EPISODE 134: [STORYTIME] Looking back on 2023!



Happy LAST Wednesday of 2023 friend! I cannot believe we are here already but I am so excited to reflect on the biggest things that happened in my life with you in today’s episode! I do these episodes each year to create a time capsule for myself and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy recording them! 


My friend, I hope you had THE BEST YEAR and are wrapping up the year doing things you love. 2024 is going to be great for both of us and I hope you believe that!  



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Maddy 0:00 Today’s episode is brought to you by my therapist Mary. Hey bestie and welcome to the living in sunshine podcast. I’m your host, Maddie fry. And around here we are all about encouraging, inspiring, and giving you the tough love that you need to hear to get out there and live as your best self. Each and every Wednesday, you can expect to learn tangible tips to help you find your bigger purpose. be given simple action steps that you can take in order to make progress toward your biggest dreams. And hear how you can purposely pursue joy on the daily. So sit down, grab your favorite drink. And let’s have a girl chat. This is the living in sunshine podcast. Good morning. Good morning, my dudes and happy last Wednesday of 2023. I literally cannot believe that this is the last Wednesday of the month. That is crazy to me to think. But in full transparency. I’m actually recording this in the middle of November because I always do my podcasts a month early. So I can’t wait to listen back to this episode and be like girl, you are like totally fibbing. And it’s not the last Wednesday of summer. But as I could completely expose myself, I am really excited for today’s episode, because every year I do kind of a looking back on the year episode. And they’re always super fun to kind of record but then also like, listen to the next year and be like, Oh my gosh, I remember all those things that happen. So anyway, I hope you’re excited for today’s new episode, we are going to be reflecting back on all of 2023 and the things that happened in my life, both that I have shared on social media or in my community and not. And I hope that this episode encourages you to do your own looking back on 2023. Right, like, write down some of the things that you’re like, oh, yeah, I can’t remember that, like that happened this year. I can’t believe that that was only this year, like that feels like 400 years ago, right. I’ve mentioned this a few times in the episodes for this month. But I just feel like this this month of December is a really great time to reflect and look back. And I’m really excited to do that with you guys today. And I hope that it encourages you to do it yourself. Now before we dig in to looking back on 2023, I do want to let you know that as you’re listening to this episode, I am going to be running a best year ever sale for the sunshine squad community. I have talked about the sunshine squad all year long. It is my private community for women looking to connect and make a community with other women like themselves who are ambitious and action takers and looking to seek more joy and feel more joyful every single day. At the beginning of every single year, I love to do a sale for the sunshine squad community. So if you haven’t thinking about joining, be sure to go check over on Instagram, and get all the details on that sale. I know that I’ll be chatting about it over there. But just know that if you have been considering joining the sunshine squad community and saving some money while you do so and getting some extra bonuses when you do now is the time so go check it out over on Instagram, my handle is at living the letter N sunshine. And you can get all the details over there. And I hope to see you inside the sunshine squad. Now let’s go ahead and take a look back on 2023 Because this year has been whoa baby a doozy for a whole bunch of reasons. And before recording this episode, I kind of took some time to jot down some of the biggest things that happened in 2023. And that’s what we’re gonna be digging into today. And I feel as if the giant thing that we can’t overlook is the fact that the cute blonde boy, if this is your first episode, that is what I call my husband, his name is Lucas. And I relocated yet again to sunny Charleston, South Carolina. Moving to Charleston has been on my vision board for years, like literally since 2018. And we finally were in a space where we could do that. Both with our jobs and our income and our finances and everything because living here is not cheap. I’m not gonna I’m not gonna pretend like it is. And we were really grateful to be able to be able to move here. And so way back at the end of last year, I can’t wait to listen to last year’s episode of this. And listen to like me moving across the country. Luke and I and all of our dogs and all of our guinea pigs moved from West Texas, El Paso, Texas, all the way over to the coast on the East Coast. And we are now in Charleston, South Carolina, living in this cute little home with a big fenced backyard and this really great location. We love our neighbors. We love our neighborhood. And it’s been amazing literally, I say to Lucas at least once a week. I can’t believe we live here. I love living here. I am so happy being here. And I think the thing that I was surprised about the most when it came to our move was not being here but being close to fail. Really, and this is something that I’ve talked about with friends before, I don’t know if I’ve talked about it on the podcast. But in case you don’t know, Lucas and I lived pretty much on our own ever since we graduated from college because we went to school in Indiana. And we lived in New Jersey for three ish years. And after New Jersey, we moved to El Paso, Texas, and his family is based in Ohio, and my mom for a little bit was in Ohio. And then she also lived, she moved down here to Charleston. And so we were never close to family. And I didn’t realize how much I missed being close to family. Until we lived