2018: In Review

I’m a bit hesitant to write about 2018. I’m not entirely sure why. Like most years, it was a rollercoaster: filled with ups and downs. Some public, some private. This year was a lot about trusting my own intuition. It was about (continuously) advocating for my health and finding inklings of light when I felt completely enveloped in darkness.

And of course, there are colourful threads that run through the year for which I am grateful. Delicious food. Travel. New adventures. Connections.

The Personal

Brother swinging niece through the air at low tide on the beach in the distance
Brother & niece at play.

I was lucky enough to spend a fair bit of time travelling. I saw beautiful sunsets in California and wandered through flowers and art in Amsterdam. I reconnected with friends in Montreal and Germany. I celebrated the holidays with family in Colorado.

You likely already know: I’m very much a hermit crab. I know this. I make plans sparingly. That being said…

This year I feel like I fell off the map too many times. My health issues and self consciousness surrounding them led me to pull back into my shell even more, leading to additional isolation.

While my mental health doesn’t exist in a vacuum, my inner gremlins definitely utilized this to their advantage as ‘proof’ to my shortcomings.

What it is actually proof of is that ‘constant vigilance’ is still necessary. Mental health, especially in my case, is not something that can be set aside and forgotten.

2018 was a reminder that everyone needs to ask for help sometimes.

I did manage to get out to see some amazing live music performances this year, including Paul Simon, Janelle Monae, Neko Case, and Nick Cave. Whether it was how things spoke to me lyrically or the rhythm, each experience was healing in its own way.

This year, one of the ways I’ve been indulging creative ritual and self-care for myself is making candles and designing stickers. & in honour of The Right Amount of Woo™️, I started Tech Coven.

There has been something about delving into the tactile that has been another healing force for me. When working professionally almost entirely in a ‘virtual’ space, the contrast of a physical entity is revitalizing.

My involvement in world of code is just one aspect of what I do – there are many more things that make me who I am and I’m looking forward to hopefully combining and sharing more of that in the next year.

Telluride panorama

I read 111 books in 2018, the most since I started tracking my reading in Goodreads in 2007. I’ve always been a bookworm but this number surprised even me. I am glad I was able to set aside time for reading on a near-daily basis.

The Profesh

In the spring, I was able to attend Amsterdam JSNation as well as SmashingConf Toronto as a scholarship recipient. The first was notable because JavaScript is probably the lesser of the tools in my belt, so attending a conference centred around it was a bit surreal. By the end, my brain was full of new (to me) concepts. It also stoked the motivational fires for me to continue plugging away at sculpting my overall understanding of JavaScript.

The latter was notable because I’ve always wanted to attend a Smashing event of some sort but have never had the resources. The overlap of an event in my own city with being gifted a diversity scholarship to the event brought me so much joy! The talks were super intriguing and covered a wide range of topics. I was a brain sponge.

I also applied and was lucky enough to be chosen to speak at WordCamp Detroit in April with my talk on mental health. It was my first time visiting and I found both the camp and city delightful. I look forward to revisiting sometime soon.

Check out how their colour palette went so well with my own aesthetic!

But oh wait, there’s more?

Hand holding lucky cat enamel pin in front of large HackerYou logo sign

Why yes, there is. I’m on a weekly podcast called Binary Jazz with my friends Gary and Chris. I was lead mentor for Web Development courses at HackerYou. I’m still volunteering for OSMI as a forums moderator.

I’m hoping for continual improvements for 2019, for expanding my creative contributions to the universe & taking more deep breaths in times of strife.

So here’s to pressing ‘publish’ a bit more often, to putting ourselves out there more, to asking those around us for support when we’re able to. To making eye contact more often, & adding a bit more fringe & glitter to both our own and others’ lives.

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