The year that was 2023

G’day, friends and welcome to the last blog post of the year! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and still enjoying the last couple of days off before the new year begins!

Every year, I do a year in review, which is so nice to reflect on the year past and look ahead excitedly.

2023 had to be one of the most challenging years, emotionally, mentally and physically. Almost everyone I talk to says that 2023 was also hard for them! Something must be in the water, honestly.

The year has brought so much pain, anxiety, loss and heartbreak, not just for me but also for my family.

I believe everything almost comes in three. And it did this year, with the passing of my Great-grandmother, an old childhood friend of mine, and of my beautiful Border Collie Milly unexpectedly on the 4th of December. Each passing caused so much pain and had different circumstances that meant I had to dig deep to get through them.

My friend’s passing was incredibly confronting as it was the first funeral I have attended of not only a friend but also where Muscular Dystrophy had ultimately taken them from this earth. Sitting in the room next to about 8 or so other people who all had Muscular Dystrophy (the majority had Duchenne, like my friend) was also incredibly emotionally and mentally challenging, as the realisation that all of us in that row would be taken from MD if it isn’t from something else. His funeral was massive; people flocked from everywhere, and every room in the venue was full of people. He had the send-off that he deserved, that is for sure!

Amongst all the pain this year brought, it also got some incredible moments that I will forever be grateful for!

I finally finished my law degree, a graduate diploma in legal practice, and my honours year. It is still surreal to see “LLB(Hons)” next to my name on an email signature, and the imposter syndrome is still very much present, but I am so glad amongst everything I had going on this year, I was able to get the study completed.

I also did something my old self would never have done: a branding photoshoot for Living Abled!! The old me hated seeing photos of herself and despised seeing what my disability did to her appearance. And to be frank, old me didn’t think she deserved those photos. That shoot is ultimately the highlight of my year; everyone I worked with that day was honestly a dream, and the stepping into a new journey and era of self and Living Abled.

This year presented many lessons, tears, laughs, journeys, hard conversations, realisations, and opportunities to be still.

Every year, my disability continues to slowly and gradually get worse, but the one thing I learned this year is to always appreciate everything that life gives you. The only way I could get through this year mentally and physically was to step up. I had to step up in many moments this year, another thing that old me would never have done.

I hit new PBs in the gym, which feels like Christmas each time! In two years, I have gone from 5kg assisted (my EP helping me) lat downs to around 8.25kg unassisted pulldowns currently, with a maintained weight of 7.5kg. My cable rows went from 5kg to a staggering 11.5kg ish. I will do a designated post on my gym sessions later on. But this year, having hit those Pb’s unreal, especially after medical specialists told me that wouldn’t be possible!

What’s next

This year saw the finalisation of so many chapters. Everything feels wrapped up in little tear-stained glitter bows. Next year holds so many uncertainties and promises. 2024 feels like a strong number, and I had to go through so many soul-crushing and beautiful moments to step into whatever 2024 brings.

As for Living Abled, next year promises to be the official start of the business. And I am still just so blown away at what this blog, now business, has been able to achieve and how many people it has been able to help.

This year solidified my purpose, and that is advocating for people with disabilities, spreading awareness of life with Muscular Dystrophy, and helping people create the life that they crave the most.

I am certainly not the same person who started 2023. The person who began 2023 was terrified of the unknowns, afraid of standing up to the what-ifs, fearful of what another year would bring for my disability.

But this year has moulded me into a strong, happy, confident, unapologetically authentic woman. I would not have been able to achieve all of that without all the hardships and highlights this year brought.

The footy Club I support did an exercise with the team where everyone had to list a hero, hardship and highlight from their life. But I am going to do mine for this year.

So my hero would have to be my Equine Assisted Coach, Hayley, and everything she has taught me this year about life, still moving forward when it seems impossible, and of course, all the horsey wisdom. I would have been majorly lost this year if it wasn’t for her and her equine companions!

My hardship would have to have been all the loss I endured this year. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone.

And my highlight, as I said before doing my branding shoot with Amy and starting to put all the final pieces together on my business, which I am so passionate about and excited about.

On that note, thank you all from the bottom of my heart for reading each week or whenever you could and for reaching out and participating in this journey.

I hope you all enjoy this weekend’s celebrations, and I wish you all an incredible and joyful 2024!

If we can get through this year, we can get through anything!

See you all in the New Year!


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