2023 has been a year of significant changes for me. I retired from my full-time role as a nonprofit Executive Director and shifted my priorities towards spending more time with friends and family, practicing better self-care, and improving my overall health and fitness.

Rediscovering Health and Fitness

The year began with a renewed commitment to working out. I started seeing a trainer at the gym in December and began weightlifting in January. This focus on movement and strength laid the foundation for the rest of the year. In June, I explored a different aspect of physical well-being by starting Iyengar yoga. By September, I had shifted to a low-carb diet, guided by a nutritionist.

Journey Through Places and Passions

Travel played a pivotal role in my year. In April, I spent a month in a rented house in Paris, enjoying a different culture and environment. May took me to Brussels, Antwerp, and Amsterdam for two weeks. July brought me back to New York to reconnect with friends and family, a first trip back since the pandemic. Another trip to New York in October allowed me to once again see family and friends. Each trip was an opportunity for personal reflection, growth, and fun.

Professional Pivot: Embracing Change

After retiring, I took seven months off with no goals beyond creating space to explore, move, have fun, and rest. I had no idea what was next, and for a change, I was good with that.

By August, I had decided to return to work part-time as a non-profit development consultant. In September, I relaunched my website, revived my newsletter ‘Cover Your Bases’, and started working with clients. By October, I had decided to focus part of my practice on coaching non-profit leaders and staff to use Generative AI, and started building curriculum with some colleagues. As I move into 2024, I am continuing to consult in development, but I am booking training and coaching sessions with non-profit organizations and funders to train their grantees to work with AI. This work feels exciting and much needed to me, and I am thrilled to get started.  I find working with Generative AI intellectually stimulating, and there is so much to learn. I also recognize that focusing on this work is also a way to blend earlier, more tech-focused parts of my career with my commitment to non-profit work and help people in this sector use these tools.

Transforming Routines into Success

Making all these changes required deliberate planning. As the year progressed, I built accountability, establishing routines and sharing progress to create family awareness and support. For the gym, I met with a trainer once a week and worked out a three to four times a week schedule for exercising at the gym. For yoga, I signed up for a certain number of classes per month, knowing that unused classes would be forfeited. For my food plan, I found a nutritionist whom I see monthly and tracked my exercise, weight, and food intake in an app. Setting intentions and working with professionals who could monitor my progress were motivators that have historically worked for me, so I set them up again in 2023.

Everything was scheduled on my Google calendar. Writing everything down kept me accountable, and now, after a year, it feels like a habit. My family supported me throughout these changes. They’re already fitter and more athletic than me, but they were thrilled to see the effort I was putting into my body. They also encouraged me to step back from work, while being excited about my passion for AI.

Concluding Thoughts: Carrying Momentum into 2024

As 2024 approaches, I remain committed to these goals and routines. Spending more time with friends and family, self-care, and improved health and fitness are at the top of my list, alongside building my consulting practice and supporting clients whose missions matter deeply to me.

Moving away from full-time work into a more balanced life has been great. I enjoy what I am doing and appreciate the flexibility in how I spend my time. Leaving my job in early 2023 was a huge shift, but it’s worked out well. As I look ahead to 2024, I want to keep the same energies going: time with family and friends, exercise and rest, and interesting things to work on and do.

Note: This essay–and the reflections in it–were inspired by reading my friend Elisa Camahort Page’s post Do-or-Die December, When do you give up on a habit? In the new Optionality newsletter and thinking about achieving goals  in my life during the year. (Elisa does a great job of describing her process in this post!)

BONUS QUESTIONS FOR READERSWhat were your pivotal moments in 2023?  How have you shifted the ways that you balance work and personal life?

 

2023 has been a year of significant changes for me. I retired from my full-time role as a nonprofit Executive Director and shifted my priorities towards spending more time with friends and family, practicing better self-care, and improving my overall health and fitness.

Rediscovering Health and Fitness

The year began with a renewed commitment to working out. I started seeing a trainer at the gym in December and began weightlifting in January. This focus on movement and strength laid the foundation for the rest of the year. In June, I explored a different aspect of physical well-being by starting Iyengar yoga. By September, I had shifted to a low-carb diet, guided by a nutritionist.

Journey Through Places and Passions

Travel played a pivotal role in my year. In April, I spent a month in a rented house in Paris, enjoying a different culture and environment. May took me to Brussels, Antwerp, and Amsterdam for two weeks. July brought me back to New York to reconnect with friends and family, a first trip back since the pandemic. Another trip to New York in October allowed me to once again see family and friends. Each trip was an opportunity for personal reflection, growth, and fun.

Professional Pivot: Embracing Change

After retiring, I took seven months off with no goals beyond creating space to explore, move, have fun, and rest. I had no idea what was next, and for a change, I was good with that.

By August, I had decided to return to work part-time as a non-profit development consultant. In September, I relaunched my website, revived my newsletter ‘Cover Your Bases’, and started working with clients. By October, I had decided to focus part of my practice on coaching non-profit leaders and staff to use Generative AI, and started building curriculum with some colleagues. As I move into 2024, I am continuing to consult in development, but I am booking training and coaching sessions with non-profit organizations and funders to train their grantees to work with AI. This work feels exciting and much needed to me, and I am thrilled to get started.  I find working with Generative AI intellectually stimulating, and there is so much to learn. I also recognize that focusing on this work is also a way to blend earlier, more tech-focused parts of my career with my commitment to non-profit work and help people in this sector use these tools.

Transforming Routines into Success

Making all these changes required deliberate planning. As the year progressed, I built accountability, establishing routines and sharing progress to create family awareness and support. For the gym, I met with a trainer once a week and worked out a three to four times a week schedule for exercising at the gym. For yoga, I signed up for a certain number of classes per month, knowing that unused classes would be forfeited. For my food plan, I found a nutritionist whom I see monthly and tracked my exercise, weight, and food intake in an app. Setting intentions and working with professionals who could monitor my progress were motivators that have historically worked for me, so I set them up again in 2023.

Everything was scheduled on my Google calendar. Writing everything down kept me accountable, and now, after a year, it feels like a habit. My family supported me throughout these changes. They’re already fitter and more athletic than me, but they were thrilled to see the effort I was putting into my body. They also encouraged me to step back from work, while being excited about my passion for AI.

Concluding Thoughts: Carrying Momentum into 2024

As 2024 approaches, I remain committed to these goals and routines. Spending more time with friends and family, self-care, and improved health and fitness are at the top of my list, alongside building my consulting practice and supporting clients whose missions matter deeply to me.

Moving away from full-time work into a more balanced life has been great. I enjoy what I am doing and appreciate the flexibility in how I spend my time. Leaving my job in early 2023 was a huge shift, but it’s worked out well. As I look ahead to 2024, I want to keep the same energies going: time with family and friends, exercise and rest, and interesting things to work on and do.

Note: This essay–and the reflections in it–were inspired by reading my friend Elisa Camahort Page’s post Do-or-Die December, When do you give up on a habit? In the new Optionality newsletter and thinking about achieving goals  in my life during the year. (Elisa does a great job of describing her process in this post!)

BONUS QUESTIONS FOR READERSWhat were your pivotal moments in 2023?  How have you shifted the ways that you balance work and personal life?