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2023 - Year In Review

Ishan Sharma
January 7th, 2024 · 9 min read

You know, it’s kind of funny how last year I was scratching my head, thinking, “What do I even write about?” So, I ended up slapping together this Year in Review 2022 blog. Fast forward a year, and now it’s like my go-to document to stroll down memory lane.

It’s wild how a random decision, made just because I was running low on ideas, turned into this cool thing I can look back on and reflect. Life’s full of these tiny choices that, at the time, feel like no big deal, but later on, they’re the ones steering the ship toward some major changes.

So here we are, in 2024

Another year has passed by, and where to even begin… It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. This year was both challenging and at the same time a year filled with growth & learning opportunities.

If I had to sum it up, I’d say the theme of this year is all about ‘standing on my own two feet and embracing self-reliance’.

Before I start though, I wanted to share a thought bubble.

I was casually scrolling through my Twitter feed when a news article caught my attention, recounting an incident involving an Alaska Airlines flight. It detailed how the plane’s wall blew up just after takeoff, yet miraculously, no one was harmed.

The intriguing part? Two individuals who were supposed to occupy the affected area had missed the flight. This unexpected turn of events led me to reflect on the profound truth that “everything happens for a reason.”

Skydiving & First International Trip

This time, on my birthday, I was finally able to take some time off and took my parents on their first-ever flight, making it our first international journey as a fam. Seeing them excitedly board the plane was a moment etched in my memory.

Skydiving | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

And you know what? I decided to up the ante by conquering my fear of heights – I took the plunge and went skydiving. It was a leap of faith, quite literally, and boy, was it exhilarating! The feeling of free-falling and soaring through the sky was unmatched. That adrenaline rush turned what could have been a nerve-wracking experience into one of the most thrilling moments of 2023.

Dubai treated us to a feast for the senses. From the iconic Burj Khalifa to the futuristic Museum of the Future, we explored every nook and cranny. But the fun didn’t stop there – we revved things up at Ferrari World, rubbed shoulders with wax celebrities at Madame Tussauds (yes, I met Taylor Swift!), and let loose with some serious shopping escapades.

This chapter of 2023 was like a blockbuster movie, complete with breathtaking stunts, iconic landmarks, and unforgettable encounters ❤️

Cricket Match

My dad’s always been the cricket aficionado in the family. He’s got this undying love for sports, but can you believe, up until April, he had never witnessed a live cricket match at a stadium? And you know what, his dream was to catch an IPL match, especially his cricket hero, Virat Kohli, was in the lineup.

So, I made a plan to make it happen. Booked the tickets, headed to Chandigarh, to grab the physical passes a week before (yep, they don’t accept digital tickets) and next week, I surprised him and took him to Chandigarh. There we were, soaking in the cricket fever.

Cricket | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

Now, I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest cricket enthusiast, so the match didn’t exactly have me on the edge of my seat. Plus, the poor cellular reception in the stadium left me twiddling my thumbs for a good chunk of time 🥲.

But here’s the thing – my dad? He was in absolute cricket paradise ❤️. The joy on his face, the excitement in his eyes – it was like he’d won the cricket lottery. And you know what? Seeing him that happy made it all worthwhile.

The South Indian Road Trip

Fast forward to May 2023, and we found ourselves gearing up for another adventure during an offsite in Bangalore. Seizing the opportunity, my team and I decided to hit the road, embarking on an epic journey covering Bangalore, Kodaikanal, Madurai, Kanyakumari, and Munnar along the way.

Driving through the mountains, watching the landscapes change, and witnessing the vibrant culture of each place was an experience of a lifetime. There’s something magical about the open road, and exploring the diverse beauty of Southern India added a whole new dimension to our journey.

As we approached Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India where the three oceans meet, the anticipation was palpable. And let me tell you, the sunrise and sunset at Kanyakumari were nothing short of blissful. Standing at the convergence point of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea, and the Indian Ocean was a humbling and serene experience.

