My Year in Review 2023: Changes for the Better or the Worse?

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And just like that, 2023 is gone with the wind! ๐Ÿ’จ

I don’t know about you, but I felt this year to be a “blink and you’ll miss” kind of one (just like 2022).

Or maybe that’s how you feel when you waste too much time like I did this year!

Nonetheless, 2023 has taken me through A LOT, to be honest.
I’ve gone through some really tough times, and I’m happy that I withstood all those to survive yet another year.

So what are the highlights of 2023 for me?
What changes and challenges am I talking about?

Let’s begin ๐Ÿ‘‡

The Hits in 2023: What I’m Grateful for…

Starting off this year in review with the highlights and proud moments of the past year โคต๏ธ

Awarded for My Efforts in 2022 at XpeedStudio!

The year started with the Annual Gala Night of XpeedStudio in January 2023. The whole squad had dinner and laughed together. The night ended with an award ceremony based on our performances in 2022.

I received an award titled “Dedicated Workforce of the Year” alongside two more of my co-workers. It was an honor to have my efforts recognized by the company and I couldn’t be happier!

Here’s the LinkedIn post I wrote on this:

I'm receiving award at gala night 2023
I’m receiving the award from Mr. Ataur Rahman, our CEO

Co-organized WordPress Meetups for the Dhaka Community

One of the many fun aspects of working within the WordPress ecosystem is its local communities.

Dhaka is no different, as it has a vibrant community of plugin authors, product developers, product marketers, and WordPress users from many different areas.

After attending many meetup events with the Dhaka chapter, I finally got the opportunity to be a part of the organizing team in 2023.

State of the word 2023 watch party, organized by the Dhaka WordPress Meetup Group

I, along with 8 other veterans and fellow WordPress enthusiasts, started our co-organizing journey in July.

Since then, the team has organized 5 meetup events (both online and offline). I was the co-host in 3 of them and have been working in whatever capacity I can.

Looking forward to the events to come in 2024!

Got Promoted as the Digital Marketing Manager!

So… the transition from “Digital Strategist” to “Digital Marketing Manager” happened this year.

I’ll make it as brief as possible because as happy as I am about this promotion, I don’t have much to share about this.

All I have to say is thanks to my awesome marketing team (more on that later) for always being cooperative and making my life easier. Till date, being the manager of this team has never come as a burden of any kind.

Here’s a photo with the team (though some are missing on the photo and some have parted ways later in the year) from the night of my farewell before leaving Bangladesh โคต๏ธ

Last group photo with the awesome marketing team of XpeedStudio!

Also, my heartiest gratitude to our CEO, Ataur Rahman bhai, for believing in me and allowing me to prove myself.

Hope I can learn more in this role in the coming days… ๐Ÿคž

Moved to Ireland (+ a Short Detour in Istanbul)!

This might be my biggest step in 2023, if not in life…

Those who know me personally, know (probably) that I don’t like changes. Also, I never thought of moving/living abroad.

But, life works in mysterious ways and I moved to Dublin, Ireland in September of this year to join my wife. I’ve also been working remotely with XpeedStudio since.

While this change has its demerits as well, I’m finding the change of air refreshing and pleasant overall!

me and my wife

And most importantly, I get to live with my wife (finally)!

Life update: moving to Ireland

I’ve summarized the whole journey, and my experience so far, in this blog post ๐Ÿ‘‡

Traveled Around Bangladesh (in 9 Districts)

In 2023, I pledged to myself that I’d travel all 64 districts of Bangladesh and cover as many as possible before I left for Ireland.

To make this happen, I finally started solo traveling in 2023. And I must say, It’s one of the best decisions I made in life.

I never realized how liberating and relaxing the trips are when you’re alone. Traveling with a group and traveling solo โ€” each has its perks and is different from the other.

Cut to September, I visited 9 new districts before leaving Bangladesh and they are:


And that makes a total of 28 districts I’ve been to!

I hope I can increase the numbers every time I visit Bangladesh.
Only 36 more to go!

