Timothy Rice

2023 Retrospective

Definitely better than 2022

Looking Back at 2023

2023 is continuing the trend of my 30’s of gradually eroding what little remaining free time I had left. While some life-space was reclaimed by the addition of regular day time childcare for our rambunctious toddler, it was quickly absorbed by a Master’s program, a new role at work, and a fourth child. As I write this, he’s at my feet trying to eat my toes. I’m grateful that I read Four Thousand Weeks this year – it gave me the mindset I needed to guiltlessly say no to a lot of things I really wanted to do but don’t have time for right now.

I didn’t set many goals for 2023, something that I’m looking to change for 2024. The only concrete objective I had was to read at least 50 books, which I accomplished. This had some higher order effects (mostly getting me off my phone), which was fantastic. I’m planning to write a future post about my efforts to unplug from screens.

Professionally, I was able to move into a architecture position with a bigger scope of responsibility. This was something I had been looking to do and I got lucky that the role opened and I was able to smoothly jump into it. It’s been challenging transition as I struggle to adapt to the new hard and soft skill requirements, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow.

Overall 2023 was a decent year, definitely an improvement over the pre-childcare COVID years. We’ve completed our adjustment to a six-person household and we should have a lot more space to do fun family activities in 2024.

The Relative Acceleration of Time

A lot is said about how time seems to go faster the older you get. There’s a lot of theories about why this is, but one that I don’t see mentioned is how in the frantic hustle of staying afloat it’s so easy to forget reflection and remembrance. It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday demands and don’t take time to look back at all that’s happened.

One unanticipated benefit of my 50 book reading goal is that it gave me a timeline of the year that I could look back on. When it felt like life was flying by at breakneck pace the glancing at my list of read books anchored me and gave perspective to all that had happened over the year.

I expect that journaling or reviewing photos taken over the year would have a similar effect. Conscious and deliberate acknowledgement of time’s passage slows it down.

Looking Forward to 2024

Like 2023, I expect 2024 to be a year of modest goals. Lacking the time for exotic new hobbies or interests I will continue to pare down to the essentials and focus more completely on them. For now, that means the following:

Reading – No use of free time is more personally rewarding for me than reading. I am upping my goal from 50 books to 60, which I think I should be able to accomplish easily.

Writing – This is my current creative outlet. While I’ve only written a little in the last year, it’s been tremendously rewarding every time I publish something and I want to really lean into it in 2024. Currently, my goals are:

  1. Publish something on this blog once a week (no restrictions on length or type of content).
  2. Write a review for every book I read in 2024.
  3. Journal 3x a week.

Acedemic – Keep my 4.0 in my Master’s program.

Fitness – Weightlift 3x/week, run 2x/week.

Professional – Develop into a better leader. This is a pretty soft goal without any measurement of success criteria (not usually good sign for a goal!), but I think I’m allowed to have one of those. It’s become clear to me in the last few months that I need to get more comfortable in my role as a technical leader within my organization. This is likely going to involve making some people upset from time to time, which is another thing I need to become comfortable with.

Personal – Date my wife more. At least 2x dates/month, doing something more than getting a nice meal together. We need to re-establish some activities in our relationship, now that we’re out of COVID and newborn purgatory.

I’m sure I’ll come up with lots of little objectives throughout the year, but for the bigger stuff that I plan to keep track of, that’s all I can handle.