A Year in Review – 2023

2023 flew by for me, but it was filled with fun and memories. Many of those close to me know that I chronicle my highlights and lowlights in an annual blog post. For those who are new here, welcome!

The Lowlights

Looking back at 2023, I cannot think of any particular moments that brought me down. This year was calm, and I was quite content. There were some particular jarring moments for those close to me, like the multiple rounds of Aquant layoffs and a couple of heartbreaking losses of family members close to those I care about. I am fortunate that nothing significant impacted my daily life, and I used this to try to boost up the people closest to me by being there for them.

The Highlights

My list of 2023 highlights is extensive, but let me see if I could break them down by season. Time to break out the photos to jog my memory.

The Winter Months

The beginning of the year is usually quiet regarding events, but now that I have a reason to be in the city more often, I have decided to take advantage of that.

A Day in Dumbo

One memory that comes to mind is the day that me and Janice spent in DUMBO. We visited the Brooklyn Bridge promenade and took in the sights of the Brooklyn Bridge (obviously), Ellis Island, and even the Statue of Liberty (photo highlights to follow the end of the blog post). We had a dinner reservation for an Italian restaurant nearby, but it wasn’t until the evening, so we took refuge in a nearby coffee shop. We then played dominos for hours and hours and chatted over many cups of coffee. When dinner time finally came, we moseyed on over to a place called the River Deli. Google describes it as a quaint corner joint specializing in Sardian fare. I would have to agree with their description. It was a great cap on a romantic day in the city.

A Little Travel

I did a little traveling in February. I went to Boston for Aquant’s annual kickoff. It was still cold in Boston, so there wasn’t much to do outside the office. However, a small group of us were able to experience a Celtics game from some kick-ass seats (compliments of one of our founders).

Outside of work, I got to visit my good friend Tom and his wife Rebecca up in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, Janice could not come with me (family obligations), but I had a great time seeing the Ice Castles for the first time! Stay tuned for some photos.

I also got to visit my good buddy Vlad in Montreal briefly. It’s always great catching up with him and exploring different parts of the city.

Important Birthdays

Some important birthdays came up in March. Janice’s 30th birthday is at the beginning of the month. As 30 is a monumental birthday year, I wanted to set up something special for the occasion. I arranged a surprise party with (most of) her good friends at a nice restaurant in Queens, and it went off without a hitch. Her friends were incredibly helpful by securing the decorations and the cake for me. It came together beautifully, and Janice had a wonderful time.

In addition, my dad’s birthday was a couple of days afterward, so we had a joint celebration with my family. Not to mention that both of my parents’ dogs were born in March, so they got to join in on the fun.

The Spring Months

I am starting to become a huge fan of Spring. It brings feelings of renewal, longer days, more exploration, and, of course, small bouts of travel.

Brooklyn Museum & Botanical Gardens

One beautiful weekend in April, Janice and I decided to go visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the museum nearby. We took in the sights of many different flowers and cherry blossom trees. These trees were the inspiration for our upcoming trip to Japan!  We had a picnic lunch while we people watched and took in the colors of spring. We also were able to visit the small zoo exhibits nearby. Truly a weekend for the books.

RAGE Against (a Room) the Machine

The subheading above is a shameless node to the 90s rock band there. Janice and I also took a day to let off some steam by paying some money to break old plates and printers at a rage room. I have never been to a rage room, but we had a blast taking a wooden bat to office supplies. I recommend it to anyone having a stressful week. It’s super cathartic!

Gathering of the minds

One of my group of friends tries to meet once every quarter for a weekend. This summit of ours happened to land in April. We spent one-weekend camping in the living room at my buddy Joe’s house, playing some retro games at Barcade and chilling out by the fire. It’s sometimes hard to get everyone’s schedules lined up, but it’s always a good time when we’re together. We keep in touch daily via Discord, but hanging out in person hits differently.

A Sopranos Tour in NJ

Janice and I finished The Sopranos (I know, late to the party) last year and loved it! So much so that we decided to drive to NJ one weekend to check out some of the landmarks from the show. I found a blog article that mapped it all out. We most notably got to see Tony’s house, ate at the restaurant in the finale, and stopped outside the strip club where Tony conducted business.

Spending our Anniversary in a Hole

Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. For all my Lord of the Rings fans, this is the opening sentence of the prequel book, The Hobbit, describing where the main character lived. It’s also where Janice and I stayed for our anniversary. While on Airbnb one day, I discovered a place in upstate New York called June Farms. This property’s owners have several themed Airbnbs on their farmland, including a hobbit hole!

Being the LOTR nerd that I am, I jumped at the chance to stay in one in real life. Janice had never read the books or seen the movies, so I had to prep her for the trip by watching all the LOTR movies and the Hobbit trilogy. She loved the films, and it made her appreciate the location much more. Another cool part of staying here was the farm itself. We got to walk the property and see all the animals the farm was home to. We also got to pet and feed all the animals! We had a blast feeding the horses, the highland cows, the massive pigs, the ducks, and the dwarf goats! We fell in love with the place so much so that we went again for my birthday later in the year.

