I know that December is a more common time for retrospectives, but I like to wait for the new year. I should acknowledge that this is my favorite time of year. While it may just be a moment in an endless stream of time, it is also a reminder of the cyclical nature of everything. It is a celebration of rebirth and renewal.
In that sense, I see every day as a mini-New Year. We wake up, we choose how we want to face the day, and then we go forth. We are minute creatures locked on a tiny rock swirling all alone in a universe of giants that do not even know we are here. It is a humbling thing, but it is also awe-inspiring. That we are here and that we have this space and this time for however long we do is an impossibility. We are magical things, if you ask me.
Every year is hard. Every year is full of pain, hurt, joy, and success. There are many who enter 2024 in the midst of great suffering and fear. So much is unknown, and the precarious sense that we are all living on the knife’s edge of oblivion is neither helpful nor healthy. Here we are, though.
I will remember 2023 for the losses. I watched friends and family fall away. I made hard choices and sacrifices. I let a lot go. This was a year of significant change, and it was not easy.
Yet, even as I write this, there is voice in my head that says, “Didn’t you ask for that, though?” I suppose, in some sense, I did–beware answered prayers. I am not a believer in the sense that I used to be, but I see the echoes of answered prayer in the remnants of my 2023 New Year’s goals. I asked for rebirth and growth, and boy-oh-boy did I get it. Rebirth–of course–requires death and loss.
So, in that sense, I will also remember 2023 for resilience. I learned to adapt, to protect my health and well-being, to say no. I took serious vacation days for the first time that I can recall. I didn’t even log in to work. I just focused on me. I found silly new things to dive into, and I found myself reaching out and connecting with aspects of myself that I have kept hidden and subsumed for far too long. For all the heartache that 2023 brought me, I will never regret that in the midst of it all, I also found a bit more of me.
Professionally, what can I say? We ended the year on high note, and I know that the work is just beginning. I am so excited to help build something that might actually help people. I also started writing and gaming, again, beyond merely looking for a way to explore a hobby or escape. I have things I want to write about (and not just here). I am looking forward to seeing where that takes me in the next year.
In retrospect, 2023 was a challenging year in series of challenging years. I left the year a bit more bruised and beaten than when I began and not everyone I started the year with is still here. I also leave a bit stronger and a bit better than when I started. The journey of 2024 lays ahead. Let’s see what challenges and costs it brings, and where the next step of this crazy adventure we call life takes us.