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Philip Mallegol-Hansen

A Reflection on 2023

On the last day of 2022, exactly one year ago, I wrote a blog post titled “A reflection on 2022”. The opening of that post features a slight mockery of the human tendency to assign value to arbitrary factors we ourselves have decided, such as the beginning and ending of a year on the Gregorian calendar.

Intellectually I stand by that thought today. It is odd that we have evolved to put such importance in things that, objectively, carry no importance at all. But that is not to say that I believe myself to be above this tendency, as evident by this post appearing exactly 1 Gregorian year after the past one, and given that it’s happening twice in a row, I suppose that officially makes this a tradition.

So welcome, to the annual reflection of the year that passed.

# Pregnancy

When I sat here a year ago, I wrote about the brevity of life, particular in the context of losing my beloved grandfather. This year the tidal way of life flows in the opposite direction, as my wife and I managed to get pregnant with a child of our own.

I imagine I’ll have many things to write about fatherhood, particularly in the context of raising a child in a digital age as a technology enthusiasts and professional. Many of the things that were true in my own youth are remarkably different today, and I’m already fretting over these issues in the back of my mind: When do you give them a phone? How do you enable them to participate online without forfeiting their privacy, when they’re still too young to appreciate the implications of the decisions? But there will be plenty of opportunities for me to remark on those things later.

For now I am endlessly grateful that my wife continues to be healthy, and I hope with all my heart to become a great father to a happy, healthy, child in 2024.

# Online Presence

Last year I wrote that the fall of X (née Twitter) had inspired in me a new hope for what the web could be. I’m happy to be able to say that I followed through on that hope, at least to some degree.

I completed and published 6 individual posts (not including this one) on this site in the last year. And while I drafted an additional ~16 that haven’t seen the light of day1, I’m incredibly pleased with myself that I did the 6 that I did. Some progress is infinitely more than no progress, and though I’m the kind of person to lose sight of that, this past year has reinforced that it’s important to celebrate the wins you do get.

I’m also excited about the feedback I’ve gotten. When I first started, I was worried that it was going to be an impossible battle to get anyone to click the link and actually go to my site. There’s a lot of talk about social media silos these days, and whether it’s even possible to drag people out of them, but at least for my very small sample size, my analytics seem to suggest that people actually did browse my page from time to time. So all hope for the web is not lost.

# Living Intentionally

One of my draft posts from earlier in the year speaks to the fact that you cannot do everything - In a somewhat ironic twist I suppose, at the time I ended up deciding that finishing that post was one of the things I didn’t have time for.

I never thought that I would become the kind of person who accepts that my time or energy are limited, in my younger years I certainly looked down upon these people who acted all squishy and “human”, convinced in that common youthful ignorance that I was different.

Well as it turns out, I’m not.

Particularly once I received the news that I would become a parent next year, and as I started to soak in all of the implications of that, I was forced to reckon with the fact that I too am a human being with limited abilities, limited time, and limited energy.

Prioritization is the name of the game. If you don’t make intentional decisions about how that limited effort is spent, you just end up wasting it away on the wrong thing. And whilst I find it very difficult to say no to something, I’ve come to realize that the alternative is much worse: Going to sleep at night knowing you spent your day on the wrong thing, and that there are only so many of them left.

So I’ve made the decision to become more discerning about what exactly it is that I want to achieve, and carefully prioritize those tasks that further my goals, and not let myself get distracted with the rest.

# Future…

As I look forward to 2024 and beyond, I’m reassured by something I once heard:

People chronically overestimate what can be done in a year, and underestimate what can be done in a lifetime.

It’s with that lens that I enter the new year, hopeful for our collective future. Knowing it will probably take more than 2024, I choose to focus on where we can get if we apply our collective humanity and intelligence.

P.S. The world is still absolutely breathtaking! Go out and take a look.

A photo taken from [Paulina Peak](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulina_Peak) in Oregon.

A photo taken from Paulina Peak in Oregon.


  1. Yet - some of them almost certainly will in the new year, others may be abandoned for good. ↩︎