My 2023 Highlights

January 01, 2024

There's a lot of things that happened this year, from a post-pandemic perspective. There were more activities outside of the house and of the country. It was the year that I felt brave enough to be out there, in both the literal and figurative sense. ✨ There were a lot of growth opportunities that I bravely jumped onboard. There were connections that got refreshed, and spaces that I had to let go to preserve my mental health. 

Looking at my blogging history, this was the year with the fewest posts, and there were indeed moments that I was thinking that I was beginning to pull away from the blog. But no, I realized I will always go back to my roots as a creator and a storyteller (something I learned on the first few pages of Feel Good Productivity book by Ali Abdaal), and so the posts will continue, no matter how late they get to be published. ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ“

๐Ÿ’ƒ Experiences

  • Attending weddings as my bookends for the year. My year started with a wedding, and it ended with one. Both were of my cousins, who were younger than me. ๐Ÿ˜… Initially I still had some shadows of awkwardness because the younger ones are hitting this milestone ahead of me, but as the months went by, I grew more and more comfortable with where I am. It is what it is. Comparing my timeline with them is just a waste of energy, and that's one of the learnings that I had this year. 

  • Focusing more on my eating habits. This year had its highs and lows in terms of my health. I had phases of very unhealthy snack binging sessions, but later in the year I was able to shift my ways in a more healthier direction. And it reflected on my medical results on the latest APE. I'm proud of myself for being able to come back up from those challenges. ๐Ÿ’ช
  • Spending more time with relatives. I'm grateful for those opportunities that I got to travel and visit relatives in the province and spend time with aunts and cousins.
  • Getting to drive in more places. Tagaytay is now part of my driving comfort zone! ๐Ÿ˜š I was able to visit the place multiple times this year so I got to become familiar with the roads. ๐Ÿ’“

  • Fangirling online and onsite. This year also gave me opportunities to fangirl! 
    • I got to watch the TwoSet Violin VS Davie504 Livestream, which I thoroughly enjoyed. 
    • I also got to check out a Swifties Night in a local mall here, wherein I just low-key went around the activity area and quickly exited when I didn't find any pop-up store with fan merch, which was my main goal (but honestly I just got a bit intimidated by those younger fans LOL).
  • Participating in a wellness retreat. It was a very life-changing experience indeed, which I have detailed in a separate blog post.
  • Organizing our family outing. Our family doesn't really go to places for leisure. It didn't become part of our core lifestyle because of financial reasons. Now that we have some funds to spare for these kinds of activities, my sister and I pushed to organize a swimming activity. I'm so happy I got to bond with my nieces also. I hope this becomes part of their core childhood memories. 
  • Being heavily invested in Taylor Swift's life. I had to admit, I devoted too much emotion to all the drama surrounding Taylor's life, especially after learning about the ending of her six-year relationship. I was close to crying when I learned the news. During the months that followed, my emotions were in a rollercoaster. I'm a huge The 1975 fan, so I was so stoked when I witnessed my fandoms colliding. I was very affected with all the allegations, and all the events that followed after. After being down for a while, I was again lifted up upon learning about Tay's new beau. And then there's the Eras tour ticket arc. I would say this year, Taylor was heavily involved in controlling my emotions (and my money LOL).

    This photo is so precious. If you know, you know. ๐Ÿ˜œ

  • Connecting with fellow Swifties. Because of all the hype of the Eras tour, I got to reconnect with Swifties that are my colleagues at work. We formed a bond over our Eras tour ticket purchase journey, and just spazzed around our favorite artist. 
  • Changing dynamics at work. There were a lot of adjustments that happened at work, mostly due to our adaptation (seriously this time ๐Ÿ’ช) of the Scrum methodology. The first few sprints were the uphill journey, and I really had to do some paradigm shifts on how I do things. As of this writing, we are in our 10th sprint, and I have to say we are running way smoother now compared to how we were when we started. There were lots of learnings, but I have proved again and again how resilient I can be in a situation.
  • Adopting more crystals into my collection. ๐Ÿ”ฎIn relation to the previous bullet, one of the methods of coping where I found comfort was finding more crystals to assist on my meditation sessions, and just to help me shift into a more positive mindset. I feel grateful for having access to these tools to help me recuperate after those dark days. ✨
  • Travelling abroad for that convention. I'll have to write a whole new separate post regarding this, because I have a lot of things to say about it. For now, I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Universe for making this happen. It really felt like a full circle moment. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Receiving a Tarot reading from Ashlili. I have been following Ash in various socials for a while and I discovered that she offered Tarot reading services. I booked a session with her, and then several weeks later, I received a YouTube link from her with her reading for me. I didn't have a cohesive interpretation of it the first time I heard it, but I gave it some time. I had to rewatch the video a few times, until that one message stuck with me: it's related to the The Magician card, and that interpretation that the things I needed are actually within my reach and available to me already. I just need to recognize them.
  • Taking in a potential diagnosis that will change the way I do things. That's a mouthful of a prologue. LOL. Well let's just say a possibility was introduced to me, but as of today I have still yet to confirm things. Even so, I already did things to hopefully turn things around. I have changed my diet and lifestyle, and because of this doctor's opinion, I have become more conscious of my overall lifestyle. Things really need to change now. ๐Ÿšด‍♀️๐Ÿฅ—
  • Watching IU's concert in the cinema. It's been a long time since I fangirled over KPOP artists. IU is one of those artists that I really like, and I was so hyped when I learned that there's a screening of her concert in SM cinemas. I spent no time and immediately booked my ticket. ๐ŸŽซ Watching her concert reminded me of the feeling of magic that music and the arts can give. It makes life more wonderful and exciting. I received that message in the right timing because I was somehow feeling like a robot during that time ๐Ÿค–. Her music reminded me to search for the childlike wonder in me and remind myself of the things that sparked joy for me.
  • Playing video games with my niece. ๐ŸŽฎDuring Christmas, my niece and I bonded over playing Little Nightmares I and II. We screamed, laughed, and cried during the gameplay. 

