I'm tempted to write a year-end reflection filled with clichés, or a list filled with numbers, or a list of clichés filled with numbers. It's hard not to; please indulge me while I try to avoid both. (I'll succumb shortly.)
The summary, though: 2013 was a year in which I got to know myself better, and then began to work to satisfy the parts of me that had been underrepresented for a long time (possibly my entire life). That's no small potatoes. That's pretty big.
A lot of this manifested as change. I started a new job in August, one that has allowed me to remove fighting from my daily duties and focus on client work and business development. I passed the 300 miles run mark, and started to run outdoors - so much that I began to prefer it in October. I attended a few conferences and one of them, IA Summit, changed me forever. I played guitar as a part of a UX talk in February. I spoke at the inaugural UX STRAT conference. I started a podcast and finished its first season. My wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. My son turned 3.
If I look back, I'm able to connect a lot of these things. There wasn't any one thing that necessarily allowed all of this to happen but there is one theme: I allowed myself to be more open to possibilities by improving my presence and awareness in the moment. It's this continued practice at being present that really helped me the most. Without it, I would be holding on to things I need to let go of and not be much of a participant in my own life. Notably, too, a lot of decisions I made in 2013 set me up for the future - later in 2013, and in 2014. It's thrilling to see how the little choices, and the big ones, can affect what's to come.
My biggest influencers this year were my wife and my son. They have pushed me to be a stronger, better, and more patient person. Without them, I would be a very different individual.
A lot of other people had big influences on me too. Here's where I give in and make a big list.
Massive professional thanks to, in no order: Kathi Kaiser, Lyman Casey, Whitney Hess, Karen McGrane, Carl Smith, Jenn Downs, Mike Montiero, Erika Hall, Sarah Emerson, Shelby Bower, Marteki Reed, Thomas Huls, Rebecca Griftner, Gina Trapani, Dan Klyn, Susan Rice, Pamela Pavliscak, Ryan MacMichael, Damaris Phillips, Kathy Sierra, Ashe Dryden, Paul Bryan, Roz Duffy, Steve Portigal, Anita Sarkeesian, Dave Raymond, Roman Mars, Jesse Thorn, John Hodgman, Amy Silvers, Christian Crumlish, Elysse Zarek, Abby Covert, Christina Wodtke, Margot Bloomstein, Lisa Maria Martin, Lis Hubert, John Jarosz, Peter Merholz, Gene Moy, Jessica Ivins, Leslie Jensen-Inman, Kristina Halvorson, Derek Powazek, and Cinnamon Cooper. You all have inspired me, motivated me, encouraged me, and pushed me to be better. Thank you.
In case you didn't want to read that entire list, I understand. Here's a smattering of the things that impacted me the most this year.
- How Designers Destroyed the World by Mike Montiero
- Ms. Male Character: Tropes vs. Women in Video Games by Anita Sarkeesian
- The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae (memories of walking around Atlanta listening to this)
- Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara
- Venice by Lyn Saga
- Sun Moon by the Orange Peels
- "Song for No One" by Miike Snow
- I Suck! And So Do You! by Karen McGrane (holy shit, this was enormous)
- "Give a crap. Don't give a fuck." also by Karen McGrane (yep.)
I have no idea what's going to happen next. Life is exciting that way.
Thank you for being on this journey with me. Namaste.