Like for so many other people, 2020 has been a hard year for me.
I've tried not to think about all the hard, bad, hurtful things that have happened this year, because it's all very fresh and still very stressful. But I realised that despite this being probably the hardest year of my life, some good things still happened. It's so easy to dwell on all the bad that sometimes I forget about all the good. I get so bogged down in being negative, and calling myself a failure because things didn't turn out the way I wanted them to, that I can't see how and when things have worked out. I can't see how much I've achieved, or how much I've grown.
Since it's November already, and the year is winding down to a close, I'm going to be reflecting on all the good of 2020 (and steadfastly ignoring the bad).
1. I moved out of home
This has always been a huge goal for me, for as long as I can remember. I spent the whole of high-school dreaming of the place I would live in when I moved out. Then I spent the whole of varsity trying to realistically lower my expectations because rent is expensive! But this year I did it (sooner than I would have thought to be honest). And I am super proud of myself. I am a real adult!
I love my little home. I love living alone with my kitty. I love having my own space that is completely mine.
2. I started freelancing
This is another thing that I thought I needed to manage my expectations on. I thought that I wouldn't be able to do this until I worked in corporate for a while and then I could start working more for myself. You know, get some experience before this could be an option. But I just kind of fell into it. An unexpected positive outcome of the whole plague thing, is working from home, which definitely suits me way better than working in an office (It's kind of another big goal for me, and I've been doing it since May!) But I spend my week hopping between clients and working on loads of different projects. They've definitely not all been my dream projects, but the fact that this is my first year working and I'm already doing so much of what I want to be doing! Yes, I've still got a long way to go, but I really have done a lot in terms of work this year. And I shouldn't forget that, even though I've been designing black Friday website banners for the past month, and if I ever see another one I might vomit.
3. I completed Inktober!
This is always a big one! I've finished it three times now (every time I've participated) but finishing it is always the biggest accomplishment for me! It's hard every time, but I'm always so proud of the work that I produce during October.
And this year I am particularly proud of the work I made. I've been in a bit of an art slump since the end of last year. I had no idea what I wanted to be making. I was not happy with any of the stuff I had made. I had zero direction, no goals, no motivation. I was just drawing round and round in circles in my sketchbook. But I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone this year. I decided to do everything on fancy watercolour paper with coloured inks. And for someone who hasn't done anything more intensive than a scribble in a sketchbook in ballpoint pen, this was a CHALLENGE! But it pushed me. It forced me to fall back in love with illustration, with my work, with the medium of ink.
It was exactly the kick in the butt I needed to get back into it. To force myself out of the loop of despondency and excuses, and back into a place of inspiration and excitement!
4. I decided some things for next year
This might not seem like a big one, but for me it is. I'm the kind of person that avoids making decisions like the plague. And in this, our year of the plague, making them has been even harder. When I get stressed, I avoid hard decisions. When I'm sad, I curl up in bed and pretend my problems don't exist. So the fact that I made them is amazing.
I'm not ready to share some of them, because I haven't actually figured out the ins and outs yet, but here are a few:
I quit my job
I'm reducing my freelance work week to 4 days a week
I want to open a shop
I want to start ceramics
Wow, those all sounds SUPER stressful. And they are.
Firstly, I'm still working, I'm just no longer working for one client. It's taken me a very long time to do this, but I'm excited to be able to move on with my career. This is something I've been wanting to do about 3 years, and I finally was able to do it.
Secondly, I want to keep my freelance work to 4 days a week, so that I can have a full day a week to dedicate to my illustration. I want to try to get strawberryjam off the ground, and I've realised that I can't do this, unless I dedicate some actual time to it. I'm just not getting to everything during the weekends. Actually, if I want to have a life, spending my weekends drawing, working, editing, just isn't the way! And I really really want to have a life. Desperately.
Then: my shop. I've wanted to do this for the longest time! I've kind of started one before, but I haven't put the time and energy that I needed to into it. So, this is something that when I start working on it next year, I want to give it a real go! It kind of ties into my wanting to start ceramics. It's something that I grew up around and doing, and it's something that I mis and would love to get back into. But aside from that, I really would love to create sets of illustrated ceramics to sell. I want to do markets. I want to make planners, and sticky notes and stationery. It's something that I am so so excited about, and I honestly can't wait until Feb next year, when I can get started on it.
Of course there is more than this, more small goals that no one other than me would care about. As it is, I'm not particularly sure whether anyone is interested in my 2020 wins. But I figured that I'm so tired of this being the worst year, so tired of everything being negative, that if I'm putting something out into the world, it should at least be positive, even if I'm the only one who cares about it!!