It’s officially 2024 and as I do every year in January, it is time for me to reflect on the year passed and the year to come.
Warning: As I do with almost all my reflection, New Year’s, and Birthday posts, this post will likely be rambly and long. I take no offense if you choose not to read this and I will see you in a few posts.
I’ve been MIA a lot of this past year. I think, as far as the life of this blog goes, in 2023 I probably posted the least I ever have. At least in the past few years, which is strange because I had been on a roll. I had big goals for this blog in 2023. And what makes that even stranger is that I can’t pinpoint why or what happened.
Since I started this blog, I’ve dealt with death, big family changes, moving, unemployment, COVID, and so much more. There have been a lot of things that could have (and did) derail my writing efforts, but I always did a better job of staying on task than I did this year, and this year I have nothing to blame it on.
This year was just strange and got away from me. In many ways, I feel like I didn’t do much. If you look at my Bucket List and my goals I didn’t meet many of them. At the same time though, as you’ll see (if you choose to keep reading this ramble), I actually did do a lot. The first half of the year was filled with tons of waterfall hikes and the second half was packed with concerts (something I haven’t done in years).
So as I look back on 2023 and as I approach my 33 birthday I want to do two things.
- I want to talk about all the things I did, that happened and shaped 2023
- I want to talk about my growth and the personal changes/accomplishments from the past year.
My brain is very tempted to put those two together, but because one is more tactile/reflective (I did this or I went here) and the other is more abstract/reflective (I feel this or I discovered that) I feel like they should be two things. So, even though I feel like there will be some overlap, the rest of this post is going to just be a list of the fun and awesome things I did this past year, and when I write that part two, I will link it here.
Last winter was a wet cold winter and that meant a lot of waterfalls that are often dry in this drought-ridden state were roaring. And we took full advantage of that. The first few months of 2023 were filled with chasing waterfalls, sometimes multiples in a day.
In 2023 I rediscovered music and my love for live music. I used to love going to shows, but honestly don’t think up until this past year I’d been to one since I left Hawaii. But in 2023 I packed them in and 2024 is already shaping up to be a pretty musical year too.
My musical re-awakening in 2023 started with the Blink 182 “reunion” tour in July. I somehow managed to get floor tickets and my husband and I went with one of my best friends and her husband. It was one of the best nights I have had in a long time! It was my first time seeing Blink and my first time on the floor of an arena. I can’t even put into words what that night meant to me.
Fall Out Boy
A month after Blink 182 I found myself at a Fall Out Boy concert. My all-time favorite band. This was my third time getting to see them live. I went with my niece and we had a blast. We both screamed and sang all night. And in fact, I was so bad I have zero videos of the concert that I didn’t ruin with my voice.
A few months after that I got tickets to go see Neon Trees. This was technically my third time seeing them, but first real concert of theirs and it changed me. So much so, I actually wrote about it. So I won’t go into detail here, but if you want you can click here to read what I’m talking about.
When We Were Young
Then came the big one. Right after we bought our tickets to Blink, at the end of 2022, they announced they would be headlining with Green Day at the 2023 When We Were Young Festival. Blink is my husband’s favorite band and I’ve never seen Green Day live so we decided “F**k it” and bought tickets.
When We Were Young was obviously another highlight of 2023. It was so much fun, so exciting, and I am so sad that I didn’t get to properly share it on here. But, unfortunately, as soon as we got back I came down with COVID and recovered just in time for my husband the come down with it. And then the next thing I knew it was the holidays. But I promise I will properly share next year’s festival, because… yup we’re going!
Sometime between fights with COVID, we went and saw Durry. I’ve talked about them before on here, but if for some reason you still have not listened to them yet, I highly HIGHLY recommend that you do so. Their music is so good, and their lyrics are so relatable.
And I’ve never seen an up-and-coming band live before, so I was a bit nervous to go see them. It was only their second time in Los Angeles. But I have to say they put on one of the best shows I’ve ever been to and I can’t wait for them to tour again.
And to wrap up my musical year, just a few days after seeing Durry live, my husband and I went to the Emo Orchestra. Now at the time, I had no idea what I was actually getting myself into. Hawthorne Heights with a full orchestra covering emo bands…what?
But after seeing an ad for it on Instagram I couldn’t get it out of my head and the year had already been jam-packed with so many good musical memories, I figured let’s try it out. And OMG, Emo Orchestra is one of the best things I have ever been to. I’m still not quite sure how to explain it.
Emo but fancy.
It was such a unique and fun experience that I’m telling everyone I know to go.
They have already announced a spring tour and I can’t wait for tickets to go on sale.
Although I have been trying for a few years now, I must admit, in 2023 I lost no weight. But that doesn’t mean that the past year was a loss for me in fitness. In 2023 there was a shift in my perspective on fitness and I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for me.
Although I’ve been trying to work out and get healthy and fit and lose weight for several years now, something new clicked last year. Last year I decided (for real because I realize I may have said this in the past) that I want to be healthy and strong. I don’t want to be skinny. I want to be powerful. I’m not afraid of building muscle and in fact, strength feels good.
So what happened to click this into gear?
I did a deadlift.
A baby deadlift with a tiny bit of weight, but nonetheless a deadlift and now I just want to lift more.
Over the past few months I haven’t lost weight, but my strength has improved greatly. Where for the last several years I’ve been content lifting 8lb dumbells and using 15lb kettlebells, every week I’m pushing to improve and although it may not seem like much I’m now using 15-20lb dumbells and 25lb kettlebells.
I still haven’t been able to improve my deadlift, but it’s coming in 2024.
I found my way back to baking in 2023!
I used to love baking. I was known for my cheesecakes and cupcakes, but that all pretty much stopped when I moved back from Hawaii. That is until this past year. This year I somehow found my way back to baking. What started as just me wanting to learn how to make sourdough exploded into cookies, and cakes, and cinnamon rolls, and so much more!
Now that the weather has cooled down, I’m baking something almost weekly and I love it!
In 2023 I rediscovered a lot of my old passions, music and baking, and old habits morphed, like me wanting to build muscle, but there was also some new in 2023.
In 2023 I got serious about meditating. One of the few books I read last year was Stress Less, Accomplish More. And although I haven’t fully committed to that kind of practice yet I can feel a change in me when I am more consistent with it.
In that same vein, I also spent a good part of 2023 exploring my spiritual side, but I’m going to wait to share more on that.
2023 wasn’t good, but wasn’t bad. It wasn’t what I expected or planned, but the more I look back on it I think it was exactly what I needed it to be.
Cheers to 2024, I’m excited to see what the next 12 months have in store!