Another year has gone by
And in response, I simply sigh
Another year has taken place
I guess I’ll handle it with grace?
Another year, the same old grind…
And yet I feel I’ve fallen behind

As you might know if you’ve read my equivalent post from last year, I am now 35 years old (and 3 days). If we consider “working years” to range from 20 to 65 – which seems a decent definition – then I am 1/3 of the way through them, 1/3 of the way through my career. So, theoretically, we should see my résumé at least triple in impressiveness by the time I retire!

Thinking about this year as 1/3 of the way to retirement is definitely less depressing and existentially terrifying than thinking of 35 as half-way to 70. I think it’s also more realistic. The type of processes I was undergoing from 0-20, the type of growth, the type of tasks, the level of (lack of) freedom, is so different, overall, from my adult life. Of course, 17 might be a better cut-off year, because that’s when I left home and went to college, but that kind of takes the spin out of 1/3, so I’ll keep in terms of 20. And besides, 1/3 of the way through my career seems appropriate for this blog, as much as I talk about programming on it!

Like last year, I’d like to reflect on the previous year. I don’t have such a laundry list of achievements as I mentioned in that previous post, which is fair: I didn’t rebuild a life (kind of) from scratch with a different town to live in, housing situation, and medication (and therefore brain structure).

And indeed, that wasn’t my goal. Unlike 2022 where my theme was rebuilding, my theme for 2023 was growth. By “growth,” I meant an active settling in, a deepening or intensification of the new life I’d built. And I think I managed that. I spent time settling to the new life, getting more used to it, getting closer to the people around me, and solidifying it.

As for the blog, it’s not really growing, which is sad, but it is approximately holding steady, which is good. 34 posts this year (by also including this post) compared to 37 last year isn’t too bad:

$ ls | grep ^2 | cut -f1 -d- | uniq -c # Count posts per year
      3 2017
      1 2018
     17 2019
      5 2020
      3 2021
     37 2022
     33 2023

Alas, I have not transitioned my blog from mostly polemic to mostly educational. My most recent technical post, instead, very controversially criticized a well-established mechanic for organizing software complexity. But! I’ve also not let it fade away, in spite of having had a few curveballs thrown at me this year. And in the meantime, I’ve also done substantially more writing outside of the blog, which is not publicly available.

My goals for the blog remain approximately the same as last year. I’d like to do more educational content. I’d like to write more non-technical stuff. I have to say, the polemic technical content gets views and reactions and spark. That’s hard to beat, and the effort I put in explaining things for more educational content often gets the reaction of “yep, checks out, makes sense.” Perhaps I can find a decent balance somewhere – or find a way to keep the educational content more interesting. If at first you can’t succeed, as they say, try, try again.

In the past year I did get a new job, working for Amtrak. Several of my friends also got new jobs, two of them specifically becoming teachers. Jobs transitions are a lot, I can say from inside of one. This came along with (in my case) a transition from working from home to hybrid, and a commute that includes a driving component (for the first time in my life!), so that was a lot.

In my next year, I know what my theme will be, but I’m not entirely sure what the best word for it is. It will have something to do with being balanced about how I spend my time, and intentional about how I spend my emotional resources. Prioritized or focused might be it, but not “focused” on productivity or “prioritizing” my work and chores correctly, but a bit more general than that. Definitely, it has to do with being intentional about the most precious resources I have: my evenings and my weekends, so as to make sure I can connect with the people I care most about while also building in the types of activities I need to do and maintaining the parts of my life that need active maintainance.

I suppose the one-word theme will be this: balance. I will try to keep balanced, intentional, well-considered and well-prioritized about how I spend my time and emotional energy, rather than just dancing from plan to plan and idea to idea as they arise, and agreeing to things based on things like guilt or unexamined excitement or even just thoughtless and distracted accumulation of plans. (No, instead I shall overwhelm myself with curated and careful accumulation of plans!)

All in all, a very difficult theme perhaps for an ADHD-er, but perhaps for that very reason, an important one.