Reflections on 2023

This year was a busy year. At first glance, I’m not sure what progress I’ve made. It is demoralising to think I have wasted a year. The title and direction of this post changed a bit as I reflected on the past year. I didn’t make any intentional goals for 2023. Without a goal, can I fail to have achieved it?

This year has overly focused on rowing and rowing captaincy to the detriment of other things in the short term. Long term I hope I will benefit with a good fitness basis, some firm friends and the experience of a leadership role.


My most significant improvements were non technical. I think this past year for work has been okay. I intend to make next year better.


A year of being club captain has exposed lots of my weaknesses. These are improving with practice. Prior to being captain, I’ve not held a formal leadership position. I’ve had lots of people to help support me.


I’ve focused on my personal rowing and being club captain at the cost of my other hobbies this year. It’s not sustainable. It is acceptable for a limited time. Once I am training less, and no longer captain I hope to return to my old hobbies, and try some new ones. I’ve messed writing for this site, studying new technology and building things. When I’ve tried that this year I’ve felt guilt each time, as there’s normally a lot of other captaincy work I could be doing.

With the focus, I hope I have improved at rowing. I’ve been sick multiple times this year, each time setting back my progress. I have been pleased with my approach when handling these setbacks, as it is demoralising each time.


Don’t think I got the balance with my marriage and friendships right this year. I am pleased to have made developed some friendships, but I have also made some big mistakes from prioritising the wrong things.

I’ve been fortunate that up until this year, I’ve rarely had anyone I “didn’t like”. I’m rarely assertive, mostly empathetic and haven’t had to make unpopular decisions, which has helped this. My role as captain has required that to change, leading to the rare occurence of not liking people (and suspecting they don’t like me). With patience, I remember that “I am their baddie”, even though I think I have been reasonable. Everyone is doing their best. This is sometimes hard to embody, but I am getting good practice.

There are regularly past and future events that cause me stress, anxiety and loss of sleep. I’ve been blessed not to experience this much until this year. I’ve had to learn some new techniques to handle it. Like a muscle, experiencing it has toughened me up somewhat as well. Things that would have seriously bothered me now seem minor. I’m also better (but need more work) at compartmentalising my emotions. This year I have regularly been absent minded and not present with friends and family..

I’ve also learnt to intentionally invest in my relationships. At the beginning of last year I planned a date for each month. This worked well for me, and I intend to repeat it. Whilst lacking spontaneity, it’s better than my default of doing nothing!

What about 2024?

Rough direction for 2024