I was going to skip my yearly recap this time, until I saw this thread and remembered how much I liked doing them.
I was going to skip it because I feel like I’ve accomplished very little this year. I half-joked on Instagram that one of my only accomplishments was getting my engagement ring fixed after busting it up in a closet door back in 2016. Most of the moments that would comprise a 100 things that made my year post, like the ones I’ve done the last couple years, would involve writing about my baby, who doesn’t live in the realm of social media, and I’m not sure I’m ready to detail those moments for whatever few people stumble across my near-abandoned, in-need-of-a-major-facelift ol’ blog.
But it’s not really true that I didn’t accomplish anything. This is a brain dump of some things I did accomplish.
I recovered from what was probably the most physically traumatic thing to ever happen to me. Three blood transfusions at the end of 2018 and steak and cheeseburgers and milkshakes and more cheeseburgers were key. This ate up the first month or two of 2019.
I also wrote more than I have in a really long time. I managed to have a chunk of writing to workshop for a Catapult class in the midst of that recovery and figuring out how to keep someone else alive. I’m still grateful that Chad persuaded me to only register for one class during the duration of my parental leave, and not more than that. I also finished 1000 Words of Summer. Chad washed all the bottles those nights and I sat on the balcony or went to a coffee shop. Little to none of what I wrote was good, but I had a goal and I met it.
I read about 12 books. I would have liked that number to be higher, but I’m also surprised it was that high.
I navigated the gauntlet of daycare waitlists. I did that while recovering from severe anemia. I accepted the kindness of close family and friends, and also people I hadn’t yet met who wanted to bring me a meal. This was (surprise!) very difficult and weird for me to navigate, but I was basically bedridden during this time, so it was much appreciated.
I went back to work and settled into a new routine. I went to the gym consistently.
I put together an events website for the literary community in Philly. (I’d link it, but it’s only soft launched for event organizers. DM me if you’re interested and I can tell you when it goes public.) ETA: Here is is!
I think the only tech event I went to was WordCamp Lancaster. I wasn’t planning to, but a WordPress buddy messaged me the day before it to ask if I was going. I figured it’d be a simple thing to ease back in to, and if I was going to show up with a baby at a tech event, WordCamp Lancaster would be the place to try it. I’m glad I went. I didn’t do a ton of WordPress work this year, but everyone was just as lovely and welcoming as always. (But also, can we talk about this new editor? Drafting this post has been a delight!)
We traveled to Utah, the Poconos, and Massachusetts for weddings, and back to my hometown a few times to visit family. We saw our first Broadway show (Oklahoma!) for our tenth anniversary, and saw our baby crawl for the first time in our AirBnB in Brooklyn that weekend.
Two of the three of us got pinkeye this year. One of us got a stomach virus. All of us got many upper respiratory infections of varying severity.
We took lots of walks and not many naps.
I finally went to HippoCamp, a creative nonfiction conference in Lancaster that I’d wanted to attend since we moved here.
I started a monthlyish TinyLetter.
I didn’t give any talks or pitch anything to any conferences. I didn’t teach any workshops. I didn’t work on side projects. I did a limited amount of freelance work. Most of what I did outside of work was wash bottles, watch TV, read, and write. I needed that this year, and that’s ok. The last few years have been… a lot. But I’m starting to feel like a person again, and it feels pretty good.
One thing I wish I’d done more of is spend time with friends and try to meet some new ones. I’m really good at isolating myself and not very good at undoing that.
Philadelphia turned me into a technologist. Lancaster is turning me back into someone who writes. I hope that going forward, I can figure out how to be both.