2023, a recap

Warm sunlight is spilling through my window, defying the season's usual cloak of grey, bathing the room in a golden glow. It is not the greatest backdrop for reflection and sifting through the memories that make up 2023 — a year that seems to have flown by rather quickly. As I bask in this warmth, there are some feelings of nostalgia and anticipation stirring within me. There was joy, happiness, sorrow, and grief in roughly equal parts, and a lot of yearning, manifesting, and hope.

If I had to choose a few personal keywords/themes that fit the year 2023, it would be hope, resilience, and love.

Things that were good

Career. It was a great year in terms of the journey in my career — perhaps the best one yet. It was fantastic as I feel I've grown and have learned a lot this year, thanks to some AMAZING folks I met. It was all very fun and I am super thankful to the universe to have sent them my way. I will forever love, cherish, and be grateful to each of them. If I had to do it all again, I would not change a single thing.

At this point, I must mention the fact that I currently feel like I am collaging myself into being by (subconsciously) taking each person's bits and pieces of their personalities and incorporating it into my own; becoming more of the self that I have been finding.

My personality definitely feels like a mosaic; each person so far left a distinct impression and has added a unique tile to the grander picture. I wish I could drop their names so bad... I am learning to be confident and possibly a bit bold through the calm confidence of an amazing person who is my sun and my anchor — someone who is very close to my heart; finding joy and happiness through her smile and laughter. From her and a few others, I'm learning the art of asking the right questions, embracing humor in the everyday, paying closer attention to detail, and staying humble, patient, boundlessly generous, kind, and open-minded.

I will very much miss all of them as I part ways next year, and I genuinely hope to stay in touch with them all, if not just the one.

30. I turned 30 this year. I have accepted the fact that I'm officially in my 30s now; I love it. I feel like I'm being more patient with myself, embracing more of my personality, and am being open to things every day. I don't really feel any different — except in the physical sense — I've noticed that my lower back starts to hurt if I sit for too long in a bad posture, so I am trying to be very aware of my posture lately. I will have to make some more time for keeping fit next year.

Of late, I am letting myself feel more. I think writing and art definitely helps and am presently finding therapy in drafting this post. I have also been trying to live more in the moment this year, instead of constantly thinking about the past; my sister once said to me "you pretty much live in the past," (I wonder if it's an older sibling thing). I am extremely thankful for her, and want to borrow some of her spirit. She is like a cat; does what she wants and just enjoys existing.

I also feel like I'm unlearning a lot of my so-called "defense mechanisms"; getting over the fear of being judged, and am gradually getting closer to reflecting the true me; practicing being kind, patient, and gentle and a good support structure not just internally but also towards the people around me.

Making sure that I let people know that I love them. All the time! Also being more intentional in nurturing people and relationships. I feel like I am slowly opening up to people by sharing my experiences and ideas and it has been amazing so far. I don't really like talking much about myself (and so I naturally default to being a good listener to my friends), but opening up from time to time and feeling seen / heard is great.

Relocating. Another major highlight of the year was that I received an invitation to become a permanent resident of Canada this year, and have chosen to move to Toronto in February 2024; I am filled with hope and determination.

I am very keen on spending time in the wilderness, out of the doors. I haven't traveled much this year — have not spent much time camping/hiking outdoors, but I do go for long walks and jogs.

Reading. During the start of the year, I made a resolution to read 12 books (one book per month) this year, and have met / surpassed that goal! I will continue with this practice for the next year as well. I am keen on reading more fantasy as I find the worldbuilding and the lore helps with creative thinking, but am also quite interested in some non-fiction (Biographies, for example). OH AND POETRY.

Staying in shape. I have been consistently going on long walks and jogs for the past year or two. According to my Apple Watch, I've been doing it daily for the past 697 days, and the next year I may expand to doing some strength training and not just cardio. That remains to be seen.

The sad

Loss. I lost my grandmother early in the year. I have allowed myself to grieve and mourn her loss but am still filled with grief and sorrow from time to time. I still feel her absence and it is particularly painful to me since I spent a lot of time with her as a child. I believe she is in a better place now and I love her. She taught me to be gentle and kind, to live humbly without thinking too much of yourself/having too much of an ego, and to be resilient and caring.

