Over the last year my attempts to maintain this blog have been feeble at best. My blogging enthusiasm has waned over the last two years, and I’m writing less and photographing less. In contrast to the over-documentation of everydamnthing in previous years, perhaps this was natural. In the months of scattered blog posts here, there is a underlining theme: We’re busy, we’ve been stressed, but hey, we want to slow down and relax. Periods of non-blogging in 2013 meant we were either failing or sort of succeeding at that goal to slow down. Lots of inching forwards and falling back. I feel like I’ve lost the desire to blog, but I haven’t lost the desire for a written record of where we’ve been. I do miss the act of writing, but I have a hard time finding the time, or in reality, I’ve had a hard time pushing myself back into the exercise of regular writing.
Where have I been this year?
2013 has been a rewarding and challenging year, both personally and professionally. My design business has doubled this year, for real. I’ve done different kinds of work that have pushed me out of my usual (comfortable) aesthetic. All the most challenging and scary parts of running my own business revolve around figuring out how to do the business-y parts: communicating with clients, setting boundaries, confidently setting rates and schedules (then sticking to them). Also middle of the night worrying about the business: ALL YEAR LONG. Worrying about pending contracts, worrying about upcoming clients, worrying about clients around the corner that I just can’t see yet? yeah, thats what business feels like. Every signed contract feels like a victory, most wrapped projects like a relief. Learning lessons, moving on, doing work, learning… on repeat. Oh, and I designed a line of products and launched an online shop! Almost forgot about that one!
Looking at the past year and seeing this big growth in my business is invigorating, but it is also a reminder that I have more professional goals to work towards. I’ve got a ways to go, but I am going to write this right now so I can look back in a year and remember: I’m proud of my work, and the hard work that went into doubling my business this year.
In early 2013 Skill Exchange started moving in a different direction. At the time it seemed like the natural progression, the right way to build and grow. By spring I realized through some stress and unhappiness that I didn’t like the direction things were headed. My hand felt forced, and it didn’t feel right or fulfilling. In order to correct my course, I had to take a big break from hosting events, so I could slow down and reevaluate. I don’t need to rush Skill Exchange to turn it into something monetized, popular, and just right for everyone. Skill Exchange works because its small and its not for everyone. I know that workshops that are small and genuine are much more fulfilling to produce and to share with others. Skill Exchange will be back to life in early January with a new event at the California Academy of Sciences.
Personally, we’ve had some big ups and downs this year. Friends we love moved away from San Francisco, our work schedules were wildly out of balance, and we had a few health scares. I’ve also been able to take a significant amount of time off to return to Washington for several long stays when my family needed me– which, in case anyone else is considering it, this is another giant bonus point for being your own boss.
We’ve also made a significant decision this year that we want to stay in the Bay Area for the foreseeable future. Yes, that may seem vague, but it somehow feels concrete, after four years of trying to convince our families and friends (and ourselves) that we’re just temporarily living in San Francisco. In the last year I started to feel very uncomfortable living without a plan or schedule for our near future. We’ve got work plans, professional plans, but life plans? Hard to fathom when you’ve bumbled into a life with four cats in a wildly expensive and dreamy city. I am a plan-person for the most part. I like organization, I like knowing where I am going, and I want to know how to get there. Thats a weird contrast to starting my own business, regularly starting big time-consuming side projects and telling your family that you might not come home. 2014 isn’t starting new, or starting over, but moving forward. EEEEEEEE!!!!