter.

In fact, it was true that I had accomplished two thirds of them by the end of March, which perhaps reframes my realistic goals as unchallenging goals.
I am nothing if not comfortable in a life without self-imposed challenge.

I did read read two more books after I posted that in March, but that's an average of .22 more books per month which is uninspiring.
As I noted, I tend to get stuck when a book irritates me, and then never pick it - or any other book - up again for a long time. Last year, that book was the 10th anniversary edition of The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
I hadn't read The New Jim Crow originally, so I picked it up to "catch up." Unfortunately, this version has a 37-page new preface, a mercifully short 3-page foreword, the original sub-1-page preface (so you do know how!), and then a 23-page introduction.
I am not sorry about this: if I've read 64 pages before I get to your book something has gone terribly wrong. Also, here's the new preface: "Things have not changed in the last 10 years." You see how that's not 37 pages?
Anyway, I got pissed off at this author and put the book down and didn't pick another book up until late December.

I completed 10 games in 2023, which - as noted in March - was certainly far more than 2022.

Perhaps most importantly, I got my side project - a game tracker (?) - to a version 1 usable state. Version one isn't fully complete, but it's mostly functional with just a couple rough edges.
The most restrictive thing that I think most people would take issue with is there is no public-facing user data. The list of games I completed in 2023 that I linked above has a title (and of course I created it, and I have a username), but I've explicitly chosen not to share those pieces of information publicly. As soon as I show user-entered data to people other than the user who entered it, I have a content moderation problem, and it's one I'm currently unprepared to handle.
Future iterations of this application will ship moderation and safety tools, but for the moment it's single- not multi-player.

Into 2024

Last year was mostly about finishing things. Finish more books. Finish more games. Finish a (first draft of a) side project.
That's good, but it means turning things up a notch in a way that I'm not sure is sustainable for me.

This year, I have goals around improving what I already do.

Continue reading

I'm going to give myself a little break and not set an arbitrary goal like "more" or "1 a month."
I should read more, but I'll settle for just as much.

One way I'm going to try to facilitate this is by allowing myself to let go of untenable goals.
If 2023 taught me anything, it's that I know when I'm in a situation that doesn't work for me, but I lie to myself that I just need to give it another chance or take a little break and come back to it and it'll all be fine.
I need to trust my instincts more.

Be more mindful of my health.

I did some road cycling in 2023, but I also consumed a lot of extra calories. I went to doctors less than I should have (although probably more than a lot of people). Good news: it wasn't cancer!
This year, I want to be more mindful about my body (and how I feel in it), the things I consume, and my long-term health. I'll be 35 this year, and as I move into true middle-age (oof), it will be harder and harder to undo past mistakes.
Ultimately, I want to live with a more healthy mindset so that I don't have regrets about my health, my body, or my capabilities.

Say yes more often.

Many, many years ago, I realized that I had prevented myself from a full breadth of experience in life by saying no as a default. Trying to counteract that was why I moved states away from almost anyone I knew, it's why I bought a motorcycle (a calculated high-risk activity), and why I did any number of other things over the last decade-plus that were slightly out of my comfort zone.
Don't get me wrong, I have an incredible credit score (😉), I'm completely healthy, and I have a university degree and a privileged career and life. Living in a way that minimized my future risk did pay off, but my story is not interesting.
That is - in some ways - my biggest shame: I don't feel like I have an interesting story to tell about myself. I am an excellent listener, and I know how to ask a prodding question to get other people to keep talking, and I like that. I learn other people's stories and I'm a willing ear (and shoulder) for a lot of people. But I sometimes think I am this way because I don't want to talk about myself. I feel like I don't have anything interesting to say, so I'd rather other people talk instead.

So this year, I'd like to say yes more - where it's appropriate. I want to increase the risk I take on, even if that risk is just a false perception where my brain is telling me I shouldn't do a thing because what if somebody sees me and they don't think I'm cool enough 😱?
Even if (especially if) it pushes me outside my comfort zone, I want to build a life that fosters experiences.

Make a dollar on the side.

Now that my side project for tracking games is to a totally usable (if not polished or fully complete) state, I want to make a dollar in revenue from it this year.
Yes. One dollar. A single United States smackeroo. If I make more, great.

By setting my goal to make any money at all, I will be forced to set up the mechanism for it, get the application onto a real domain name, and maybe even advertise it a little.
On that note, here's a testimonial from a real user who had extremely early alpha access.

I'm really enjoying your games website - I didn't realize I wanted it until I started using it, but being able to keep track of games I want to play/keep an eye on is super nice.

In a way, this has shown me a whole new problem: People don't know they want my product, but I think that's the entire premise of marketing...

This year, I'd like to set the gears in motion to free myself from working for other people.

Alright, that's it for now. See you soon.