Another year over: Looking ahead to 2023

Nick Felker
5 min readDec 31, 2022
A weekend visit in Boston to see the fall foliage

Like everyone else, this holiday week gave me a chance to reflect on the past year and start making plans for the year ahead.

The year started slow, and then proceeded to rush towards the end. Some things were accomplished, others I forgot about. And now we are at the end.

Accomplishments

Covers for two books I published

I was quite busy in the last year. Or at the very least I have created a lot of content.

This starts with a fantasy series I’d spent a lot of time writing over the years. I decided to go back and take a second look. I’ve added a lot of content and get professional covers made. Already I’ve released the first two, with at least four more on the horizon.

I’ve been tracking my reading in Goodreads for many years

I’ve read a lot of books, finishing 45 in total. It’s not exactly the 60 I had planned, but that was a stretch goal anyway.

I’ve been busy exploring in the realm of food, reaching Level 9 in Google Maps and trying a lot of new recipes.

And I’ve continued to produce silly skits on TikTok.

I’ve spent time with friends and made a number of new ones, both online and offline.

My career move was completed, moving out of Developer Relations into Software Engineering. I finished all of the required courses for my thesis, and I’ve written a bunch of technical blog posts on this very blog.

Not everything I was hoping for did happen, but some things wind up out of your control. In the next year I hope to gain more control.

Things are looking up

While Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is barbaric, we’ve also seen Ukraine managing to gain the upper hand while Russia’s economy bled. We’ve seen economic uncertainty all year, but inflation seems to be settling without high unemployment.

Overall, I’d say this is a year that shows the value of optimism. The Inflation Reduction Act provides a strong background for a green future, but we actually need to build that future into existence.

Our biggest enemies today are ourselves. We managed to achieve a major nuclear fusion breakthrough and few people noticed. Those that did seemed intent on minimizing this accomplishment. Sure, we can’t fix things in the snap of a finger, but we’re not treading water.

There seems to be a plague of cowardice across the world, particularly in developed nations, that our problems are intractable and the only possible future is doom. It’s important that we reject these cowards. Nuclear fusion has moved out of the realm of science-fiction and into science.

We need to celebrate the good things that come our way. Plenty of good news has been happening in climate for quite a while. If you truly believe something is a problem, we must believe that it can be fixed. Matt Yglesias recently said:

Encouraging people to associate environmentalism with anxiety and paralysis rather than a can-do spirit doesn’t seem constructive to me. The reason negative attitudes prevail on this topic is the same reason negative attitudes prevail on all topics: the consumers of media like negativity.

Jerusalem Demsas took a careful and fair look at the fusion breakthrough and pointed out a pressing concern:

The transition to clean and renewable energy is partly an engineering problem, yes, but it’s mostly a political/regulatory one.

The future is a policy choice, and we need to reject the political cowardice and pick policies that actually work to get what we want.

Looking ahead

“Objectives and key results” according to Midjourney

As I have done in years past, I am writing my resolutions along three distinct themes. These pillars will then be broken into subtasks, assigned quarterly, in the form of OKRs. Quantifying goals can sometimes seen pedantic, but I do find it to be a useful way to track my resolutions.

Be More Awesome

I’ve realized that I’m awesome. At the very least, I am undervaluing how awesome I am relative to others. I need to embrace this and capitalize upon it to great effect.

I am to finish publishing my fantasy series in the next few months, and read 15 books by the end of March.

I aim to achieve Level 10 in Google Maps, achieving a total of 100,000 points by the end of the year. That means reaching 70,000 points in the first quarter. I’d like to do a bit of travel as well, which will contribute to this goal.

Achieve High Status

The philosopher Hegel stated:

Self-consciousness exists in itself and for itself, in that, and by the fact that it exists for another self-consciousness; that is to say, it is only by being acknowledged or “recognized”

While I can spend my time in a semi-hedonistic lifestyle of eating at restaurants and vacations, I understand that economic achievements are a means to an end. In order to be happier, I do require some sort of recognition. This can come from both online and in-person communities.

Spending time with friends, joining new tech meetups, and improving my online clout are all ways to help reach this higher status that Hegel discusses.

Setup my career for the future

I have finished all of my graduate school courses. Now I just need to write a thesis. The very prospect of such a thing feels intimidating, but I aim to graduate with my Master’s degree by the end of the year. For the first quarter, this will probably mean mostly research and designing experiments.

I need to improve my productivity. There are too many task apps out there today but none really fit my need. I use Google Keep and Google Tasks and sometimes Zenkit, GMail, and Trello on occasion, all of which mean I spend too much time jumping between apps. I aim to build a better version that works for me.

Along the way, doing both of these things above, I want to continue developing my writing skills with more technical blog posts. I want to explore existing technical standards rather than trying to always invent something new.

Ultimately, at the end of the year I’m aiming for my career to have a fresh new direction.

Another year over — The new one just the same

This one line from Auld Lang Syne fits the melancholy of the tune, but I don’t think it’ll be true.

I expect next year to be quite memorable.

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Nick Felker

Social Media Expert -- Rowan University 2017 -- IoT & Assistant @ Google