An annual review is something that I’ve been doing for many years now and sharing online on my blog since 2020, the year I started this blog. (I can’t believe it’s going to be four years already.)
I am a bit late this time in sharing my annual review, but better late than never. After getting back from a family vacation and catching a fever, I feel like my new year is only starting now.
So here is my annual review for the past year.
I hope to be as transparent as possible in my blog here, and if I have to be honest about last year, 2023 wasn’t particularly my best year.
It wasn’t the year that I did everything that I had hoped I would.
It wasn’t the year where I can say that I became more mindful and it wasn’t the year that I followed through on all of my goals.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do. But despite knowing, I felt unable to take action.
For most of 2023, I felt clouded and stuck. And this is something I felt after many years.
I felt as if there was a cloud over me and I felt as if I was moving far away from my dreams and my ideal self. And it gave me fear. A very real fear. Fear of- ‘what if I am not able to do what I hope to do in this life’.
(have you ever felt it too, dear reader?)
At the start of the year, I had told myself that if I wanted my readers and my audience to grow (not in numbers, but their personal growth) i.e. If my audience were to benefit from my writings or my podcast, then I must grow and polish myself even more.
I have always felt that the benefit my readers receive is in direct proportion to how I grow and balance myself in my own life. And that is why I must be well and good first if I am to become a true creator.
I don’t know about others, but for me, I simply cannot create unless I am in a high-life condition.
I feel that the state of life I am in gets seeped and gets transferred to the things that I do and how I do them and also determines how people end up feeling from my work.
I cannot write unless I am not feeling it. I cannot create unless it’s not from my heart, my understanding and my experience.
Last year I wanted to create more, also having started a podcast of my own, thus meaning that I had set it upon myself to be even more solid in my practice, habits and overall well-being.
But perhaps I gave in to too much perfection that I became overwhelmed and just maintaining my well-being and my home took so much time that I didn’t create in the manner that I had hoped.
I only came to terms with it by the end of the year around November- December and started to ease myself up a bit.
But even though 2023 was not the year that I had hoped it would be, it still was the year that I tried.
It was the year that I kept coming back to myself. It was the year that I determined and re-determined again and again and it was the year that gave me important lessons in its way.
To review thoroughly, here are my highlights about what went well, what didn’t go well and what I learned last year.
What went well last year?
Table of Contents
Travel is something that went particularly well last year. I had decided to take one trip every quarter and it did get manifested except for one quarter.
This year I did my first international travel by taking a trip to Thailand and I was happy to take my mother too. We were three girls- me, my friend and my mother.
I also took my first actual solo trip to Himachal Pradesh and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
It was a wonderful experience which I have written more about on this post- 5 lessons from my solo travel.
Anyway, these were all the places that I visited this year:
- Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket, Phi Phi Island (with mum and my best friend Sony in March)
- Himachal Pradesh: Manali, Dharamshala (by myself in June)
- Nepal: Kathmandu, Pokhara and Ghandruk (with my partner in October)
- Bhutan: Thimphu, Paro, Punakha (this was my second visit to Bhutan and I am in love with the country. I visited Bhutan with my mother and her best friend in November.
- Goa and Mumbai: with family in December. Spent the end of the year and New Year with family there. It was so much fun!
I consider this blog as an extension of me. A place where I can share my learnings and bring out my truest self.
This blog as always has to be among the list of all the things that went well this year.
It has received more love than I ever thought it would and I am thankful to each one of you who take the time to read this blog.
I just got to see that this year alone my blog crossed its first 2 million mark! It crossed 2 million in pageview this year!
To be exact for the entire year 2023, the total page views my blog received was 2,903,620.
- Sessions: 1,375,710
- Users: 6,05,474
To think so many people read this blog and find inspiration from it is crazy.
Something that I must learn here starting this year is to start seeing myself as a serious creator and take my blogging endeavours more seriously.
Till now I have only seen this blog as a part-time addition to my life.
I did not really have hopes of earning money from it when I started it, but it has given me much more than I imagined.
I hope to keep serving my readers and my audience through any medium be it this blog, my podcast (which I shall get back to again) or my newsletter.
I am thankful for the day I decided to start this blog and I am thankful that I kept going.
Starting a newsletter and being consistent with it was something that I had hoped to do last year. And I am glad that I kept at it.
I started my weekly Monday newsletter and decided to call it the ‘Mindful Monday Newsletter’
I wasn’t the most consistent at sending every Monday, but I didn’t give up on it and sent most Mondays of the month.
