Not every year has to be awesome. It’s inevitable that some years won’t be. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, especially when everyone on Twitter is all “2015 was flawless!” and “Saying goodbye to a stellar year!” Frankly, I couldn’t be happier that 2015 has seen its way out, may the door hit it.
But now a blank slate lays before us, even if it is an arbitrary one. Maybe the hope and potential of a blank notebook, an unmarred landscape, is why people get so excited about NYE. I guess I can get behind that.
Even after years like this one, where the things I wanted most were both totally out of my reach and totally out of my control, it helps me to go over the highlights so I know that it wasn’t a total wash. I did some cool things, even though they are sometimes overshadowed by the stuff that didn’t happen the way I’d anticipated. And I accomplished some things I hadn’t planned to at the beginning, which always feels great. So here it is, my year in bullet points. But only the good ones.
Events Where I Spoke, Taught, or Organized:
- TAed a Girl Develop It Intro to HTML/CSS class
- Spoke at Philadelphia Women in Tech Summit
- Hosted a Lady Boss event in my living room for Heart and Dash
- Mentored for the Girl Develop It/Code for Philly Open Source Mentorship Program
- Led a roundtable discussion called “Don’t Be Afraid of Your Website” at Alt Summit Summer
- Taught Intro to HTML/CSS for GDI South Jersey
- Was interviewed on Joyce Akiko’s podcast, Q&A Mondays, on freelancing on top of a full-time job
- Helped organize BarCamp by wrangling the many volunteers it takes to pull off a successful unconference
- Moderated a panel on impostor syndrome at ELA Conf
Conferences I Attended (not including those in which I spoke):
- Alt Summit Winter
- Philly ETE
- WordCamp US
It seems that most of the events I attended this year were because I was speaking, teaching, or organizing them. I want to come up with a couple topics that I can focus on developing talks for this year to do more speaking, and I also want to attend more educational events where I can focus on being a sponge and learning a ton. I was so excited to get accepted to speak at Alt Summit this summer. It was definitely a highlight of the year and I really hope I can speak there again soon.
Places I Went:
- Salt Lake City for Alt Summit x2
- Austin for Texas Style Council — I really want to go back and get a sense for the actual city of Austin and catch up with the rad ladies I met there.
- Carrboro x2 — Once for a visit, once for a wedding celebration
- Camped near Ricketts Glen
- Asbury Park Day Trip
- Alabama for my sister-in-law’s wedding tea
- New York for SPARK Union
- Spent our sixth wedding anniversary weekend at the Lancaster Arts Hotel and started scoping out what it’d look like to live in Lancaster City
- Camped in the Catskills with some of my favorite Philly people
- Staunton, VA to see The Winter’s Tale at the Black Friar’s Playhouse
This was definitely not my most exciting travel year (there were good reasons for that), but we did a lot of little trips. We have some plans in the works already for 2016 to be a more interesting year of travel.
Books I read:
- The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert
- All About Love, bell hooks
- Lila, Marilynne Robinson
- A Walk in The Woods, Bill Bryson
- Go Set a Watchman, Harper Lee
- Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert
I’m pretty sure there were more, but this is what I can remember off the top of my head. I want to keep better track of what I’m reading in 2016.
Shows I Saw:
- Kishi Bashi
- Jose Gonzalez
- Sufjan Stevens
- Sam Beam and Ben Bridwell
- Joanna Newsom
- Over the Rhine
Miscellaneous fun stuff:
- Started watching The West Wing. Man, do I love Aaron Sorkin. I can’t even help it. When I caught episodes as they aired when I was in middle school, I always felt so smart and informed when I understood the banter. I was so sad about the end of The Newsroom that The West Wing became my new go-to.
- Started feeling comfortable and awesome in red lipstick. This was kind of an unofficial aspiration of mine for a number of years. I had this rad AF instructor when I studied in Spain a million years ago who 1) I had a big girl crush on and 2) always excelled in the lip color department. I feel like I’d do her proud these days.
- Attended a rad Galentine’s Day Party hosted by my friend, Corinne. I’m really hoping she does it again this year (Nudge, nudge, Corinne. Let me know if you want help.)
- Wrote a mini city guide to Philadelphia for The Collaboreat
- Landed my biggest freelance contract ever
- Chad and I both got accepted to, and then chose to decline, the first and second Remote Year trips. I had planned to write a blog post on why we declined, but that never happened.
- Took a sewing class from Rachel Ford at MADE Studio.
Like I mentioned earlier, the things I wanted most this year didn’t happen, and I failed at a lot of my goals. There were a lot of unfortunate and upsetting surprises that threw me way off, but I’m glad I took the time to list the good stuff that happened anyway.
This weekend, I’m planning to sit down with some fancy takeout and Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead 2016. Even though most of the shitty things that happened this year were way beyond my control, I want to analyze how I could have been more prepared to respond to them better. I’ll be sharing a new list of goals here soon — this year, holding them more loosely and being open to new surprises (hopefully better ones than 2015 had in store) and trying to be both flexible and hopeful for what lies ahead.