2015 in Review

A grid of photos, including a foggy mountain top, cherry blossoms on trees, knitting, a hand holding up wool roving, and Toronto skyline

2015 is a strange one to summarize. As a member of the collective, global community it felt like a particularly painful year. I hope that 2016 brings more peace, justice, and fairness, and less (well, none) of the violence and bigotry we’ve had to endure, marathon-style, this year. I don’t often get too #realtalk on here, but I hope that along with our personal resolutions we can all commit to treating people better within our small spheres of influence. Here’s to learning more ways to become a kinder, gentler human!

Back to 2015. On an individual scope, this felt like more of a quiet transitional year for me. In the 4.5 years since college graduation, I’ve always balanced design and development, but this year it feels that I’m shifting more towards the technical side of things. I have gotten to a point where I’m pretty much exclusively interested in making things for screens, barring the occasional make-it-because-it-sounds-fun project.

Highlights

  • Joined the Microsoft Edge platform team at the beginning of the year. I’m designing and writing code there, a couple end-user projects, but mostly working on resources for external web developers. It has been extremely fascinating working on a browser team, and I’m excited that we are working hard to be more transparent than IE has been known for in the past. People are very passionate about the web, and it’s been quite fun learning from them.
  • I read the HTML spec for 100 days and learned a ton of minute details! I enjoyed taking a deeper dive into something so familiar, even though it often felt like a slog. I was proud to have finished the full 100 days, and a co-worker or two owe me a dollar, methinks…
  • I didn’t travel too much, but I did get out to Toronto for TCAF (comics arts festival)! Funny that my first visit to Canada is across the country, and not a 3-hour drive away to Vancouver. Toronto is a chill city, and I loved the festival: I got to meet so many comic artists that I’ve admired for quite some time. My version of ~*~ starstruck ~*~.
  • Got to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom at UW in the spring.
  • I visited Golden Gardens at super low tide. It was EVERYTHING I HAD DREAMED OF in my fantasies of tide pools with lots of critters in them. Starfish, urchins, geoducks, crabs, barnacles, all manner of shellfish…
  • Didn’t hike as much as I wanted to, but my favorite outing was Mt. Ellinor, on the Olympic peninsula. The trail had a lot of variation, great pine smells in the older growth areas, and mountain goats! I did enjoy the super-dense fog when I hiked Bechler’s Peak, though.
  • I started learning Node, and I’ve been beefing up on my library-less JavaScript!
  • I’ve started keeping track of all the interesting articles I read.

Recapping 2015 goals

I…don’t want to talk about it. My overall goal was to focus and pare down my interests. I do think I’ve spent time on a narrower set of interests, but I haven’t always been good about focusing on personal projects long enough to complete them.

Individual breakdown:

  • Illustration: Ha. I did barely any personal illustration this year. You can hear crickets on my Dribbble account.
  • JavaScript: I’ve actually been pretty decent about working on my library-less JS skills! I have so, so much to learn, but I feel already that I have a much deeper understanding of web APIs, and how my scripting actually interacts with objects in the DOM. With jQuery, it was more like magic and a drawn curtain.
  • Writing: I wrote almost no fiction or poetry this year. I tried a little bit for Nanowrimo, but wasn’t feeling it. In the back of my mind I sense that maybe I should be concerned about this, as writing had been a permanent fixture in my life and a valuable outlet. But it may also be that we change over the course of our lives and can enjoy different modes of expression along the way.
  • Weaving and knitting: It’s been great! Still doing basic stuff, but working with fibers has really clicked with me. Drawing has become an activity that feels too aggressive and intimidating to be relaxing, so it’s been truly wonderful to find a hobby off the computer that allows me to do some restorative creative play.

Goals for 2016

What I’d like to do this year is set some themes and then make monthly goals addressing those themes (I ended up opening a GitHub repo for this). They are:

  • Work towards better health habits. I’ve picked up some bad habits due to changes in routine and schedules, and need to retool my habits to work with that schedule.
  • Have more adventures!
  • SHIP IT. It’s ok to have personal projects that you never finish (it’s all about learning), but I’m really craving the posivibes of finishing things.
  • Have a healthier emotional relationship to my work. I have no idea how to make measureable goals or habits around this one, so if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

I do have a couple goals that are more cumulative for the entire year:

  • Read 40 books. I have a huge backlog of unread books that I own, so I’m instituting a rule that I can only buy a new book after I’ve read 5 I already own. The exception is book club books, and I may check out a book from the library at any time.
  • Hike 10 new trails. I didn’t do nearly as much hiking as I wanted to do in 2015, so I’d like to fix that in 2016. I’d like to get back to the Olympic Peninsula at least once.
  • Go camping 3 times (with or without hiking). Gotta break in my new tent!

Happy New Year! Best of luck to everyone and their resolutions.

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