2023: The year of me
Last night, for the third Wednesday in a row, I ventured to the Whiteside Theater in downtown Corvallis to watch an old movie. Two weeks ago, it was National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Last week, it was It's a Wonderful Life. And yesterday was Star Wars. The place was packed! So fun to watch a favorite film in an old theater with a couple of hundred other fans.
I've also been watching many movies at home lately. I finally have the time. According to Letterboxd, I've seen seventeen films in December. I watched nine in November. I enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of cinema. (I highly recommend Letterboxd, by the way. I've been using it to log my film watching for two years, and I can no longer imagine not using it.)
My days have been busy, too.
In the mornings, as always, I walk the dog. Lately, though, we've been taking longer walks: 90 minutes, two hours. Part of this is because I've embarked upon a crazy project to map every Little Free Library and farmstand in town [my map]. But a larger part is because I am, at last, prioritizing fitness again.
Some of you may recall that I lost forty pounds during COVID. I was happy with my fitness going into 2021, but then I got sidetracked by selling a house, buying a house, and a very shitty 2022. I fell into my bad habit of stress eating. I didn't do any exercise. I gained fifty pounds — everything I'd lost in 2020 and more. Well, for the past three weeks I've been both exercising and eating right. I'm back at the gym. In January, I'm joining some friends for a 30-day yoga challenge.
To make it easier to make healthy choices with food, I've slowly been re-vamping our kitchen. We've lived in this house for fifteen months now, so we have a better idea of where different kitchen tools should live. Plus, after more than a decade with Kim, I've decided it's time to ditch some of our old kitchen stuff (some of which we've owned since the 1990s!) and upgrade to better tools. I now own three nice knives, and they're a joy to use.
Meanwhile, after eighteen months of talking about art, I've begun to dabble in it. Not much, but some. Earlier this month, I started a daily art journal. I'm playing with pens and drawing styles. I bought a cheap watercolor set and am having fun playing with that. When I'm not watching movies, I'm often watching art instruction on YouTube.
Plus, I'm doing other fun stuff. I'm reading books and comics. I'm spending more time with friends — both on Zoom and in Real Life.
In short, December has been my best month in a long time. I have been leading a values-driven life and it shows. I can feel it. The people around me can feel it to.
But notice what's not on that list. What am I not doing? Writing about money. Since my mother died in early October, I've been on a deliberate three-month sabbatical. It's clear that I needed it. It's also clear that I probably need more time to myself. Like all of 2023.
I mentioned earlier this month that I want to make 2023 the Year of J.D. And it's true. That's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going to prioritize doing what I want when I want it. I don't mean this in some hedonistic way. I mean it in a “pursuing that which fulfills me” way. Does that make sense?
My number one priority for the coming year is to focus on fitness. Kim and I are doing this together for the first time since we met at Crossfit, and it feels awesome to be on the same page. It's so much easier to do this as a team. Along with exercise and health eating, I'm also addressing some lingering health issues: blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc.
My number two priority for 2023 is to continue building (and re-building) friendships here in Corvallis. Although I identify as an introvert, it's clear that I'm not. I need social interaction, and I haven't been getting enough of it. I'm working on it.
My third priority for the next twelve months is to dive into art. I've struggled to start for a couple of reasons.
- First, I don't know where to start. I'm a complete novice. I've never done anything artistic in my life. (Well, not entirely true. In junior high, a buddy and I used to draw our own comic books, but that was kid stuff.)
- Second, I don't know what kind of art to pursue. Do I want to draw? Do I want to paint? Something else entirely?
This month, I've stopped thinking about these sorts of questions and instead begun doing whatever I want with pens and paint. The only way to figure out where to go is to try things. Plus, I'm paying attention to what excites me. Comics excite me, obviously, and always have. But I'm also realizing that I love what I'd call “mid-century spot illustration” style: heavy brush strokes, kind of cartoony.
A final priority is to decide which projects to pursue around the house. Kim and I moved here at the end of August 2021. We love Corvallis, and we know this is where we want to live. Our house is perfectly fine, but…it's not perfect. (No house ever is.) After “wasting” $150,000+ making changes to our last house then moving after four years, I'm more cautious here. If we stay, I'm willing to spend money and effort to improve things. But if we don't, I don't want to expend the resources.
So, Kim and I need to make a decision: Do we commit to staying at this place for, say, a decade or so? Or do we agree that it's only a temporary place? If we are going to stay, then I have a couple of projects I want to tackle almost immediately. I want remodel a bathroom — maybe two. And I want to give the back yard a major overhaul. (The “bones” of the yard are solid, but the space is overgrown with ferns and weeds after nearly a decade of neglect.)
So, those are my plans for 2023. Again, notice how Get Rich Slowly is not on this list.
I cannot decide what to do about Get Rich Slowly. What role does it play in my life? Does it play a role in my life?