The Summer Months

Step right up and meet the Mets

While talking to Janice one day, I discovered she has never gone to a Mets game — despite living near Citi Field. I, of course, had to remedy this by purchasing some tickets. We journeyed to Citi Field on a rainy June afternoon. Luckily, the weather cleared in time for the game, and we happened to go on a fireworks night. We hit all the ballgame staples — popcorn, hotdogs, and nachos and snagged a fresh Mets hat to commemorate the occasion. I may have made a baseball fan out of Janice that day.

Off to the races

My buddies and I regularly attend the Belmont horse races every June. Due to COVID and other schedule conflicts, we couldn’t attend for three years, so we decided to go all out this year.  We threw our money together to purchase a picnic spot near the race track to enjoy the races in style. Joe, Jon, and I usually went on our own, but we opened it up to our significant others this year. Joe’s younger brother also joined us this time. We didn’t win anything significant, but we had a great day at the track!

King of Queens

My mom is a huge fan of King of Queens, so my dad and I decided to grab some tickets to see the show’s star, Kevin James, do standup for her birthday. He was doing a show at the Foxwoods casino, so we made a night out of it. Janice and I had such a great night with my parents. We had a fantastic dinner and did a little gambling before the show started. The show was also super funny, and my mom really enjoyed it, so I was happy with how it played out.

Back to June Farms

Continuing the tradition of taking a trip for my birthday, Janice and I spent a few days back up at June Farms. We opted for their brand-new wellness huts rather than staying in the Hobbit hole again. These wellness huts had a sauna, a plunge tub, and other creature comforts. We spent our days there relaxing, hanging out with the animals, and getting plenty of sleep. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift!

Staring death in the face on the Merrimack

Towards the end of July, I headed back up to New Hampshire to go to a comedy show for my buddy Tom’s birthday. We saw a comedian/podcaster, Theo Von. The show was hilarious, but I think the real notable part of the weekend happened the next day.

Tom and I have wanted to go kayaking for a while and figured that that weekend would be ideal. Little did we know, the weather had other plans. When we got out to the Merrimack River, it started pouring. Rather than turning back, we plopped our kayaks in and set off on the river. The first few miles on the river were relatively calm but quickly picked up speed. So much so that Tom lost control of his kayak and headed right towards a submerged tree, and we got separated (along with my phone). Luckily, I had my Apple Watch on, and I was able to get in contact with Tom after he struggled to get back in control of his kayak. I’m grateful that Tom wasn’t hurt, but he says those moments traumatized him. There is never a dull moment with this dude.

The Marchetti Family Takes the Big Apple

Since I’ve started spending much time in NYC, my entire family hasn’t had many chances to visit. The opportunity presented itself one hot weekend in August. My whole family (significant others included) trucked to Queens for the day. Janice and I took them to see the Brooklyn Bridge and get pizza at Juliana’s right under the bridge in DUMBO. We, of course, had to top it off with ice cream. I was grateful to get everyone together.

Other summer activities

Other notable happenings include a pool party at one of Janice’s friends’ place right outside the city, a golf charity event (web client), a WMBA playoff game, and an engagement party.

The Fall Months

For those who read my review post last year, you’ll know I spent October in Vermont. I loved it so much that I decided to book the same place for a bit longer this year. I traded the big city for the serenity of Rutland, VT, for six weeks. Janice came up for five weeks, and we hosted different sets of friends and family (even the pups) each weekend. Janice and I enjoy the slow pace of life up there. We spend most days doing Fall activities like hiking, hanging around the fire, pumpkin carving, hay rides, corn mazes, and more! We also traveled to Burlington and St. Johnsbury to visit my good friend Garth and his family. Janice and I are starting to embrace this Fall tradition. That being said, we’ll be heading back next October.

The Holidays

I enjoyed how relaxing my holidays were this year. My Valley New Year’s (the night before Thanksgiving) tradition with my buddies took on a new form this year, with us spending the night by the fire at my parent’s house rather than going to the bars (a sign of the times). Right after Thanksgiving, Janice and I went to see a phenomenal Doja Cat concert (birthday gift) in Brooklyn. I spent Christmas, as usual, at my parent’s house and New Year’s with Janice at home. Janice and her mom joined our holiday dinners, a welcome addition.

Career highlights/changes

  • Worked in Pre-sales for ten months and contributed to many of the Q4 closing deals by building demo scenarios
  • Learned how to onboard an entirely new product (Service Co-Pilot) and introduced the onboarding process to the Pre-sales and Customer Success teams
  • Helped with troubleshooting and bug reporting for Service Co-Pilot
  • Created a demo portal for the sales team and the customer success team
  • Switched over to Customer Success at the end of the year and became the technical resource for some big accounts, including Coca-Cola, Volvo, and Stryker Medical

Notable TV Series watched:

  • Breaking Bad (2nd watch through)
  • Better Call Saul
  • True Detective (1st and 3rd Seasons)
  • Oz
  • The Crowded Room
  • The Bear

Conclusion / What’s Next?

I will wrap up this blog post by paraphrasing what I said initially. This year was remarkable in many ways, and I got to experience some fantastic events with the people I love the most. These posts always help me stay positive and reflect on the great things I am fortunate to have. It’s easy to look back at your year and say nothing happened, but if you reflect, you’ll most likely find some remarkable happenings.

I look forward to the events I have coming up this year, including my big trip to Japan and California in March. Stay tuned!

P.S. I generated my header image with ChatGPT. Had to do it =)

Click here to view my 2023 Photo Highlights.