2023 Reflections

A collection of thoughts on this past year.

12 min readDec 26, 2023
2023 ❤

Tis’ the season for REFLECTION. Somehow we have gotten to the end of 2023. This year truly felt like it sped by and a lot happened. I reread my 2021 and 2022 reflection articles and thought it might be a good time to write one up for 2023.

This year was filled with a lot of ups and downs, the highs felt high and the lows felt really low. As opposed to the past few years of exploration and living life month to month, this year, I started to actually think about the future. I built on top of my routines that I had nailed down over the past few years, and pushed myself to do things that were out of my comfort zone. I wouldn’t say I’ve succeeded at everything, but I gave everything I tried this year my full effort.

Another perk of turning 25 was being given what seemed like endless quarter-life crises. Thinking about the future came with a lot of reflection on the past and uncertainty about all the decisions I was making. There were a lot of moments this year where I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. Hopefully, all of these decisions will come together, because it does seem like things are making more and more sense with every year that goes by. Ok, enough rambling…onto the reflection.

2023 ❤

What I wanted to work on in 2023

  • travel to new places — I really wanted to take every travel opportunity possible this year, and that I did. This year, I went to New Orleans, CDMX, Santa Barbara, Syracuse, OBX, the PNW and Colombia. I explored a lot of new NYC neighborhoods that I’ve been wanting to see for a while like parts of the Bronx and Brooklyn. My cup feels full from traveling and I want to continue exploring in the new year.
  • laugh more — This was a fun intention and it pushed me to go see a lot more comedy shows than I usually would. Laughing feels so good, whether it is with friends or in a comedy club.
  • do hard things — Looking back at this year holistically, I worked really hard at a lot of different things, whether it be my physical or mental health, my career or my relationships. I did a lot of things that felt out of my comfort zone and they pushed me towards a lot of growth. I want to continue doing hard stuff in 2024. It seems like the next year will be filled with a lot more challenges.
  • continue making stuff — Between ceramics classes, museum visits and some creative date nights, I continued making things. This is something I really enjoy, whether it is ceramics or writing. I enjoy creating things and documenting those processes.
2023 ❤

Moments when I felt present

  • Ostrichland in Solvang, CA — My coworker told me about this place and it lived up to the hype. Something about feeding these large and strange birds with my friends felt child-like and joyful. I had so much fun and it was a surreal experience.
  • Skaneateles, NY & Syracuse, NY — I went on a road trip to the finger lakes and had such a good time in both of these places. There are so many beautiful farms and lakes in this area. I would highly recommend the Skanonh Center in Syracuse, NY if you are interested in learning more about the Indigenous history of the area. I felt grounded and grateful after going on this trip.
  • Babel: An Arcane History by R.F.KuangThis book was so, so, so good. The world Kuang has created is magical and layered. I felt so engaged in the book while I was reading it and never wanted to put it down.
  • Dia in Beacon, NY — I went on a little day trip with a couple of friends to Beacon, NY to visit the town and the Dia museum. Something about the time of the year and the people I was with made it feel really comfortable.
  • eating Thai food in Crater LakeI wrote an entire article about my Pacific Northwest adventure, but this was one of my favorite moments of the trip. This part of the country is so unique and I found myself being so dazzled at every single piece of nature we saw. This trip was one of my favorite trips I’ve ever been on and the PNW holds a new and very special place in my heart.
  • Survivor — Joey organized two really fun games of survivor this year at the Delaware Water Gap. It felt wonderful to run around and play games with friends
  • Walks around Central Park — I took a lot of solo walks around Central Park this year and I felt really grounded there.
2023 ❤

Moments when I struggled

  • the january blues — I started last year feeling really aimless. The cold winter air and my looming 25th birthday sent me in a spiral about my purpose. I spent a lot of the month trying to focus on myself and doing things I liked. It felt good to rest and take care of myself when I was feeling like this.
  • quarter life crises — A year of a million quarter life crises. The pandemic haze fully lifted this year, accompanied with my pre-frontal cortex evolving to its final form. This combination led to a lot of moments of internal conflict and confusion about the future. Although I am still learning, I feel a lot more confident in the decisions I’m making.
  • the intersection of grief and war — The state of the world this year felt very bleak at times. From the forest fires to war, sometimes the world felt very heavy and dense. All of these world events coupled with the grief I’ve been carrying for the past couple of years after my dad died, made me feel extremely sad and dejected about our future. Our world is constantly changing and it has been hard trying to figure out how I fit into all of it.
  • getting rejected — I got rejected a couple of times this year in various parts of my life and it wasn’t very fun. Looking back, I am grateful for everything I did but it’s still not a great feeling in the moment. I’m excited to keep growing and learning and hopefully there will be better moments in 2024 :)
2023 ❤

Moments when I felt proud

  • organizing and completing a successful PNW trip — this trip was not the easiest to organize. We visited several cities and drove over 1500 miles. It was really fun to plan this trip and made me feel confident that I could plan a more complex trip if I wanted to.
  • running gov island 10k — I ran a lot in the beginning of the year and I always feel really proud of the races that I complete. Looking back at this race is inspiring me to sign up for another one in the new year.
  • making new friends — As an introvert, I’ve realized I’m actually a lot better at making friends than I think I am. It’s been really fun for me to meet new people in New York to hang out with and share different parts of my life with. I’ve loved meeting new people this year who I feel like I’ve known for a lot longer :)
  • having harder discussions with family (I spoke my truth a lot this year) After a couple of years of mostly focusing on grief in my therapy sessions, I’ve started to unpack other parts of my life like my relationships and communication styles. It has been really interesting to learn new things about myself through therapy and have discussions with people about things that I’ve never felt comfortable sharing. It has been really challenging but has also made me feel closer to people.
  • buying new clothes (lol) — I bought a ton of new clothes this year. It was honestly so fun to try new styles and trends. Fashion is something that I really enjoy some years, and this was definitely one of those years.
  • delivered some really great projects to client teams — I’ve worked on a lot of different projects, but this year, I felt like I did some of my best work. I finally feel a lot more confident in my presentation and communication skillsets. It has been really exciting to see clients satisfied with the work I’ve delivered, and to also see my own personal growth :)