close to family, my mom now is less than an hour’s drive for me, which is amazing. I see her way more often than I did before. We actually have like little routines that we have every single week where we see each other. And it’s just been so nice. And so the move was such a major thing for us. It was a whole undertaking, we had to sell our old house, we had to sell a bunch of our stuff, it was a whole to do a shout out to Travis Scott, if you know, you know. But it’s been amazing. Like literally he and I have never been happier in terms of where we live. And it’s been such an incredible change. And just I want to send this permission slip out there, if you are someone who has been considering a move, whether it’s big, small or anywhere in between, but it feels really overwhelming, or it feels really challenging. while also still feeling like something you need to do, just do it like you need to do it because it might just literally change your life. If you did not listen to my interview with Madison, Madison Bailey from a couple weeks ago, I will encourage you to go listen to it, she did the same thing. Her husband and her moved from Texas to San Diego. And we kind of share our experiences with doing big major moves. And the impact that it’s had on our mental health and just personal relationships are such a great podcast episode to go listen to if you are someone who’s in that season of exploring the option of relocating, because truly, I would do it all over again, because of the outcomes that have happened because we moved. The next thing that I want to kind of solidify into history is the fact that 2023 has been the year of me, getting back to taking care of me for me. And let me kind of explain what this means. So if you have been a part of my journey long enough, you know that back in 2018 2019 2020, and also a little bit of 2021, I was a part of a network marketing business, where we did home workouts and home health programs and all this stuff. And I loved it. I truly loved it. I have nothing bad to say. But during that time, yes, I was super healthy. And I was working on all these things. But I never, upon reflection felt like I was doing it for me. I felt like I was doing it for my business and doing it for work, which there’s nothing wrong with that, right. But 2023 has been the year where I really started to look internally as to how I wanted to take care of myself, and how I could take care of myself in a way that I actually enjoyed, and how I could take care of more than just my physical health. And the way that this has manifested is in a couple of ways, right? So first and foremost, I started going to the gym again, which you know, prior to 2023 going to the gym literally scared the pee out of me. It just felt super overwhelming and really unattainable. For me, I think I had kind of told and trained myself to believe that I had gaslighted myself, you know, shout out to Episode 132 into believing that I was a home workout girl only and I didn’t like going to the gym. I didn’t like going to group fitness classes, when really that could not be further from the truth because I love going to the gym. Was it something that I had to learn how to do? Yes? Is it something that sometimes I don’t want to do because it’s really early, and I gotta go drive there? Yes. But in the grand scheme of things, I love that I have started this routine. It has done so much good for my overall health, but also my mental health. And now I feel confident going into that environment. And I feel good going into that environment. And not only has 2023 been the year where I get back to my physical health, but also my mental health. I started therapy back in the summertime and I literally am obsessed with Mary. That’s my therapist in case you don’t know who that is. And I look forward to my sessions with her every single week. And I just I love that 2023 has been that year for me. Mary even asked me she’s like so why are you starting therapy and I was like, because this is the year where I figure my crap out. And I start to take better care of myself, because I know that I need to do that. But I know that I’ve been sucking at doing that. And looking back on the year. I’m really proud that I did those things. Going to the gym was incredibly uncomfortable for me. Starting therapy again was incredibly uncomfortable for me. But looking back, it’s because I did those things that I am where I am now. Both physically, mentally, emotionally and like within my overall life. And I’m really freaking proud that I did those things. Another thing that kind of goes along with taking better care of myself that I did in 2023, that I’m really proud upon reflection that I did, was reworking my working schedule. So I for the longest time was a proud, overstimulated, overworked, overwhelmed entrepreneur. And I don’t know why I think it’s genetically programmed into my brain because of how my parents work. But I was like, really hanging on to a badge of honor when it came to working all the time, like in air quotes, working all the time, I’m so great, I’m so proud because I work all the time. But baby baby, if that is you, let me tell you that there is another way. And you can get just as much done, if not more done, when you start to unwind that belief that in order to be successful, and in order to make progress, you have to work all the time. And so this is something that I recognize in myself as I got closer to 2024. And I knew once I lived here in Charleston, I knew that I was going to want to have more free time. And so I intentionally started to plan for it. But the results from doing so have been amazing. I have more time to just chill, I have more time to be more creative. I have more energy to spend time with people who bring and give me energy, right? New friends, family, Lucas, my dogs going outside all of these things, and changing my schedule ever so slightly. I don’t think when I set out to work in this new way. I don’t think I knew the benefits that would come from it. But seriously, it has changed so much for me, I look forward to doing my work