This post is meant as a summary for my year and so events outside of my work which have never the less influenced it are also referenced. This means it gets a little personal, a little feely, maybe uncomfortably so? The blog has, since the first post always meant to be an honest account of where things stand for me and so this is mostly just a heavier lean towards the personal and away from the uber positive business development side of things. Ye be warned. So, with that out of the way, I'm going to talk.
This year has felt like a mixed bag.
On the professional development front t I feel like I have taken many steps forward:
- I have pushed my skills further, from my grasp of colour and typography to my over all workflow I feel like I've learnt something in every area.
- I have had new experiences this year too. I was allowed to gain work experience with the amazing duo at Made by Ronocco based in Newcastle and learnt something about the work flow and speed expected by long time professionals.
- I also joined a baby collective just starting out earlier this year called Octopus Ink, comprised of a variety of artists that straddle the line between Natural History, Fine Arts and Design. Together the group is slowly finding its feet and investigating creative outlets to work on together. It's pretty exciting to be a part of.
- I've worked on a couple of large longer projects that pushed my communication skills to grow and over all I learnt a lot about handling client communication. In particular learning to be comfortable with the idea of not always being able to tell people what they want to hear. I learnt that I can stand up for myself without it being a relationship breaker. I have a way to go yet before I can say that interacting with clients generates a useful amount of consideration and reflection on my part as opposed to the nuisance levels of neurotic analysis I frequently engage in. In short: I am making progress but there is more to come.
On the personal front it has seemed less positive at times:
- A family member who's health had been shaky became severely ill and spent 2-3 months in hospital. They are still recovering now and hopefully they will continue to do so but immune system compromisation makes this a fragile prospect. As a result of it they were unable to go on several planned holidays, one huge one in Korea which had been planned for around two years now. They're getting stronger and I'm really hopeful they'll get to go on their latest attempt at a holiday coming up soon as they've definitely earned it.
- Another family member continues to be 'difficult' to manage and hostile to engage with so that brought a certain tenseness to my primary work environment. (Though happily I now have a secondary one in Newcastle with the Octopus Ink crew so it's mediated somewhat)
- I went to Korea this year and it was amazing, I got to immerse myself in galleries and take thousands of photos, I walked through little neighbourhoods and handed out balloons. It was really wonderful. The trip feels like it was forever ago, like it was this intense bottled experience that at the time felt like it was stretching on forever and then once it was over it became this odd snow globe of memories that feel almost like a dream. While briefly in China I managed to get sick and injure myself badly enough that I had to hang back in China for a couple of extra days while the larger group travelled on to Korea and this was disappointing as it meant that I missed a segment of the trip in Korea that I was hugely looking forward to, that is, the visit to their beautiful parks and hiking area towards the beginning of Autumn. My experience in the hospital was a relatively neutral one, any of the health issues I had relating to China are long gone and so I have little to complain about other than a lingering sense of helplessness and of having to at times fight for full control of what happened to my person. The time in the hospital is buried inside of the rest of the trip, we laughed a lot and complained a great deal but the complaining was done because it was funny to complain and the food was good and the people were kind but the hospital part of the trip is like this little section of time that feels like a strange fever dream and also contains the most tangible memories I have of that trip.
- Since early December I have felt the absence of whatever it was that would make me start a project one day and then work on it furiously for 2-3 days afterwards. I've created a couple of quite pleasing illustrations which pushed the quality of my work significantly further but for several weeks now it feels like my mood could be best summarised as a rather self absorbed 'sigh'. I don't know if it will sort itself out but for now it seems to be reasonably managed but it is still disappointing as this time of year has typically been a time of great activity and energy for me, I put plans together, I fail to accomplish many of those plans but I also do achieve some of them, I stop to refresh my language learning, I start art projects and finish some, I write lists and I just do a whole bunch of planning and personal development stuff. It is a period of time I enjoy greatly as it makes me feel like I have the capacity for great productivity if I could only stretch it out over the rest of the nine months of the year. So I am disappointed in my brain for steering itself into such becalmed and stagnant waters.
I think if I were to describe a goal for 2016 it would be to find a steady form of employment that would draw me out of my home and shell. I may need to look into volunteering again to build my confidence but I think some hard structure in my everyday life might be what I'm lacking.
Until next time, I hope this year brings the change or continuity that you desire and that you find what calms and revitalises you.
P.s. here is a picture of my dog being just the happiest floof in the world.