Dear End Of 2023 Me,
Man. This year has been a whirlwind from the very first day.
During that first week, while brainstorming what to write in this letter, you realized that 2022 was a tester, a chance to dip your toe in before you went all in.
And because you ultimately deemed 2022 a success, even with those 6 months you hit pause and with your Papa crossing the veil, you decided, and committed to your decision, to go all in.
At the time, you thought you were referring to doing all the things when you were committing to go all in.
While you weren’t wrong and you did dive into the deep end, going all in to do all the things, you dived straight into the middle of the deepest lake and didn’t look back.
You set out to experience 23 things from your Living List, and you did it. And then some.
Here are just 23 experiences from your constantly growing Living List that you completed:
- #14. Write a second book
- #21. Learn how to surf in Pacific City, Or
- #25. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane through Skydive Oregon and feel the wind push me as I fly
- #26. 16mi solo (or not) overnight hike
- #27. Hike all 30ish miles of Wildwood Trail
- #30. Become Tarzan(a) at Tree 2 Tree adventure Park in Hagg Lake, Or
- #33. Make a beer bong
- #34. Play beer pong
- #35. Indoor skydiving
- #55. Get a Brazillian
- #56. Learn how to make a fire with 2 matches
- #59. Watch Rocky Horror Picture Show
- #60. Watch a live-action play of Rocky Horror Picture Show
- #64. Beta or ARC read at least 4 books
- #66. Learn how to apply a face full of makeup
- #71. Commit to writing in a journal, with a pen, every day, for a year
- #72. Hike 52 Hikes
- #74. Sell ONE of my photos
- #75. Learn how to make coffee
- #78. Go to the UFO festival at McMenamins in McMinnville (May 19-20)
- #80. Reclimb Sand “Hell” Hill in Pacific City, Or
- #81. Do Ape Caves again
- #85. Learn Runes
Look at you go, girl! I still can’t believe you jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. You have been dreaming and planning for this experience for a very long time and it did not disappoint. Will you ever do it again? Who knows.
Oh, and you had to have your husband install new shelves this year because of all the journals you wrote in this year. You took quite a few trips to Powell’s for new journals, and E was more than happy to tag along.
And your birthday! How could I forget your birthday this year? You woke up way too freaking early to go to Pacific City with the family so you could LEARN HOW TO SURF! And then you had your favorite burger at Pelican Pub. And then you ended your day at home, cuddling with your husband, after going to see the brand new Indiana Jones movie. It was the best birthday in a long time.
Don’t worry. your annual Goodwill trip and Fish n’ Chips from Burgerville waited for you until the next day. After you slept in of course because while you have been working your ass off this year, literally and figuratively, surfing reminded you of muscles you forgot existed.
This brings me to the next huge goal you accomplished this year. You lost ANOTHER 40lbs. No. Scratch that. You ELIMINATED those pounds. Blasted them into outer space. You got your diabetes and Hashimoto’s under control.
Those new diagnoses at the end of 2022/first few days of 2023 shook you and were the proverbial last straw after your Papa passed away.
But you did it.
You had to fake it to make it for a while, but you eventually stopped white-knuckling it.
Once that switch happened, you became unstoppable. And when you became unstoppable, you hiked 52 hikes and finally got to mark that 16-miler overnighter off your list alongside your bestie Scrambles.
Everything you accomplished this year, you took a moment to reflect. You took the time to see just how far you had come from the depressed soul who never wanted to see another sunrise, to this over-joyous, positive vibes only badass who never backs down, and lives life to its literal fullest.
I don’t think you could have lived a fuller life this year. New opportunities and experiences popped up everywhere you looked.
Your first paying client hired you in January. You sold your first photo in February. And you started working on your 2nd book in March, finishing it just in time for the 1st anniversary publish date of your 1st book – 12.21.23.
And that is all because your resolutions turned into your theme of the year: being present, with a healthy dose of follow-through and a flavorful base of commitment.
You vowed to be more present in your everyday life. From spending more one-on-one time with the girls to going on regular dates with your husband. From the weekly family movie nights to riding your bikes more often and walking with them more.
You didn’t spend more than two days at a time not being present.
Oh, you still had your days where you just wanted to crawl into a ball on the couch and do nothing but read, eat, and sleep.
You just made a vow to only be checked out for 2 days or less in a row, and not 6 months again.