Gratitude / Thankful for

New Friends. I made some great new friends at work this year. Many good vibes, laughs, and fun! Folks that are inclusive, empathetic, tactful, and respectful of my boundaries.

Being able to relocate. Yes! The invitation was totally unexpected. To new beginnings. 🥂

Character development. Grateful each year to have the sense/self-awareness to know and identify my weaknesses, be able to work on them and grow. The plot has to keep moving forward. ↗

Growth as a creative. Although I haven't worked on many projects personally this year, I have learned a LOT from friends at work this year, and I am extremely grateful to each person for that. They have opened my eyes in many ways and I am glad to have gotten that experience from them. I look forward to passing on what I've learned to others.

Things I look forward to

Nurturing myself and my relationships. I want to identify and work through any undesirable traits and be the best possible version of myself and at the same time continue opening up to people. Lift people up. Give credit where it's due. Let folks know I love them. Life is short but love springs eternally.

Relocating. !!!

Getting a job. I strongly believe I will get a job after moving at some point, but the uncertainty has me a bit stressed out at the moment.

Journaling more. I want to write more about creativity, being out in the nature, and personal stuff. It helps with being mindful, staying in the moment, and processing emotions in a healthy way.

Keeping fit. Continue with cardio, get into strength training.

Personal projects. I haven't created much this year owing to me feeling burned out at different points throughout the year, along with a general lack of time and motivation.

I decree today, that in 2024, I plan to create more things for myself and my friends.

2022 was a great year for productivity as I worked on a lot of personal projects. I plan to take some inspiration from my past work and hope to continue my creative practice starting next year.

Learning. I like learning new things every year; at least one new thing. In 2021 and '22 it was 3D art. We'll see what I lean into next year. I am open and looking. Probably photography. I don't know.

Photography. I remember this year I was quite keen about getting into photography and wanting to get a camera for myself as a birthday present but I didn't go through with it as I found that the gear can get quite expensive. I can get stuff secondhand as I'm starting out... Well, as long as it's on my mind, I am sure I will get to it at some point.

Watching new movies. I have mostly only rewatched movies this year, and want to make time to watching New movies. New experiences; new ways to make you think and feel.

Media recs (from what I consumed this year)

Books. The Lord of the Rings (1968), by J. R. R. Tolkien. No question about it. Best book ever written.

Also Dune (1965) and Dune Messiah (1969), by Frank Herbert.

And The Mistborn Trilogy: Era One (2006—08), by Brandon Sanderson. I read all three books in a row without ever feeling tired/exhausted. Excellently written.

Music. Most likely Desire, I Want To Turn Into You (2023), by Caroline Polachek, seeing how it's my most played album of the year.

I also listened to a lot of Feels (2005), by Animal Collective, and Schlagenheim (2019), by black midi. I listened to a LOT of Animal Collective and black midi in the mid point of this year.

Another noteworthy recommendation is The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We (2023), by Mitski.

A lot of LCD Soundsystem songs have been in rotation earlier in the year. OH and Fred Again.., Agnes Obel, and James Blake. Honestly, I can go on and may have to make a separate entry for music at this point HAHA.

Movies. I really liked Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023). The art style and visuals are amazing and the movie did not disappoint. I await its sequel!

(I honestly think that is the only movie I saw that was released this year. Tragic.)

I also watched The Dollars Trilogy because I always wanted to, and really liked For a Few Dollars More (1965) the most, out of the three. (Fun fact: Clint Eastwood and I share the same birthday.)

I rewatched Chungking Express (1994) yesterday, and it is an all-time fave.

Games. Bloodborne (2015), and Ghost of Tsushima (2020).

Both games have SUCH splendid art direction. I love the Gothic/Victorian-era architecture and Lovecraftian aesthetic that Bloodborne has, and the Kurosawa inspired Japanese style from GoT. Definitely feel inspired and want to use them in one of my artworks/projects.

Podcast/radio. The only podcast I listen to is Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend, except I haven't listened to it at all this year. I watched a few clips on YouTube though, and really liked the ones in which Jordan Schlansky is present.

My all-time favorite episodes are Timothy Olyphant (Feb 2019), and Jesse Eisenberg (Jan 2020), for the very funny banter.

TV. Haven't watched much TV this year so no recommendations sadly. :(

Updated on Saturday, December 30, 2023.

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