Review of 2023
I got a lot more done in 2023 than I’d hoped. Part of that was reducing and simplifying various things, but a larger part was actually knuckling down and getting things done.
In the ‘reduce’ pile, I closed down a swathe of old online accounts that I no longer use or need. The processes varied from a few quick steps online to having to jump through hoops and explain to people that yes, I really didn’t want or need the account any more. The latter occurred a lot more often than I’d like. As for those sites & services that didn’t even acknowledge the concept of closing an account… I shook my head, changed the password then logged out forever and zapped that entry from my password manager.
(A few sites no longer even exist, so I can only hope that the information I gave them went into the bit-shredder. Sadly, I very much doubt that.)
The simplifications were to my devices, for the most part. I pulled a load of apps from both my iPhone and iMac that no longer served a useful purpose or were no longer necessary. A major driver in this process was my desire to get more use out of stuff I already have, and also to have fewer distractions, friction points and potential rabbit-holes to fall down. Additionally, I want to use my iPhone primarily as a phone that also lets me communicate and take photos, rather than as something to pull out of my pocket and poke at when I’m bored. So games in particular have been banished, though I’ve had to restrain myself at times from reinstalling them in moments of weakness. Old habits die hard, it seems.
The big winners in this evaluation have been BBEdit, Keyboard Maestro, Typinator and — for a change — the Terminal app. Yes, I’m easing back into the command line world, but only where it makes sense to do so. Others, such as iA Writer and DEVONthink, are staying for now but will be evaluated again in the coming year.
The ‘getting things done’ part of 2023 involved a lot of learning, and in some cases relearning. I finally got back up to speed with Blender 3D after a multi-year gap between last using it in anger, something I’ve very pleased about. I’m also a lot more comfortable with using regular expressions, though I will be using that knowledge sparingly. But the majority of my relearning in 2023 involved digging into the tools that I use every day and making them work better for me.
(On the subject of learning, I’m gradually winding down my use of Udemy as a learning resource. I’m not sure what has driven their UI changes, but it has rendered a lot of course material almost unusable for me. Also, a lot of the courses I’d bought in the past are either irrelevant or out-of-date now — luckily, most of those were bought in sales, so I don’t feel so bad. By comparison, Teachable, which David Sparks uses for his MacSparky Field Guides, is a joy to use. But I’m definitely considering investing in more textual learning and reference material in future rather than video courses.)
I also started — emphasis, started — the process of sorting out my end-of-life documents. It’s not something I enjoy doing or thinking about, but I’m aware that I’m very much at mid-life now so these are things I need to get out of the way and taken care of.
On the life front, I’m doing pretty well physically, and a lot better mentally now. I had an NHS Health Check at the end of November, and apart from slightly elevated blood pressure and BMI everything is ticking along nicely. Changes to my diet and exercise regime have helped a lot. On the mental health side, I’m getting better at spotting problems and taking steps to tackle them. The state of the world in general, and the UK in particular, don’t help, so I’ve been finding things to focus on that give me hope and optimism.
Overall, 2023 was an okay year — not great, but not terrible either. I’m steeling myself for the prospect that 2024 could be the same, but hoping that at least I can maintain the momentum I’ve built up.
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