every single day because of the schedule I am in. And in case you’re unsure of what my current working hours are in case you are someone who runs multiple businesses or you’re self employed, or whatever it is, you’re an online entrepreneur. Here’s my schedule. And if you just for context, here’s what my schedule was before this one. Okay. So before my current schedule, I was working six days a week. And I was working eight to probably like 8am to probably six or seven, every day, Monday to Friday. And then I was also working on Sundays from like 8am to like 130 or two o’clock. And so my time off was 7pm to 9pm. Because I’m a grandma, I’d go to bed, and then Saturday, like literally and so I never had time to go out and go explore Lucas and I had very little time together all of these I was always working. And that’s like I held it as a badge of honor when I didn’t need to. And now my new working schedule is nine to two, Monday to Thursday for my virtual assistant business. And then from two to about four or 430. I work on living in sunshine or other projects. And then Fridays are purely CEO days. So I do not work on any client work. I do not do anything on Fridays that is outside of living in sunshine. And I love it. I no longer work on the weekends ever. Like when I close my laptop on Friday afternoon. I do not open that sucker until Monday morning. And the other thing that I’ve done, and this is something I’ve done in the last couple of weeks of 2023 is I’ve actually given myself an hour in the morning to do my morning routine. And when I say my morning routine, I don’t mean like take a shower, eat breakfast, wash your face. I mean like clean out your inbox, check into the sunshine squad, reply to any messages in Slack for your clients, clean out your email inbox, all of these different things like these little tasks that I found myself starting to avoid, I intentionally grouped those things together. And I front loaded them in the first hour when I sit my butt down at my desk, and I get them done. So I know that they’re done as I head into my day. And it literally I have never felt better when it comes to work. And I have so much more time to do things like go out with friends in the middle of the week to go to like some music festival or to like go meet a friend and work in a coffee shop. I feel so much more balanced and in so much more alignment with my schedule and with my work that I would not change this for the world. So if you are someone who knows that your schedule is not currently sustainable, I want to encourage you to start to look forward and start to ask yourself, What can I do to rework my schedule so that way I can get my time back. And again if you are someone who is holding on to that badge of honor of I’m always working I’m always busy yada yada yada, like I promise you cutie girl, there is another way and please like 2024 be the year that you You find another way that helps you to have better balance because always working is not good for you, I promise. Okay, continuing to look back on our reflection of 2023 something that I am like really in my feels about is the fact that I have decided and kind of given myself the permission slip to explore new things that really light my fire. But not only explore those things, but also allow myself to keep them to myself. And I’m really sorry, because this is kind of like clickbait, you know what I mean? Where it’s like, you click on a YouTube video, and you’re it has like nothing to do with what the thumbnail was about, like, that’s kind of how I feel about this right now. But as someone who has shared her life online for years, it it feels as if sometimes that I have to share everything going on, when I know that intrinsically, like that’s not the truth. But there are certain things that I have done this year that I’ve kept private, and I’ve kept to myself, and a very select few people know about them. And it makes me really happy but not only happy but also really proud. And the reason I’m talking about this on the podcast, even though I’m being like super elusive about it, and like whatever not giving you all the details, is because I want you to know that it’s okay to keep things to yourself. It’s okay to not share about it with your clients or post about it on your blog, or, or make it something you talk about on stories or even something you tell your mom like, you can do things in your life, purely because they make you happy. And there’s nothing wrong with keeping those things to yourself. It is okay to have things that are purely your own. And that’s how I feel about these side projects, these back end projects that I’ve been working on and, and just really leaning into the joy that they bring me. And also the joy of just having it be something that’s mine, right I feel like we we have that feeling like when we’re little kids and someone gives you a toy and you’re like, oh my god, I love this little toy like this is my special, you know my special toy. That’s how it feels as an adult, when you do something just for yourself, whether it’s a hobby or, or picking up or trying something new or starting a class or whatever it might be, like, just let it be yours and just revel in the fact that it’s your special thing that brings you joy and and know that you don’t have to share it if you don’t want to. And so I am leaving this easter egg in this podcast episode mostly for myself because I want to listen back on this episode in like a year or two and be like, Oh my God, I know what I’m talking about. But but but keep it to myself. And I say this because I want to give you that permission to keep things to yourself if you want to, if you have something that makes you happy, and it brings you joy. And you want to keep it to yourself. That’s okay. And I think it’s important that I say that because I say all the time, share the things that bring you joy, tell the people in your life about it, do it, do it, do it like all of these things. And I agree with that. But sometimes, it’s kind of nice to just keep things to yourself. And I’m really glad that I’ve