Since I’m working today, we celebrated yesterday with a day trip to Kingston and Woodstock, where we visited a bunch of indie bookstores and two restaurants I’ve wanted to try. It was a really nice day!

I think this year has gone by faster than any year in recent memory.

It has been a great year in many ways, especially compared to the three years before:

  • Charlie is thriving. Paternity leave was very helpful for getting through the difficult infant days, and now that he is a toddler things seem like they are settling into a new normal. That means Amanda and I get more time for the two of us to spend together again, which we deeply appreciate.
    • I’ve been reflecting a lot on the last year and it is incredible to me the amount of growth that happens for a baby between 6 months and 18 months. This time last year he couldn’t crawl. Now he is running, climbing stairs, communicating, and very curious about the world. Amazing.
  • Work is feeling really good. I’m in a new position with new challenges and responsibilities more aligned to what I like to work on.
  • I’ve had more time after Charlie goes to bed (and during his naps) to do open-ended exploration. That manifested in major overhauls to this website’s functionality, getting into tiki drinks, and recently going down a weather station data rabbit hole.

One of the things I tried to follow this year is the idea that I should embrace what this season of life entails instead of wishing for an alternative. That helped me be more content with not doing things in the workshop or paddling on the river, and instead spend that time with Charlie. He won’t be a baby or toddler forever, and I don’t want to have squandered that time.

Taking stock on last year’s vectors:

  • Spend as much quality time as I can with Amanda and Charlie. Help Charlie learn, grow, and explore the world.
    • I think I did pretty well here, but given how tired I was most of the time, I wasn’t as present as I could have been for some of it. I think that will improve this year now that we are all sleeping through the night.
    • One thing I need to get better about is reminding myself that Charlie is learning, and his learning often looks like meticulously testing where the boundaries are for everything. This is often difficult to keep in mind when he lands on the wrong side of those boundaries. My job is to steer him back and help him learn learn where the boundaries are, even when it is frustrating for me. Getting frustrated means my expectations are not correctly set.
  • Read less news and social media; read fewer contemporary books and more old books.
    • I didn’t do great on the less social media part, especially toward the end of the year.
    • I think I slightly changed the percentage of older books, but not exactly how I had envisioned it. Too many contemporary books caught my attention, and I read less overall this past year than I would have liked.
  • Make more art.
    • This didn’t happen. At the time of writing this I was excited about creating generative art, but once the nice weather hit I only wanted to be outside.
    • This year I think this might look more like sketching.
  • Spend more time outside, tending to the garden, going for walks in the woods, and paddling on the Hudson. Get out in all weather, not just “nice” days.
    • I spent a lot of time outside, not much time on the water: Once on the Hudson river, once on the Croton river.
    • Going for walks with Charlie is wonderful. Even more fun now that he is so confident with walking and running.
  • Make more in the workshop.
    • I made a couple things (dry vase, ring holder, peg people) and fixed a couple things (like the leg to Charlie’s train table), but made less out there than I was expecting. This is okay. I know this season isn’t forever and I’ll probably get more workshop time as Charlie gets big enough to play in the yard by himself.
    • I helped my friend Jon do some timber framing, which scratched a bit of this itch. I also worked on a lot of digital projects (mostly on this website), which fit my desire to make things with the constraint of needing to be inside frequently.
  • Make some improvements around the house and yard.
    • I did a lot in the garden this year and put in new flowers, which were a welcome addition. In the house we did some childproofing, curtain hanging, made a play area for Charlie, put up new bookshelves in my office, and cleared out of some things we don’t need. More on the docket this year.
  • Continue blogging regularly.
  • Take part more in the local community in Peekskill.
    • Also a success. We made more friends with kids locally and have been getting out with them regularly. That has been very nice.

So, what do I want my thirty-fourth year to look like?

Much the same as the last year. Keep prioritizing quality, fully present time with Amanda and Charlie, and our family. Keep making things. Keep improving our lives & surroundings. Keep blogging. Keep fostering friendships.

Check out last year’s post, Thirty-two.

8 responses to “Thirty-three”

  1. Ricard Torres Avatar
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  7. Jeffrey Zeldman Avatar

    Happy belated birthday.

    Getting frustrated means my expectations are not correctly set.

    A lot of wisdom right there, friend.

    Make more art.
    This didn’t happen.

    You have a little human who was an infant and is now a toddler. And you have the opportunity, which many of our fathers did not, to spend time with him. That is wonderful, and it is naturally going to take precedence over everything else.

    One thing I did early on with Ava was draw with her, from the time that she could hold a crayon. In that way, I continued to make art (even if it was mostly deliberately very silly art), but my goal was not to make art, it was to make art with my kid.

    Anyway, enough unsolicited advice from me. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    P.S. You take amazingly great photos.

  8. David Wagner Avatar
    David Wagner

    Very interesting post. 33 is a good number.

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