Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2023 in Review

At the start of 2023, I wrote my usual "year in review" post for 2022 and ended it with this: I don’t have resolutions for 2023, but I have a goal to finally put the effort and time into cultivating a friend group here in Seattle. I’ve been in therapy since June 2021 and if nothing else, I now feel completely capable of moving beyond my anxiety and fear to just do things. The more I do things the more they seem to pay off, and it’s liberating to get to finally see what’s on the other side of fear.

My other goals for this year all revolve around the simple idea that I want to build my life into something that makes me feel whole and fulfilled. I want to feel I’m not wasting my days. So I will continue to run and lift weights. I will make friends. I will dive back into this blog and into my creative writing.

I can honestly say I didn't let myself down this year. 2023 was full of challenges unlike any I've faced before, but it was also so incredibly rewarding. Rather than go through monthly highlights, I'm going to reflect on the year's big events, because there were many.


This should come as no surprise to anyone who's been reading here or following me on Instagram, but I finally got back into writing this year. After years of starting-and-abandoning story ideas, I was in a rut. I wanted to love writing again; I missed who I was when I was writing all the time. It's how I've identified myself for so long, but in reality it was a hobby I'd let go. Every time I'd sit down to write, I'd get distracted and overwhelmed, annoyed that it wasn't coming easily to me anymore.

With a nudge from my therapist, I began dedicating time every week to my WIP. At first it was difficult to get back into the mindset, but soon I was enjoying creating again.

In November, I buckled down and wrote about 40k words, finishing my first novel in ages. Since then, I've taken time off, but I am excited to dive into revisions and new writing projects in 2024.


Another hobby I'd abandoned over the years and desperately wanted to get back into was reading. I set a goal to read 10 books this year and planned to stick with easy, light reads. I didn't want to read anything too suspenseful or upsetting, so I started with low-stakes romances.

Like with writing, getting back into the habit wasn't super easy. It really does take practice to focus and enjoy a book! By the end of  year, I'd read 23 books and I'm really glad I'm back in a place where I can call myself a reader and mean it.


This year was a tough one for running. After a superb half marathon in February, I took some time off, then got covid, then just couldn't find the time or energy to get back into it. With the new puppy and Matt's drill school schedule, something had to give, and running was that something.

I struggled mentally with getting back into running when time eventually allowed, but with another half on the schedule, I buckled down in the fall and ramped up my mileage. I am finally beginning to feel confident and capable again, and I'm determined to stay consistent in 2024...especially if my bucket list race in Scotland becomes a reality.

I had some months with very low mileage, but that just makes the comeback that much more impressive!

Obviously this was a huge year on the personal front. The two most obvious, life-changing events were that we adopted Zoe (this was technically in very late 2022 but I'm counting our first year with Zoe as a 2023 event) and Matt went through drill school and the majority of his probationary period as a Seattle firefighter (he'll be off probation February 1).  

These two things alone made 2023 a huge year, but it didn't stop there. Other big events included: coming down with covid for the first time, mom coming to visit, and jumping out of my comfort zone and into BumbleBFF to expand my friend group.

Matt and I took a couple staycations and made time for hiking. It was nice to have the means and energy to actually spend some real quality time together doing something other than watching tv. 

That brings us to autumn. This isn't something I plan to go into in depth on the blog, but it needs to be mentioned at least in passing: the last three months of this year have been really hard. I do feel like a different person than I was before October 7; I feel disillusioned and less trustful, and in a way I feel like I was ripped out of a dreamworld where progressives really believe in antiracism and into reality, where I've been forced to reckon with the fact that David Baddiel has been spot on all along. The veil has been lifted.

I tend to keep this blog fairly current-events-free so I'm not diving into all that, but I'd be remiss to write a review of the year and not touch on the fact that the core of my being has been terribly shaken. I think I'll look back on 2023 as a year of major change with regard to who I am inside and how I see the world. It's worth noting.

This was certainly a year of challenges. I can look back on the early months of 2023 with rose-colored glasses now that we're through it, but it was rough for a minute there. I've finally found some equilibrium, which makes it easy to gloss over the difficult parts of the year, but generally I think I'm proud of my 2023. I put some real work into bettering my situation, rediscovering myself, and getting back in touch with who I am and who I want to be. I let go of the cheeky nihilism of the internet and let myself enjoy things. Doing so helped me break free from the worst of my anxiety. I'm not sure if it's my age or what, but this year I just decided to be authentically myself, and so far that seems to be working.

This year, I told Matt that in a way, it felt like our lives hadn't really started until we moved to Seattle. Not to minimize the decade of marriage we shared before the move, but since moving, it just feels like things keep moving forward for us in new and positive ways. 

In 2024, I'm looking forward to more. More writing, more reading, more running, and more adventures. I can't wait to see what the year has in store.


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