This is my annual post look back at last year, 2023 in this case. It was an unusual year in a couple of respects. Most of 2023 was a blur as I had a very busy client project that consumed a lot of my time and the year seemed to fly by.
2023 started with a bang with a newly-released website and ended with yet another new website. I wrote a couple of blogs about the website changes so I won't repeat that here, but with Ghost, the platform I am using now, I'm already writing more and that's a good sign coming into 2024.
I wrote 7 blog posts in 2023, which I was really hoping would have been higher. 4 of those were in December. The busy schedule and challenges with my Hugo website were the primary culprits. I think 2024 will be better as my motivation to write is back and that’s a good thing. It’s been a few years since I produced a lot of meaningful content on here!
Year in review
The first half of the year was incredibly busy and I didn't have time to do much of anything other eat, sleep, and work. Overall, I had over 1900 billable hours in 2023 which was 400+ more hours than any previous year since I started my business in 2009. Even during my last two years working for a VAR, I was billing 1500-1600 hours per year. I feel like I spent the rest of 2023 trying to catch up - in sleep, in family time, etc.
Near mid-year, shortly after go-live on the project I was working on, I had some health issues. I went to the emergency department at my local hospital once for what seemed like extreme back pain, and in the end it may have been stress-related. I ended up taking several days off throughout June and early July. For a few weeks, it was an issue that would come and go, each time I had slightly less discomfort than the previous. I rarely get sick let alone take a day off, so that was unusual for me.
The summer was a welcome break from the pace of a busy work project, once we got past post-go-live data conversions and activities like that. In August, I had the opportunity to take a long vacation - long by my standards, not by European standards! My partner and I spent 3 weeks in BC on Vancouver Island, a place where we went in Summer 2022 as well and loved it enough to return last summer. I can envision moving west someday!
Coming back from summer vacation, we went right into my partner's father being admitted to hospital. Unfortunately, he never recovered and passed away in mid September. Fall was steady work-wise, but busy with family time outside of work.
Towards the end of the year, I signed up with Ghost as a blogging platform. I slowly started working through migrating my site over, finally having it go live in December 2023. As I write this, the developer I’m working with is making some final tweaks to the theme for me and I’m excited to see those changes.
Some of the highlights that come to mind as I look back at 2023:
- The successful completion of the client project (a merger of two Dynamics GP clients including the implementation of a couple of net-new merged companies).
- I got back to the Pacific Northwest 3 times in 2023: MVP Summit in April 2023, summer vacation in British Columbia in August 2023, and PASS Data Summit in November 2023.
- Finally using the last of my COVID flight credits from cancelled 2020 flights! Yay for that and boo to United Airlines for having the worst policies around using those of all the credits I had to use.
- Getting my MVP renewal when I least expected it.
- Staying mostly healthy (from COVID, cold, flu or any of the other things that others have gone through).
What does 2024 look like?
I think 2024 will be a challenging year and I must say it’s not starting well. I started writing this post from a hospital emergency room again. I think I’ve been in the hospital 5 times in my life, not including when I was born, and 2 of the 5 have been in the last 7 months. The first 3 times were more than 30 years ago. I’m not liking that trend. Long story short, I had some symptoms of what could have been cardiac issues (my reason for going to emerg), but also could be one of a number of other things. So far it seems to be gastrointestinal-related issues. I will need to be patient with the start of the year as I won’t be feeling myself and there is still some work to do to identify what the issue is and how to resolve it.
Business-wise, I will be focusing on building back a client base. Since COVID began, I have not focused on that as much. It will be a bit of a rebuilding year which is okay with me as I clearly also need to pay attention to my health and wellbeing.
There might be a move in my future to a new house, possibly a new city, although that is just an idea at this point my partner and I are considering.
Travel-wise, I’m registered for MVP Summit in March 2024, and looking at other Power BI/Fabric conferences. I’ll attend one more, whether that is returning to PASS Data Summit in November or something else, I’m not sure yet.
Despite the start of 2024 so far, I am cautiously optimistic about what this year might bring.