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2015 / 2016

Looking over my previous two years of New Years posts is a little cringe-inducing. At the end of 2013, I vowed to take better care of myself—but instead I spent 2014 job-searching, attending a ton of conferences, and taking a huge risk on a job that really didn’t work out, leaving me pretty badly burnt out (I got better). So, resolutions didn’t go so great for me in 2014. By the end of that year, I was pretty beaten down, honestly, though I’m proud of myself for the list of positive achievements I was able to put into my end of 2014 post. I was depressed and scared and angry, but I had good things to say. Cool.

I cleverly didn’t make goals for 2015. My goal was to survive. I did. Yay, me! 🎉

And now here we are on the cusp of 2016. I hate to wave my hand at 2015 and call it “a bad year,” because some close friends of mine had major happy milestones this year—marriages, births, promotions, etc.—and, despite all the pain and frustration, I ended the year finally back in the only place I’ve ever felt homesick for, with my spouse and my birds and my chinchilla, under the care of a rheumatologist I think can help me, with a few good career possibilities (and a spectacular backup plan) ahead. Instead, I will say it was a hard year. I’ve fought depression, self doubt, financial woes, and a number of other difficulties, and I’m kind of proud to still be here, in a better situation than I was at the start of the year. (Still “unemployed,” in the sense that I think I’d rather work for an employer than do solo contracting; but I have successful contracts behind me. Um, and an invoice to do. Oops. … But also Dale is employed, in a job he likes, and we are OK.)

Some wins, in no particular order:

  • I gave my first Code4Lib talk this year, and I’m signed up to co-teach a preconference workshop at Code4Lib 2016.
  • One of my blog posts got over 2500 views, and, based on discussion I saw about it, I’d like to believe it got people thinking. (I hear it may also get some attention from a library association, possibly spur them into making positive change.)
  • I finally got Dale to come along with me on a drive from Alaska to the east coast (well, Pittsburgh). We saw so many animals! It’s still kind of hellish to do on a deadline, but it’s better with company. We owe each other a trip to Yellowstone, still.
  • I did some contracting, and some of it went really well! (Even the contract that didn’t go as well was a learning experience.)
  • I got to visit Vermont. I really like Vermont, y’all. It’s like a tinier, more liberal Alaska, smaller moose and all. (I also want to see Maine. I bet I’d like Maine, too.)
  • I got back into cross-stitching and made some really awesome gifts for people.
  • We sold our house!
  • My most popular tweet of all time (silly) and second most popular tweet of all time (actually useful) both happened this year.

Things I liked this year (some of which y’all had already told me I’d like):

  • Welcome to Night Vale. I don’t do podcasts, but people were right about this one. That is what I listened to while I wrapped Christmas presents. 😁
  • Hamilton the Musical. Just the soundtrack and some clips, honestly; I hope to see it for real in 2016.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I have waited 20+ years for a woman to wield a motherf*cking lightsaber.
  • Neko Atsume. “My cat Zen garden game,” I call it, when I make people look at the cats in my phone.
  • Marvel Puzzle Quest. I called it “Bejeweled for boys” until too many pedantic people got on my case about it. I was referring to the marketing (dude, they call them “tiles,” not “gems”), not to the actual appeal of the game. Sheesh. Great game, though!
  • Seanan McGuire. I already liked her Tumblr; of course I like her books – and, more broadly, I’m going more in the direction of fae- and fairy tale-based urban fantasy than vampire-based or even werewolf-based, so … other suggestions welcome.
  • Star Wars lipstick. It’s purple! I liked it and looked kind of cute even though I’m awful at lipstick! Also, Star Wars stuff is being made for womenpeople who wear makeup. That’s awesome!

Things I want to do in 2016 (leaving aside the obvious “be THE BEST at whatever job I take, or at consulting if I decide to make a go of that”):

  • Build a meditation practice. I’m crap at meditating now, and I am pretty convinced I’d be happier if I took the time to, you know, practice. Plus, I’ve never achieved a goal to “chill out” (not S.M.A.R.T., after all); but maybe I can achieve a goal to “build mindfulness,” and maybe it’ll build toward that broader goal. 😉
  • Solve some health stuff. I have heel spurs and various other arthritis-related issues, which I’m going to have to spend some time, effort, and money mitigating in 2016. I went too long without care, so this isn’t surprising. Aside from that, I’d also like to do better about getting enough vegetables and moving every day (whatever that has to look like, given the heel spurs).
  • Do art. I’m happiest when I’m creating things. Coding scratches that itch, more than you’d think, but I also need down time from that particular type of thinking. Crafting with friends (or while listening to an audiobook) is soothing in a slightly different way than coding and uses different brain areas. Plus, I really enjoy making gifts for people I care about, so I want to make time to do that.
  • Save money. We’re not going to buy a house in 2016 (so it is written. so it shall not be done.), but I’d like to start setting aside a little money toward that eventual end, plus paying back a personal loan that was made to us in 2015.
  • Go to the beach. This is a high priority, so it’s funny I made it last. I don’t have to go for very long. It doesn’t have to be a fancy beach. But I have been too far from the ocean for too long, and it is not OK.

So, that’s my list of lists for the 2015/2016 changeover. I’m pretty psyched about the new year and some of the exciting possibilities that lie ahead of me!

Happy New Year to all of you! 💜

(The image at the top of the post is from Mamiverse.)

Published inon a personal note

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