⛰️ Accomplishments / Milestones

  • I successfully taught one of my cats to ring the bell for food. ๐Ÿ˜ป I attempted to teach the other ones but I was only successful with Patty. Through this process, I learned who among them were fast learners, and who were just very clueless about the whole thing. ๐Ÿ˜น

    Uhm, this is becoming a... thing. ๐Ÿ˜ผ

  • It was liberating to recognize that I have been holding onto some limiting beliefs that made me "freeze with fear". During this year, I was able to go past the facade of that uneasiness and to actually go deeper to the roots of this feeling. I realized that the method to resolve this is very similar to how I do things at work: investigate the root cause, evaluate impact, and come up with a fix. However, unlike software bugs that go away immediately when the fixes are applied, my concern needs some time to see the changes. But as always, learning and recognizing that I had the problem is key progress already. With this newfound discovery, I hope to work on my weaknesses so I could become stronger and braver in facing the unknowns in my life. ๐Ÿ’–
  • I was able to do the Toastmaster of the Day stint in a face-to-face setting! I was so proud of myself. I learned a lot during that journey. I had to nurse a bit of trauma (that lasted for weeks) because of a wrong turn that I did... things could have ended so badly. ๐Ÿ˜– I'm so grateful that the Universe saved me from that catastrophe. 
  • Aside from being able to drive multiple times to Tagaytay, I was also able to extend my driving horizon to BGC! It was my first time going there using a car. I patted myself on the back because I didn't get lost (thank you Google Maps! ๐Ÿ˜).

๐Ÿง Game Changers

  • Period Underwear. Apparently this was a thing. I'm very happy to have discovered this. It's comfy to use and very environment-friendly.
  • Ice Bath. I have only properly done this once, during the wellness retreat that I attended this year. It really changed me. Since setting up an ice bath takes too much effort for me, I seek at least a cold shower. I see to it that it's cold enough for me to feel the shivers in the first few minutes. I get to apply the breathing techniques that I learned during the retreat. I stay under the shower until my body temperature has stabilized. I get to enjoy cold showers now. That's a huge game changer for me. ๐Ÿšฟ❄️
  • Ergonomic Foot Rest. As someone who is still doing work from home most of my working days, a good workspace is a priority. And so this year, I discovered the wonders of having a proper foot rest, huge thanks to the evaluation I had requested from the office. I have never felt this comfortable sitting on my chair and working away for hours (of course with breaks in between)!
  • Compounding Productivity. Thanks to Ali Abdaal's YouTube videos, I got to be reminded of ways on how to improve my productivity habits. I have to say I'm not always consistent, but I always found my way towards the right direction. I realized that the magic of compounding productivity is real, because I got to experience it first-hand.
  • Tarot Cards. I have always done my readings on my Clow Cards and I really enjoyed the process of doing interpretations for the spread. Ever since receiving a Tarot reading from Ashlili, I got curious about the Tarot Cards. I thought of buying one for myself, and thankfully, I found the perfect one for me: The Phantomwise Tarot Cards. ❤️๐Ÿ–ค
  • Habit Stacking. Part of the productivity hacks that I have learned this year, (c/o the famous Atomic Habits book) I discovered the magic of habit stacking. After applying the concept in my routine, I got to read more books this year (incorporating reading in my morning/bathroom/evening rituals ๐Ÿ˜) and also finished the Sandman audio books (listened while doing the dishes). Through this method, I get to accomplish more within a shorter period of time. ๐Ÿ˜‰
  • Microblading. I never really had the urge to have my eyebrows done, but since my mom wanted one, I went with her and had mine done also. My brows now look more defined and I only need to do minor touches whenever going out. It's a game changer really. 
  • Microdosing. ๐Ÿ„This is one of my game changers also this year. I got to try some from neuro.heal. I purchased all of their blends, and the one that worked on me best is their Calm blend. I really felt so peaceful and calm. I take it whenever I want to unwind from a stressful week. The effects are subtle but you do feel the difference. It felt surreal doing meditations while "feeling" it. 
  • Taters' Tofu Chips. I rediscovered this gem when I prepared for stuff to bring to a friend in the US. I was so happy to make my friend happy because this is one of her favorites, which was available locally only.
  • Meal Planning. Because of the reminders that I received from the Universe that I really need to establish a healthier lifestyle, I went into experimenting on how I prepare my meals. I tried doing a batch of meals that lasted me a week, and I also stocked up on healthier options instead of sweets and junk foods. ❤️‍๐Ÿ”ฅ

๐Ÿ’ก Takeaways

  • My strongest anchor is my family.
  • Journaling is such a healing process.
  • Reminders are life savers. ๐Ÿ””
  • The Universe listens. All you need is to ask.
  • Follow your intuition.
  • Focus on the connection, not the relationship.
  • "Stop telling yourself that story."
  • You 100% miss the shots that you don’t make.

Thank you 2023 for these. ✨

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