Every year I write a list of things that gave me some sense of accomplishment. I started writing them in 2010. This year, in an end of year session with my team I said there isn’t much this year I’m proud of from the top of my head. That probably is a good reason to make the list anyway, even if I don’t particularly feel like it. I easily tend to forget things, and leafing through the calendar and my notes is always a useful exercise. So, in random order, here are the things for my 2023 Tadaa! list.

  • It was a busy year professionally but without stress. No hectic firefights, no curveballs.
  • With our entire team, my company took a training in Portugal with Bev and Etienne Wenger-Trayner. It was great to do a training with the entire team, on a topic that is very dear to me and highly relevant to our work, and having Bev and Etienne lead us through it. Bev I’ve known for decades, and Etienne’s work on learning and communities of practice has been central to my professional perspective for as long. Many different layers of meaning combined in that week for me, personally and professionally, and clarified how deeply I am emotionally tied to social learning, agency and change in my work. It was beautiful.
  • We added two people to our team, in February and October, and grew by almost a third in turnover. That we had a fun year together with good projects and providing us all with a stable income every month is something that gives me great satisfaction.
  • My role in supporting the interprovincial ethics committee, that started last January, I enjoy a lot, and there is plenty of potential there to do more. The advise by the committee on how/whether to use generative AI in public tasks was welcomed and the first in its kind. Something we’ll return to in the next year for an update.
  • Likewise I enjoy helping Dutch government entities implement the European open data law I helped write three years ago. Here too there is plenty of potential to build my role out, with the creation of the European common data space as general context.
  • I had a small role in our work on AI ethics for the national police, but it is I think important and rewarding work.
  • Have been blogging on this site for 21 years now, and it still feels like a place I can experiment, and just do whatever, and which still creates conversations with new people.
  • E and I used Y’s school holidays and weekends for many little trips and visits. Musea, movies, cities, the beach, flying a kite, theaters, a circus, kayaking, geo-caching, restaurants. E surprised both Y and me with a visit to Nuremberg and the Playmobil Funpark in late April as an early birthday gift, which was lots of fun and giving me closure for a very disappointing attempt to visit the Playmobil factory in the late seventies when I was Y’s age.
  • Got to be there for friends. Friends got to be there for me.
  • Did some travel for work, to nearby Brussels, Portugal and to Malta, which I had never been to before. Attending and speaking at conferences, which I enjoyed.
  • Enjoyed presenting about my ‘career’ after a stint studying philosophy of science and technology at my old university. Stressing and for myself rediscovering that following my interests always yielded work activities over time, that I always have worked in roles that didn’t exist beforehand and I never applied for jobs, that there is no linearity to a ‘career path’, that the twisting path is the point, that that’s where meaning resides. And that meaning is important and emotional to me (see the training in Portugal mentioned earlier)
  • Enjoyed tinkering with some home-cooked coding. Improved my own interactive feed reader, and imported my old calendar and Amazon purchases into my notes by writing small tools. It looks like GitHub Co-pilot might make it easier for me to do more of that.
  • Got more involved in the Dutch personal knowledge management (PKM) community, helping shape a PKM conference next year, and hosting a large Obsidian-users meet-up, but doing so staying away from PKM discussions for their own sake. PKM needs to be for something, a practice working towards a purpose outside of it.
  • Read plenty of books, though less than the 1 per week on average which has been the overall rhythm these past years. Partly because some were very long, partly for reasons I don’t know.
  • Inched closer to a more deliberate reading practice for non-fiction. This is something that I have wished for for years, never really getting around obstacles in my mind and in my actions, but it now finally feels like things are shifting. By this time next year, I hope I can see the results of that.

Usually we spend the last days of the year in Switzerland visiting dear friends, this year we met them in the Netherlands in the past days, and we will see in the new year at home.

Ever onwards!

7 reactions on “Looking Back On 2023 – The Tadaa! List

  1. @ton “a very disappointing attempt to visit the Playmobil factory in the late seventies when I was Y’s age” sounds like a great story… Forty years after the fact

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