And here we are, at the end of 2023 — three weeks away from the end of a nearly six-year journey.

2023 was all about changes, obstacles, family affairs, and ending cycles. Personally, it was the end of an era in my personal life. It wasn’t a bad year per se, but it sure was a complex one. I had very little breathing room in between unrelated events that pushed me to the limit — death by a thousand bs, if you will.

But in between all the obstacles, family drama, and health issues, I was able to lay the foundations towards the breakthroughs that I so desperately been seeking over the past years in order to move on and find my own plane in the world.

As this is all part of my journey towards a new life, one that I said I’d share with you all, here’s a sort of self-review of how things went for me during 2023:

The future took root in the present

I spent the first months of 2023 renewing our Venezuelan passports, which were just about to expire. Even though both my brother and I have dual citizenship, Venezuelan law dictates that we must abide exclusively to our Venezuelan nationality while in Venezuelan territory, and that includes having a valid Venezuelan passport to leave.

$430 and a couple weeks later, the matter was solved. Then came the question “Alright, we can finally leave — where to?”

Long story short, after evaluating all my options — and most importantly, my brother’s case and his limited options — I decided to move to Italy, as its the path of least resistance for my brother in a migration legal sense.

That journey begins in three weeks.

My young cousin

After a few years of trying and dealing with serious family situations, one of my young cousins moved in with us. It is something my mom had been trying to do, and something I had been trying to do as well since 2018.

The circumstances of it all were complex (infuriating if you know what she had to go through), and although I don’t have money or luxuries to offer, this is still a home (worn out as it may be). This place, and my unconditional support towards her finally achieving her dreams and pursuing her education is all I can offer at the moment.

My brother

Another successful year of taking care of my brother to the best of my ability. I have to thank God for granting me the strength and means to take care of him and provide him with food and treats without fail.

The one aspect I keep dropping the ball on with regards to him is that I haven’t found a way to make him commit to learning something — and I have a lot to be blamed for this because I keep getting busy with other stuff and neglecting this crucial aspect. Education was the one thing my mother insisted upon when we had not much else financially speaking, and that’s where I royally messed up as a teenager.

Hopefully I’ll find a solution to this in Italy.

The Vaifen Saga

After pausing work on my passion project for nearly two years, I’ve slowly but surely been preparing and organizing everything to finish work on Sword over the next few months.

I wanna do a final (for real this time) draft where, I won’t be changing the plot or the characters, but wanna fine tune some aspects and add much of the “cool factor” that I originally envisioned for it in my youth but that I sorta steered away from as I worked on the first iterations of the story.

I will get on this as soon as we’re settled in Italy and have secured work and income sufficient to sustain the two of us (while helping my cousin).

My Health

I once again completely dropped the ball when it comes to my health, losing weight, and getting in shape. The sad part is that I was on track with exercising and was actually losing weight, then I flunked again, no excuses will suffice on this.

I need to find someone or some way to make myself accountable for it, see if that’s what pushes me towards having discipline towards taking care of myself.

I also kept getting sick rather frequently, it’s like all of the things that didn’t happen to me during the COVID pandemic decided to catch up on me: Metatarsalgia, cold, respiratory problems, pain, et al.

I even got sick during Christmas — better than getting sick right before leaving the country, I guess.

Everything that broke down

Boy, this sure was the year when literally everything decided to break apart one after the other.

One of the major things I had to deal with was that this apartment’s main power breaker literally melted down:

It took a while to repair it, and I’m not sure the job was 100% done right, but for what its worth, there’s power in all corners of the house — I did have to get a few wires and about half of the breakers replaced though.

The guy that did the repairs also found out something no one had noticed in over two decades: The breaker to my room was never grounded, at all.

That probably explains why I kept having power supply failures on my older computers in the past. Thankfully, I do have two UPS units in my room and although their batteries have long since died, they still function perfectly as power surge protectors.

