Stacy-Ann Hayles

Web Designer for small businesses

State of the Union 2020

My first State of the Union post last year was inspired by one of my favourite “Internet personalities”, Paul Jarvis. It helped me so much, I was determined to write one in January 2020, and every year moving forward.

Needless to say, the year has been shxt so far, so I didn’t quite get the chance to stick to that plan for 2020. Now that I’m back to blogging (for the nth time), I figure this would be an excellent place to start.

I’d like to pretend like things started being shxt because of COVID-19. That’s not the case. If we’re being honest, my 2019 was rollercoaster of emotion that bled straight into the new year. I mean, I accomplished some amazing things. I worked with dream clients and achieved some major work milestones. I finally made it to Europe (a goal I’ve had for 10 years). I turned 30! Awesome, right? Yet somehow things still managed to get all screwed up.

So here’s what happened in 2019…

What went well

  • I worked with some amazing people – I had the privilege of working with some AMAZING clients in 2020. We’ve developed relationships that are less transactional, and more like we’re partners in each other’s businesses. It has been like finding my tribe and I’m extremely grateful.
  • I made it to Europe (for my 30th birthday)! – That’s right, I did it! The birthday itself was plain shitty (more on that below). But the very fact that I was able to make a plan, save for, and actually set foot in Europe? Literally a lifelong dream come true.
  • Read 30 books – Thanks to the techniques I learned from James Clear’s Atomic Habits, I surpassed my 24-book reading goal and got all the way to 30! That’s the most books I’ve ever read in a year ever. Two years ago, I was virtually reading none. I also purged my “to read” list ruthlessly, so now I only have about 30 books left in my backlog. (Though I’m sure Kaymara at Decentred Lit plans to change that very soon.)

    PS. My favs were Essentialism by Greg McKeown, Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and 1984 by George Orwell.

What didn’t go so well

  • Well, the Europe trip was shxt – Can’t win ’em all, right. I had a grand 5-week plan to visit 10 cities in Belgium, Spain, Germany and Italy. But due to a series of unfortunate events, I cut my trip after one-week and hightailed it back home. I did get to see Brussels and Barcelona though, and I’ll definitely be back for the rest!
  • Broke up with my best friend of 15 years – This happened on my Europe trip. On my 30th birthday. In Barcelona. It was devastating, to say the least, but not totally unexpected. We had just grown into very different people and it was time to let things go. Sadly I was so depressed, I booked myself on the first flight back home.
  • Pushed myself to the point of burnout – I got so burned out, my vision went blurry and I lost sight for a few hours. Scary as hell! And even then, I didn’t stop going. I took the night off and felt so GUILTY about it, I was back at work the next day. How insane is that?

What’s ahead for (happening in) 2020

  • Focused work – I tried to do way too many things last year. While getting into web design, I was till managing social media accounts, writing blogs and even doing design work, all while taking care of my Dad. While I have multiple skills, I know I’ll only achieve success if I give my attention to the few things I really want, and say no to everything else. This year, that’s web design for clients, and blogging for myself.
  • The great home purge – If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I live with my Dad in a very, very old house. He’s a borderline hoarder and I don’t say that lightly. There’s clutter everywhere and he’s never wanted me to touch anything. Until now. The mess has gotten to us both. Thus, he’s given me permission to purge. I’m so ready! However, it took 15 years for us to get here.It won’t be decluttered and cleaned overnight. That’s why I’m giving myself the whole year to take it slowly and get it all done.
  • Rediscovering hobbies – In 2019, I dabbled in crocheting. It was a joy to get away from screens and get lost in a pleasurable activity for a while. For 2020, I want to put more of my leisure time into hands-on, solo activities that bring me comfort and peace. (Minds out of the gutter, guys – I’m talking about jigsaw puzzles and adult coloring books.)

Some lessons you have to learn the hard way

Overall, 2019 was a toss-up year. It was full of grandiose plans that mostly came to fruition in some way, but not at all in the ways I expected. Despite that, I’m grateful for all the experiences. They taught me a lot of important, timely lessons that I don’t think I could have learned any other way.

I’ve already started working on 2020’s goals. Despite the challenges the world keeps throwing my way, I’m confident I can achieve them. I hope wherever you are, you feel the same way, or you’ve already pivoted and made new plans. Or maybe you’re just taking the opportunity to get some sleep and veg out on Netflix. That’s okay too! Whatever you do, take care of yourself first, and I’ll see you for another one of these checkins in 2021.

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