This is part of a larger question about what role I want the internet (and computers themselves, really) to play in my life. Over the past few years, it's become clear that for me (as with many others, I know) the internet provides just as many problems as it does solutions. And, in fact, I suspect that my recent struggles with mental health have been exacerbated by the internet. Perhaps even caused by the internet.
One option is to simply cut the cord completely and walk away. Sell the site. Give up writing about money forever. Consider it a phase of my life and move on. There are a lot of upsides to this choice, I'll admit. But I'm not convinced it's the best option. What if I end up regretting the decision? What if I do decide I want a place to talk about money again?
Besides, there are two big reasons I want to keep Get Rich Slowly (or, perhaps, Money Boss in its stead). For one, I really do want to create an online encyclopedia of personal finance, a place uncluttered by ads and analytics and bullshit, a place where people can get reliable, unbiased money info. Second, and perhaps more importantly, I'm a writer. I express myself through words. I enjoy having an outlet to share what I'm feeling. Just like this!
So, I equivocate.
I go back and forth.
I think and I think and I think about the best course to take.
But you know what? It's not a decision I have to make right now. Right now, the best thing is to simply do what I've been doing. It seems to be working. December has been all about me and my needs, and that's what 2023 will be too.
In the coming year, I'm going to focus on fitness. I'm going to continue exploring art and watching movies. I'm going to hang out with friends. At long last, I'm going to travel again. (I already have plans to visit Colorado, Mexico, Greece, Ecuador, and more!) I'm going to spend time with Kim and our beasts. I'm going to read. I'm going to cook.
And from time to time — for now, at least — I'll drop by Get Rich Slowly to share what I've been thinking and doing.
Happy holidays, everyone. I'll see you next year.
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Thanks for the update! It’s good to hear from you. No advice to offer, just a thumbs up for you following your bliss and going wherever your heart takes you. Happy holidays! Catch you in 2023!
I just love that you are making a map of Little Free Libraries and farmstands. I don’t even know where there is a LFL in my city and I wouln’t be allowed to put one up.
I have been looking for a post from you every day and am majorly disappointed that you will be cutting back or quitting.
But a guy has gotta do what a guy has gotta do.
I will say this: The most likely move at this point will be that I move nearly 100% of my current blog-style writing to my personal site. I feel a freedom there to write about whatever I want. Here at Get Rich Slowly (and/or Money Boss), I feel obligated to write about money. You, Anne, and other folks who want to just hang out and chat will be very welcome to do so. I miss those days when I was just writing about whatever I felt like and sharing it with a small but fun community.
When that happens, I’ll use Get Rich Slowly and/or Money Boss as a space for my theoretical “encyclopedia of personal finance”. *AND* I’ll abandon Facebook. Most of the stuff I post on Facebook would have once been published on my personal site. Does that make sense?
Anyhow, that’s the direction I’m leaning.
If that happens, don’t forget to tell those of us who subscribe to this blog where to follow you. Would love to see more posts from you, even if they are of a more personal nature. (This post was great by the way!)
I didn’t even know you were on Facebook. I do very little 0ver there. Love the idea of you keeping your personal site going.
What a great article. How about this for a few thoughts:
– Enroll in some art classes with other people.
– Does Corvallis have a weekly casual bike meetup? Good social interaction
– Start with the backyard. Nothing crazy but you can do a lot of sweat equity to make it nice and think about bathroom remodels in another year.
-An information detox…you are already doing this, so keep on going.
-A thought to ponder: If someone paid you $500 a month not to do GRS, would you take it? That is a good indicator of things.
– Enroll in a 5K for Spring. It’s good to have a fitness goal on the books and be part of an event with other people.
Final thought (and I could be wrong). People are switching to YouTube, TikTok, etc… for financial information…maybe print isn’t the way to go.
Keep up the good work focusing on YOU! You can’t help others until you help yourself first and that is what you are doing 🙂
A great book to get you started in art. It’s old but still very relevant. Lots of exercises and practical ideas. https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-artists-way-a-spiritual/9781585421473-item.html
Glad to hear you are focusing on you! I’ve noticed when I work out regularly, I like what ever I’m doing, and it needs to be some what convenient – def can’t feel like a drag. I also remind myself of action before motivation.
I’d say, treat this site like your art. Write here when you get the feeling. Maybe a monthly update post like this? Or put it on jdroth/foldedspaces? Always nice reading any type of post you have.
What about writing as art? Maybe work on comics from story telling and sketch roughs? I’d keep the visual stuff going, but just a thought.
I was going through my old Facebook posts (looking for poems I posted – Facebook as usual stopped a service and now things are not where it was), when I came upon an old post I shared on FB. So the article no longer exists and I then moved to your homepage and read this article.
I am not sure how old you are, but I main my 50’s and therefore was attracted to a book last year and I think this may also be a good read for you. It reads much like this article with many insights along the way. Richardson, Cheryl. Waking Up in Winter HarperCollins. (https://a.co/d/0YgO5QG).