I also created a bunch of challenges this year in hopes of giving people something that they could work on day by day.
The challenges were:
I received many emails saying that people love receiving my newsletter and that they look forward to it every Monday and receiving such emails always makes my day.
By starting a newsletter and being connected by email, I have been able to connect more with my readers and keep in touch with them.
At the start of the year, my newsletter subscribers had been just over 200 subscribers.
I started this newsletter again on 27th February and by the end of the year, my total subscribers till 31st December 2023 was 5904 subscribers.
I know it’s not much, but I am happy.
Here I’d like to post some of the heart-touching emails I received this year. Posting it here so that I can remind myself of the love and get inspired by this love received.
Learning is always prioritized and from my past few years of experience, I have come to know that learning is the highest investment.
The money you spend on learning something new is not wasted, but it is an investment.
Everything that I have learned about blogging, writing emails or even what I have known about how to live this life, is the result of the time and money invested in learning through books, podcasts, YouTube and courses.
Now I don’t hesitate to give my money for learning.
This year I took two major courses with one course amounting to $1500.
It was my first time spending such a big amount on a course but I decided to go ahead with it anyway, and I am glad I did.
There is so much to learn and so much to apply. My advice for all is to keep learning- through books, podcast, videos, courses or any medium. It will never go wasted.
My health was also well this year. I have endometriosis and this year I almost did not have any symptoms or pain from it.
This came largely by including more fruits, nuts and vegetables in my diet.
I still haven’t done away with with outside food entirely, and this year I must strive for it and eat only home-cooked food.
Exercise too is something that I have been fairly regular at. Exercise is something that keeps me sane and keeps my mind on track.
P.S. If you want to start an exercise routine consistently, here is how I made myself love working out.
Other good things that happened
- Turned 30 and celebrated turning 30 wonderfully with family.
- Took part in a sports festival
- Picnic with family
- Received my own Gohonzon
- Got appointed as Chapter Chief
- Watching Independence Day celebration in the hills (Kurseong) for the first time.
- Celebrating Gee’s birthday and my mother’s birthday at home
- Adopting two kitties whom I named Elsa and Ariel. They have been the best thing of 2023.
- Enjoying true-rest
- Met new people and formed good connections with them
- Bought iPhone 15 Pro max
- Bought my first home- a 3 BHK apartment in Siliguri (which will get ready in 2026)
What didn’t go well last year?
1. Losing my two dear pets
Last year I grieved the loss of my most beloved pets.
At the start of the year in January last year, 3rd January 2023, I lost my kitten Mia.
She was with me for just a little more than a month, but the bond we formed was so strong as if we had known each other for a long time.
I found her on my walk and brought her home and she formed a connection with me from Day 1. We were inseparable after that.
She was the best thing that had happened to me in a long time and when she died unexpectedly, it was the hardest thing I had to endure.
It took time to heal from the grief when in June (23rd June 2023) my Bella, my dog passed away too. She had been suffering from a heart disease since March and we couldn’t save her any longer.
Not seeing Bella when I am home feels odd, but thankfully we have her daughter Missy who fills the gap.
I also brought home two kitties this time whom I adopted after searching in a Facebook Cat Adoption group.
Losing two dear pets was the hardest thing last year. I miss them both terribly still and their thoughts never fail to pass me. I pray for them every day.
How much I loved them.
I started my podcast called ‘Heart of Living’ last year on my birthday with high hopes and enthusiasm, but after a few months, I found myself struggling with it.
When I missed one week, it soon gave way to missing another week. I came back at it, but again missed another week.
And as I said, I cannot create unless I am feeling it. But I must also admit that I simply let excuses get the better of me.
With my podcast I felt, “What does it even matter” and for a long time, I felt confused about whether I should continue or simply stop and what my format should be.
I also realise that my other mistake was that I started treating it as a chore instead of treating it as a joyful creative endeavour. This was perhaps the biggest reason why I stopped recording.
I started treating it as an obligation instead of joy and we can never be consistent at anything we consider as a painful chore.
This year I plan to see the things that I do in a different light- in a joyful light and not as a matter of trying to prove myself to anyone or even to myself.
I must do things for their own sake, because I enjoy doing them and just fulfil all my creative pursuits as a joyful pursuit and not as work.
3. Time management
Not being able to manage my time better has been the biggest of all obstacles and struggles for me last year.
I see so many people doing so many things and I wonder how they do it!
I am still not a full-time creator and with a household to manage all on my own (as I live alone) I found myself feeling helpless at times at my inability to give time to the things I wanted to.
But I have also been careless last year and I let overwhelmingness get the better of me and my time.
There was a constant feeling of being behind on things. Not being able to catch up made me feel even more overwhelmed.
By having too many things to do, on many days I ended up doing nothing and then feeling guilty about it.
I should have just focused on doing one thing at a time and made the best use of how much time was available to me even if it was just half an hour, but I didn’t mostly.
I did try but wasn’t very successful at it.
I wanted to do it all and perhaps that didn’t work.
But on such times I also didn’t forget to show myself compassion and I let myself remember that it is being that is more important than doing.
But now I understand that both are important- being as well as doing.
They complement each other.
4. Reading and routine
I did follow a routine, but it wasn’t my ideal routine. My ideal routine consists of when I am exercising, journaling, reading, meditating, praying, going for walks and also writing and creating.
This year the struggle was that when I try to do the routine that nourishes my mind such as exercise, journaling, reading, etc, it takes a good 4-5 hours of my morning and I am left with no time for creating and writing before I go to work.
And when I decide to make time for writing and trying to create something, the rest of the routine such as exercise, journaling, and reading gets hampered.
It was with great difficulty that I strived to maintain a balance this year.
I wondered if I must compromise on something, but both of these things are important to me to create and feel joy in my daily life.
I must look for a better strategy this year if I am to be successful in the things I want to do.
The inability to do it all also caused overwhelm in me and reading time was greatly compromised where I then found myself consuming more than creating to distract the guilt (thereby causing more guilt and overwhelm)
Phone too was the biggest distraction last year and this year I hope to cut down on my screen time.
It’s a great thing that iPhone shows hours spent on our phone on particular apps and also the number of times one picks up their phone every day.
However, I read 11 books in total (all morning reads) and I didn’t read any novels last year for my evening read.
Here are the books I read:
- Big Magic
- Rosa parks
- Living Buddha, Living Christ
- The Almanack of Naval Ravikant
- Steal like an Artist
- The War of Art
- Show your work
- How to focus
- How to relax
- You are a badass at making money
- Ruskin Bond the best collection
This year I should be more careful and see each moment as sacred and each moment as new.
I should stop looking for huge blocks of time available to me and instead start making use of little moments of time in front of me instead of going after my phone out of impulse.
So these were my struggles last year.
Nonetheless, I learned many things and it helped me grow and understand in its own way.
I remind myself that this life is long. The Japanese word for ‘mission’ is ‘to use one’s life’, so for what purpose are we using our life?
So here are some of my learnings from the year 2023.
Learnings from the year
1. Growth makes life interesting
We might think travel makes life interesting, or money, or making new friends or partying every Sunday, but that’s not true.
Growth is what makes life interesting and enjoyable,
The reason why as adults we get so bored with life is because we stop learning and challenging ourselves.
When we don’t challenge our limitations and remain stuck in our situation, we start to lose meaning and everything starts to become a chore.
That’s not how we are here to live this life. We are here to be fully alive and be with all things fully.
We must be on a never-ending self-improvement journey if we are to make our lives interesting. It is what gives us true joy and satisfaction.
2. Not fulfilling your potential is painful
For most of my year in 2023, I was apprehensive about working hard.
This I felt because I thought there was no need to work hard or do more because I didn’t need very much and I am already content with how much I am getting in abundance.
But then months down the line, I felt something missing.
It was slowly that I realised that what was missing was the joy, satisfaction and fulfilment that one gets after a good hard work.
I came to know that I actually love working hard and I enjoy the process of
It came to me that it is the reason why I enjoyed studying during my student years and the reason I was able to top my University.
It was the reason why this blog also became successful because I worked hard at it giving it my all.
I had thought that I need not work hard anymore, but then I learned how painful it is to not fulfil your potential.
When we leave our potential lying dormant, we may not realise it, but it bothers us. It pains us. It makes us anxious because deep down in our subconscious we know very well all the things we are capable of doing and being.
And not going after what we can do and become is a great pain.
That is why it is rightly said, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change”
The Japanese word for “Mission” is to use one’s life and when we don’t use our life wisely, it pains us.
So work hard for the sake of working hard.
Not till the point of burnout, but find joy in the fact that you gave your best for the day.
3. Don’t forget the basics
As you grow and become an expert in any field you choose, you must not forget the basics because it is the basics that are most important.
If you think you know it all and that you don’t need to practice the basics anymore, then you will soon cause your own downfall.