(Finally) Became More Active on LinkedIn

The last couple of years were stagnant for my LinkedIn activities, especially 2022. I’m glad I could finally improve the situation in late 2023!

Here are the quick stats of the engagement metrics from the LinkedIn analytics (yes I know that these are all trivial, but they’ll help me lay the groundwork):

Linkedin Impressions in 2023
Impressions from my LinkedIn Content in 2023
Linkedin Engagement in 2023
Engagements from my LinkedIn Content in 2023

As you can imagine, 376% and 491% increments will definitely motivate me to focus more on LinkedIn in 2024!

Indulged Myself (Again) in Books and Cinema

Those who know me personally, know how passionate I am about cinema. For me, it’s the most important form of art. However, due to multiple factors including personal issues, lack of time, and others, I haven’t watched many in 2021 and 2022.

But in 2023, I finally started picking up the pace again in watching films and the final count got up to 56 films at the year-end! I also watched plenty of TV shows and OTT shows as well.

And I feel happy that I’m finally back on track with Cinema!

Here are my top 10 picks from the films I watched in 2023, with a few words I wouldn’t dare call “reviews” of them:

top 10 picks for films i watched in 2023
Captured from my Letterboxd account
  1. Cure:
    I can’t express in words how haunting this Japanese cinema is, despite not taking the conventional horror route or cheap theatrics like jumpscares. Cure has to be my favorite psychological horror till date.
  2. Ex Machina:
    This is also the perfect thriller film of this age, especially with the advent of AI. It explores interesting concepts and aspects of human intelligence and human-machine interaction. I also found biblical resemblances (testing your creation, free will, etc.) but maybe it’s just me.
  3. Raise the Red Lantern:
    Compelling storytelling and art direction. Set in the Warlord era of the Chinese Republic, this film revolves around a house and its internal politics. The face of one of the protagonists, while being a focal point of the story, was never shown on screen โ€” which also has a political and sociological undertone in itself.
  4. Inglorious Basterds:
    It’s a Quentin Tarantino film โ€” ’nuff said! I don’t know why it took me so long to watch it but I’m glad that I did it this year.
  5. The Whale:
    This is a one-man show and it’s Brendan Fraser with the timely career resurgence! The screenplay and direction are dead giveaways that the film is a stage play adaption, but it’s still enjoyable.
    That said, it’s not the kind of cinema that Darren Aronofsky makes (at least the ones I watched). Props to him for being so diverse.
  6. Tamasha:
    I’ve distanced myself from mindless Bollywood flicks for quite a few years now (9/10 years to be exact). But the internet reviews led me to watch another film by Imtiaz Ali and it was totally worth it.
    Yes, it’s not a perfect film and it has its limitations. But what I really loved was how personal the film was to the writer (it just shows in the script).
    It was an emotional rollercoaster and I loved how they crafted it (except the ending, which sucks big time).
  7. Oppenheimer:
    I’m glad I didn’t watch it in theaters ๐Ÿ˜‚, I wouldn’t have understood any of the dialogue. The film was intense, gritty, and had amazing performances from a stacked cast.
  8. The Castle:
    If you want to watch a light-as-a-feather feel-good film today, The Castle is your best bet! This Australian Comedy is not nuanced or technically sound, but it sure is a pure entertainer โ€” perfect for watching with your family.
  9. Abohomaan:
    The more I see the works of Rituparno Ghosh, the more I admire his storytelling. Abohomaan is a fine example of how well he painted human relationships, however intricate and complex they may be. The cast also never fails to amaze throughout the film.
  10. Saatao (Memories of Gloomy Monsoons):
    It feels satisfying to have included a pure Bangladeshi film in this list. Saatao (เฆธเฆพเฆเฆคเฆพเฆ“) is an honest film that’s true to its roots. You can watch the rain in the film and instantly get nostalgic hits with the after-rain smells of the soil.
    The story, while being a bit melodramatic at times, is genuine and leaves a smile on your face after you finish it.

