Lessons you can take with you in 2023 to make next year happier, healthier, and more successful.
Personally, it’s been one hell of a year for me! This was one of the most bittersweet years of my life.
I am sure many of y’all had an extremely challenging year too. To those of you, I say, awesome job on surviving and trying your best, and I hope 2023 brings you lots of joy and happiness.
I always like to end my years with reflections. Most of these reflections happen in private, usually in the dark of the night. However, this year, I wanted some of my reflections to be out in the open.
I hope y’all will find something interesting from this blog post and find at least one life lesson helpful that you can carry with you into 2023.
2022 has been one of the most pivotal years of my life. Lots have changed around me. Lots have changed in me.
I am entering 2023, one year wiser, and equipped with these 10 lessons that I hope will make my life more joyful, full of energy, and sprinkled with “little successes”.
The Power Money Gives Me
I have never been someone who chased money too hard.
I live a very simple and minimalist life, so most of the money I make ends up going into investments and savings accounts. I know I am privileged that way, and I am always grateful for that.
Because of that mindset, I never understood the power of money. I saw it as something that pays my bills, and now and then helps me splurge a little on something fancy that I like.
I never equated money with mental peace and security, That is, until the summer of 2022.
In the summer of 2022, I was in the middle of moving from the United States to Canada. While waiting for my immigration papers to go through, I didn’t have work authorization to work in the States for a couple of weeks.
That means, no paycheck for a couple of weeks.
It didn’t matter to me. My life went on just the same. That’s when I realized the importance of money. It gives you a sense of freedom. I didn’t have to worry about a job because I knew I had enough saved up to last me a couple of years, as long as there weren’t any massive emergencies and my lifestyle did not change drastically.
The thought that I didn’t need to depend on anyone else, but myself, was a big peace of mind.
That’s when I realized the power of money for me. It’s not the purchasing power it gives me, but the peace of mind and security that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.
Importance of Diversifying Income
If you have followed my writing for a while now, you know how big of a fan I am of diversifying income sources.
It’s very risky to depend on one source of income. In this economy, you never know when the source will dry up — you get fired from your job, your business runs out of money in this economy, people stop finding your content valuable, etc.
This fear was instilled in me partly by the job market situation at the peak of COVID-19, and partly by my Computer Science background where I first-hand observed problems related to a single point of failure (SPF).
That’s why, starting in 2020, I started to create a few income sources.
In the last 3 years, these sources have all contributed to a non-trivial amount where I am lucky enough to be able to pay off most of my necessary bills through my “side hustle” income, rather than dipping into my full-time paychecks.
Just by the nature of these other incomes, some months I still have to take money from my primary job’s paycheck. I am okay with that.
Similar to having a healthy emergency fund, having multiple income sources gives me peace of mind that I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.
Work is Not The Most Important Thing
I graduated in 2019 and moved to San Francisco as a full-time software engineer.
In the past couple of years, being in San Francisco, work became my identity. Every decision I took revolved around my work life and future career prospects.
Everything I look at, I looked at it through the lens of work/success / career.
I got to know some amazing people in San Francisco and made some lifelong friends. However, I didn’t have any family in California, let alone San Francisco. For the most part, I was also not dating in San Francisco.
This ultimately meant that my focus was mostly on work. Family, friends, and relationships had to take a backseat.
However, all of that changed in the Summer of 2022.
I moved to Toronto with one of my closest friends from college. If you didn’t know already, I also have family in Toronto — my sister, brother-in-law, and my little niece.
Since moving, I have been spending more and more time with them. I also reconnected with a few old friends who are living in Toronto right now. And of course, I have some of my college friends here.
Spending so much time with them and making so many new memories put things into perspective for me. Some things in life are more important than work — family, relationships, and friends.
Don’t get me wrong. I still love working! If you ask anyone who knows me well, they will tell you that I spend most of my waking hours working. Sometimes, even on weekends…
However, I also spend time with my loved ones! I never had the luxury of having so many people I love so close to me (Just a 25 minutes drive!).
I want to have a very successful career, but not at the expense of my relationship with my loved ones.
Physical Health is the Foundation of Everything
I came across this brilliant self-reflection exercise in the book The Making of a Manager that went something like this:
Look back at your most successful period of 2022 (weeks, months, quarters) and try to see if there is any overarching theme.
I did that. And bang! The answer was right there.
