Moments of 2023

“Stay stubbornly optimistic,” said Tina Roth Eisenberg, on the stage of Design Thinkers this year – “There’s enough jaded 30-something ladies out there.” After the last three years, marked by a blend of pandemic, war, and economic downturns, this phrase is at risk of becoming my personal life mantra. I find myself secretly yearning for 2019, when we were a bit younger and life a bit simpler.
I feel annoyingly adult – I drive my car to my office, collect loyalty points at grocery stores, and spend more time in Google Sheets than Photoshop. Yet, amidst business obligations and family duties, 2023 has brought many nice moments that, in retrospect, bring a smile to my face.

The year started off beautifully in Holbox, where, under the soothing Mexican sun, I rediscovered my love for reading fiction and Murakami. During the winter months, I learned to cook fancy French casseroles, thanks to the Dutch oven Jordan gifted me last Christmas. Spring was filled with vibrant costume parties until I was unexpectedly sidelined by Covid, missing my favourite conference.

In May, I flew to New Orleans to find others like me – stubborn agency owners – and a great deal of support and encouragement. Sideburn, the Ontario Burning Man regional, impressed me with the diversity of talent from the local community, despite the near-zero night temperatures.

June started with our favourite patio project, followed by a summer filled with cozy campfires and friends. August made me fall in love with Detroit and brought back my passion for photography and content creation, while Manitoulin Island offered precious family moments. September led us to the scenic hikes of Mount Tremblant in Quebec. And as the year wound down, I spent some solo time in the Dominican, reflecting on my life decisions and thinking of future plans.

This year, I’ve got into a somewhat stable fitness routine, embraced my busy social life, and even begun driving more. I also saw a decent amount of art in all forms – from indigenous crafts on Manitoulin to creative pop-up bars at Sideburn, and the vibrant Black culture of Detroit flourishing amidst the city’s century-old Art Deco architecture.

Along the way, I’ve learned a couple of valuable lessons: sprints are not designed to be marathons, routines are tedious but essential, and while the concept of self-compassion is hard to wrap your head around, it pays off in the end.

Someone recently asked me what I want to leave behind and what I want to keep. I want to let go of that voice in my head that’s constantly nagging me that I’m not doing enough. And I wish to hold on to the realization – simple yet hard to live by – that none of us is perfect. To be more tolerant of others’ mistakes, and, hopefully, kinder to myself.

* Tina Roth Eisenberg, also known as Swiss Miss is a designer and community leader from New York City.