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100 Things that made my year (2023)

Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m always more concerned with the future and what I want next, than contemplating the good things that I achieved or happened to me. As this new year began, I felt the need to consciously look back at 2023 and appreciate it. So, I started writing this list, inspired by Austin Kleon’s approach.


 

The first 20 were easy; I wrote them all in under one hour. These initial thoughts flowed like a gentle stream — simple joys, unexpected successes, moments of clarity and warmth. They reminded me that even in the hustle of achieving and aspiring, life was sprinkled with small treasures worth cherishing.


  1. My daughter’s first steps.

  2. Pilates reformers. That’s the one with the machines. The best exercise I ever done to alleviate back pain, couldn’t recommend it more. 

  3. Seeing my daughter go on the slide all by herself.

  4. Hearing her laugh change from a baby giggle to a cartoon-like laughter. 

  5. Discovering the Aisling books series. I started with The Importance of Being Aisling. It’s a really fun, light book that really captures the life of a millennial living in Ireland. 

  6. Fixing the squeaking in the floor. Oh, what a relief! I can actually walk around in the evening without fearing I’ll wake up everyone. 

  7. Finally buying a reMarkable tablet. Yes, it’s a lot different than taking notes on an iPad. No, I don’t use it as much as I thought I would. 

  8. Going back to Boston for INBOUND. I haven’t been there since before the pandemic, and, though I hate to admit it, I missed the energy of that place. It was nice to be back, even for a few days. 

  9. One giant cannoli from Mike’s Pastry! 

  10. Spending a day at the beach in Wexford.

  11. Danubian restaurants in Ruse, Bulgaria.

  12. Fresh, ice-cold coconut water. 

  13. Discovering ChatGPT. Then pretty much focused my career around AI and how this technology can help businesses. 

  14. Discovering that my daughter likes to draw (doodle) so I started doodling more with her. 

  15. Going to a food festival on our wedding anniversary. We had the best Korean barbeque ever!  

  16. Getting my nails done once in a while.  

  17. Passing my driver’s license. Finally, after almost 3 years and 5 attempts, some during lockdown, I finally got my full driving license. 

  18. Catching up with my cousins over coffee and a late-night chat. 

  19. Celebrating my daughter’s 2nd birthday in Brazil - warm weather and animal-shaped balloons. What more can you ask for?

  20. Improving my Portuguese. I can now say I can speak Brazilian Portuguese conversationally.

  21. Having friends over and being able to host them. 

  22. A little heart-shaped rock made by my friend Daniela.

  23. Seeing the first fossil on a rock that was not in a museum but actually found on the beach (also by my friend Daniela).

  24. Really good coffee in Brazil. 

  25. Hiking in the rainforest on the east coast of Brazil. Also learned that the rainforest exists on the coast as well, not only in the Amazon. 

  26. Not being attacked by a jaguar.

  27. My first mom-cation: a weekend in Barcelona. 

  28. A pair of Nike 7900

  29. Driving in Bucharest for the first time in my life. 

  30. 15 minutes on a massage-table waterbed. Almost fell asleep. 

  31. Planting rosemary in my garden. 

  32. A single, delicious raspberry, also from my garden. 

  33. Talking on the phone with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years and felt like we were just as close as we were in high school. 

  34. Green curry from Camile. IYKYK. 

  35. Doing my daughter’s hair. 

  36. Talking to neighbors. 

  37. Getting to know my uncle, but as an adult. Did it ever happen to you? To know someone from when you were a kid and then rediscover them as an adult? Find out about their hopes and dreams and all the things they’d hide from you as a kid. It’s a very heartwarming feeling. 

  38. Reading a book at the same time with my husband and then talked about the interesting things we learned. 

  39. Sharing a personal story on stage at The Dublin Story Slam. 

  40. Seeing our DIY house projects complete. It’s never a smooth process really, but I love the feeling of accomplishing something together. Like putting up new blinds or fixing the roof of our shed. 

  41. Updating the hallway with a nice new mirror. 

  42. This song that was on repeat on my Spotify. 

  43. All the desserts I shared with my husband. 

  44. Fish and chips in Kinsealy. 

  45. Sunny days in Ireland in the summer. 

  46. Football practice with my daughter. It’s as organized as herding cats, but it’s loads of fun. Plus, being able to see her evolve from one week to another was just amazing. 

  47. Repolishing the floors. My mom’s reaction when she saw the job done says it all: “Oh, wow! It worked! I didn’t think these were salvageable, to be honest, but the floor looks great now”. 

  48. Watching a movie or reading a book after my daughter fell asleep. 

  49. Every Monday bank holiday. 

  50. Trimming the ivy that grew on our garden walls. I got to the age when I found gardening very therapeutic. I honestly think it beats Headspace and meditation. 

  51. Changing the windows.

  52. A new bathing suit that actually suits. IYKYK. 

  53. Being able to visit my family, in Romania and Brazil, in the same year. 

  54. Organic food. 

  55. Thrifting. Buying pre-loved clothes for my daughter and gifting the ones that don’t fit her anymore. Kids grow so fast and lots of perfectly good clothes end up in the dumpster or stored away in some attic. I find a lot of joy in being able to give loved clothes a new life. 

  56. Perfecting this Jamie Oliver bolognese recipe. 

  57. Freezer meals. I love meal prepping and being able to quickly set up a dinner or lunch from my frozen food stash. 

  58. Cooking some of my childhood favorites for my daughter. I grew up with my mom and grandma cooking almost everything from scratch. Every autumn they’d make their own tomato sauce, pickles, jams, and even wine. I don’t think I’ll ever get to their “slow living” standards, but I did make Anna homemade strawberry jam, sweet rice, semolina and milk porridge. Oh, and lots of soups. 