Whenever I felt and did my best, also happened to be the times when I was at my physical best — working out, eating healthy, going out for runs, etc.
The answer was so simple. It was jumping out of the page!
That’s when I realized the importance of physical health. It affected everything I did in 2022.
I do my best work and I am my best version when I am physically active and eating healthy.
Being Consistent is Hard
If consistency was a coin, in 2022 I saw both of its sides.
On the bright side, I have been very consistent with my day job and Medium. That resulted in me getting promoted as a software engineer and later on moving to engineer management, while I have had some of my best months on Medium.
On the flip side, I have been very inconsistent with my health and YouTube. I can already see the effects of it, by looking at the weighing scale and my YouTube analytics numbers.
If you are consistent, you will be rewarded.
Now, it all comes down to me, being able to prioritize things better. I will never be able to do everything. So, I need to choose my battles wisely.
It’s much better to be consistent on a few things, than inconsistent on everything.
Heading into 2023, I want to pick a few things I want to be consistent in, and a few that I am okay sacrificing a little. It has to be a conscious decision though, that’s important.
I Am Not Motivated By Money
I always thought this was the case, but 2022 confirmed that.
Looking back, most of my highest effort and most rewarding work were not motivated by money.
A part of it is of course because I have been lucky enough to be able to save up enough to sustain my lifestyle comfortably.
Another part is also what I have been blessed with — all the opportunities that I have had that many people don’t. I am aware of my blessings. And I am grateful for them every night.
That being said, I can confidently say that the best work I do is not motivated by money. It’s usually one of these few:
- Having something on the horizon that I can aim at
- Chance to build something from scratch
- Helping people, making them happy, and having a positive impact on someone’s life
Of course, that doesn’t mean I am idealistic. I am aware of the importance of money, and how it helps me sustain this lifestyle. That’s why I find a way to monetize wherever possible (that’s why all the affiliate links at the end sorry!).
Everyone Comes Into Your Life For a Reason
In the last couple of years, a large number of people came into my life and then left. It used to affect me a lot. I used to overanalyze the situation.
Something similar happened in 2022.
However, I have come to believe in this:
Everyone comes into your life for a reason.
I have learned to cherish the good memories, wish them the best, and move on. Sometimes things don’t work out and that’s okay.
I strongly believe that everyone that comes into your life, comes for a reason. Whether it’s a good lesson or a bad one, everyone has something to teach you.
Looking back at 2022, I had people that came into my life and have left. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t have a lasting impact on you. Even if for a short amount of time, people can change you for the better or worse.
I am glad that in my case, most of the impact was positive and I will be entering the next year as a changed person.
I Messed Up… And that’s okay
Without going into too many details, I will just come out here and say that I messed up this year.
I made a big mistake this year, and I regret it.
When it happened, I started regretting immediately. I feel guilty about it until today. I could have handled the situation better, and surely I could have been less selfish.
I have changed aspects of my life since then.
I was very hard on myself when it happened. I couldn’t admit to myself that I messed up that badly. But, I guess it happens…
I am a better person since it happened, and I guess that’s how you grow in life.
You mess up, let yourself down, and beat yourself up about it. Then, you pick yourself back up, change for the better, and grow as a person.
I Found Some New Passions
I never realized that I loved reading, writing, and learning so much until this year.
I started reading back in 2019, and I did some writing in 2020. However, most of those were with the intention of self-improvement and generating alternative sources of income.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed doing those, but the motivation was different.
This year, I realized how much I love reading and writing.
In the recent past, I clung to my title of “software engineer” very tightly. It became part of my identity. If anyone asked me what I loved doing, I would just default to answering: “Programming or coding”.
I still enjoy programming, but I developed so many other interests.
Now if someone asks me what I love doing, I can answer with these:
- Learning or exploring ideas I was never exposed to before
- Building things through code that brings value to people’s lives
Never Take Things Personally
I will end the post with one of the biggest lessons I have learned this year.
It’s not worth taking personally what others say or do.
People can make a comment, accuse you of something, or try to hurt you, just because they are going through something in life, or just out of sheer insecurity.
It’s not worth wasting your time over someone else’s actions.
I have learned to give people the benefit of the doubt, assume the best intention, and brush it aside.
Taking things personally makes you salty and you spend a lot of time thinking about something that is not under your control.
I hope you found this a valuable read and have some takeaways that you can go ahead and implement in your wonderful lives.
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