31st Dec 2020
After a fair few years of doing these annual reflections on Facebook, I thought it'd be best to move them over to the blog – if for no reason other than to give me a reason to use this personal site. Spoiler alert: If all this seems a bit narcissistic, I know.
We all know this year has been insane for many people in many ways and the short version of this post would be "my year sucked too, but there were some really positive bits too". The longer versions of the main sections of my year are:
Anyone heard of this one? Yea, pretty big this year. I first heard of it back in January as a client was worried about potential issues with their supplier in China due to some weird kind of flu that they were struggling with. That's as far on my radar as it got for a while – an illness on the other side of the world that might have a small effect on the marketing activity I needed to do for that client. Hindsight is wonderful, but it feels silly to have been so blasé about it early on.
This virus has had a huge impact on all of us, some more than others. Some have been able to mostly carry on as normal, some have had their livelihoods impacted, some have had their actual physical lives taken. Some seem to think that those last two are somehow equal, or that businesses are somehow more important than lives. That realisation has been the toughest one for me – 2020 was the year of really learning just how selfish people can be. More in the last section on that, because it's not that long ago that I'd have definitely been one of those fucktards.
Hopefully we're going into 2021 with the end of this virus in sight, but there's a much more serious one left behind. How do we vaccinate against selfish, blinkered, what-about-me, pricks?
Like everyone else, my work was impacted. Unlike everyone else, most of it wasn't virus related – at least not directly. We started working from home a week earlier than most when we had a bit of flu like symptoms in our house. We got over that fairly quickly but by then working from home was the norm for office-folk, so that's what we continued to do... and in a lot of ways it was wonderful. There were extra focus opportunities, but then there was also the ability to see Hayley and Eleanor on and off throughout the day, and to prioritise what got done when.
The only problem with it was that I was still doing my job, and that job was still in marketing. I fell into marketing out of college after a couple of sales jobs, and just stayed there ever since. I'm fairly good at it, mostly because of experience, but over the past couple of years I've definitely been feeling like I needed a change. I've been pivoting more and more of my work to the data side of marketing for a while now, and I was lucky enough to have a boss that was seeing the benefit to that, but it wasn't enough. It wasn't fair to myself or my employer to be sitting there feeling the way I was. It was time to make a ridiculous jump again.
The last time I started a business was in 2010 – right in the middle of a global recession. Why not start the next one during a global pandemic? 🙄
Prestanda was born. It's been an excitingly positive start so far, hopefully I can avoid making any of the mistakes from the last one and too many of the new ones I haven't thought of yet!
On one hand, the family side of this year has been utter shit. Hayley has older parents (yea, all parents are older, but you get what I mean), which meant it was easy for us to visualise the types of people we were helping to protect by following common sense thought processes and government guidelines throughout this pandemic. That also means we kept our interaction with anyone, including family, to a minimum throughout the year. That's been ridiculously hard, as you're probably aware with your own family.
On the flip side, though, I've never got to spend as much time with the two people I want to spend all my time with as I did this year. That's been amazing. For that period of proper lockdown, the benefit of being able to see my wife and child more than ever was the thing I focussed on to get me through with as little self destruction as possible. We had a lot of fun, and we made the best of a bad situation.
We also got a dog, which is pretty awesome. Having an even better excuse than "it's there" to get out into the Ashdown Forest has been great. He's also not chewed up the sofas yet, so we'll call that a win for now.
2020 is the year I realised that I'm depressed. Not sure when it started, because it hasn't been that many years since I realised the obvious – that depression was real in the first place.
That realisation is probably part of the journey to being depressed myself, ironically. Everyone has their struggles, and mine at the moment are about grappling with things like the fact I found it easy to believe that people who were depressed were self-indulgent, potentially weak people who needed to go for a run. What a crock of shit.
If I believed that, what other rubbish had I been believing for so long? It was time for some self reflection, and it turns out I'd been believing a lot of rubbish. I've lived an incredibly sheltered, privileged and blinkered life, and I think a lot of my current low feelings are a form of mourning over that lost time. I learned that a huge part of me is narcissistic, and I spent the vast majority of my 20's being a self centred prick, what a waste. Could've been a better person for longer, but I'm trying to focus on the years I've got ahead of me to be that better person.
My incredible wife and my truly awesome daughter get all of the credit for giving me a reason to explore that better person, as well as the support they give me while I go about dealing with that in the most snowflakey way I could have previously imagined. I'll try to be better at being better for you both in 2021.
So 2020 has been a rollercoaster like it has for everyone else. Covid, depression, arseholes and societal inequalities don't give a toss about the Gregorian calendar, so they'll all still be here tomorrow. Luckily, so will the people we choose to have in our lives, and so will the reasons to get up and do positive things. Tomorrow I'll probably be nursing too much of a hangover to do many positive things, but bring on January 2nd.