2023, A Year in Review

2023 has been a weird one. I think I was forced to contend a little bit of everything this year, some spectacular moments and several underwhelming moments. Overall if you asked me to rate it, I would have been like Meh (The way Larry David says it)

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For starters, I feel old. I am not talking on the lines of being older and wiser. I was just tired; I could feel the battery draining out on most days. For the first time ever, I think I can admit to physical and mental wear. I had to unplug from social media and news a lot of days just to regain a sense of control. I absolutely needed help to get over the bouts of anxiety and self-doubt. My mental health took a toll as I dealt with toxic workplace culture and as I was coming in terms with solitude. I got a 3rd round of Covid this year, I am not sure how much damage it did this time but lucky enough I was able to rebound out of this pretty quickly. I am not going to lie, for the first half of the year everything looked weak.

I am also one of those people who once they understand things are not going well, can then pull myself together to stop the spiral. I got my annual health checkups done and I found out that my numbers were not as bad as I expected them to be. Perhaps that was the motivation I needed to jumpstart the year. I started to log miles again. I can say from my personal experience that once I start feeling a rhythm, the other pieces of the puzzle fall in place gradually. I have written earlier about the importance of hobbies, and those help me focus on the things that I could control.

Running is a very cathartic experience, and it induces a state of awareness in me, this helps reset my emotions and makes me mindful of the state of things. It helps me calm down. I cannot claim to be in complete control of my emotions, but I have a better handle on things. I know now to not react to things; I can slow things down and then respond. That said, I have hit a personal achievement of maximum miles logged in a calendar year and have built up on my aerobic base with consistent efforts. The goal for the year was to be consistent, so rather than have more miles logged in the winter and taper out the summer, I tried to focus on getting the same distance done for the year every month. The pace did getter better towards the end of the year as the temperatures dropped, but I was consistent with metrics like number of activities, distance every month etc. I hope to build upon this next year.

This was also the year, that I managed to read the most number of books. My top 5 for the year would be the following.

  • A Gentleman in Moscow – Amar Towles
  • Annihilation of Caste = BR Ambedkar
  • Rise and fall of the Third Reich – William Shirer
  • Kimetsu No Yaiba (Demon Slayer) Manga Series
  • The cabinet of curiosities – Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child

A Gentleman in Moscow was simply brilliant. To read about a person of character, someone who has values, ethics in this day and age gave me chills. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of caste was a brutal read, he breaks down the single most ill that affects the society. The sad reality is what he warned us of is taking hold of our societies today. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich was an epic read, I could not help worrying over the similarities in tone and ideology of political parties to that of the Nazi party of old. I do love mystery/thriller books in general and I absolutely loved the cabinet of curiosities. The demon slayer series was recommended to me by my niece what started off as a slick Netflix series took us to the world of Manga. These fiction books do offer me a gateway to escape what haunts me the rest of the year.

Other Moments that Stuck a chord

  • Track and Field – Sydney Mclaughlin, Shericka Jackson, Faith Kipyegon shattered records left and right. I did not expect to see Kipchoge’s 2.01 Marathan record to fall, yet it did. The 2024 Olympics should be lit.
  • Max Verstappen destroying careers and a fan base one brick at a time. He was on a different level. Mercedes and Ferrari have a lot of catching up to do. I do hope Lewis Hamilton gets back to his winning ways.
  • Novak Djokovic dominating the rest of the world in Tennis. Carlos Alcaraz then beating Novak in Wimbledon was bittersweet.
  • The sheer quality of animation shows and movies was mind blowing- The Demon slayer series, Witcher and Spiderman across the spider verse.
  • The variety of artists that hit #1 on the playlists. Morgan Whalen was a find, SZA was breathtaking, and Anirudh has established himself as a premier music artist.

I did knowingly abstain from writing about political events that have shaken up the world order, perhaps I am taking the easy way route and looking to focus on the positives as the year wraps up. But I do sincerely hope that the new year brings in some form of order to the chaos. Hope is necessary, for all of us to believe in something, for all of us to have something to look forward to, for all of us to have a purpose.

So here is to another year. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous new year.


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