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30 things at 30

I took a long hiatus from blogging, stopping in May 2020. A couple of weeks into lockdown life. I stopped writing for a few of reasons:

(1) I had very little spare time

(2) During the early Covid days with the migration to online life, I craved as much time off my computer as possible

(3) I had been writing just before I got my first real job, and after 3 or 4 years I felt like I had run out of things to say. And wanted to prioritise listening and learning over putting things out there

(4) I was also questioning the purpose of my #InterviewSeries. Where I was interviewing women (and had started interviewing non-binary people) about their journey into tech. After a couple of years in the industry I was getting weary of 'women in tech' type things and wasn't convinced my interviews were really aiding the cause. Though I definitely believe there's value in learning the vast and varied routes into tech. Maybe now more than ever.

I now think I'm ready to start putting things out there again. And would like to publicly write more. I've been unsure where to start. I've come back to an exercise I stole from Will Myddleton's 40 lessons. And seeing as I turned 30 recently and it's been 5 years since I did my own version, I thought 30 things at 30 could be a good place to start.

A lot has changed in the last 5 years. Big Things. I recently got engaged. I own a home. I'm now a contractor or freelancer, rather than having a full time job. I have a cat. Other things too. My mental health is really good. My relationship and friendships are stable, exciting and wholesome.

#1 My self image improved once I started dressing for my body instead of trying to hide it. There really is no need to wear baggy clothes 24/7. Once I sort of forced myself to start wearing fitted clothing, and clothing to suit my body my confidence went through the roof.

#2 Remote working has improved my life. I have so much more energy. I am soooooo much less tired (is that a proper sentence?). My chronic migraines are better, because I can control my environment easier. The lightning, noise, sounds and smells in an office really really trigger my migraines so thats a win. I do absolutely LOVE going to the office if I'm going to spend the majority of the day collaborating with colleagues. But the idea of sitting in an office with headphones on all day fills me with dread. However...

#3 I hate remote learning. Though remote working is the one for me, I much prefer to do my learning in person. I can't focus when I'm remote, unless it's super super super engaging.

#4 I need external stimuli to stay motivated. I've found that with the demise of in person events and talks, my hashtag passion for research and design has waned somewhat. I still absolutely adore what I do. But I'm going to make an effort to get myself out there again. Hi!

#5 I like shiny things. In all aspects of my life. Most of the time this is fine. However, I really need to STOP BUYING NICE THINGS.

#6 I can do things I never believed I could. I'm currently half-way through week 6 of couch to 5k. Last week I ran for 20 mins none stop, I honestly cried (happy) tears. I've spent at least a decade thinking I cannot run and will not ever run again.

#7 Exercising during day light has changed my life. Another benefit of remote working. Sounds really simple, but honestly has been revolutionary for me. I now want to and enjoy working out. Also doing exercise I enjoy. I've had personal trainers in the past tell me to not to focus on weight training as that will make me "bulky". Who cares if I'm bulky? Not me. There's so much more to exercising than losing weight, ugh. Anyway, working out at lunch is the one.

#8 Not all friendships should endure

#9 Not all complicated relationships should end

#10 Boundaries. I spent a lot of my mid-late 20s thinking about boundaries. There was good cause for this. Lots of things in my life weren't balanced, and I didn't have the confidence to always be honest when I should have been. Or to say no to things. I wonder, however, whether I thought about boundaries too much. Idk. Maybe I was dealing with a toxic person or two? Weirdly though, I think the pandemic fast tracked my ability to set boundaries. I do think figuring how how to set boundaries (or gain the confidence to back yourself) and when to flex those boundaries is super important, especially early on in your career.

#11 Curate your algorithm. I'm vary careful about who I follow and what I like. Especially on instagram. The algorithm constantly fights back, but I have managed to curate my feed for the better. Even though my self confidence has improved so much over the last couple of years, there is really no need to have my feed full of size 0 models.

#12 "Life changing" products advertised by people paid to promote said product on instagram are, drum roll please, so rarely life changing. Learnt this the hard way. Several times over, hehe

#13 I super duper mega value openness and honesty. But I'm finding myself becoming increasingly uncomfortable with highly curated content that shares very very intimate details of people's personal lives in the public sphere. I can't place my finger on it. And I also can't decide where the line should be drawn. Because I've learnt so much from being open myself. And from observing others being open too. But still, something feels a bit iffy.

#14 This quote from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo really resonated with me "When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things."

#15 Saying that, I often advocate for the path of least resistance

#16 Community community community. When Twitter got taken over by you know who, a beautiful community diminished. The GOV design community. User research communities. Other design communities. So much joyful networking, pretty much vanished. It's quite a weird Thing, that a social media app provided me with so much throughout my career. To be honest, Twitter was the catalyst to quite a few Big Moments in my life. And I learnt so much by being apart of the community on there. I deeply miss it. Hopefully Bluesky fills that hole. Other communities have been so important for me too. Mental health communities. Chronic pain communities. Fitness communities. Crystal Palace Local. These social constructs that aren't necessarily friends or family, but are as equally important to me.

#17 Similarly, my networks are my greatest asset. Putting myself out there and reaching out to people has enabled me to excel in my career

#18 I'm trying to be much more conscious about where I spend my money. With global politics being so intertwined with capitalism, I really do feel it's one of the most powerful ways to enact change #FreePalestine

#19 I cannot stand working with people who ignore vital context

#20 I always craved constant change. I never thought I'd settle in the UK. But for now, despite errr everything, I am really enjoying being settled in London.

#21 People will always talk about other people. People will talk about me. Behind my back. Bitching, moaning, gossiping bla bla bla. Good things too! I've come to realise this is all sort of fine. I feel like most of the time it's rarely that malicious. I am not referring to bullying here.

#22 I've always had this grandiose idea about making the world a better place. I've sort of realised in order to do so I've got to focus on small, local actions

#23 Don't ask, don't get

#24 No one can read my mind. Not even the people who know me best. Communication is so important (duh). I've learnt than in order to get the things I want, I need to communicate them.

#25 I actually really like January and resetting my goals. I don't buy into the New Year, New Me bullshit. But I don't hate having a period of reflection after the craziness (and cold and dark) of December. I find in January, knowing that it's slowly getting lighter and (eventually) warmer, it's easier for me to reflect and refocus. And sometimes kick new things off. I don't really make resolutions, but I do find if I don't semi-regularly have a constructive think (we're talking spreadsheets and google docs) about what I'm doing vs what I want, I very easily loose sight of everything and make silly mistakes. And I really don't mind doing those exercises in January.

#26 Home isn't one place for me. My friends and family are globally distributed. This sometimes makes me very sad. It's also great.

#27 I may have over engineered my sleep hygiene. My sleep routine at home is so good that when I'm not sleeping at home I really struggle with sleeping

#28 On being the eldest sibling, there is no decision without consequence (I found this one in my notes, can't remember which of my clever friends said it)

#29 When I'm procrastinating really hard I've found putting on a timer, even for 2-3 minutes, helps me get going and often times continue to do whatever I'm doing. Starting is so often the hardest bit for me.

#30 The best voices don't always shout the loudest

Come join me on Bluesky where we're building community. I have a couple of invite codes available.


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