2023 Retrospective

It’s getting to be that time of year; namely, the end of the year. What the heck happened in 2023? One of the (many) terrible things about getting old is that your life mostly stays the same, and it becomes harder and harder to pick out significant events that elevate you from your daily doldrums. That being said, when looking back, enough things happened to make 2023 somewhat memorable.

Things didn’t start off too well in the work department, as the old co-worker who hired me as an underling was fired in January. This was somewhat annoying, as one of the main reasons I took the job was to work with them again. That and to learn Elixir. It didn’t bode well that the company CEO would do such a thing, but I had only been working there for a few months, and didn’t really want to start job hunting again. I decided that I’d do the minimum and stay until things got untenable.

The family took the first trip of the year to Ft. Walton Beach, Flordia, during spring break. It was just “OK” — most of the beaches we went to were kinda dirty and small. My favorite, which was neither of those, was John Beasley Park. Every morning we walked the dog to an incredibly tiny spot of beach, which was kind of a fun, short-lived tradition. The kids had fun herding hermit crabs; fortunately we didn’t try to bring any back with us.

After coming back to Columbus, I didn’t have to wait too long until the workplace premonitions were fulfilled. The CEO decided that Elixir developers were too expensive, and that he’d have better luck with Node/JavaScript devs. To that end, he fired the backend web team (including me), in preparation for another rewrite of the webapp platform (the first rewrite left unfinished). Hopefully it works out for him; I have not been following the company’s fortunes, as it’s not my problem anymore!

Thus started two months of unemployment, which was both annoying and glorious. Annoying, because job hunting is the worst. Glorious, because working is also the worst. I spent quite a lot of time doing my own programming projects, including a series of grid-based games for my Ganbaru Games website. The newest Zelda video game, Tears of the Kingdom, was also released about two weeks into my sabbatical, which I played the heck out of. I also read quite a few books related to the history of personal computing, such as iWoz, Revolution in the Valley, and Dealers of Lightning.

I ended up getting an offer for a new job on my 42nd birthday, and started the last week of June. I’ve been working for, doing web-related things for their online loan application portal. My co-workers are great, but sometimes I can’t help wondering if I’m too old for webdev — I have a hard time getting excited about the prodigious amounts of code needed for today’s “best practices.”

Chan and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in August, so that seemed like a fairly significant milestone. Hard to believe it’s been 15 years, but then again our oldest is a teen now, so that makes it pretty real. The in-laws took the kids for an overnight, so we could pretend we were childless for an evening.

October centered around marathoning, as mentioned earlier. Whatever disease I caught between the first and second races really messed me up — it took over a month to recover. And then, of course, when I started feeling better, one of the kids gets sick and the whole cycle begins again. I’m still coughing up snot two months later.

We went to visit my dad’s side of the family in North Carolina twice in November. Unfortunately, the first visit was because my grandfather passed away — he was 92. We then returned for Thanksgiving feasting. The last travel of the year was a trip back to Nebraska, to visit my parents and catch up with some high school friends. Even though we all stayed together during the college years, there was a post-graduation disaspora (as you might expect). It had been about 10 years since I’d last seen some of these guys — we’re all old now, with families and stuff. Sadly, there’s never enough time to re-live the glory days of youth, though we did play a little Magic: the Gathering and Mario Kart 64.

In the end, how would I classify 2023? Was it “good” or “bad”? I guess a mixture of both, as one might imagine — more good than bad, fortunately. Life continues, and we try to make the best of it that we can. I expect to do the same in 2024.