Casey Grisez

November 29, 2022

Sticky Notes Lesson #19 - Reflection

I signed up for a month-long, email-based writing course from Cole Schafer of Sticky Notes, Honey Copy, and Chasing Hemingway fame.

He sends a lesson and prompt every day. I have 10 minutes to read and consider the prompt, 40 minutes to write, and 10 minutes to edit before posting publicly.

I’m posting here to not drown my Casey's Notes content. On to day 19...


The Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2021 was the last day of my last job in Columbus. I started a job in Washington, DC in the first week of December 2021, and we were supposed to relocate sometime in the first quarter of 2022.

Instead, after months of decisions, discussions, and arguments, we stayed in Columbus so my wife can continue to run our local community foundation. I left the DC job in September and I'm now on sadadical, staying home with my twin 3 year olds, writing, and figuring out what's next in my career.

To say it's been A Year is an understatement. The year started out by accepting a prestigious job in a big city. I'm now staying home with my kids. And there's been lots of time thinking about work's role in my life, questioning my assumptions, and exploring things I never thought I'd explore. It's been my midlife crisis, just without the mistress or Porsche.

Today's writing prompt is to use Thanksgiving as a time to reflect on the year and what I'd like to keep and what I'd like to change.

The narrative I followed my whole life is that career success translates to money, status, and titles. Having pursued that for the first 13 years of my career, I now think success means something different to everyone. 

Sure, some people are coin-operated and want money as appreciation for their work. Others, like me, are more driven by things like autonomy and purpose. So, this year, I want to keep my changed perspective on work. You couldn't triple my salary to go back to my old jobs, but I'd take half my old salary to do something fulfilling.

I want to keep the focus on my kids. Since staying home, it's been amazing to see them for more than just an hour in the morning and an hour or two at night. I got used to seeing them all day during the Covid pandemic, so it was hard to send them back to daycare. Whatever my next career move, I want a flexible schedule to be able to spend more time with them. It's not time I'm going to get back.

For what I want to change, I'd love to throw my phone into the ocean. Since I can't do that, I'd at least like to change my relationship with my phone and turn it from a toy to a tool.

I want to change my perspective with my kids and see things from when I'm 80. Seeing grandparents play with grandkids makes you realize how little the day-to-day things matter and how quickly time passes. My boys are coming up on their 4th birthday, but will be 40 in the blink of an eye.

I want to get in more frequent and more intense workouts. I spent years accumulating equipment for a basement gym, so of course I now hate basement workouts. I want to get creative and spend more time outside in all kinds of weather to get in the workouts.

I want to get better at cooking. I can make a mean weekend meal, but they take hours. I want to take advantage of the time at home and get better at making something quick with whatever is in the fridge and pantry.

Finally, I want to change my relationship with alcohol. Since the pandemic, I've been in the habit of a beer or glass a wine per night. That can't be healthy. I want to cut back to only drinking on special occasions, even skipping booze most weekends. Too many of my friendships revolve around drinking, so it won't be an easy road.

But as the great OSU football coach Woody Hayes said, "Anything easy ain't worth a damn."