Practicing being more present allowed you to spend more family time together. Time you will always cherish now as your girls keep growing up, no matter how much you try to stop them.
Thankfully, the girls finally learned how to do their own laundry. And the husband too. It was a rough few weeks in the beginning, but the spoons that got freed up were worth the struggle.
The kicker? You finally feel like you aren’t failing your kids by teaching them some life skills, like making their bed, cooking simple meals, and putting the damn dirty dishes in the dishwasher. That was a harder lesson to teach but, once again, WORTH IT!
See? I told you! You LIVED life to its FULLEST.
And because you did, you are ending 2023 in a much more financially stable position. You still have a shit ton of debt to take care of, but you aren’t spending uselessly, you actually have a good size emergency fund in your savings, and you have payment plans for everything.
Because of this, 2024 is going to be the year of travel. Finally.
Your trip to Crater Lake to take a photo of the moon reflecting in the lake from the Lodge didn’t go exactly as planned, but you still made it into an adventure, you still got your book cover, and it became the catalyst for you and your husband to finally plan all those trips you are going to take next year.
I am so proud of you. Without committing to following through and working hard every single day, you wouldn’t be ending this year feeling 1000% more confident and like you are headed in the right direction. 1000% more at peace than you did last year.
And that’s saying something because you ended 2022 feeling like you were permanently on cloud 9.
Without following through and finding balance between work, life, health, and personal projects, you wouldn’t have been able to buy that brand new mirrorless camera you have had your eye on for a while now, and all those extra batteries.
You also wouldn’t be the person your friends and family look to when they are experiencing the stormy days you used to have that are now few and far between. And that’s on you for committing to raising your vibrations, manifesting only positive vibes, and speaking your truth. The good. The bad. And the ugly.
If 2022 was R&D into who you were as a human, 2023 was the year you fully embraced who you were.
You only stopped giving a fuck about a lot of shit at the end of 2022. So you didn’t get to experience all the seasons of giving a fuck only about the things that made your soul ignite.
You lived this whole year not giving a fuck about a lot of shit, and, an interesting side development, you nearly cry tears of joy these days just because of how wonderful it feels for everything to be in alignment, for all the puzzle pieces to click, and all the gears to run smoothly for once.
2022 was your year, but 2023 was your year on steroids. I am not sure what to think for 2024 but that is future me’s problem.
I am just in awe of whom you have become this year. You have become even more fearless, even more of a beast, and even more of a guiding light in the darkness.
Your book sold a handful more copies, but you aren’t letting that stop you. And you didn’t get picked for the Call For Art you submitted to in December 2022, but you didn’t let that stop you either.
You still sold your first piece somehow. But you decided not to ask questions and just be thankful for the sale.
This year, you decided to go balls to the wall. And you knew you could because you did in 2022. You weren’t wrong.
Now that you have learned runes and have made your own runes set, you haven’t quite decided what you want to focus on spiritually next year, but it will come to you. It always does.
Remember how you came up with Vibe Time? That took time, but you knew that was the right thing to call what was formerly named spirituality session.
And don’t forget your second book! You went all in on being a pantser for this book. You had a general idea, but no clue how to get from Chapter 1 to Chapter 30. And yet, you still were able to publish your 2nd book this year.
All because you never gave up. All because you practiced being present, taking it one day, sometimes one moment, at a time. All because you committed to following through. All because you believed in your spirit guides and the universe to provide the moment you were ready. All because you lived this entire year, unapologetically yourself.
Damn Kelly. Doesn’t it feel good? You accomplished so much this year that you never thought would happen. You took control of your physical health and are in the best shape of your entire life. As was noticeable when you wore that 2-piece bikini at the beach on your birthday! Dayum girl.
Your kids are flourishing as well finally after years of struggling. Your oldest has friends that come to the house and your youngest has turned the creator room into her personal lego warehouse.
And that is because you show them how to live their truth by living your truth. You show them how important it is to take care of yourself and do the things that make you happy, while still doing the sucky.
Because End of 2023 Kelly, this year may have been intense and you may have had to work hard every single day, but you never once forgot to have fun. You never once forgot to smile, to laugh, to love.
And because of that, you are now watching the people around you become unapologetically themselves, living a life they convinced themselves they couldn’t because of XYZ.
End of 2023 Kelly, you are my hero. You have always been my hero. And you always will be.
Until we meet again, as above, so below, Adventure on with Curiosity,
~ Beginning of 2023 Kelly “Beast” Steele
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