Relationships & Rejections

Now, let’s get real. If I had to slap a label on the most challenging part of this year, it would undoubtedly be this one.

Picture this: I met someone, feelings started doing the cha-cha in my heart, and for the very first time, I gathered the courage to spill the beans about my emotions. Sounds like a scene from a romantic movie, right?

Well, reality check – it didn’t pan out like a fairy tale. The feelings weren’t mutual, and let me tell you, that hit hard.

At first, absorbing the fact that it wasn’t a two-way street was like a punch in the gut. But you know what I learned? It’s okay. It’s just a phase of life, a rough patch we all go through.

Here’s the kicker though – not many people talk about it. Everywhere you look, there’s this avalanche of happy moments, picture-perfect stories, and Taylor Swift songs with those feel-good endings. But life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

What they don’t tell you is that sometimes, when you take that leap of faith, it’s not just your feelings on the line. You might end up waving goodbye to a close friend and putting a dent in a once-solid relationship.

In the midst of it all, you suddenly find yourself standing alone, realizing how lonely it can get when someone decides to walk away. And let me tell you, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions. You question yourself – am I a bad person? Doubts creep in, and you end up wrestling with your deepest insecurities.

I don’t think I’ve still compeletely moved on from this, but we’re making progress! :) I’ve begin to realise that in the grand theater of life, not every scene has a happy ending, and that’s perfectly okay.

Public Speaking

Remember in my Year in Review 2022, I spilled the beans about giving my first-ever talk and crossing paths with the awesome ‘Tejas’ at React India? Well, this year, we took it up a notch.

Brace yourself – I spoke at JSConf, addressing a whopping 1100+ folks in person. Picture this: me, looking like a tiny speck in front of that colossal screen. It was both overwhelming and insanely exciting. Bonus point – I got to meet the legendary Kyle Simpson, the brains behind “You don’t know JS”

Public Speaking | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

But wait, the real magic happened at React Nexus in July. I shared the stage with Tejas.

Now, for the backstory. In 2022, after React India, I gifted Tejas a book with a cheeky note saying, ‘Can’t wait to attend your next talk; who knows, maybe I’ll be your co-speaker.’ Fast forward to this year, and guess what? We did it! Dreams really do come true.

Tejas had some kind words about my talk, and here’s what he said:


And then, the big moment finally arrived in 2023 – I graduated. Now, it might not sound like a grand achievement when you just sum it up as getting a sheet of paper. Truth be told, most of what I’ve learned in my journey so far has come from the real-world experiences, both in my professional and personal life. But, hey, hitting that graduation milestone felt like a point where I could pat myself on the back and say, ‘Hey, you’re growing up!’

Graduation | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

Initially, I wasn’t entirely convinced about the whole convocation thing. I mean, is it really necessary? But then, I gave in to the idea and decided to attend. You can dive into the nitty-gritty of that experience in my ‘growing up’ blog post, but for now, let’s just say it turned out to be a bit more meaningful than I expected.

Moving To Bangalore

Talk about a game-changer! August hit, and I made the bold move to Bangalore – probably the most significant twist in my life’s plot this year.

Now, let me spill the beans on Bangalore’s real estate scene – it’s a maze! Navigating through countless listings, touring apartments like I was on a mission, dealing with brokers, and mastering the art of negotiation. Each chat and every apartment visit was like a step closer to realizing I had graduated from the wide-eyed student phase to a fledgling adult

Bangalore | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

After some real hustle, I finally stumbled upon a place that ticked most of my ‘home sweet home’ checklist. Every piece of furniture, every burst of color, and every essential appliance felt like laying bricks for my newfound adulthood. It was more than just decorating; it was crafting my personal sanctuary.

And then came the real adulting adventures – learning to cook, tackling chores, nurturing plants, and let’s not forget the legendary Ikea shopping spree. All these experiences turned me into the most self-dependent version of myself that I adore ❤️, and this is just the beginning ✨ Every day, I feel like I’m learning something new.

