2022 In Review
Looking back over year filled with self-improvement, somewhat of a post-pandemic travel-binge, and big changes ahead.
Happy New Year friends and followers,
2022 was the year I decided to make some big changes in my life, partly through the help of some life coaching, new people I met and through my own decisions and willpower. I've experienced some of my lowest and highest levels of morale. Overall, despite all the terrible goings-on in global politics and the environment, things are looking much better for me on a personal front than this time last year.
With the Omicron variant sweeping through much of the population, 2022 was the year I'd my first infection of coronavirus at Easter. Thankfully, my symptoms were fairly minimal, and self-isolation restrictions had been lifted, but nevertheless I still self-isolated whilst testing positive for over two weeks, only just in time for my trip to Germany in May.
My Irish passport saw some good usage over 2022, with trips abroad to Germany via Belgium, The Netherlands (twice), Republic of Ireland and Portugal. Except for my EasyJet flights to and from Portugal, all these trips were taken by ferry or train.
Going to Galway, Ireland with my parents and visiting the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route for my thirty-fifth birthday was a most memorable and enjoyable experience. Also, over the summer my solo Portuguese trip to Porto and Lisbon was great fun and a treat for my eyes along with a daily indulgence of pastéis de nata.
Included in my trips abroad, was my work-related conference, Beyond Tellerrand. I like this event so much that it's become a yearly fixture in my calendar, as it is for many of the attendees, some of whom have been attending over a decade! Closer to home, I finally made it to Brighton's dConstruct conference in the autumn, which was fabulous, albeit the last one ever sadly.
Back at my work desk, it was a busy year for accessibility training, in which I voluntarily created three workshops to teach core skills in web accessibility for my GovPress colleagues. This was also open to the wider dxw team I work with, which attracted a small but satisfactory take-up of willing learners. The workshops were received well, and admittedly I do enjoy teaching somewhat, despite dreading doing it beforehand.
My fears of catching coronavirus from sitting in a shared office all day reduced enough in 2022 for me to make the decision to use my company's shared office more regularly. Whilst not many of the team I work with daily are there often when I turn up, it's still nice to have a little in-person contact with my other colleagues on a more frequent basis. I grew somewhat tired of the isolation, working for home all the time. Our new London shared office in King's Cross is bright and spacious, which definitely feels like more of an appealing place to go and work in than the small dark room we previously had in Moorgate.
Speaking and events
I didn't fulfil my hopes for doing any public speaking in 2022 and was rejected for a couple of conference events I sent proposals to. Sadly, many of my favourite local meetup groups to attend, socialise and speak at haven't returned since the pandemic. I've mixed opinions and hopes for what the future holds in terms of this so-called post-pandemic situation, where in-person meetups are far and few between for a variety of reasons. Many of my friends and colleagues no longer all work in the same city. Whilst we learn to live with Coronavirus, it remains the case that many vulnerable people and their relatives simply cannot take the risk of attending crowded in-person events.
With some sadness, 2022 was the year I ended my six years of co-hosting Homebrew Website Club London in June. I did this to give me more time to focus on other things in my life. I'm glad to say James and Mark are continuing in my absence to host the event regularly and attract a diverse and global attendance. It was a pleasure to join as an attendee for the last event of the year in December 2022, and I hope to join future ones occasionally.
I managed to attend and help organise IndieWebCamp Düsseldorf back in May which was great fun, and as ever the Germans did a great job of hosting the event including a great venue and catering.
Health, fitness, and life coaching
Besides my brief spell of coronavirus, as mentioned above, my year didn't get off to a great start healthwise. I'd more than my usual number of visits to the dentists. I was also unfortunate to have two bouts of tonsillitis. Fitness wise, I kept up with my road cycling over the Summer and joined my hiking group for a handful of walks in the South East of England during the Spring.
With some money leftover from my employer's learning and development budget, I did a few sessions of life coaching from two coaches. I didn't know quite what to expect from life coaching. Both coaches had their own approaches, which varied hugely in what ways and how much I should change my approaches to life. I'd my doubts early on if either were of much help. I like to think each benefited in me different ways over time with my own efforts to follow up on their advice.
In 2022 I made new friends and rekindled one or two existing friendships which had drifted, with varying success. Having more people I can trust as true friends in my life has been an important aspect in my efforts to improve my overall happiness and motivations over the past year. I've come to the realisation that it's just too draining to keep putting effort in to maintaining some friendships and friendship groups. Many of these were ones we'd established over a decade ago, where all the efforts to maintain them seem to be on my part alone.
Looking forward to 2023
My hopes are the New Year will bring some good news for my moving-in date. I've been wanting to move house since before the pandemic, but for one reason or another, it just wasn't a good time for me to move before 2022. Without doubt, it's no lie that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, and I haven't even completed on this one yet!
I've pencilled in a couple of trips in the year ahead to distant places beyond Europe which I've never been to before. Neither will be feasible to reach without taking a plane, but I'll make every effort to keep any other trips closer to home plane-free.
For the year ahead in work, I hope to continue in my plans to broaden my knowledge of accessibility, as well as share it in a format everyone can understand.
Finally, I want to say a big thank you to every one of you reading this and wish you well for the year ahead, whatever happens! There are at least a couple of you I know who read this who've helped make a positive difference in my life over the past year, no matter how great or little, for which I'm so grateful!
Thank you Calum for everything you've done with the Homebrew Web Club London. All the best in 2023, and safe travels (: