A Message to 2023

By Susan Chapman | December 26th, 2023

‘To 2023 – I’m okay, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out’

a sad dog awaiting the new year, by Anna Cinaroglu. Article "to 2023"

Even with 2020 in the rearview mirror, the year 2023 was not kind to many. Susan Chapman reflects on the year behind and hopes for the one ahead.

Generally I consider myself a “glass half full” person.

As I reflect on 2023, there were joyous moments to celebrate. Our son married a lovely young woman. Our daughter and her boyfriend purchased their first home. Watching our children live their best lives filled my heart with happiness.

Yet for many, this year seemed chock full of challenges that drained some of those half-filled glasses. I get it. I was not immune to a year that was not overly kind.

Our family lost so many dear friends during 2023 that a good amount of time was spent at funeral homes and celebrations of life. The cumulative grief was overwhelming.

Globally, conflicts in every corner of the world produced images of death and devastation. The realization we are nowhere close to peace on Earth added sadness to an already difficult year.

To gain perspective on the year that was, I consulted with Jennefer Davis, owner of Tiger Lily Therapies, and Director with the Canadian Reiki Association.

As a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, Jennefer believes anyone can incorporate holistic coaching therapies to heal mind, body, and soul. She’s also open to sharing how she worked through her own experiences.

In May of 2022, Jennefer lost her brother to suicide.

“It was the most devastating loss of my life, to lose my sibling.” In the months that followed, she worked through her grief.

“We are all going to have trauma. We are human. I needed to understand how to frame my experiences differently so I didn’t go around in a puddle every day.

“When we are tested, there are things to learn. It’s how we go at this that matters. I needed to set intentions, change my belief systems, look at the programming and patterns that ran underneath the surface and create a bigger change. After my brother’s death, it became my mission to increase positive mental health.”

We both agreed that neither of us knew a single person who has commented on having a great year.

“I was recently speaking with someone who indicated they would be glad to see the tail end of 2023. I thought to myself, how amazing would that be to not have to say that?”

One of the most basic ways we can begin turning pain into positivity is to enhance our breathing.

“It’s surprising how many of us are not taking that really deep grounding breath that allows us to centre ourselves.”

Mindful breathing helps relax muscles and enables us to better throw away negative and limiting beliefs, patterns, and behaviours. Once we have a more positive mental framework, we can increase self-awareness and how we look at ourselves and our goals.

Setting intentions is about setting smart goals for the New Year. Jennefer puts emphasis on the need for goals to be achievable and to concentrate on the planning.

“Most people don’t set up their goals correctly. Is it achievable? Is it healthy? If yes, then reverse engineer steps to make that happen. Don’t skip the groundwork on the planning. It’s important to look at steps you need to take by months, weeks, and even by the day. It’s one thing to say our goals out loud but it is another to do the work to hit them.”

“Everyone can achieve their goals. It is creating the change within ourselves, the programming underneath that is so important. Contact a mentor or someone who can help. Start looking for answers and be curious about the change.”

a tilted star atop a Christmas tree, for article looking back on 2023.Listening, I am reminded of my friend Mary who shared a recent Facebook post.

“Put up the tree. Added the star. It tilted. I straightened it. An hour later it’s tilted again. This is how life in 2023 has been, tilted at times and very resistant to being anything but tilted! I’ve decided to leave the star this way as 2024 approaches and hope that next year will have slightly fewer tilts.”

To my friends, family and community who’ve had their stars askew, may next year be kinder to you, may your stars align, and may the New Year surround you with peace, love and happiness.

And Mary? Your tree is perfect.

Susan Chapman is a freelance writer focusing on health, lifestyle, and travel adventures. As a natural community connector, the people she meets are the best part of her day. She can be contacted at suechapman1968@gmail.com.

Read more essays, childhood memories, and other contributions from Boomer readers in our From the Reader department.

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