Hosting Demo Day

In November, I got the chance to host our Labs team’s Demo Day. It was a challenge, but a cool one. For those who don’t know, Demo Day is essentially a showcase event where we present the outcomes of our team’s work, accomplishments etc.

Studio | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

I was entrusted with the reins, deciding what to present, how to present it, and when to do so. The event was more than just your average demo – we spiced it up with guest speakers, a few games, and kept it easygoing.

To make things interesting, I transformed a corner of my home into a makeshift studio, complete with a green screen, tripod, and a new microphone. Venturing into video editing territory, I tried my hands at Premiere Pro.

Alongside this, I put together a concise 3-minute introductory video to kick off the event.

It was a cool experience and I felt so creative, after such a while!

Taylor Swift

Now, this post wouldn’t be complete without a shoutout to Taylor Swift. Remember how I said earlier that “life’s full of these small choices that later steer you towards major changes?” Well, enter Taylor.

A few months back, I randomly suggested watching the ‘Miss Americana’ documentary to a friend going through a rough patch. She loved it and insisted I give it a shot too. Little did I know, that choice would kick off a Taylor Swift appreciation journey.

I was anyways listening to her Midnights album at the time. But, it turns out, even back in school, I had a couple of her songs from the ‘1989’ album in my playlist.

Her music became my sidekick, helping me navigate through the highs and lows of relationships and rejections. Now, here I am with three books on Taylor Swift, part of her top 0.0001% listeners on Spotify, and a bunch of self-designed posters of her songs hanging in my apartment.

It’s not like I’d call myself a superfan; she’s just another human being, like you and me. I’d say I’m more of an admirer.

I went to some extremes, traveling around 450kms just to catch the ‘Eras Tour’ movie in a buzzing theater. And let me tell you, it was worth it. I made friends there, from a 9-year-old girl reciting the 10-minute version of ‘All Too Well’ to folks belting out lyrics and jumping like they were at a rock concert.

I even attended a candlelight concert recently, and it’s still one of my favorites. Can’t wait for the day I get to experience her ‘Eras Tour’ live in person 🤞🏻


Lately, it’s dawned on me that as I navigate through the maze of adulting and soak up new knowledge, my body needs some love too—both mentally and physically. The first half of 2023, I was practically glued to my home, and all that constant traveling didn’t do wonders for my physical health.

Throw in the early days of settling in Bangalore, where I battled with cooking and let’s just say, my health took a bit of a nosedive.

Fitness | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

Fast forward to now, and I’ve taken the reins. I’ve conquered the kitchen, and I’m determined to level up my physical game. We’ve been hitting the trails, going on treks, and just recently, I convinced a couple of friends to join me on one of our treks. The goal? To get into a shape where I can not only love myself a bit more but also tackle all these adventures effortlessly.

The good part is, I think I’ve got my diet under control, so it’s all systems go (hopefully). We’re making strides, and here’s a snapshot I took this week to prove it. Here’s to hoping that fitness becomes a shining star in 2024 🤞🏻:)

Trek | @ishandeveloper | Ishan Sharma

Summing up my journey through 2023, I find myself grateful for the lessons, growth, and discoveries along the way. The year was a mix of highs and lows, from heart-pounding moments like skydiving to the challenges of rejection.

Reflecting on it all, I see how each choice and setback played a part in shaping who I am today. Fitness has become a focus, and I’m eager to see progress in my physical health, with regular treks becoming a part of the routine.

Looking forward to 2024, I’m already anticipating what’s to come. I have a few plans in the pipeline, and I’m curious to see how they unfold. Life’s unpredictable and short, and I’m ready to embrace whatever comes my way. Here’s to a new year, filled with possibilities and adventures.


Technically, I could’ve just shared links for all of my blog posts from this year and called it a day 🙂 If you’d like to dive deep into any of the stories above, you can perhaps read one of theseeeee

  1. Leap Of Faith
  2. Dolphins
  3. Life’s Detours
  4. Why do I love Adidas?
  5. Growing Up
  6. Chemistry in everyday life
  7. The Culinary Code

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