Here's to a new cycle
Jan 26, 2023
And a new cycle begins. 2023 is here, and I, among others, can gladly share I survived 2022. Last year was one of the most challenging years for me. Professionally I found myself challenged by moving from a job I had for the past 4 years to a smaller company in a different industry. The economic crisis hit hard shortly after that, and I got laid off. That, combined with the constant challenge of parenting and family health issues, brought an extra weight to this nearly 40-year-old shoulders. But I survived.
Us humans have an innate interest in new cycles as a way to reset and start fresh. From life-changing events to our usual starting over every Monday, there's a compelling nature to starting fresh. The most significant landmark for me is the New Year. Because I also celebrate my birthday in January, I feel a force of change urging me to move on. And as part of that, I'm happy to share that I will join a new company on Feb 1st. It was extra challenging to start over and apply for jobs close to the end-of-year holidays, especially considering how tough the year went and how bad the economy, especially the tech sector, still is. But I made it with the support of many great people, my dear wife, daughter, and family. I found a new work home that will allow me to keep growing in my career and connect with new people.
I'm writing about some of the biggest learnings I had from 2022, mainly for the selfish purpose of not forgetting those lessons and remind a whole year that might have shaped me for the future more than any other have.
The cliché is right: life is short
I had 2 reasons to feel this statement in my bones. First, my daughter underwent a growing leap and started communicating her feelings and thoughts with so much complexity. She went from being a baby to a beautiful little person with great humor and sensibility. Second, my dad almost passed away after a short-term respiratory issue. My father is relatively young, and I would never imagine life without him. I guess I was always lucky to not have close relatives and friends passing away, so death is a concept that I didn't have to dabble with so much until recently.
With all that happened, losing my job, my family being destabilized due to sickness and financial issues, my daughter growing up so fast, and other personal challenges, I felt like I was forced into a realization that life is indeed short. One should focus on what's really important. I'm working hard to define what is important to my family and me.
Create some financial freedom
With all that happened, my financial life took a big hit. I'm lucky enough to have been working in a well-paid and relatively stable job market and privileged to have had the chance to move to a country that offers people a good safety net in case of financial distress. But what helped me during these tough last months was knowing that we managed to build much better spending habits and control over our money. Not having significant debts and with some money for rainy days saved up, I was able to take a deep breath and get back on track on my own time without having to rush things and make poor decisions such as joining a wrong type of company or a job that I didn't feel right.
So the bottom line is — if you can — save money, spend wisely and try having a few months' worth of savings will give you great peace of mind.
Take care of your network and keep people you like close
I've met so many amazing people along my professional and personal journey that it's hard to believe. But I'm guilty of not thoroughly nourishing those contacts. Not for a particular reason other than keeping the people you like close and your stories alive. I've gone through a deliberate practice of contacting and meeting old friends and colleagues that helped me understand what my next move could be. Still, more than that, they've reminded me that what I love most about what I do is the chance to collaborate with such a diverse range of skills, personalities, and cultural backgrounds. I will keep meeting, supporting, and being supported by people I admire that represent a part of my own history.
Don't live life in automatic mode
Life is hard and full of difficulties. That should not be a reason for you not to enjoy it. Living can be much more than finding a stable job and paying the bills. The beauty of life lies in the connections we make with others. In appreciating how lucky we are to live where we are and who we are. I know this sounds very cheesy and borderline toxic optimistic, but it's true. At least, it's true for me. Enjoying every little moment in my life and focusing on the now helped me so much to alleviate my anxiety. Fixing yourself all the time in the future can be harmful and cause you to lose precious moments with friends, doing something you enjoy, and even appreciating the difficult moments and how they helped you to grow.
I'm very much looking forward to what this new year of 2023 holds. I'm sure it'll be difficult, but I'll also have beautiful small moments, and I hope you do too.