365 Days Later.

Last year, instead of my usual annual bullet point summaries, I wrote a long form post to sum up the year. It was my way to compensate for the low number of post I’d published in 2022. Given the number of posts I’ve published in 2023, it’ll have to be long form this year as well.

Without further ado, here’s my 2023 in 10 minutes or less.

The Site

Let’s start with the low number of posts. Including the one you’re reading now, I published exactly one (1) post in 2023. The reason is simply that I’ve had absolutely no desire to write. There are a lot of topics that get me fired up, like climate change, artificial intelligence, and how internet dating at 45 is a total nightmare. But I didn’t feel like writing anything about any of that, and over the years of writing, I’ve come to realize that forcing myself to write is a very bad idea. So instead I opted for the easy solution: Don’t write.

I’m not sorry.

Will we see more posts in 2024? I doubt that, I even had to force myself to write the post you’re reading now.

The Books

So what did I do with all the spare time I saved by not writing? I’ve read a couple of books. As part of my A Book A Month project, I read a total of 20 books, which the observant reader will note is a lot more than a book a month. One of the reasons for this is that I’ve been cheating a little; some of the titles are novellas, and not actual novels.

All the novellas are part of the fantastic The Murderbot Diaries series by Martha Wells, a series I highly recommend if you enjoy science fiction about a murderous and depressed construct, part robot, part human, who only wishes to watch soap operas, but somehow stumbles across adventure anyway.

In addition to the books about Murderbot, I also read, among other things, an interesting biography about Napoleon1, Frank Herbert’s amazing Dune (which I read every summer), and four books by sci-fi writer John Scalzi.

The Pictures

This year, like the previous 10 years, I’ve been taking and posting a new picture every day: A Picture A Day. Many of them are of my kids, or other people, pictures which are only available behind a private login. But here are a few public highlights:

A pink and violet sunset over a fjord.
An office building complex under construction at dusk.
A street at dusk covered with an untouched layer of snow.
The desolate high mountains during the summer.
A field of green wheat. A deer is popping its head up in the distanse.
A frozen swamp with a thin layer of snow on.

As I do every year, I strongly recommend that you also start to take a picture every day. It’s great of remembering things, even the things you’re trying to forget. Yay.

The Physical Health

In February, I replaced my trusty old Garmin Forerunner 235 with another Forerunner model, the 745. The new model is more accurate than the old 235, so I won’t be comparing anything with 2022-numbers because it will be a bit like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges. But in 2023…

  • I took 3 027 552 steps, totalling 2 466,21 kilometers (1532.43 miles). I average 8 317 steps per day, which is about 2K short of what I’ve read is the recommended number of steps.
  • I slept an average of 7h 17m per night, which is about as much as I need. I usually feel rested when I wake up, but it wouldn’t hurt me to push the average sleep time to 7h 30m, or even closer to 8 hours.
  • I had 105 sessions on the rower, which is up 16 sessions compared to last year. I covered a total distance of 525 kilometers (~326 miles). My goal has been 3 sessions per week, but I’ve usually only managed 2. My worst month was December, when I only managed to cram in 2 sessions because of a stint of what I suspect was either a very bad cold or a mild case of COVID-19.
  • My weight didn’t fluctuate too much. My lowest weigh in was in March at 69,5 kilograms (153 pounds), while my max weight was in July at 74 kilograms (163 pounds). Right now I’m at 72 kilograms, which feels just about right for my height. It’s also the exact weight I ended last year with.
  • According to Garmin, my average resting heart rate this year has been 47 beats per minute. I’m not quite sure how this is calculated, if sleeping is considered resting, for instance. The heart has been an interesting topic this year, which we’ll get to soon.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my physical health right now. I have, after all, managed to push it to 45.

The Heart

Early this year, I started to get a bit bored at times. It was a weirdly great feeling because it meant that the old nugget was perhaps slowly letting go of the endless stream of ifs and buts that had occupied my mind since the divorce, which was about two years ago at the time I came down with a small case of boredom. So what to do with that excess mental energy? I talked to a friend of mine, who is a serial entrepreneur and always has something new in the pipeline. When he offered me to latch on to one of his companies, I though that was a great idea.