Favorite purchases of the year

  • Orange Bradley Task Lamp by Urban Outfitters — This lamp is a bit overpriced but it has brought a lot of light into my room. I love the orange color and it is very heavy duty.
  • Round Mini Shoulder Bag by Uniqlo — I finally caved and got a fanny pack. It’s life-changing. Do it if you’ve been thinking about it for a while.
  • Pearl Necklace — Another purchase that really elevated my outfits. I’ve come to really love this little necklace.
  • Raising Cane’s — They finally opened the Raising Cane’s in Astor Place. I haven’t had their chicken in so long and DAMN it’s still so good. To be honest, more than the chicken, it’s their sauce. It never disappoints. I’ve had this meal an embarrassing amount of times this year.
  • Green Suede Birkenstocks — I finally caved and bought the Bostons. They are very cute and comfy.

Things that inspired me or excited me

  • Teotihuacan Pyramids in Mexico CityI’ve never seen pyramids before and these also blew my mind. I don’t understand how something of that scale was built 2000 years ago. I felt really blessed and privileged to be able to be in the presence of these pyramids.
  • Anything from The Sunday Stack by Katie — I made her pasta salads a couple times this year and they are all SO SO good. I found her on tik tok (babytamagooo) and all of her content is sassy and fun.
  • Starting Over by Chris Stapleton — This was the year I listened to so much country music and this song was my anthem for the year.
  • vampire by Olivia Rodrigo — Another anthem for the year. It felt good to listen to this song during angsty moments.
  • Insomniac City by Bill Hayes — What a WONDERFUL read. This book is a love letter to New York City and the prose is kind and genuine. This book made me smile, laugh and cry. This book also made me feel like I finally know New York just a little bit better after living here for almost 3 years.

Biggest lessons I learned

  • Getting older is scary — Growing up, I always wanted to be the age I am now. Now that I am my age, I don’t want to get any older :(
  • Not everyone needs to like me — A lesson I continue to learn each and every year. As a people pleaser, it has been a journey to learn this lesson, but this year it really sunk in. Something about living in New York has changed me and made me ok with not everyone needing to like me.
  • You can grow out of routinesand people — Kind of an extension of the last lesson, but just because I’ve been doing something for a long time doesn’t mean I need to keep doing it forever. I’m growing and changing and that might mean needing to leave a routine behind. It might include evolving and getting more distant from friends — but who knows maybe I will reunite with them in the future?
  • There are so many different paths and everyone’s on a different one — The mid-twenties are a confusing time and it is a bit chaotic to see so many people my age doing so many different things. Learning to focus on my own path has brought me a lot of calmness. It is true, comparison is the thief of joy.
  • I don’t just love traveling, but I’m really good at it — Travel is a priority for me, and it always will be. This year, I felt like I figured it out. I have a newfound sense of confidence when it comes to travel and it makes me feel giddy inside.
  • People who feel like home are hard to come by — There are people in your life who make you feel calm and safe. Some have been in your life for a while, some might be newer, but they are true gems ❤ It is a rarity to find people like this and it’s such a blessing because these people make you feel welcome even if you haven’t spoken to them in a while.
  • I haven’t seen a good movie in theaters in a while — I recently rewatched Interstellar and no movie has made me feel like how that movie made me feel when I first watched it. I’ve seen so many movies in theaters in the past few years and all of them feel mediocre.
  • Morning sunlight in the winter is so important — Forcing myself to workout in the mornings has gotten me out of the house when there is daylight. It has seriously changed the game for my winter routine. I feel like I have way more energy and the sunlight genuinely brings me back to life.

What I want to work on in the new year

  • travel to new places (this is a permanent intention that I use to list out a couple of places I really want to go)
  • leave things that don’t serve me anymore
  • celebrate love (in all forms)
  • surround myself with art and creativity
  • incorporate spontaneity into my life
  • be more proactive

What’s one word you would use to describe 2023?

Strength — This was the word I tried to live by in 2023 and I’d like to say that it worked for me. Overall, this year felt hard. I had a lot of difficult conversations, and moments where I felt totally out of my comfort zone. After doing a lot of these things, I felt a lot stronger. Physically, I worked out and tried to move my body as much as possible. I felt really strong (thank you f45) and want to continue this growth into the new year. This year, I also realized that I don’t need to embody strength all the time. It’s tiring and unsustainable. Finding moments for self care and grace are just as important.

What word do you want to define your 2024?

Spontaneity — In 2024, I want to be more present in my day to day life. For me, this looks like making space for spontaneous energy. A lot of my life has been spent planning and trying to figure everything out (which I will still continue to do), however, I want to be less connected to all of the possible outcomes I plan for. Spontaneity could also look like listening to my body and doing what feels right. Some of my favorite moments are the ones that are not planned, and I want to lean into that more in 2024.

To be quite honest, 2024 feels like the most uncertain year of my life. I’m really not sure what’s going to happen. It’s a bit scary to go into a year like this, but I feel like I’ve developed routines and created a community that I feel confident will continue to back me through whatever life might throw at me in the next year. I’m excited for what’s in store :) Wishing everyone a very happy and safe new years ❤

Thank you to everyone who made 2023 so great ❤