The collapsed state of Venezuela’s precarious power grid continues to slowly but surely make its march throughout Caracas. Being the capital city and the seat of power of the socialist regime means that it is exempt from the daily power blackouts that plague other regions, but it is not without problems.

The constant power surges did a number on some of my appliances. RIP my cheap air frier, my AC’s compressor, my cousin’s small electrical oven, and other stuff.

And don’t get me started on the clogged pipes, roof leaks, other minor repairs, and then there was this earlier this month:

The flooring was patched up, but it is very likely that it will happen again because this is a common problem all across this building. The flooring was made with cheap materials and was not done properly. Something similar happened in my room in 2007, and that required replacing the concrete foundations of the room, my brother’s bedroom, and two bathrooms.

In the future, when I have money to do that kinda stuff, I’ll have to coordinate with my cousin to send her money and have the whole flooring redone, not just so that the tiles are uniform (it’s quite the Frankenstein of tiles right now), but so that the problem is permanently solved.

There’s other repairs I have to do as well, but those are problems that can wait for a solution in the future.

It embarrassed me to say this but, after so many years, my bed gave up and broke down in one of its corners more than a month ago. I’ve been sleeping on a recliner chair since, but since my legs do not fit on it, what I’ve been doing is placing the chair sideways so that my feet rest on the good side of the bed.

It’s not the most comfortable thing ever, but I’ve slept under worse circumstances during my youth. I spent far too many years sleeping on a mattress on the floor to be bothered by this now. On the plus side, sleeping with my head elevated has had its benefits, I haven’t woken up with a headache since.

Just three more weeks of recliner-sleeping and then I get to sleep on an airplane seat, upgrades.

Wrapped up affairs

As I had to delay our departure for a few months so that my cousin could move in here, I was able to finally bring some closure to some legal stuff that I have been trying to fix for 5 years now, namely, the matter of this apartment’s State paperwork.

Some stuff I was able to solve, others I didn’t, but for what its worth, at least we now have a document that proves some degree of ownership of this place, and allows both my brother and i to claim 50% of the apartment each.

I was also looking into selling the place because, while I won’t get a fortune out of it, it is money that I could use to start a new life abroad — however, the stuff with my cousin happened, and for me, her having a place to stay where she can continue her studies and doesn’t have to pay rent is far more valuable than the amount of money I could potentially get out of this place.

I’ll deal with all that later.

There were also some personal and family matters that I brought closure to so that, in a way, I do not have to carry the burden of 25 years of bad memories with me.

The future

It remains uncertain. I am not exaggerating when I say that nothing went out the way I planned it to be, and this journey to Italy, and the new life I want to start over there, is something I am leaving a lot to fate and uncertainty. I have no guaranteed chances of success, and while I may be an Italian citizen, I am effectively a socially inept stranger in a strange land with nothing but an Italian passport, a promise, and a bunch of dreams in my head.

Be that as it may, I am ready to accept the chaos of an uncertain future in Italy over the assured entropic stagnation that Caracas represents to me. It is a cycle I’ve ben trying to break for so long, and now I’m finally weeks away from doing so.

These past years, especially the last six, have seen me fail over and over again. That has done a significant number to my already worn out mental health, and depleted an already lacking self-worth.

I don’t expect Italy to solve all my problems and hand me over everything, but this new adventure is one I will tackle on my own terms, unlike the past 25 years of my life. I’ll start to focus on healing from everything I’ve been through so that I can finally achieve my goals and dreams. And then, if God blesses me with the means, I’ll help others throughout the remainder of my life.

Happiness, that’s the most crucial pursuit I want to obtain during 2024.

The world continues to be bleak, Venezuela has no political solution, and to put it simply, shit’s fucked everywhere, but I do hope that the global shroud of despair, palpable and tangible as it has become, does not completely drown you out and you manage to pierce through that with your own hope.

Here’s to an amazing 2024 to all of you, we’re all going to fucking make it.

See you next year!