I have never written this on January 8th before. I have only ever written it during the last five or six days of December. What this means is that even though I did one over two or three days over a year ago, there are none of these published in the 2023 calendar year. It’s messing with my brain, y’all! It seems fitting for this year, because this was not a great winter break. The holiday season was way too fast, with some personal and mental health successes, and maybe some misses. Shopping for a big family is complex, and traveling with a big family is complex as well. We had a wonderful Christmas, but came home with an unpleasant souvenir for Des – what I’m pretty sure was the flu. Somehow, knock on wood, no one else got it, but other than a wonderful two days in between Christmas and when he got sick, we’ve had to cancel a lot of good plans.
Is it the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?:
1 – What did you do in 2023 that you’d never done before?
My biggest answer is that I really learned to ask for help. I really asked for help. No stone unturned, no promising therapist unreached out to, no childcare resources unexplored. Basically I have a lot of therapy. I could have some sort of therapy appointment three times in one week, although one of them is a physical therapist for Sawyer, and I’m more of a casual and awed observer of that. I’m not saying I haven’t had awakenings and new leases on life, but my commitment to my family, and most importantly, myself, has not and will not waver. In fact, whenever the next mental health or family crisis happens, I can tell you that I will have the resources to better know what to do. Come at me, anxiety, you old hag. I’ll be waiting. Oh, and another thing I did in 2023 that I’ve never done before, is to book an international trip! I haven’t gone yet, but at the end of this year, I bet I’ll be writing that one thing I did in 2024 that I had never done before was to leave North America. Maybe I’ll do it more than once. Who knows?!
2 – Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I think I did! I had small goals of getting more into affiliate marketing and getting more passionate and present with work. As it always stands, I start off the year going strong and then leave the year needing a refresh. For 2024, I started the year not refreshed so it can only go up from here! I do have plans to redesign my blog and leave the continent!
3 – Did anyone close to you give birth?
It was a rather dry year for people close to me giving birth!
4 – Did anyone close to you die?
There were a few deaths within the extended family, and while they weren’t people I was very close to, they were people I had spent time with, and it’s very sad.
5 – What countries did you visit?
NONE. I imagine I’ll have a different answer in next year’s recap. Fingers crossed.
6 – What would you like to have in 2024 that you lacked in 2023?
World travel experience! Better work/life balance. More wisdom and spirituality. Stronger relationships. Better relationship with myself. Freedom from panic and anxiety. Being more mindful and present.
7 – What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The biggest thing I could have done. I asked for help.
8 – What date from 2023 will remain etched upon your memory?
December 3rd! That’s the day we brought home the puppies.
9 – What was your biggest failure?
My biggest failure was to walk through 3/4 of the year as if I was asleep. The walking dead. Luckily I am ensuring that it will never happen again.
10 – Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got a bad cold, and pinkeye. PINKEYE SUCKS.
11 – Whose behavior merited celebration?
I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way! I think we all deserve celebration for trying to teach and learn, and be taught and be better. It’s important. Some of the systems we have in place don’t work. If the older kids tell us in a kind way, and we learn to make changes that benefit us all, that’s a big thing. I was just thinking about that this morning when Scarlet was a little haughty over our untrained puppies. I realized that she’s probably right and five dogs is intense, and we shouldn’t let important things slide, and put ourselves at risk.
12 – What was the best thing you bought?
I checked and last year it was the cargo bike. This year it was puppies. Expensive, demonic puppies. We tend to overdo things we can barely handle, but know this. They are very loved, and very lucky we all chose each other:
13 – Where did most of your money go?
Puppies! A nice trip to Rochester that I split with my mom. Scotland trips for the new year. Food and bills.
14 – What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Puppies! Gosh, is that going to be the answer 17 times in a row? I got really really really excited about therapy, self-care, and the magic and wonders of connecting with your loved ones. Really connecting.
15 – What song will always remind you of 2023?
I have two songs! One is more from the middle of the year, and the second one is more recent:
16 – Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Definitely happier. I’m working on knowing what I deserve.
Thinner or fatter? Thinner. It’s post-holidays so that can be rough but I was still postpartum at the end of 2022.
Richer or poorer? I think my income is the same, but with puppies and daycare, my expenses have gone up. I’m poorer!
17 – What do you wish you’d done more of?
I guess, not walked around half asleep and oblivious.
18 – What do you wish you’d done less of?
I guess, working on weekends, and skipping moments for more connection.
19 – Did you fall in love in 2023?
Not like with a new person, since that hasn’t happened since 2006, but in other ways. You know, how you fall in love again and again with the same person. And I fell in love with puppies.
20 – How many one-night stands?
I’m not in the one-night stand realm! Never have been, actually.
21 – Who were your best friends?
My sisters! Scarlet and Des and Rider and Sawyer and Lucy! Although Astro follows me around wherever I go, so maybe he’s my best friend too.
22 – What thing did you do that was meaningful to others?
I don’t really like this question, as I get older. Maybe it’s just sharing – on social media, in person, in letters. If I share my vulnerability, maybe other people can relate. I also made amazing advent calendars in 2023! Oh, and have been much more present with my family.
23 – What were your favorite TV programs?
New Ted Lasso and new Doctor Who were astonishingly good to me.
24 – Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
25 – What was the best book you read in 2023?
I was RIVETED by Jodi Picoult’s “Wish You Were Here.”
26 – What was your greatest musical discovery?
I discovered Spotify.. and that was very exciting. Very intrigued by Tanita Tikaram.
27 – What did you want and get?
Therapy, great clothes, amazing times with loved ones, some travel, some money, and excitement around every bend.
28 – What did you want but did NOT get?
For my faith in humanity to return, but in truth, everyone is a moron. And I think this for three reasons: 1. How people behave in school car-lines. 2. The political landscape since 2016. 3. How the world handled the pandemic.
29 – What was your favorite film of this year?
The Barbie movie! It was funny, yes, and extremely gripping.
30 – What kept you sane?
I started therapy! And otherwise, my family members, magazines, the pellet stove, epsom salt baths, good books, hammock time, self-care, and a whole lot of chocolate.
31 – Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Who has time for this nonsense? However, had Bruce Hornsby and I been born around the same time, well, I’d be a goner.
32 – Who was the best new person you met this year?
33 – Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2023.
I’m pretty darn resilient when I need to be. And I guess I always need to be.
34 – Who did you miss?
I missed the younger and more hopeful version of me, but maybe she was in denial, and maybe she’s still in there, after all, but only the parts of her that have the strength to back up the hope.
35 – Quote song lyrics that sums up your year:
“I want to change the world, and instead I sleep
I want to believe in more than you and me
But all that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now, now
Now, now, now”