learned that lesson and 2023. And the last thing that I just kind of want to reflect on and put in this little time capsule of an episode, if you would, is a celebration of my relationship and my marriage. In so many words 2023 has been a year of growth. In my relationship with Lucas, if you don’t know, I have been with Lukas since I was 17. And we are both 28. So we have been together through a whole lot of life. We’ve been married for four years, we’ve been together for almost 11. And I know that when people hit a certain point in their marriage there, it’s like that seven year slump. And I wouldn’t say that we were in a slump, because I don’t think that we are. But I feel and I know that 2023 has been a really big pivotal year for our marriage and for our relationship for a lot of different reasons that I’m not going to go into. But just know that. And the reason I say this is because you never know someone’s whole story. And everyone is going through something. And even those people who share their relationships online or talk about their partners online. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors. And I never want you to feel as if because of what I share. Because you know when I share Lucas on the ads on Instagram or on the podcast or whatever, it’s always very happy go lucky things look really great yada yada when like really 2023 is when a really freakin hard year for our relationship. But it’s also been a huge year of growth. And I think it has set the foundation for a lot of good to come down the line for us. And I’m really proud of that and I’m really proud of him and I’m really proud of me And we have kind of started to say this, saying between the two of us, we’re like, we will continue to pull up a chair, and have the hard conversations and hash things out between us. And I want to tell you that because if you are in a relationship, I want you to know that it’s okay, to keep fighting for that relationship. I feel like so often nowadays, it’s easier. And it’s the first decision that people pick, is to leave is to quit is to give up. And I feel like there is less of a value on putting up a fight, and fighting for what you love. And as a child of divorce, as a child who grew up in insanely traumatic household when it came to like good examples of relationships and marriages. That’s an important lesson to learn. And that’s an important lesson to pass on. Which is why I’m passing it on to you now, whether you’re married or not, whether you’re in a relationship or not. If you care about that person enough, then I want you to fight for them. And I want you to do the work that you need to do. And I want you to encourage the person you’re in this relationship to do the work that they need to do in order to stick it out. And in order to stay in that relationship, right. And that’s what Lucas and I have decided to do. And like I said, I’m really freaking proud of us for doing that work, both individually and together as an entity, right as a single entity, because that’s what we are. And that’s how we view ourselves. But just know that not everyone’s life is as shiny and pretty and perfect, as you might think or might see online, or you might see online, and know that it’s worth putting up a fight. And I think that that’s really the message I want to put out there when it comes to this. And I feel like it’s a message that we don’t hear enough in modern society as a younger generation in our late to mid 20s Going into 30s for those of us who are married because a lot of us grew up as children of divorce because that was just a generational thing that happened for us. So I’m really proud of us. I love my husband more than anything else in the entire world. And I’m really excited to see where we go in 2024 know what we’re not having kids don’t think that this is an allusion to that because it’s not. But yeah, I just I’m really excited for where we’re going. And I’m really proud of us for doing the work that we’ve done this year. Oh my gosh, I was a doozy. What a year 2023 has been both business wise, personal wise, mental health wise, physical, like it has been a year. And I think if I already answered the question that I asked at the beginning of the month as to what word really sums up 2023 I think my word would be good. Like it was a good year. Like it was a good solid year, it was hard. There were definitely hard parts. There were definitely parts where I was like This sucks. I hate this murmur. But like overall, I would say it was pretty good year. And I don’t have too many complaints going into 2024. And so I’m really excited to see where things go with the sunshine squad with the six weeks you accelerator with the podcast with all of the things and I hope you’re excited too. So definitely be sure to stick around. If you don’t follow me over on Instagram. Go do that right now. I will link it down below. And be sure to tune into the podcast as New episodes come out. I love this show so much. I’m so excited to continue to bring new content to you in 2024. And last but not least, I feel like it needs to be said because this episode is going to go live after Christmas has already happened. I hope you had a very merry Christmas. I hope you’re doing something fun for New Year’s Eve. Please be safe. Please get an Uber driver. Do not drink and drive be all the good things. Go have fun, send me pictures. I hope you have great plans. And I will see you next week for a brand new episode in the new year. Until then, my friend I’m sending you all the sunshine good vibes. And I hope you make it a great day. Girlfriend. Thank you so much for listening to today’s new episode. If you loved it, please send it to a friend share it on Instagram and tag me so I can see and consider leaving the show a rating or a review. Ratings and reviews are kind of like sharing or liking a post on Instagram and they really help the show grow and reach new women just like you. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss a new episode. And until next week, I am sending you all sunshine, good vibes and I hope you make it a great day.