Enjoy this period in your life.
“I’ve never done anything artistic in my life. ”
I, respectfully, disagree with you JD. You are a storyteller and storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of art that humankind has.
I am pleased that you are feeling better. Wishing you all the best in 2023!
You’re definitely vacillating about this site. I hope you can quickly find clarity allowing you to make decision and execute them.
As for the house, yes it’s good to be cautious but…even if you plan to sell on four years you need to remodel the bathroom or do some upgrades so you can mitigate loss on a sell. you bought during a heated market as I recall, but maybe I don’t remember accurately. Consult a realtor for what upgrades and remodels that you are already interested in doing make sense for your house and area. Input on what is worth it from a resell perspective Vs what is worth it for you continuing to enjoy living there might help assuage your fear.
Good luck with all your ventures. As an on and off artist I say put pen or pair to paper and see what happens. That’s what it’s all about!
This site only works with you at the lead. Please keep it going even if you are just popping by occasionally.
I think it’s a great idea to focus on yourself in 2023! I am also extremely exhausted and want to just take a break. Raising a three-year-old and a five-year-old as a stay at home Dad is really tough.
It’s freeing to be able to write about whatever you want. I have focused on this mindset on Financial samurai for years now. I don’t have to write about personal finance. This week, I wrote about Pickleball, for example. So fun!
May you take time to heal in 2023!
Thanks for the Letterboxd link, now my next few days are shot in getting that all tracked up.
I’d hope you wouldn’t sell off GRS. Although it would be a horrible/great cautionary tale if you had to buy it back again.
You’re joking with this comment right? If not, it’s very harsh given the history of this site
When I FIRED a few years ago, I started learning watercolor. Given you were naturally drawn to pens and watercolor and have an interest in comics, you might enjoy Urban Sketching. You can make a small kit for the field, and ink and watercolor your outings in whatever style suits you. Library has books on it and of course some great websites and YouTube videos. Just a thought. Will keep reading your blog, whatever you post!
To me Getting Rich Slowly is NOT about money. It is about growth.
You are not Dave Ramsey, “I figured out how to go from broke to the best salesman in finances. Now use my formula, stupid person.” You are a classical writer, “Here was the bottom of my shoes as I pull my way through life. I’m writing so you can gleam from my experiences as I grow into a fulfilled human.”
I am not a writer, as you can clearly see by my comment. I am a searcher. My best friend calls me a fixer. What I see here is that you are trying to compartment money. What you have been writing about in the last ten or more years is…life. What an amazing life you have already lived and will continue to grow in. That is why I have followed you for years and years.
YOU are a writer. Writing is not about the destination, but the journey.
Janette, I read this comment earlier today and it’s stuck with me as I’ve gone about my various activities. I agree with your assessment. And in a way, what you’ve written makes me think of another approach that I had not yet considered. I could, of course, NOT compartmentalize the money stuff. Instead of moving all of my writing over to my personal site, I could just write everything here — money be damned!
In other words, Get Rich Slowly could serve the same role I want Folded Space to serve.
We’ll see. We’ll see.
There are other kinds of riches than money, so you wouldn’t have to change the name!
Try oils. Way more fulfilling. Easier to control when you need control.
Have you read the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”? It might be a good start to get some of those artistic gears turning.
I’ll keep checking GRS periodically and I subscribe to the emails. I do enjoy hearing your “voice”.
I like to spend my New Year’s looking at seed catalogs and planning my garden.
Just want to thank you again for running this blog for so many years. It seems your journey with Get Rich Slowly is coming to an end now that it doesn’t serve you anymore, and I’m happy for you to have recognized that. I’m sure it was a hard pill to swallow. I hope moving away from writing about money makes you a happier and more fulfilled JD.
While this blog may not have been adding value to your life recently, know that it was at the very least adding value to mine.
Thanks again and god speed… I’ll be keeping tabs over at Foldedspace 😉
JD — I hope you keep writing in some fashion. I’ve been reading forever. And I still value your thoughts on money/life. One thing I am curious/nosy about is your balance sheet. I feel like you were more concerned in 2020/2021, but seems like you aren’t’ factoring $ into your plans so I’m assuming you are in good shape. I want to know for selfish reasons since we’re similar ages and I’m still slogging away.
I see this post was published in December, but it just popped up in Feedly for me last week.
Your dilemma with GRS is similar to something I’ve been struggling with for a long time. A few years after my husband died, I started a website that ended up serving essentially as personal therapy. It’s still hanging out there in cyberspace. Part of me wants to revamp it and turn it into a resource for new widows…and part of me is just done and wants to leave that part of my life in the rearview mirror. Since I can’t seem to make a decision, I just keep paying for hosting and hope that perhaps it will be helpful to the people who stumble upon it.