But, boy, was I wrong!

It turned out I didn’t really have any excess mental energy at all, I was merely walking a very thin line between being a tad bored and having a very bad time. The project I had gotten myself tangled in wasn’t particularly technically challenging, and there was no hard deadlines to speak of. But not working on it still stressed me the fuck out. So instead of relaxing in my spare time, I felt really guilty whenever I was not working on the project.

Not long after I started working on the project, I noticed that I could feel my heart beating when I laid down. That can’t really be considered a bad thing, since hearts should beat. But I’d never noticed it before. Over time, it became more prevalent, and I decided to book a doctor’s appointment to have it checked out. It was around this time I realized I had to prioritize my own mental health over the potential of getting a sizeable share in what might one day become a money press. So I told my friend I had to bail, handed over the work I’d done so for, and thanked him for the opportunity.

Getting out when I did was, unfortunately, too late, and a couple of days after I bid the startup adieu, I found myself in the emergency room with sweaty palms, numb limbs, and (what felt like) an uneven heart rate2. But they couldn’t really find anything wrong at the emergency room, so they sent me along to my doctor, who in turn passed me on to a cardiologist.

Over the next couple of months I went through a variety of different tests, took beta blockers for a while, and then I was probed some more. But the doctors found nothing out of the ordinary, and now I’m back where I was before all this happened. No more beta blockers, no more tests. And no more numb limbs, constantly feeling my heart beat, and uneven heart rate. Now I’m feeling perfectly fine.

That I went through all of this is good. My grandfather died of heart problems, by father almost did the same. So I’d say there is a possibility I’ll have some heart-related health issues myself some time in the future. With all the tests that was done this year, I have a base line for how everything looked when I was 45 years old, which could help the doctors diagnose and treat any future issues I might have with the heart.

The Mental Health

Like all of you, I’m having good days and bad days. But what I have most of now are just days. I’ve always been a rather emotionally flat lined guy. It’s not like I don’t have emotions, but I rarely have emotional high peaks or abysmal lows. I think many men feel this way. For me, that changed when the divorce hit around three years ago, and I suddenly had the pleasure of learning how I handled staring into the deep, dark abyss3.

Now I’m slowly but surely returning to my old self of rarely being very sad or very happy, and I have to admit that suits me better than riding the emotional roller coaster. That said, being a little bit more in touch with the touchy-feely would probably be good for me in the long run, and I wouldn’t mind climbing an emotional high peak or two soon.

The Perspective

One of the techniques I’ve been using a lot when I’ve been feeling blue is to try to get a perspective on things, and to appreciate how amazing my life really is despite everything that has happened in the past 3-ish years.

Let’t bullet point this part because my desire to write is falling like a rock right now.

  • I don’t live in Ukraine, Gaza or Sudan. Or any other place that is really not the best place to live right now.
  • My economy is fairly good.
  • My physical and mental health is as good as can hope for.
  • I have a healthy social life, and good friends.

The above list might seem a bit silly to some of you. But appreciating things that you take for granted is important. Also, some of the things you take for granted are things that other people would gladly chop of their right hand to have. And I’m not talking about material things, but something as basic as having a friend.

Appreciate your friends.

The Future

Last year, my wish for 2023 was that it would become the least eventful year so far in my life. On a personal level, it has been pretty uneventful, at least if you disregard the heart incident and the subsequent medical stuff. On a global level, however, things have not been as quiet, with, among other things, more extreme weather spelling doom for humanity (and people not really give a fuck unless they find themselves right smack in the middle of it), and Israel deciding to bomb Gaza well beyond the stone age.

But I can’t quite give up hope that there will come a year that will go down in history as the year no one really remembers. Let’s make 2024 that year.

Now go give someone important in your life a hug, and tell them how much they mean to you. They might not know it 💜

Here are summaries from previous years: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004.

  1. From which I learned stuff that actually made me useful at a quiz for once. ↩︎

  2. It’s unlikely that getting involved in the startup was the sole reason all this happened, but I’m sure it was a major contributing factor. ↩︎

  3. Not always great, but I managed to pull myself out of the hole with good help from my friends. ↩︎


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