If you want to be successful and happy, the basics are still the same.
It is to cultivate good habits, have a good heart, be considerate and enjoy the process of life.
No matter which field you choose to go after and how great an expert you become in your chosen field, don’t forget the basics that led you to become an expert in the first place.
4. To be consistent you have to enjoy what you do
You don’t need more discipline, more motivation or more willpower to be consistent.
You simply have to enjoy what you do.
Whatever it is you want to be consistent at, you have to start treating it as a joyful endeavour and not as work.
The moment you start treating it as work, you will stop enjoying it and even if you are consistent at it, it won’t mean much to you.
But if you enjoy what you do, you will do it no matter what and it won’t be a chore.
You will do it because you enjoy it and see it as a joyful addition to your endeavours.
This shift might be small but it changes our entire outlook towards how we do things.
And how we do things matters much more than what things we do.
The person who enjoys the most in his work is the person who wins regardless of whether he gets promoted or not.
The person who has the most fun in his/her struggles wins in life.
5. Let there be no competition in your heart
When you move through life competing against others, and thinking that others are competing against you, the journey is going to be tiresome.
Let there be no competition in your heart.
Let there be no race. No first or second.
There is indeed no competition in the Universe.
The Universe has space for all and it is growing still.
There are millions of stars in the sky and all have their space and all deserve to shine.
There are thousands of trees and plants of different shapes, sizes and colours. None compete with each other.
Nature knows no competition. Nature only cares about thriving and it wants each and everything to grow and thrive (if not for human interference)
It must be the same for our world too. If we want to be truly successful, we must follow the same laws of nature in our life and not allow competition to enter our hearts.
There is no competition. There is only everyone taking their own journey wanting to thrive in their own respective lives.
Let everybody enter. Let everybody thrive.
Keep a vast heart
6. You have to keep on changing your life
Changing our lives is not a one-time event.
There is no magic formula that once you change your life, it will remain the same.
You have to keep on changing your life.
You have to keep on building and then maintaining what you have built.
Changing our life is a forever event.
7. Outer success means nothing if it doesn’t match inner success
True success is when you are able to match outer success with inner success.
Simply having material things and earning wealth is not success.
True success is whole and all-encompassing.
For us common people who have not given up on worldly pleasures(by becoming a monk or nun) when you’re abundant on the outside as well as abundant on the inside that is true success.
When you also build your treasures of the heart such that there is harmony, peace, determination and well-being inside you, and you also build an empire for yourself and grow your abundance, that is true success.
We are here to be abundant and rich- not just in money and wealth but also rich in heart.
When we can have both these riches- of wealth and of our heart, we are truly successful.
8. We must learn how to travel
This year on my solo travel I realized that there is not much more to traveling than just seeing new places.
In order for travelling to make us free, we must bring mindfulness in our travels.
I realised that I didn’t know how to travel properly and that true travelling must take a lot of practice in mindfulness.
9. In discipline, there is freedom
Discipline does not bind us. It is what sets us free.
You need discipline to work and you need discipline to also stop and truly rest.
You need discipline to take care of your mental health and your overall well-being.
You need discipline to follow your dreams and go after your goals.
Nothing can help change our lives if it’s not for determination and discipline.
If you think you lack discipline, here are my 3 tips on how to build self-discipline.
10. You are not here to please everybody
In life, you will meet many people who will doubt you and who won’t understand you. They may know you for many years and still, they won’t truly know you.
You must not spend any more time trying to convince them of your heart or trying to please them.
You shouldn’t waste your time trying to prove a point or trying to show them who you truly are.
Especially you should also be careful of the people who are always talking negatively about others behind their backs and about life in general.
You must know that such people can never truly be your friend.
The people who are always talking behind the back with you about others will also talk about you with others behind your back.
You must hold boundaries with such people.
Know that you are not here to please everybody
If you know who you are, then that’s enough.
Not everybody needs to get you.
From my Journal
Lastly here are some journal entries from last year:
My Mia is no more. I can’t believe it. I don’t know what to write more. I am heartbroken and feeling extremely down. Yesterday I cried the entire day. When I woke up this morning, I again remembered her playing around in my bed and disturbing me. I miss her so much and her warm presence in my life. As I write this, I have tears in my eyes again. I loved her so much and I know she loved me too so much…… I wish this idea was true- that after my own death I get to meet everyone I loved whom I lost in my life. If this were true, I would love to meet- my Appa (father) once again, my Mia, my Suisen and Sherry my first pets.
