Better late than never, right?
In retrospect, my 2012 was pretty huge, both professionally and personally.
On new additions
In the early summer we welcomed another Aizlewood into the world - Indiana - who is truly one of the most easy-going, smiley babies I've every experienced. As I write this she's almost 8 months, and seems to have cried fewer than 10 times in that whole period. She constantly reminds me how lucky I am.
On being a dad (2.0)
With one child I felt like I was just winging it. It was borderline manageable. Now, with two, I truly feel like a Dad. A proper Dad, with a capital D, if that's possible. I seem to have suddenly become responsible for bringing up two beautiful beings on this earth, and at the risk of sounding truly cliche, it's both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
I started freelancing full-time in September 2009. In retrospect, I was never a freelancer. I committed entirely to running a business - a pseudo-agency of sorts - with all the bells and whistles. I had a brand, offered multiple services, and had big aspirations.
In 2011, I began to focus on my old industry, resulting in a lot of work for the same types of clients, all with similar needs: newer technologies and solutions to keep current with their customer base who were prolific in technology adoption, i.e. smartphones, web, social, etc. As a result I gave a handful of well-received talks and workshops on how an ageing industry could embrace the web to offer a better customer experience.
However 2012 definitely showed signs of stagnation due to the repeated business problems, and it started to manifest itself into something resembling complacency.
Note: I'm still taking on the odd bit of freelance work
On joining Clearleft
In August 2012 I started full-time at Clearleft as a senior visual designer. Yes, that Clearleft. Although freelancing was offering me almost everything I wanted, it was hard to say no to one of the top UX agencies in the country. Since starting, not a day's gone by where I haven't been surrounded by people who are smarter, more switched-on, more 'in the know' and generally do better x,y,z than me. All the time. And that's exactly what I wanted.
I'll expand on becoming complacent sometime soon (and how terrifying it can be to out of your comfort zone, and why it's a good thing), but generally, in most full-time positions I've had, I've felt somewhat 'ahead of the curve' compared to those around me. At Clearleft, I feel very much at the bottom, verging on an impostor. Oddly, to me that represents something healthy and infinitely more fulfilling than sticking to what I (thought I) knew.
I'm not one for big resolutions. Instead, I have micro goals that I hope to accomplish in 2013. Besides that basic 'I swear I'll redesign my site eventually stuff', there are a few more important ones:
- I plan on writing more - regardless of whether I assume they've already been written, or that I don't know enough about the topic. Confidence is a big deal in this respect, and a demon I intend on tackling.
- I plan on getting published more; across magazines, articles, etc. I have a lot to say in this head of mine, it's just about finding a soapbox.
- To get better at what I do. We all want that (I hope). However, there's a precursor to that, which is to 'define what I do'. After so many years of freelancing and finding great benefit as a jack of all trades, I'm welcoming the ability to focus on just one craft. And my intent is to focus on it, a lot.