Now Reading
Looking Back at 2023: Beyond Wars Abroad and Violence at Home, We Could Still Find Magic and Miracles Around Us

Looking Back at 2023: Beyond Wars Abroad and Violence at Home, We Could Still Find Magic and Miracles Around Us

  • Ultimately, the year did not amaze me with any windfall gains, life-changing circumstances, or events, but that is a wonderfully welcome change from the past few years.

If there was a scale from 0 to 10 to rate a year with 0 being intolerably painful and 10 being monumentally phenomenal, 2023 in my opinion and experience, would be a modest but respectable 7.5. All things considered, that’s a solid score, something I can work with. When it comes to life, I believe that any day above ground is a good one, so any year lived without life-altering tragedy is a real blessing. 

For all practical purposes, we are now done with the global pandemic, and the isolation and many challenges it brought with it. While 2020 will have a special place of infamy and low-key trauma for many among us, each year before and since has come with its own share of both joys and sorrows. New life and relationships, the loss of life and loved ones, personal and professional successes, and learning moments — highs and lows are what uniquely defines the human experience. So, we may as well embrace all of it as the only way to endure and grow.  

On the global scale, a few things marked and marred 2023 in significance and impact – existing wars raged on mostly unabated (Russia-Ukraine), while new ones escalated (Israel-Hamas) to overshadow long-standing civil wars and unrest in countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Myanmar, and Mexico. According to the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, more than 500,000 people die each year because of the violence associated with armed conflict and large- and small-scale criminality. Most of these conflicts are over disputed territories, religious conflicts, and nationalism. I suppose there is a complacency that comes from being distanced and perhaps even unaffected over time by these deaths. But what about gun violence in the U.S. (more than 40,000 deaths in 2023) that takes out innocent bystanders in a split second? Does that move us to action, or can we remain passive and unaffected? 

As Alicia Keys says in her song “A Beautiful Noise”
“From the Silence of my Sisters; 
To the Violence of my Brothers; 
We can, we can rage;
Against the river feel the pain of another’
I have a voice.” 

The violence of our brothers seems barbaric and primitive in this modern age. It makes me wonder — would this world by a different place if women led? Would we lead with more compassion and empathy, and would there be less oppression and violence all around? Or would the power inevitably lead to corruption and greed? I’d like to think that women would spearhead a peace movement of sorts — one that is fueled by inspiration and empowerment, holistic decision-making, diplomacy, collaboration, and cooperation.

The full extent of atrocities and mass destruction inflicted by wars is impossible to grapple with — we feel helpless and desperate, numbed by the news, by the swelling death count, by the escalating number of innocent casualties around us every day. So, we look the other way and turn a blind eye to it as a coping mechanism. 

On a personal note, 2023 was kind to me, my glass was overflowing (for the most part anyway), my people were all with me, and we all enjoyed good health. There is a whole lot to be grateful for, and I remain steadfastly (perhaps even annoyingly) positive. 

On a less doom and gloom note, 2023 brought with it some impressive technological advances such as more mainstream use of artificial intelligence (AI) (e.g., ChatGPT, self-driving cars, manufacturing robots, smart assistants) that has helped transform many industries and impacted our everyday lives. The concept of AI assisting us with the things we prefer not to do is refreshing and exciting, but only if it is used carefully and within ethical parameters. The idea that AI may be better than us at doing some things is undoubtedly unsettling. Knowledge workers (like doctors, lawyers, designers, financial analysts, technical writers, or engineers) would generally require humans, but there are other jobs (data entry, factory work, cashier, driver, librarian, translator) that could be effectively done by AI. 

Where does that leave us as a workforce? Siri and Alexa are welcome to enhance my day with reminders and music and mundane tasks, but if they ever came for my job as a Standards professional, I’d be livid. Pretty soon, those among us who learn to incorporate AI in our jobs will have an edge over those who don’t. Good or bad, AI is here to stay, so we may as well learn to work with it and use it to our advantage.

On a personal note, 2023 was kind to me, my glass was overflowing (for the most part anyway), my people were all with me, and we all enjoyed good health. There is a whole lot to be grateful for, and I remain steadfastly (perhaps even annoyingly) positive. 

I believe in Carpe Diem — seizing the day — because today is really all that we have. To make it to the end of another year is truly wonderful. People and time are our biggest treasures, so I try not to take either for granted. This year, my family enjoyed time with family and friends, and celebrated birthdays, festivals, milestones, and life itself at every opportunity we had. We’ve been able to enjoy vacations to beautiful places like Puerto Rico and the Great Smoky Mountains, take road trips to see family and friends, soak in art and cultural experiences, and immerse ourselves in nature every chance we get. 

See Also

Health is wealth. So terribly clichéd I know, but it bears repeating. Our health stands on the four foundational pillars of nutrition, exercise, sleep, and lack of stress. If it isn’t really going to matter five years from now, then don’t waste more than five minutes worrying about it – whatever “it” is. This is a liberating thing to try and live by. It takes away a lot of unnecessary stress and replaces it with a grounding sense of calm even during lives many small storms. 

August 2023 marked three years since our youngest son, Kahlil had Bone Marrow Transplant for Sickle Cell Disease. He is fully cured now, and we try and spread awareness of the treatment and cure to others within the global Sickle Cell Community. Kahlil serves as an Ambassador for the Make A Wish Foundation, and in this role, he has given radio interviews, spoken at fundraisers, and recorded messages for sponsors. This is our small way of giving back to a community that has given us so generously. 

Ultimately, 2023 did not amaze me with any windfall gains, life-changing circumstances, or events, but that is a wonderfully welcome change from the past few years. There is magic in the mundane. I’ve come to embrace the lackluster and humdrum year we’ve had and would take this over a tumultuous roller coaster ride of a year like 2020. If you have the ability to see it, you will see the magic, the miracles around us, in the everyday life above ground – they are everywhere.  

On that hopeful and optimistic note, here’s to wishing 2024 is steady and unimpressive with a heavy sprinkle of pixie dust. Happy New Year! 


Mili Mavely Washington was born and raised in New Delhi, India, where she lived with her parents and younger brother. In 2000, after completing her Bachelors, she came to the United States for graduate school at the George Washington University. Coincidentally, in the same year, she also met her American musician husband in India. Halfway through her Masters, they were married in Delhi and Chicago. They now live in North Carolina with her parents (Annie and Matthew) and their three children — Kaavya, 17, Kabir, 15, and Kahlil,13, plus two crazy dogs.

What's Your Reaction?
Excited
1
Happy
1
In Love
1
Not Sure
0
Silly
0
View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© 2020 American Kahani LLC. All rights reserved.

The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of American Kahani.
Scroll To Top