2023 in Review: Ups, Downs, and a Lot of In-Betweens

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Honestly, these recaps probably aren't really for anyone but me at this point because, like... who's reading these? But still, they feel valuable to me  so valuable, in fact, that I'm finally completing this post at the end of January 2024, having failed to finish formatting it sooner, and I'm backdating it to December 2023, just for posterity's sake.

Usually I break down my year-end recaps by month, but this time around, I went down a slightly different path. It's turned out to not be my favorite format, and I probably won't use it again, but rather than rewriting this one, I'm just going to say to heck with it and get it online already.
Here's what happened in 2023.

We were approved to become adoptive parents. 
Mike and I completed our adoption paperwork and were officially approved to adopt. We've since started working with multiple adoption agencies, and our profile was presented to a few birth mothers, though we weren't chosen. 

When we shared the news, we were bowled over by the love and support we received from friends and strangers alike. We're hopeful that we'll start our family soon. (PS, if you know of anyone who is pursuing an adoption plan, we hope you'll keep us in mind. Here's our photobook.)

We spent quality time with family. 
We were lucky to spend a lot of time with our family this year. At the start of the summer, my aunts came up for a weekend so they could see our house, and we spent a beautiful day at the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. We also hosted a backyard pizza dinner for my dad's side of the family so they could see our house. 
In August, we traveled to Portland, OR, for vacation and for the beautiful, joyful wedding of my exchange student sister, Anielis. Then, in November, we traveled to Hilton Head, SC, to spend a quick but relaxing Thanksgiving holiday with my family.
Christmas was also full of family. We drove to Nashville to spend a few days with Mike’s sister and their parents. Then we spent Christmas Eve with my dad's family and Christmas Day with Mike's aunt and uncle.
One more thing, and speaking of family, this is a big one: I met my half-sister for the first time. It's a story for another day, but suffice it to say that it was a truly wild moment, and it has turned into a really beautiful friendship for which I'm so grateful. 

Friends visited us, and we visited friends.
In January, I met up with some of my best friends for a rainy girls' weekend in Berkeley, CA, and though we barely got to leave the house, it was a joy just to be together. In May, I traveled to New Orleans for my friend Emily’s belated bachelorette weekend after hers was canceled in 2020.
In June, we drove to upstate New York (practically Vermont!) to celebrate the wedding of our friends Ashley and Cody. In December, we spent 24 hours in Pittsburgh, visiting our friends Nick and Susan and checking out a Home Alone-themed bar that made me, like, the happiest ever.
We hosted visitors, too. When our friends Adam and Kristina came to visit from Philly, we took them to as many fun places as we could within a very short time. My old roommates, Jason and Gavi, also stayed overnight as they drove from Chicago to their new home in New York.
I felt proud of my personal successes. 
I made more money freelancing than I ever have before, adding three new outlets to my regular-ish, rotating roster. I don't necessarily do it for the money; I genuinely love it. But the money sure doesn't hurt, you know?
My biggest story of the year was writing Cleveland Magazine's Best Restaurants feature, a profile of Cordelia. It was really cool to see my story on the cover and get to celebrate such a great spot... and that piece got the attention of another outlet! "Best Restaurants in Cleveland," which I then wrote for TheInfatuation.com, was published with little fanfare, but I'm still very excited about it. 
I'm frustrated that I didn't quite hit all the goals I'd hoped to this year at my day job, but I did do well enough to receive a small raise. I also had the opportunity to attend the Marketing AI Conference, aka MAICON, with some of my colleagues, where I got to watch both my boss and my husband present from the big stage and deepen my understanding of AI for writers.
Finally, toward the end of the year, I was invited to join the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism and to participate in the Mandel Symposium, a leadership development program run by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland

I did a lot of boxing.
Before the first month of the year was up, I earned my Challenge Coin, a rite of passage for boxers who expertly ace a 49-punch combo. I'd been working toward it for more than a year, and it was one of my New Year's resolutions for 2023, so that felt very gratifying.
As the year went on, I passed Tier 5 of boxing! And I passed Tier 6 of boxing! And then finally, I passed Tier 7, effectively graduating from the program. My classmates and I celebrated by eating cake and wearing our boxing robes to a dive bar.
Oh, and in between, I spent a weekend at my alma mater, Kent State, attending boxing training camp and learning how to become a trainer. 
I pushed myself outside my comfort zone.
Mike and I did a polar plunge in the Atlantic Ocean for no apparent reason.
I got up on stage at Imposters Theater to tell the story of the time I broke my tailbone in college... which was then the basis of comedy sketches performed by a very funny improv troupe.
I did an outfit-a-day challenge with my friend Jenny to try to hone my personal style.
I also got Botox for the first time... with my mom! It hurt a lot more than I expected (needles to the face, of course it hurt), but I really liked the results. 
And I met up with lots of previously Internet-only friends, including Meghann, Abby, and Becca.
And, of course, I did lots of fun stuff around Cleveland.
My friend Megan had a super-fun bachelorette party day that included a Tiki Barge and a nightclub in The Flats, which I felt entirely too old for. I went to Candytopia and loved it. And some friends and I celebrated Galentine's Day by making our own floral bouquets at Blossom Flower Bar, which was very adorable and happy. 
Mike and I visited Daffodil Hill at Lake View Cemetary while it was in full bloom. I'm obsessed, and next time I'm taking someone who has more patience for taking photos.
And as usual, I ate lots of good food and found some new favorite places, like AbundanceCordelia, Jaja, Patron Saint, Ready Set Coffee, and Floressa, to name a few.

There was plenty more that happened this year, and I documented it less than ever. But it was a good year, a hard year, a busy year, a hopeful year. May the coming year be even better. 


How was your year? What are you looking forward to in 2024? 
If you want to read past year-in-review posts, check out 2011201220132014201520162017201820192020, 2021, and 2022, along with my overall recap of the 2010s.

No comments

Post a Comment

Leave me some love.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...