Coming to books, yes I admit that it’s not much.

I finished 12 books in 2023 (and a few in progress) โ€” approximately the same as the previous year. But I’m happy that I could maintain the consistency, especially considering that I haven’t read at all since I moved to Ireland (except in December).

The books I read in 2023
Captured from my Goodreads account

I’m glad I discovered Akhteruzzaman Elias this year and read 3 of his short story compilations. I’m an avid reader of short stories and I feel he is a maestro of this craft.

I also enjoyed the novel by Muradul Islam, though the unique style of his writing is still debatable to me.

Kaizen, while having an interesting idea at its core, was repetitive and kinda boring.

A Little History of Religion was awesome, and so was Building a StoryBrand!

The rest of them were either meh or garbage.

The Misses of 2023: Letdowns and Shortcomings

Yes, there were negatives too this year, probably even more than in 2022.

I struggled a lot with my personal life, especially with mental health and stress. That also impacted my professional life, personal growth, and many other aspects.

But I’m happy that things are gradually shifting towards more positivity. That said, it’s equally important I acknowledge my shortcomings so that I can work on them.

Such as…

Still Hesitant about Creating Video Content

It’s been almost 2 years now since I started to think about making videos.
I always end up deferring it off and I’m not even sure why.

Maybe it’s the nervousness of putting myself out there publicly.
Or maybe I’m the victim of first-day jitters.

But whatever the reason may be, I hope I can turn the situation around and start creating video content in 2024!

Not Being Active on Twitter (X)

While I’ve been comparatively more active on LinkedIn, Twitter is still the Kryptonite I’ve been still struggling with. It just seems that I don’t know how to properly use the platform!

Maybe I need to discuss the matter with people who’ve cracked the code. Or, I can start researching on the internet.

Hopefully, 2024 will bring some changes…

Downfall in Blogging

2023 gave me less time to work on personal projects such as blogging and such. And the time I actually got, I either wasted them away or just procrastinated.

As a result, I wrote and published only 7 posts โ€” most of that in the first quarter of the year. I initially targeted at least 1 post each month but failed to hit that mark too.

I’m setting the same target for this year, 12 posts (if not more).
Let’s see what happens this time!

Didn’t Walk as Much as Before

Walking is something I’ve always enjoyed, be it random or to go somewhere. I like my own company while walking and it makes me calm. There’s also the factor of seeing life around, which is impossible if you’re in some form of vehicle.

But compared to the previous year, 2023 was pretty stagnant for me. My physical activities took a nosedive, largely credited to less amount of walking.

Yes, I’ve traveled a lot this year and those included some hefty journeys by foot. But for everyday commutes, I took more rickshaw rides than ever for 0.5 – 2 kilometer journeys which has always been my comfort zone for taking a walk.

It got even more difficult with moving to Ireland and the colder/windier weather. But I try my best to go for a walk every two/three days.

I hope I can walk more in 2024, especially after winter.

Being Miles Away from Home

To be honest, I left home years back for my undergrad in Sylhet and I feel like I never really went back home.

However, leaving my family for a place that’s miles away and out of the country hits differently. I miss my family, especially the fact that I missed my niece’s first birthday.

But I guess that’s how life is, you lose something in return for getting something ๐Ÿ™‚

Not Your Average Conclusion!

I’m not finishing this write-up with the generic “looking forward to 2024” lore.

Instead, I’m acknowledging that despite all the difficulties, confusion, hard decisions, and changes, I’ve lived through 2023 and that’s enough for me.

I don’t what’s waiting for me in 2024, but I hope I face it with a smile.


Asif Jamil in 2022 A Personal & Professional Retrospective

My Previous Year in Review Post!

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M. Asif Jamil
M. Asif Jamil

M. Asif Jamil is a cosmic wanderer who's fueled by coffee and chocolate. He likes to write about marketing, branding, psychology, copywriting, contemporary society, WordPress, personal finance, cinema, and everything in between.

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