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An ode to 2023

As you might have seen from my last post, I’m on a bit of an extended hiatus due to a house move and pregnancy. But I feel like I wouldn't be doing myself any justice to not roughly cover 2023 as a whole as it was a very important (and tumultuous) year for myself, and to a degree I think: my career.



Married

As mentioned in a previous post, I got married in May last year. The start of the year was full of wedding organising and all the stress that comes with it, but the day went off amazingly and we all had a lovely time.


Looking back it's one of the happiest days of my life, and made up a big chunk of the first half of the year.



House

Immediately after getting married we looked into getting a new home. We loved our old home sure, but we were looking for the next step on the ladder!


So we found one we loved pretty quickly and started the fun, very long process of buying the house in June.



Hello redundancies

So imagine my shock when redundancies were announced in July at my job… We’d just got a mortgage application and I immediately became aware my employment situation might drastically change.


To avoid a lengthy explanation: if you get made redundant in the middle of buying a house, and you aren't buying in cash, there's a very good chance you’ll lose the house you were trying to buy. And as mentioned before, unfortunately, the buying process here in England is incredibly slow.



Wait, Why don’t I make stuff?

Instead of panicking about my job insecurity, I decided to put myself to work. Updated CV? Check. Updated portfolio website? Check. My employer gave me no reason to suspect I would be next on the pile of redundancies but if it were to happen I wanted to be ready at the very least to bounce into the next profession.


And then I got to thinking – why don’t I showcase my skills more? I have transferrable skills and artwork I could show to the world. Over the past few years, I haven't put as much effort into my online presence. If I might be made redundant, I may as well use this time wisely to show off more of my work.



The rise of AI

And then, just as I was getting into the swing of things AI reared its head. I’ve mused my thoughts on AI here for the curious – but to say it threw me into a funk would be an understatement. I’ve always been in love with the medium of digital art. I felt my security with my job crumbling and just like that, the medium I loved also felt pulled from under me. I was lost.



Wait, Why don’t I make stuff… the old-fashioned way?

‘Why don’t you try oil painting then?’ Was something my husband posited to me on one of my many anxiety-driven rants about AI, the future of my career and the redundancies at work. He’d used the medium in the past and after seeing what tools I used digitally he mentioned it might be a medium I’d gel quite well with. And he was onto something – Whilst I still have a lot to learn, I took to oils quickly and found them to be a good medium for me. I was just getting into the swing of things and then...



Uh oh, pregnancy!

Again – see my last post for more information on this. It's been a rough ride and the start of my pregnancy unfortunately marked the moment I went into a deep creative hiatus.



But luckily, we did move!

We did (finally) get the new keys for our house in October. Relief doesn’t begin to describe how we both felt. The worries of AI remain a long-term concern for my career, but as long as I can earn money, the house will remain ours now the purchase process is over. Thank goodness...



Uh oh, house problems...

Unfortunately, every new house comes with a long list of fun, newly discovered issues the moment you step in. This, paired with dealing with being pregnant only further fueled my lack of motivation to explore art.



Job security?

I got a raise at my job – which after announcing my pregnancy officially wasn't expected but very welcome. A lot of my redundancy worries had abated since getting our house keys but the rest went away after hearing such good news.


Whilst working in marketing and graphic design is always somewhat volatile, a raise, plus the general protections that come with being legally recognised as being pregnant were a welcome relief, even if only for a year or so.



Final thoughts

Honestly, 2023 was a roller coaster. I did learn a lot from it though and I still am. It's weird to look back at an entire year and realise it's been the most and least productive I’ve ever been. It’s probably a year I’ll look back on full of some of the happiest moments along with the most stressful ones in my life in hindsight.


I’m hoping some of the foundations I’ve built this year will pay off in the future, even if that might be in a year or so.






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