2023: Year In Review & Looking Ahead

2023: Year In Review & Looking Ahead 1

To be truthful, last year’s review and planning for the new year are two of my fixed activities; however, this year, I decided to write this on this blog rather than in my diary for a change. I am moving from my dairy to this public blog for two reasons.

  1. I’ve always had a passion for writing, encompassing various styles, from technical articles and poems to research papers. However, over the past few years, I found myself drifting away from writing as I focused intensely on my career and other priorities. This always bothered me a lot, so now I want to start writing again, and this feels like a perfect start.
  2. I like to keep my life private. I’m kind of in the middle – not too shy, not too outgoing – but I feel more comfortable being on the quiet side, which makes it challenging for me to forge deep friendships where I can openly share my life’s journey. I’m good at acting like everything is fine, so I’ve managed to maintain an appearance of well-being to the outside world, but the truth is, the last two years were hard for me. I felt lost, sad, and down. There were times when I wondered if life was even worth it. Fortunately, the kindness of strangers and the inspirational stories of a few friends gave me the motivation and strength to persevere, focus on self-improvement, and move forward. While I will continue to use this blog to write technical articles, tutorials, and research findings, I also want to use it to tell my story and share about my experiences and I’ve been through and how my life is now. I hope that by sharing, I might help someone else someday.

Moving on from the background, let’s dive into my 2023 review. The year kicked off with a New Year’s Party at Ved’s place, marking the first time in years I celebrated the start of a new year in such a festive way. Now, let’s take a closer look at how 2023 unfolded for me.

I started the new year with a determination to work on my health. I am a workaholic in all senses, and l live alone, which essentially means my lifestyle is terrible. I mostly survive on outside food and have awful food habits. This year, I decided to work on my health. While I would not call it a complete success, I was able to adopt a few good habits and reduce my weight. I brought it to under 80 from 100+ and improved my cardio health.

The last few years have been a rollercoaster, with their share of tough times like broken friendships, a cheating girlfriend, and other challenging situations. By 2023, I was feeling quite lonely and knew I needed a change. So, I threw myself into socializing more and attending various events and meet-ups, and it paid off – I met some awesome new friends. I also brushed up my social skills and picked up new hobbies like hiking and travelling, which led to some incredible adventures.

My travels took me to some amazing places. In Kerala, I visited the Adi Shankaracharya Math and took a breathtaking road trip to Munnar. Rishikesh was a blast too, especially riding a scooty after a decade. Then there was Nepal, where I got to see rhinos up close and absolutely loved the local food. I found Wai Wai Noodles. Wrapping up the year, I explored the stunning beaches and forests of South Goa, which was a real treat.

Back at home, I got a PS5 and started throwing house parties, hosting a couple of fun ones. And to add to the excitement, I cosplayed as an Anonymous Anarchist Hacker at Comic Con Delhi. It’s been a wild and fulfilling journey!

This year has been pretty great for my professional life. I dove deeper into Cloud Security, enhancing my skills across all the major cloud platforms. We also expanded my team, branching out into managed services for Cloud Security and DevSecOps, which has been exciting. I’ve been focusing on building better cloud security using native tools and have upped my game in security automation and Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Lately, I’ve started exploring the world of API security too. I’ve been working on upgrading my home lab, which is my go-to spot for research and testing. Plus, I’ve snagged a few awards along the way, which has been a nice bonus!

2023 was definitely a step up from the previous year for me. It was filled with more highs than lows, a welcome shift that made the year memorable. However, there were a couple of things that didn’t go as planned. I couldn’t keep up with my health improvement streak and slipped back into old habits, which was a bit of a setback. Also, I regret not being able to strengthen my relationships with my friends. Missing out on significant events like Varun’s and Himanshu’s weddings was something I truly regret. These were important moments I wish I had been a part of.

C. S. Lewis once said, “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” While it’s impossible for me to go back and change the past (at least until someone invents a time machine and solves the grandfather paradox), what I can do is plan for a better future and take steps to improve myself. Heading into 2024, Here’s my game plan – it’s all about getting back on track and adding some new twists:

  • Health Goals: I’m aiming to leave behind those unhealthy habits and focus on improving my overall health with a consistent routine.
  • Mental Well-being: My goal is to nurture a happier, more present state of mind, prioritizing mental health.
  • Rebuilding Relationships: It’s time to mend fences with friends and family, offering apologies and seeking reconciliation.
  • Professional Development: I plan to enhance my leadership and managerial skills to excel further in my career.
  • Technical Learning: I’m excited to explore Operational Technology (OT) security, expanding my knowledge to better serve my clients.
  • Consistent Blogging: Aiming for 52 blog posts this year to bring a steady rhythm into my life.
  • Reading More: I’ve set a target to read 15 books, broadening my perspectives and deepening my understanding.
  • Rediscovering Hobbies: I want to rekindle my interest in playing the guitar and explore other new hobbies for personal enrichment.

Balanced, yet focused – that’s my motto for the year, let’s see how it goes.

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