Oh dear. My regular blogging schedule went right out the window during a series of Quite Serious Life Events over the winter. But in amongst some unsettling stuff some really fantastic things were happening too. So in an attempt to catch you up and kick off my blogging efforts (again) I’ll break some things down. There’s a lot going on…
Since January I’ve been taking a distance learning course through Edinburgh University called Making Use of Digital Research (you can see my student testimonial in that link too.) It’s been a challenge consistently finding enough time to read, digest information, create presentations and write essays while I’m working full time and volunteering a bit too much. It hasn’t been too stressful though because the content is so relevant to my work and the experience has already been affecting the way I am thinking when I’m doing digital engagement consultations and planning. So far I’ve been really excited about altmetrics and now I’m really scrutinising (suspicious of?) the origins of indicators and the metrics by which indicators are measured. We’ve just finished a module about visualising data and it has emphasised for me how fast and loose we play with data viz in government, which can be a rather unfortunate situation.
I’ll also be starting Google’s digital marketing course Squared Online this week. It runs until the end of December and seems to be a good opportunity for me to learn and practically apply skills I don’t really have any need for in the public sector. I’m really excited about it, not least because it ends in December right when my current contract ends I’ll be looking for work. I haven’t had to hustle since I started working for myself two years ago because I’ve been working government contracts back to back and that has been great. But it means I have not experienced a lot of things that make freelancing, well, free. I’ve been working traditional hours in traditional open plan offices in the same organisation- it’s just like being an employee. Being able to go after and choose what I work on, who I work with and how I work is something I’m really looking forward to.
And I recently moved house again. The third time since October when a long term relationship ended, which was a good thing. Most often people say ‘I’m so sorry to hear that’ when I tell them I split with my man but it’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me. (Take it from me, when you recognise your relationship is going south nip it in the bud. If your man’s low emotional IQ means he’s deliberately repellent in an effort to avoid having a conversation then DTMFA. You deserve much more. And no, it won’t get better if you just wait it out.) Moving house this time is long term, I’m in a whole new neighbourhood away from old memories and it’s made a world of difference to my mental health.
Taking physical challenges to the next level, I’m also training for an ultra-marathon two person relay in September. For a traditionally shaped recreational runner, the training is going to be difficult. It’s not always physical, these running challenges, but mental. Finding the right approach, attitude and drive for running has taken years for me to get to but I’ve found a lot of strength in breathing patterns, setting personal challenges and stopping comparisons to other people I’ll never be as fast or as fit as. Being realistic and having perspective is the name of the game!
So it’s all change and it’s all good. I’m really looking forward to what this year brings with me taking more control and taking on more challenges. Watch this space…
Posted in: Life in general