(4th Jan, 2023)
Anywhere with Gee seems to be a wonderful time. Whenever we talk together, whenever we walk together, everything seems wonderful and this has been so since the start and even after almost sic years later, we still feel the same. Time passes by fast when we are together. Thank you dear Universe for letting me meet him (18th January)
…..I am happy when my friends are in love truly.. because apart from just deserving someone who loves you a lot.. you also deserve someone whom you love a lot. I believe its still settling in love even when you get someone who truly loves you but whom you can’t love back. We deserve to be with someone we enjoy loving as much as we enjoy getting loved.27th march 2023
I’ve come to know that I like blogging and writing more than podcasting. But its okay. I just wish to create value in whatever I do so that when people come across my work- whether blog, podcast or newsletter or anything- they will feel something. I want to make people feel things. For this, I am convinced that first my relationship with myself, my intentions and my prayers must be really strong. (30th March 2023)
I am on a mission to change the collective consciousness of people from anxiety, despair and hopelessness to love, joy and peaceful living. For this, I must keep living the life I want others to lead.2nd april 2023
I just want to keep dong my thing and not compare myself or compete with anyone. I don’t want to have resentment in my heart towards anyone. I will just do my thing and be authentic in what I do because authenticity cannot be stolen. I am me and nobody can be me. (4th April 2023)
Allow me to accept how much ever I get with gratitude. Allow me to be determined on my path and to keep on doing my best.30 april 2023
Allow me to be someone who is motivated not by outcome, but by deed itself. Let the deed, the work be my inspiration, motivation on its own. Let it be its own fruit and reward.
Allow me to remove all the barriers from my life that is stopping me to live as my authentic life.
Allow me to overcome all obstacles that is stopping me from going after my dreams.
Everyday is my offering. I want to live each as a gift and take 5 minutes as a gift.
I may look sweet, simple and even weak on the outside but inside I am strong, ambitious and determined. I am not interested in knowing what happened to someone in their life. I am not interested in gossip. Talk to me about goals, about dreams, about the universe and I can go on talking about those things. I don’t care what others think of me and I don’t let it affect my self worth.. because I know how I am and what I am capable of… (15th May 2023)
I started reading the War of Art by Steven Presfield. This year I seem to feel stuck and continuously I try to look after my wellbeing. There is so much resistance in creating and in becoming the higher version of ourselves. All the things I am facing now are a part of this journey. I know I need to feel this in order to grow.27th may 2023
The energy, intention and conviction with which you do something matters. Energy travels and speaks. The audience is intelligent and also fair. They will love and appreciate what is good and also criticise what is bad. (29th June 2023)
I wake up with my kittens coming to me and waking me. I live in Kolkata. I have a job. My mother is healthy. My lover loves me. He is sweet and caring. I have legs, eyes, body and a face. I eat good food. There are no wars in my country. I get to move around. I am cooking the evening. I have wonderful friends in my life. Thank you. This is my life I am living. This is the life I am creating. I have a podcast and for now I am being fearless enough to put my thoughts and words out there. This is how I am living my life and it is good.19th july 2023
My ideal life would be to live in Darjeeling-or somewhere in the hills, spend time in nature, go for long walks, take care of a garden, have many pets, cook, eat good food, laugh, spend happy times with my kids, Gyalzen and work on my blog, podcast, write a book, read and spend lazy intentional moments. I would want to encourage many more people, be a good partner, a good daughter in law, and also a seeker, a traveller. I want to travel places and write from there. I want to spend easy days…. (24th July 2023)
There is no limit to what you can achieve if you dare to dream. The Universe favours the creators. The Universe loves a creative force. It is as if the Universe feels that we used its creative gifts and so rewards us for it. Sometimes I end up comparing myself to others. I see where they have reached and think if I can ever reach the same. I do believe in myself and believe that I am as talented as them, but deep inside I am still afraid to make myself really be seen.22nd august 2023
Still more to read from my diary… I’ve finished going through it only until September. Will share for the rest of the months when I get time….
So this was it about my last year.
There are probably many more things to tell, but that will be for my diary.
Last year might not have been the best year in terms of doing, but I would still say it was the best in terms of trying and not giving up.
It might not have been the best in terms of how much could be done and achieved as I had hoped I would, but I am still clear on my life’s purpose and mission and I will never go far away from it.
This year shall be wonderful. Looking forward to slow moments, true rest, hard work and joyfully working towards my dreams and goals.
I wish you all a happy New Year