New Year’s Post 2023

New Year’s Post 2023

I honestly can’t believe that 2022 is at an end. I remember sitting in a high school history class, thinking about what my life would be like in the 2020’s. The subject that day was imagining the future and the challenges we would face. Some of it was pretty poignant – computers and technology and what globalization meant. I think that’s why I remember it, because so much came true, but the future that Mr. Pat English, our history teacher predicted, seemed so far away at the time.

Now that it’s so many years later I wonder if the version I became would be palatable to my past self. My initial guess is perhaps, especially if he understood the many pitfalls he would endure and the shortcomings he would work upon. That version of Josh was definitely an ambitious fellow, but he was also lazier and generally unequipped to face the challenges he would endure.

I sit now thinking about how far I’ve come since that teenage version of myself, and how far I still want to go. All of us want to live life the best way we can, and we search for happiness that seems elusive at times, but we often forget to show gratitude for what we’ve received and experienced thus far. Breaking life down into smaller, pleasurable moments is one of the keys to living an enjoyable life. Here are the things I will build upon in 2023.

Health Improvements

I made significant strides in the advancement of my health by starting a weight training routine in 2022. After an initial health scare, I decided to meet again with my doctor and review my health results with her in a way I’d never attempted before. I made a real commitment to changing my health outcome with the insights from that meeting. Our assessment showed I was in a borderline stage where if I didn’t make improvements I would be facing a lifetime of prescription drugs and/or a serious health incident, but there was still time enough to avoid that result. I decided to be proactive and take charge instead, making little changes at first that snowballed into bigger ones.

Everyone knows the best way to improve your health is through consistent training and nutrition management. For the last six months I’ve lifted weights during my lunchtime hour at a small local gym in my neighborhood, so the next step is tackling the nutrition part for 2023. I am committing to eating more fruits and vegetables this year and less refined carbohydrates and sugar.

Financial Improvements

This is the year that we end our reliance on private daycare. I can’t imagine what the extra money in our bank account will do for us. It’s incredible how this expense impacted our lives, especially when paying for two children at the same time did a few years back. We spent the equivalent of our mortgage on it over the years, with the only break coming during COVID when we were all at home quarantining.

Overall our lifestyle in the second half of 2023 won’t change, not with inflation and the rate environment the way it is, but we will definitely have more peace of mind going forward. I suspect we’ll take another year before making any big decisions financially, probably opting to further eliminate any debt and increase college savings. We’ve been talking about a recreational vehicle, especially since we can get a space at the club to put one in and have a little weekend getaway spot, as the largest recipient of the extra cash flow.

Career Planning

I have a lot to consider now. The last four years have been about building the skills I needed to do my current job well as I transitioned out of accounting/finance and into a client facing technical role. I’ve grown a lot in what I can do and how I can do it. Being a behind the scenes “worker bee” does fit me, but I’m not sure anymore that it satisfies me personally, especially since I’ve taken leadership roles in the community organizations I volunteer time. I am going to think about this more in 2023 and think about a vertical move.

My largest deficit right now and one that I can tackle immediately is skills based. I will earn my AWS Cloud Computing certificate and complete my Python studies in 2023. This will position me in a great way moving forward in my field of study surrounding data engineering and business intelligence. These will also have value in my current role in the future as the technology there evolves.

Cub Scouting

I took a major advancement in scouting as I now position myself for a leadership role at the pack level. I am positioning this as a way to provide service to others. I used to spend a lot of time in conservation organizations but a lot of that felt empty to me when I realized I was just showing well to do new retirees how to while away their time pursuing outdoor sports, instead of focusing on the many challenges our freshwater fisheries face.

Scouting as an adult is not what I expected, I will admit it. It is incredibly involved. There are hours of training and workshops and meetings to attend. “Every scout deserves a well trained leader” is one of their many slogans. If anyone tells you it is only an hour a month, laugh in their face! However, I will admit the training’s been helpful in other aspects of my life.

The overall payoff comes with the youth. These kids will remember these experiences long after I am gone. I hope it builds character in them and enables them to reach their potential. Perhaps I am just being the adult I needed when I was younger. Maybe there is healing there. I do believe that service to others is the real key to happiness though. Once you start living for others everything kind of changes.

Railroad Tracks in West Chester, Ohio
Railroad Tracks in West Chester, Ohio


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