2022 Review

2022 has been a weird year, for me and for a lot of people. Work has been a big part of that for me. The organization has been going through a long-planned transition that nonetheless was ill-planned and rushed. It’s been a rollercoaster of rising and falling confidence for all of us; fortunately, at the time I write this, things are looking better for the organization.

A few months ago my long-time boss unexpectedly announced plans to depart, and I asked to take over some of her responsibilities. It has been agreed that I will take interim charge of some aspects of the role while we work out our structure going forwards. In the midst of the other chaos, there has been no action from management to approve a title or salary change, so this is not a promotion. But it does give me an opportunity to help influence evolution of our structure, and that will hopefully result in identifying a longer-term role that is appropriate for my skill and experience. There is a video about our peaceful transition of authority.

Even with increased energy going into work, I still prioritize work-life balance. There’s been the usual hobby proliferation, with the attendant pile-up of 80% finished projects that I eventually circle back to. A series of one thing leading to another got me into 3d printing and the related design process. I’ve been enjoying thinking about objects in the real world, as contrasted with my abstract work, and also learning how to think through design constraints.

The abstraction of this possible with modern design tools has been interesting to explore because a year or so ago I determined that I have aphantasia, which is the inability to imagine or remember visually. The revelation was actually that most other people do have that ability, and knowledge of this explains a lot of confusions over the years. People with aphantasia think about things in semantic terms rather than visual, which creates certain strengths and weaknesses. It is not considered a disability, but I have been thinking of how some of our accessibility guidance could apply. For instance, the visual design of sites and icons is difficult to remember, and adding textual cues can greatly increase usability for me.

I’ve also been trying to increase DIY skills, and have become one of those guys collecting mannish tools. This is connected to plans to enter the house renovation business with my carpenter friend Mike. We have complementary skills, he’s been teaching me construction and I’ve been teaching him project management. We waited out a bubble in the market and now think we’re in a position to get moving on that. This will be another big activity that helps keep me grounded and that challenges my abilities.

Also a year or so ago, my cat Manji reached the end of his life. I later adopted two kittens, Razzles and Pez. They both have black coats, Razzles with white on her chest and paws as well as distinctive eyebrows. Razzles is a petite girl, pretty independent except when she cuddles up to me or Pez and sucks her thumb. Pez is a long-limbed skittish boy, very loving in a feline way. They keep each other fit in adorable ways, generally hanging out where I am, which makes my time in my office very pleasant.

I didn’t do any travel since Covid started until September, going to my first meeting in Vancouver, and then a hasty trip to Washington in October. Though I like seeing different parts of the world, I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to stay settled at home. It’s hard to predict what the new year will bring on that, but I probably will do some trips again, likely for different purposes than I was doing previously. So perhaps I’ll see some people in person again!