  59. Pineapple tea from Tea Garden. 

  60. Time off. I'm grateful because I rarely give myself a break. But this year I felt like I needed it more than ever and I was lucky enough to be able to take the time off I needed to recover.

  61. Anna dancing to “Baby Shark” and “Hop Little Bunny”. 

  62. Being invited to speak at conferences and in webinars to demo HubSpot’s AI tools. Even better: getting feedback from participants, after every session, saying my work really helped them get better at their job. 

  63. Developing my Product Marketing skills with projects like sales enablement training, campaign launches, positioning and messaging frameworks, and GTM strategies. 

  64. Saving $. I didn’t have a financial goal per se, but I always like to have at least a bit of a “safety net”. 

  65. Investing. This is a scary topic, especially for someone who didn’t grow up with a capitalist financial education (my family grew up under communism. There’s lots to unpack there but TL;DR personal financial growth wasn’t really a thing back then). So breaking out of that mold is something that makes me really proud and excited, even if it's a drop in the ocean compared to others.

  66. Watermelon. It’s really hard to find good ones in Ireland, even during the summer. But in 2023 I had plenty of great watermelon in Romania, Bulgaria, and Brazil. 

  67. The streets of Venice. Everything about Venice actually, the food, the friendly people, all the birds that Anna fed, delighted with herself. 

  68. Finding a four-leaf clover. Yes, they exist. In Ireland, of course. 

  69. Playing football with my daughter and my husband in a park in Milan. 

  70. Driving. Just being able to drive myself here and there, often brought me immense joy. 

  71. Gus bringing me coffee in the morning. I really love our coffee machine. I think having great coffee at home can really brighten your day. 

  72. Traveling through Ireland with my brother. Learning that pineapples used to be grown in Northern Ireland as a luxury fruit. Back in the day, people could rent pineapples to decorate their dinner tables and then return them.  

  73. Passion fruit ice cream.

  74. Having a cocktail on a rooftop looking at Copacabana beach. 

  75. Finding a “secret beach” in Rio de Janeiro than looking for ways to get back to our hotel. It’s the little adventures that count. 

  76. Browsing through bookstores in Brazil looking for children’s books with local stories and unique aesthetics, like this one.

  77. Museum of Art of São Paulo. 

  78. Trying to find the perfect gift for my loved ones. Planning a trip and being able to keep it a surprise for more than 3 months is the highlight of the year. 

  79. Playdates. This year I saw my baby becoming a little girl well able to interact and play with other kids. I loved seeing her gentle, loving, and generous nature. I hope she'll keep these qualities and make lots of friends. 

  80. Date nights with my husband. We didn't have many. I could even count them all here, but maybe because they were so rare I appreciated each one of them. 

  81. Going to see a camogie game. This is the women's version of the game of hurling. We saw a final and it was great to see the whole stadium full of girls cheering for other girls #girlpower

  82. Speaking at live events. This year I prepared very thoroughly, more thoroughly than ever for each session. I wrote a script, I rehearsed it, I watched my body language. There's still a lot to improve, says my inner critic, but I feel like I evolved a lot. 

  83. Going back to London, even for the day. 

  84. Shopping at one of those Amazon shops that have no counter. I felt like I was in 2024. 

  85. Pao de queijo. Lots of it. 

  86. Going trick or treating for Halloween for the first time, with my daughter who was a 2yo Wonder Woman. Eating most of her candy. 

  87. Listening to rainforest sounds in the actual rainforest. Before this year, "Rainforest Sounds" was a playlist on Spotify, but not something I ever heard without the help of technology. 

  88. How AI disrupted the way we work, research, and create content -- in a matter of months! How grateful I am for my work in SEO that I was able to pivot quickly and use prompts the right way, to get the most out of ChatGPT-like tools. 

  89. My job as a PMM. I'm particularly grateful I was able to do something I liked and that challenged me to grow. 

  90. Naps with my daughter. It's really hard to describe how happy and calm I feel when I hold my baby and she's asleep. I love her smell and the way she breathes and holds on to me in her sleep.

  91. Wrapping presents for friends from far away.

  92. Working from home and being able to organize my schedule around my life. Also, it was great having the option of going to the office from time to time. 

  93. Meeting my team in person. After a couple of years of pandemic isolation, it was great to see everyone in real life. 

  94. Reading more sci-fi and dystopian novels. I really loved Brave New World, Dead Silence, and Blindness.

  95. Fresh basil. 

  96. A good comeback line. Finding out someone has a great sense of humor.

  97. Playing tennis with my husband. We suck at it (we’re still learning it’s what I mean) but I love the game. 

  98. Dinnertime, when we all got to sit and enjoy the meal.  

  99. Re-learning to be grateful for what I have and to manage my expectations.

100. Traveling, but also the wonderful feeling of being back home. 


Thank you for reading this far! I really hope you enjoyed my 100 things from 2023.


And hey, why not give it a try yourself? Jotting down your top moments from last year can be seriously uplifting – it's like a cozy cup of tea for the soul. Trust me, you'll be amazed at how much good stuff piles up.


As this new year begins, I'm already excited about the new memories I'll make and the new things I'll learn to appreciate.


Thanks again for hanging out with me here. Cheers to a fantastic 2024! 🥳🎉




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