Exactly a year ago I posted The Road So Far Pt II. I now have two full years under my belt since undertaking this career pivot. I’m still not sure what I want these recaps to be, but I feel compelled to keep going now that it’s a pattern.
2017. 2017 was a “growth year”. I always laugh at that phrasing (because which year isn’t) but while it wasn’t the greatest year, I learned quite a lot.
Aaron Gustafson connected me with Shay Cojocaru, who had just started working on cboard, an open-source communication board for people who have difficulty verbalizing speech. Later Martin Bedouret found the project and spearheaded a UNICEF proposal which was ultimately funded. 2018 is looking bright for this project, and I’m excited.
Nice: @UNICEF will be funding the development of Cboard, an open source React-based webapp that helps people with speech impairments and autism communicate.
— Dan Abramov (@dan_abramov) December 11, 2017
Early in the year, I drafted a proposal to Unicode for the inclusion of a new yarn character. I then mostly forgot about it. Out of the blue, Amanda Hickman contacted me via a basic site I threw up about it (lol, i know). Through her, I found out about emojination and Jennifer 8 Lee. We ultimately collaborated on a proposal for four new fiber arts-related emoji. Three of them are now on the Draft Candidates list. 🎉 Fingers crossed they become final candidates and are ultimately added.
— Casey Forbes ☃️ (@caseyf) August 18, 2017
I moved back to Dallas for a year. All my family is here, and I hadn’t been around for any extended period of time for almost ten years — since I graduated college in 2008. While I’m excited for my fast-approaching move back to Austin, I’m really glad I spent this past year the way I did. It was a nice, mostly quiet year, and my relationships with close family members clearly benefitted.
Working remotely for a year, I learned that while I can do it, I’d rather not. I missed being around for random conversations — tech-related and not. You learn a lot in the in-between spaces. I also find home to be a poor substitute for a work environment. I enjoy being around coworkers, and having a separate physical and mental space for work. Perhaps I’ll feel differently later in my career. For now, I look forward to working in-person at an office again — even commuting.
STAGES OF WORKING FROM HOME
– Yay I get to work from home
– It would be nice to talk to people
– I hope that pigeon sits in the window today
— Mark Agee (@MarkAgee) July 14, 2015
I have accepted that I cope with extreme depression. I hit another low point last year, but I’ve mostly come back from that. I plan to write a full post about that, because I no longer feel ashamed of it, or a need to be tight-lipped about it. I think for many things, but especially for mental health issues, it helps to see people acknowledge it more openly. This was a big part of my year, and it prevented me from accomplishing a lot that I had planned.
I have long been preoccupied with facets of “imposter syndrome” that notoriously hold people back. Every year I resolve to be a little less fearful, a little more bold. I consider it a blessing to have high expectations of myself, but it often impedes me.
Some of these are like last year — either because I did not accomplish them, or because they are things I want to continue working on.
- Contribute more actively to CBoard.
- Keep writing. I fell utterly short at this last year. Write about anything. I have a running list of post ideas. I’m going to treat this blog as an informal scratch pad — no more waiting for the perfect idea or perfect execution.
- Work publicly. I have a lot of personal projects I work on privately, because I don’t want to put them out “until they’re ready”. I aim to do a lot of that work more publicly. So, actually pushing project work to GitHub. Publishing writing here falls under this category as well. This blog, in fact, is an example of this. It’s the very beginning of a conversion from a WordPress site (which is also still up) to a site built with GatsbyJS (still using WordPress as the data source).
I’m so lucky. I enjoy the work that I do, and I feel so much better. I have so much to be excited about for this year, and I genuinely look forward to it.