I recently received the UE book that Unit Editions put together. It was originally planned to be released to celebrate a decade of UE, but ended up being released midway through the fifteenth year. It is nearly a year since I left – a nice point in time for reflection. A healthy point where it’s not about unpicking, post-mortem or should-have-done-betters, but to look at what actually came to exist and my (very crucial role) in lots of it. It’s also nice to be able to point at five years of my life (2014-end 2018) litho printed in fluoro salmon, and hardback bound, RRPing for £75.
I am going through this process of reflection anyway. A year into a different yet related industry, a different yet similar position – and six months away from the conclusion of the programme I lead. Consider and define what’s next. Questions to be asked, always. What did I enjoy? Where did I excel? Where did I improve things? How? Is that what I want to continue doing? If not, then – here are many other questions to explore, lists to make and truths to pronounce.
In the past year, I have been actively (I would previously have said ‘aggressively’) trying to be kinder to myself. In my working life: to balance achieving top quality work without the aches of burnout; in my personal life: to do things without making them a project in themselves. To have some rubbery-ness, greater fluidity, create space for criticism that isn’t going to kill whatever it is I am trying to do. To have more ‘unoptimisable’ time. To be physically engaged and not wrapped and/or rapt in my own head. To be shit at some things. To be present.
Nothing makes you more physically present than slamming your body full force into concrete because you’re shit at skateboarding, but there you go – hobbies are interesting. Break bones and find yourself floating in a hydrotherapy pool with other people trying to regain movement in their joints. A new experience for me.
I have spoken to a few friends about their processes of reflection – either professionally framed, or simply checking in on themselves. I am not trying to solve this on my own for a change, and this feels positive to me.
On the advice of one, I am re-engaging with journaling; I am also going to publish some – if not all – as a means of self-accountability. This feels like it can’t be optimised, even if it has some implicit goals attached to it (personal records, truths, interpretations, trends).
- Walked to town, which I barely recall.
- Met with friends about Sheffield Modern. Both suffering terrible coughs; positive actions; two coffees, a crumpet.
- Hydrotherapy session 1. Maybe I should have written about that.
- Walked from hospital to home: looking at disused spaces, smashed windows, fringe activity.
- A black chicken crossed the road in front of me.
- Sliced cucumbers as thinly as possible. Goodfellas is a real metric for me.