A Flashback in Order—All's Well That Ends Well

I notice one weird thing about life this year: the more we grow, the lesser we know shit about life, while the less we anticipate, the more peaceful we will be. I am not sure about how true this knowledge is for everyone, but for me, this is now a rule of thumb. I am wrapping my head around the fact that I know so little about life, and that is okay.

I also believe in writing down what I feel to keep myself sane… so where should I start? 2023 was insane and funny, as in going-down-the-rabbit-hole funny. It was the year when I sabotaged my dreams and didn’t look back. It was the year where I hid from the entire world but ended up in a dim spotlight. In other words, it was the year where I lost a part of me to gain the other. If 2023 was a teacher, it would be a strict one, frequently sending me to the counselor because in its vision I was not tough enough.

How people perceived me this year was most likely built on what I happily shared these past three months, but what they saw was only the tip of the iceberg, and 2023 hadn’t gone easy on me. This year had started peacefully with less stressful opening months. I had expected March and April to be harder to go through, but thankfully, the reality was alarmingly less daunting than my oppressive thought. Months passed by with a surprising smoothnessor at least as smooth as a peak season could go. I couldn’t say the same for the following trimesters, however. What awaited me at the portal was the troublesome resemblance of Tweedledum and Tweedledee blocking my path. I was so snowed under that my previous thought seemed like a sweet piece of cake at a party in Mad Hatter’s.

At one point, I was even “fired” from being a student, no kidding. Around mid-year this year, I decided to enroll in a private Mandarin course nearby. The teacher is a family friend. She is probably around seventy years old now. After I attended only a few classes and skipped the rest, my mom jokingly said that I would probably be fired for being a truant. A good enough reason involving me working overtime was not a good enough reason since the prophecy happened faster than I had imagined. Later that evening, my teacher messaged me not to come again in the future. It turned out that another student wanted to fill my blank attendance so she crossed out my name with a red marker.

Given the experience, I was no stranger to moments that created shock value this year, but looking back, I realized that 2023 had so many good moments also. I traveled quite a lot this yearI went to Bali twice, had a short sleepover in Pulau Seribu, got a free vacation to Thailand, and enjoyed a much-needed getaway in Yogyakartaand believe it or not, I went out more too. It was nice to recognize the blooming sense of admiration for life again. Baby step, no matter how little, was still a step taken. As a cherry on top, I landed myself a new job exactly when I needed it the most.

I picked up both new and old habits too this year. Remember the golden healthy time when I was so into walking? It was physically and mentally good for me since I charged myself with exercises while listening to the “Trying Not to Care” podcast by Ashley Corbo. Recently though, I have been busy playing mobile games like Kim Kardashian: Hollywood and Hay Day instead. If someone asks me what the highest-valued currency is, I would confidently answer, “Hay Day's coins.” I am not joking. You should check how much those coins cost in real-life money.

Other entertainment-wise, I might not watch that many shows this year, but I saw the snippets of several good ones on TikTok. It has been a new weird habit that I picked up since I downloaded the app earlier this year. Just so you know, the only series that I am still continuously watching on Netflix is the life of Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj.

I am beyond happy about the little fact that I reactivated my bookstagram account in October this year. Gushing over fictional characters with book geeks like me is always a fun thing to do in my spare time. Since I now have so much spare time, I am trying to catch up with all the hype that I have been so late in joining. And while it was not something as grand as what others accomplished, I am glad that I managed to finish 21 books this year after only aiming for 12. It was 8.739 pages in total, with the most memorable being The Secret History by Donna Tart, Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Just Last Night by Mhairi McFarlane, Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, Turtles All The Way Down by John Green, my reread of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella.

Just like the order of my flashback, this year was unimaginable and a little cruel, but I believe all's well that ends well. I am also very well aware of the fact that my survival this year wouldn't be possible if not for the presence of God in my life. His blessing had always been the greatest gift, but what He bestowed me with this year was beyond my comprehension. His name is now my safest sanctuary. And I understand what is written in Matthew 7:7  by heart: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." 

So many lessons were learned in 2023. So many tears and perseverance. I am relieved to end this era with an open heart and a longing for a better year ahead with God, my family, and friends. Here is to a new year with no resolution, an era with new hope and good moments, and a year with another awesome Spotify wrap-up.

Happy new year.