Reflecting on Life, Lessons and Things I Loved in 2023

bring on the year of the dragon!
two hands use sparklers to celebrate the new year and think about 2024 goal planning
(via Unsplash)

This year I saw some of my planted seeds from 2022 blossom—and 2024 will be the year I know they’ll bloom. Each year brings on its share of challenges and rewards, but regardless of where things stand, I always use the last few days to reflect and find meaningful closure in where I’m at. Honestly, I have no serious complaints about 2023.

The biggest lesson was to lower my expectations for other people, and increase expectations for myself. It sounds cliché, but “keep doing what you love” is the best advice I could offer myself or anyone. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, continue doing things you love and are skilled at, and that’s when you’ll attract likeminded people. When you stop thinking about people who aren’t thinking about you, your energy will shift towards some pretty incredible things.

My 2024 goal planning isn’t riddled with new years resolutions. It simply comes down to doing my best this coming year, and feeling better than the year before. Below are seven life updates, lessons I’ve learned and things I loved in 2023.

1. Taking Chances

My motto for 2023 was you miss all the shots you don’t take, and I carried that with me every day. Whether for something as small as sending a pitch to an editor I don’t know, or something more vulnerable like posting on TikTok several times a week—I put myself out there in literally every sense imaginable this year, and I have no regrets. I have a long way to go in terms of goals, but just doing it (whatever that may be) is the first step. It’s like working out. You’re not going to see results after a week, but getting in the routine of going to the gym/taking a class regularly will eventually get you where you need to be. Speaking about yourself with conviction and believing you’re worthy and of achieving your dreams are the first steps to getting there.

2. TikTok

This year was just the beginning. I know 2024 is my year for TikTok, and I won’t stop talking about it or manifesting it. This year wasn’t about cultivating a huge following—it was so much more about gaining confidence in general for just putting myself out there, and not caring about what people think. I feel so much more comfortable public speaking or being in front of a camera, and I’ve learned a lot about video editing just by playing around in the app. I’ve also connected with some amazing people and put together a year of videos I can look back on years from now when I want to relive a special moment. Regardless of anything else, it’s refreshing having a creative outlet to just be yourself and have fun. Like, who cares?

3. Work

I feel so much gratitude for the professional opportunities I’ve had this year, and the new people who’ve entered my life because of them. I began the year saying I absolutely need to connect more with makeup brands—and I can proudly say that goal was achieved. There’s still a long ways to go in that realm, but in comparison to 2022, I covered so much ground. In addition to that corner of my career, I think I maximized every opportunity that approached me, in addition to creating opportunities for myself. The worst someone can say is no, or simply not reply—everything is worth an ask. I wrote for a handful of publications I hadn’t contributed to prior, and I plan to grow in the new year.

In addition to incredible opportunities, this was the year of people supporting each other. I’ve always helped people out, and it was wildly refreshing to see it come back around in 2023. There’s nothing more satisfying than building a network of likeminded individuals who are happy to do an email intro, eager to take you to a beneficial event, excited to brainstorm with you for mutual opportunities. These are the people who lift you up with no motive or judgment. I actually respect and genuinely like my peers who I see regularly at events or otherwise. That’s a rare and fulfilling feeling.

In terms of 2024 goal planning with work, I don’t have anything hyper-specific I want to achieve. It’s more that feeling of knowing you’re where you want to be. Success or achievement to me accumulates accolades from your professional community, connection with impactful people or businesses in your space, leveling-up with your work from the year before, and simply feeling proud of what you’re putting into the universe.

4. Friendships

A lot of my friendships shifted this year. Some majorly strengthened, others weakened, and some went awry altogether. But as I sit here in this moment and reflect, I feel like every single relationship in my life is exactly where it needs to be. And everything that led to that state of mind needed to happen. I actually feel at peace with everyone in general.

I also met more new friends this year than ever before. There are always those people who you meet and think are so awesome, but the majority of the time you only see them pop up again on social media. This year, there were no one-offs. These singular meets have turned into actual friendships. I’m so excited about all the new people who came into my life, and I’m certain those relationships will extend into 2024 and beyond.

I’m also grateful for the longterm friendships that have grown stronger. This was really a definitive year of knowing where my relationships stand. There are definitely lonely moments or feelings of being left out, but I think that’s part of life. I mean I hate those moments, but they do pass. That said, no one should ever feel like their emotions aren’t justified. I’ll continue to let myself feel—I just won’t let those feelings take up too much time or energy, because as I said above, they always pass.

5. Family

This year more than ever—seeing how many people I know affected by a family member’s health, or unsupportive actions—it’s such a reminder to count my blessings. To have a healthy, supportive mom, dad and brother is one of the highest blessings that is often taken for granted. I think about this more and more, and it’s something I need to express with deeper gratitude.

6. Mental Health

At this exact time last year, I had a huge epiphany regarding my mental health. And the absolute craziest thing is, once I had this aha moment, everything changed. I totally get what people mean when they say the first step to fixing a problem is recognizing it. Once you’re cognizant of whatever it is, you can better recognize what’s happening and why. A lot of times we either don’t know why we’re feeling a certain way, or we dismiss it as not being an actual issue. I don’t think you’re ever cured of being triggered, but you can definitely suppress the frequency of it and change the way you react. My head felt so much lighter this year, which was a 2023 feat in itself.

I’ve tried the traditional therapy thing a handful of times (including a very brief stint this year), and I don’t feel a connection with anyone. I’ve successfully leaned on spiritual healing practices, which I’ve found far more beneficial than textbook counseling. However, when it comes to 2024 goal planning, it would be nice to find a professional to talk to who actually understands me—I’m going to look into that.

7. My Hair Journey

My hair journey was without question my biggest rollercoaster of 2023. And I’m proud to say, just in time for 2024, we capped off the year on a high! My hair looks better now than it did before the journey started. I always saw myself as a long-haired girlie, but at the length and style we’re at now, I just can’t imagine going another route (but, like with everything, subject to change!). To anyone who has been following, a turn of unexpected events led me to chop the locks. It’s been a whole thing, but six haircuts later, I am so grateful to everyone who contributed to the process the whole year through. Also, side note, I had my hair cut or styled this year by some of the literal biggest hair legends in the business. That is something I’ll never forget.

For more introspective posts about lessons and wisdom, click HERE for 40 things I’ve learned in 40 years of life.

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