Looking Back to Year 2023

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This year, the daily headline-grabbing COVID-19 was reduced to annual shots similar to the flu. However, AI chatbots such as ChatGPT, Bard, and others have captivated the attention of policymakers and early users alike for much of the year and are reputed to pose comparable but disruptive threats to the job and information marketplaces.

The winter snowy season in Minnesota, characterized by the bitterly cold Northern arctic air, typically dominates the majority of our weather headlines. However, this year was different. During the past year, however, adverse climate stories dominated the state throughout the season. The state had the snowiest winter, record spring flooding and drought, the fifth-hottest summer and September, and the Christmas heat wave.

But, let’s talk here about how things have gone for me personally this past year.

Year 2023: how it ended

It’s been an annual ritual for me since 2016, to reflect on the past year and continue doing what worked, make adjustments for what didn’t work, and try again. 

It seems that I have adhered to remarkably similar routines for the past few years, like learning something new daily and writing down what I learn, doing physical activities and outdoor walks, and eating healthy as much as I can.

Let’s go through the drill for this year.

Maintaining daily routines

I must admit, this has not been an easy journey for me. In this extremely distracting environment, I am constantly distracted by numerous things that try to grab my attention. But, as an old-fashioned guy, I try to stay focused on my old habits and stay away from social media usage as much as I can.

Daily physical activity routine

This has been a big part of my daily life for several years, including stretching and short cardio routines that I do in my bedroom without any equipment. Over the years, I have observed that these daily routines and my healthier vegetarian diet make me feel much better than in previous years and help me stay productive. So, if it works, why change?

These daily routines have immensely helped me in managing my burnout from my solitary work-from-home environment. 

Daily, if I get tired of coding, or writing my drafts, I just walk out of the house and take a short walk. I don’t force myself to work when I’m mentally tired and worn out. Reading inspiring stories and watching sports gives me a great deal of comfort for a while.

– From: A Look Back to Year 2022

In the year 2023, I burned around 397K calories through my active physical activities, whereas in the year 2022, I burned around 329K calories, despite being in bed for a month due to Covid-19. 

Daily Writings

This was the fourth year that I have been writing shot daily notes on this site. I posted over 340 articles on this site, but due to travel, I fell short of meeting my goal of posting every day. During the travel, I had to sacrifice my daily routine of browsing articles and taking regular notes, but on the plus side, I gained more experience from the travel and recharged myself.

Here is a quick list of the topics I’ve covered in my daily notes, but please note that some topics have been posted in multiple categories.

  • ChatGPT and Generative AI: over 140
  • Health and Wellness: 45
  • Productivity: 18
  • Weather: 18
  • Community: 12
  • Technology: 12
  • COVID Watch: 8
  • Travels: 7
  • Judicial Watch: 5

These short notes were only a small part of my daily chores, but, I devoted the majority of time to learning for long article writing, which I have documented separately.

Travel

After three decades, I took a family trip to Nepal in 2023 and visited families in Kathmandu and my in-laws in Western Nepal. During the trip, I also got to visit and explore a few places in the western region of the country. Even though we were on these short road-trips to visit our distant relatives and friends, we got to see how everyday people deal with the inconveniences of such trips in their daily lives.

Our travel is memorialized in the following posts:

Social media use

I have never been a fan of social media use, except for most essential purposes. I primarily use the Signal app to connect with family members and others, but occasionally use WhatsApp to connect with some close friends who don’t use Signal. Likewise, I don’t consume social media for news, reading articles, or entertainment purposes, except for using YouTube for work-related productivity purposes.

Similar to other addictive substances, such as tobacco, coffee, and alcohol, social media tools are designed to be addictive to users and are known to cause mental health problems. The following posts that I wrote provide an overview of how social media companies harvest user data in order to monetize it for their profits:

A new look to this site

I had been making plans to change the look of this site with a new theme for a few years. Finally, I sat down during the Xmas holidays and gave this new look. Please find additional information about this new look in this post.

In closing

Before I conclude, I would like to refer back to the closing sections that I wrote in 2020, where I referenced the call of the happiness guru, Professor Brooks, to make “forgiveness and gratitude” our new year’s resolutions for a happier and healthier lifestyle! In this 2020 post, you can find a list of things I am grateful for.

Finally, even though nobody is watching and reading, I continued writing (or blogging) with passion throughout the year. Blogging is live and not dead!

– From 2021 year end post

Previous year-end review posts can be found here: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Props to Justin Tadlock’s article, 2023: A Year of Challenges, which inspired me to write this post.

“One of my most recurring pieces of advice is telling people to just write — write down what you learned, no matter how big or small.”

– Sara Soueidan

Web Designer, on Just Write