Blabbing 23 of my favorite things from 2023

This is another post that was supposed to go out before the end of the year, but remained unpublished.

Although you might be over 2023 things by now (I know I am), I decided not to discard this. I was having fun writing it during the holidays, and I hope you’ll have fun reading it.

1. Reading 45 books

Almost half of the books I’ve read in 2023

Well, reading in general, really. I set a goal on Goodreads every year, this year it was 35 books to read. It surprised me how well I did, because I wasn’t just busy studying the first half of the year, but also skipped the summer rest, which is usually my time to read a lot outside. This year just proved how much reading became a therapy for me, the harder life gets, the more I turn to books. Check out what I read here, here and here.

2. Yoga

January 2024 will be the 9th year that I start with a 30 day yoga challenge. But it’s a 365 day yoga challenge, really, I try not to skip a day. Even when I couldn’t stand on my feet, even when I had Covid and struggled to sit up straight, I tried to do a few exercises. I still think yoga is the best thing that happened to my overall health in the last few years.

3. Podcasts

It’s nothing new either, I’ve had my favorite podcasts even when most people around me had no clue what a podcast was. This year’s new favorites include The Europeans podcast, a Hungarian podcast about the history of Budapest and several compliance themed podcasts, like this one. I also loved the podcast that five late show hosts did during the writers’ strike, I laughed so much listening to each episode.

4. Backpack + packing cubes

OK, here’s a buying success. I am not really a backpack person in everyday life, the reason I bought this cabin-sized backpack for my travels was the fact that I like using every last bit of time when I travel, and I usually did so much walking dragging not very comfortable luggage around. Not anymore, it’s not just practical, but as it opens like a suitcase, it constantly amazes me how much space it has. The packing cubes I got myself the previous Christmas and started using in 2023 are also a traveling hack in the scale of a miracle for me.

5. Alicante, Spain

The first glimpse of the sea when I arrived to Alicante

And speaking of traveling, the first one was sort of a spur of a moment decision, and all the more appreciated later when it turned out this was my last chance for a longer getaway all year. I wanted to get away from work so much that time, that I scheduled a trip first time after my mid-term exams. It was amazing, one day being in wintery Budapest with heavy snowfall, and the next day in 20C sunshiny Spain at the beach. I shall do it again.

6. My new laptop

Again, it’s something I bought, but of course it’s not new anymore, I’ve been using it for about nine months now. What makes it significant is that I’m very bad at buying myself any technical stuff, like phones, laptops. I just get bored choosing it and even thinking about it, I usually procrastinate until the very last minute when the one I’d like to replace doesn’t even work anymore. It almost happened this time, when I finally got the new one it felt such an upgrade that I can use it wireless and all the things I can do on it that my old one was too old for. It enabled me to write a big portion of my thesis during a train ride and out in the sun (my happy place).

7. Writing my thesis

Speaking of my thesis, I wrote one and I enjoyed it a lot. I always loved writing, enjoyed writing both of my previous theses, but I’m particularly proud of this one, because I had to work on it during a busy time at work. I am also enthusiastic about the topic – the role of compliance at different kinds of organizations – that I plan to explore it even more.

8. The Coronation of King Charles

Mázli got bored during the procession

Well, this might be a surprising one, but then if I explain, not really. I am of course a huge Anglophile and London-enthusiast, but I don’t care much about the royal family. I would have probably watched the coronation, or at least parts of it while doing something else, but when the idea came to make it a family event with our parents, we really took it to the next level. We planned the whole day to be like a theme party, with English breakfast in the morning, fish and chips for lunch, afternoon tea in the afternoon and lots of British snacks in between. That day was a hit.

9. Some shows I watched

I didn’t have time to watch too much tv this year. First of all, I still don’t have a tv (don’t have space for it – literally and figuratively), so the streaming services I use, I watch on my laptop. What I particularly enjoyed this year was the final season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (I would love to rewatch all seasons, if only I had the time), The Diplomat (it was a great brain rest when studying for finals, and two of my favorite topics: London and diplomacy in one show), and of course the final season of The Crown (well, again, London and history and all…). I haven’t watched barely any movies last year though.

10. Finishing university

It felt like a very irrational idea with my work schedule to start a post-graduate course. I was very determined, but knew that I’ll probably lose whatever little spare time I have. Even with the busy schedule I still enjoyed the course very much and the motivation to finish it was to start using my new qualification. That’s what I kept remembering all the way through, and try not to forget ever since.

11. Changes at work

I mention my new position only because I don’t believe in regrets, I believe in learning from everything and making better decisions next time. I am learning whatever lessons the new position offers, doing my best to be good at it, but keeping my gaze on the horizon of my future plans.

12. Summer

This one sadly is another honorable mention. Not something I liked last year, but I love summer in general, so the fact that there was a summer, deserves a place on this list. It was summer when things started going bad for me, with my energy level going from very high to very low, my foot problems starting and really suffering from being locked up 9-10 hours a day in an ACd building where I didn’t even realize it was summer with no chance for a day off.

