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Reflections on 2017

So, 2017. That was… a year, wasn’t it? Yes, definitely a year.

Global political and social events aside, on a personal and professional level it’s been an interesting one for me. I was just reading back over my review from last year, and I’m really struck by how glum I sound. I was clearly trying pretty hard to strike an optimistic note to start the year off, but to my eyes at least (although perhaps less obvious to anyone who is not me?), it’s clear I was struggling to put a positive spin on things.

Looking back, I spent the latter half of 2016, and the early months of 2017, in a grey fog. Now it’s more or less cleared, in retrospect I think I was suffering with a bit of mild depression.

I wish I could pinpoint some kind of reason for this: I have my suspicions that it was probably the cumulative effect of a number of things, but I don’t really know why it happened when it did. I also don’t know why it’s (touch wood…) gone away. I did try to take better care of myself last year, and doing simple, practical and mindful things like gardening really helped a lot.

I never sought any professional help with my mental health, partly because I didn’t really know how to go about that, and partly because I didn’t feel like it was bad enough to bother anyone about. I am now wondering if I should have done though, or if maybe that’s something I should explore in future?

Anyway. I am happy to say that I am in a much better place now than I was this time last year. The past few years have involved a lot of upheaval for me on a personal level, and for the first time since I can remember, I actually feel pretty much fine. I was talking to a friend about this recently, and I’ve realised I can’t pinpoint the time when I started to feel ok again, but I’m pretty confident I am at that point now. I almost feel like a different person to who I was a few years or even a year ago. I feel like myself again. Which is nice 🙂

I had intended to write this post about my professional development over the past year, rather than spend so long talking about my personal feelings and mental health! But among other things, I have realised that I can’t really separate out the two. I can’t commit to my own professional development if I am not coping on a personal level.

Luckily, I have a lot to look back on over the past year that I am very proud of, and lots to look forward to in 2018! In no particular order, here are some of the things I achieved in 2017:

  • Finished CILIP Chartership (finally!)
  • Worked on a UX research project, with Computing students about their use/non-use of the library
  • Reviewed and rewrote (and aided on redesigning) our Library website
  • Co-organised and hosted a couple of Wikipedia editathons, and spoke about these at the Northern Collaboration conference in September
  • Continued as Secretary for the Information Literacy Group
  • Started a PGCHE, which I’m really enjoying so far!

And the things I am looking forward to in 2018:

  • Speaking at LILAC in April, about our UX research with Computing students
  • Running more Wikipedia editathons (including one for librarians in February – bookings open if you’re interested!)
  • Finishing my PGCHE
  • Possibly training/registering as a CILIP Chartership mentor
  • Hosting the next USTLG meeting at Huddersfield, in May

As I said last year, I am no longer setting myself annual goals, as they just pile more pressure on me and lead to me being upset and disappointed with myself when I don’t meet them (even if it’s because I’ve done different things instead!). So I’m just going to finish this post by repeating my message from last year: here’s to a happier, healthier and kinder 2018.

new-year-3052105_1280

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