2023 in review
December 28, 2023
I've hesitated to write year in review posts before because they often feel overly formal or cringey, but whatever, let's embrace it.
2023 was a wild, transitionary year that marked the end of our 'getting started' stage of life. The highlights are:
- Worked with 6 freelance clients doing design and development
- Bought our first house and moved across the country
- Worked on the launch of 2 new products at Grafana
- Started a new job at Knock
H1 - The last push
My wife and I got married at 21 and had 2 kids and 1 on the way by the time we graduated college 😅. The last 5 years have been an intense grind of school, work, and raising babies.
The first half of 2023 felt like the last push of that era.
With education, work, and kids in a good spot, our next major goal was buying a home to raise our family in.
To pay for house-hunting trips and save up a down payment, I decided to take on some extra freelance work. I worked with 6 great clients doing a mix of design and development.
- Design for a FinOps SaaS
- Built a financial planning tool for a mortgage brokerage
- Design for a customer engagement startup
- Built an app to visualize veterinary lab diagnostics
- Dev for a product design feedback tool
- Built a church conference website
I didn't get much sleep, but I did learn a lot, and we hit our savings goals.
This was by far the most freelancing I've done at one time. I really enjoyed it and could see myself doing it full time in the future with some process changes.
My wife also worked incredibly hard on her art business trying new product lines, illustrating a children's book, and selling at markets. I'm really proud of her and how her art has evolved this year. Her art Instagram account meganlindseyillustration grew from 2k to over 13k followers this year.
In 2022, we'd done some research and trips to explore new parts of the country and decided we wanted to move to the Pacific Northwest. As I was winding down with my last few clients, we packed up the minivan and took a trip to explore more of the PNW and further narrowed down our house-hunting search. After a few lost offers, we got one accepted and moved in July!
Since then, we've loved exploring the area and being close to both the water and mountains.
I unfortunately did not get the balance right and ended up pretty burned out. I think once the rush of everything was over, I was finally able to feel it. One way I noticed was I felt a lot more cynical whereas I'm usually pretty excited about new tech, tinkering on projects, etc.
H2 - Making space
The second half of the year I've focused on making space for things I'd been deprioritizing.
- Fitness. I've made decent progress this year eating healthier and being more active. I've lost ~15 pounds (235 to 217) which feels great.
- Music. I sold my guitar in college to help pay for school and haven't played in a few years which I regret. I bought a new guitar (PRS SE Custom 24-08), piano, and midi controller and have been playing every day for a few months.
- Games. I love games and have been enjoying playing video games myself and board games with my family. Some I've really enjoyed this year: Hollow Knight, Stardew Valley, Wingspan, and Everdell.
- Game dev - I've also started working on games again using Godot. I've been tracking my progress through weekly learning logs.
- Building for fun. I built a few projects with no expectations or stress like To Be X in Elixir and two chrome extensions.
A new job
I also reevaluated my career trajectory and decided to join Knock which has been a blast. I've loved working on a small team and having the chance to work in React and Elixir.
On the side, SwipeWell has continued to grow steadily, if slowly. We launched team plans which has made for a decent bump in MRR and provides a good path for future growth. Corey and I got to hang out twice in person (once in San Diego and once in Portland at a Microconf Local) which was a lot of fun.
2024 - Looking ahead
I'm not setting any ambitious goals or resolutions for the new year. I mostly want to keep doing what I've been doing the last few months.
- Fitness. I want to keep eating well, exercising, and spend a lot more time outside. I'm really excited about paddleboarding as much as I can this summer. My only 'goal'-goal this year is to lose another 20 pounds to get under 200 pounds.
- Music. I want to play a lot of guitar and piano this year. Maybe I'll write a few songs for a game.
- Game dev. I want to keep following my curiosity and track what I'm doing through weekly learning logs. I want to participate in at least 2 game jams as well as play a bunch of great games from my backlog.
Things will change a lot over the next 12 months, so I'm just going to follow my curiosity and have some fun along the way.