13. Happy place at home

Where and how I’d spend all my summers if I could

I have my happy place at my parental home in Nagykálló, it’s a swing bed out in the yard, with a sunscreen on top, perfect place for outside reading. I always said that the best time to be outside with a book and an iced coffee (or another drink of choice) is right after lunch on a workday. On a workday, when other people are working, it’s important, I swear it feels different than weekends. Well, last summer I had only one (1) opportunity to do that (and only a very few on weekends). I hope next summer will be better.

14. Balaton

Sunsets like this at Lake Balaton

Last summer I had the chance to take two (2) days off in all, and we spent that long weekend at Lake Balaton. I haven’t been there in a while, there were times when we visited often, sometimes even for just a day, but since Covid, we didn’t go. Although it was (of course) probably the only really cold week of the summer, I was glad to find the same old vibe there, this is also something I should do more often.

15. Music Box 30

Music! I don’t listen to a lot of music these days, it always amazes me how President Obama knows more about today’s artists and hits than I do. These days I don’t know what’s new (I will have to work on that, because I used to like to know what was new), but I have a few favorites that I listen to. The one I’ve had for the longest time is Mariah Carey. I loved her since we were both babies and I sort of grew up with her music, while her music was also evolving. I know people think about her in terms of Christmas (that’s just a tiny portion) and tabloids (most of which are lies). As I love her personality as much as I love her music (if you think Taylor Swift’s writing is poetry, check out hers), I think about her as a long-time friend whom you don’t always agree with, you don’t love everything they do, but still support them, because you love them in general. (Also, everyone should read her book, it’s such a great lesson about knowing what you want to succeed at, learning your craft through and through, and never letting go!)

16. Walking again

I am a big walker. When I finished my thesis in May, I celebrated by walking home from the bookbinder (11 kms), just because I was studying and writing all the time for weeks, and didn’t have the time for my usual walks. Then there was my foot operation and long months when I couldn’t walk even short distances without pain. As soon as I recovered though I gradually brought back my long walks, and I’ve never been so grateful for my feet that bring me everywhere as I am now.

17. Heatable floor mat

I live in a very cold apartment. I swore many times that I won’t spend another winter there, it’s so cold, but there I still am. A move was scheduled for this year, but the change in the direction of my plans and the fact that I couldn’t stand on my feet canceled it. The small heatable floor mat I bought is best to place under the yoga mat, so I’m not dreading sitting/lying on the floor, and placing under the desk while working from home and having to sit there all day. Game changer.

18. London

I took this one because it’s similar to the photo I have as a desktop background on my laptop

London is still my favorite city! When I still thought I would be able to have plans, I had a longer visit in mind in 2023, but that couldn’t happen. Towards the end of the year I was offered another two days off, so I went to London for a weekend. It was the first weekend of December, the holiday season already started and Christmas in London is an experience. I did some holiday shopping, lots of walking and loved every minute of it. I was still there when I couldn’t wait to get back already.

19. London vlogs

After almost moving to London, in the years before Covid and Brexit, I visited London so many times that now it feels like visiting home, really. Even if I can’t be there, I like to be up-to-date around what’s new. My favorite London vlog is on this channel, and I also love this London walks vlog (sometimes just running in the background while I’m doing something else). On Instagram I like this account the most, I check her reels sometimes during the day just so I can get some London vibe.

20. Bratislava, Slovakia

That Christmas market vibe

When I started to feel like walking again I started planning some trips. Besides the weekend in London I was planning a day trip somewhere closer to visit a Christmas fair. I’ve never been to Bratislava before, but I liked the Christmas fair, the city itself and everything. It was a perfect day trip, definitely should go back in a warmer weather.

21. Spotify end of the year results

Spotify (thinks it) knows what you like

I share this for fun. As I said, I don’t listen to a lot of music these days. This end of the year summary was kind of accurate. More accurate than last year, when I listened to those focus music playlists a lot while working and my end of the year favorites turned out to be all those baroque musicians. Imagine, all my favorite artists and all my favorite music were from the 17th century! This is a much better result now.

22. Winning the lottery

Well, this was a surprise. I haven’t bought a lottery ticket in ages, sometimes (like once in every two-years?) I buy one after situations when I feel lucky for some reason (there’s even a saying in those situations that “you should buy a lottery ticket”, right?). Anyway I bought one early December, got 3 out of 5 numbers and won 19040 HUF (~50 USD). I considered this a sign that things are starting to go up.

23. Launching my bookstagram account

I’ve planned the name and theme, even created a cover photo for a bookstagram account during the first Covid lockdown in 2020. Yes, it was almost four years ago! I was constantly thinking about it but haven’t acted on it ever since. Everything that happened last year increased my need for creative outlets, so I decided this was the time to try this. I am still not sure whether I can sacrifice all the time it takes to create posts and keep it going, but reading with all its positive impacts  is something that I am very passionate about and I sure like to connect like-minded people there.

You? What were your favorite things in 2023?

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