Everything I wanted
15 December 2020
I was sat in Heathrow at the end of January, riding an unimaginable professional high. I'd just spent a few days in Nottingham for New Adventures Conf before escaping to Leeds to saddle myself with a hangover that lasted 3 days(Oh Leeds) after which I spent an evening in London. While in London, I got news a talk for a conference that didn't have an open CFP was accepted.
I had reached out rather nervously, being new to this whole public speaking space, to pitch a talk on dual screen devices. The event was to be in Prague in September.
I counted up all the travel, personal and conference-wise that 2020 had in store for me while sat at my gate in Heathrow: Latvia. New Zealand. Germany. England...multiple times. Scotland. Washington DC. NYC. San Francisco. Czech Republic. Canada. Phoenix. A few others I've forgotten now.
I escaped to Newcastle for Frontend NE at the start of March right as a Microsoft travel ban went into place and when I returned home it was straight into work from home because of COVID.
Everything on my list was postponed or cancelled. Not just my talks but all my Web We Want sessions too.
My brother's graduation from med school was cancelled. I was supposed to go to the Scottish Highlands on a remote little soul-finding retreat for myself...obviously cancelled (well, postponed). Bass Coast Festival in July was cancelled.
"This was supposed to be my year!" I lamented to my therapist in May. "But it is your year." And she proceeded to list off a few deeply personal emotional accomplishments.
"You're right." And I reframed my year around those things, thinking those would be the only things I accomplished this year. Mourned for the things I would not experience this year and moved on.
All the things I did in 2020 #
But I have so many things I did accomplish this year professionally to be proud of.
I'm published in CSS Tricks and Smashing Magazine.
I've been invited to record 6 podcasts.
I've given 7 talks.
I was invited to speak at 3 events that weren't on the original calendar.
And finally: I was asked to write a book on design and development.
Lots of work awaits me in 2021. I'm extremely excited.
On a more personal note, this year I moved house, had some big personal things finalized, and dealt with a family member who was diagnosed with cancer (everything's now fine a few months after surgery). The weight of the year and all this came crashing down in August, and let me tell you, it's extremely cathartic to sit out in nature and cry for 3 hours. Fuck you 2020.
I look at the person I was a year ago. The choices I made, the things I was doing, how I felt. I am not the same person I was a year ago. I'm more whole. More confident. More open. More thoughtful. More protective of my needs and my energy.
I have an adventure ahead of me both personally and professionally. There's a start of a plan in place for some things that make me incredibly happy. January 2020 me wasn't happy. December 2020 me is. And I think that's the last thing I was expecting to feel at the end of this year.