Year 1 Note

Authored

Our eyes peered northward,
Wind turned cloud gathered doors shut,
Now then we are here.

Hello

Hi there, this is my first year note; a summary of my year for friends, family, and internet randos who find their way to my blog. It's a strange edit – some important things will be missed and many a nonsense will be discussed in depth.

Instead of writing a year note in the new year I've decided to write one as every 52nd weeknote. Yes this year note is late but you're not my supervisor! Unless you are... Jake... is that you?

R's Best Bits

Before we get into my summary of the year, here're some thoughts from my partner.

R's highlights:

R's observations (and my response):

World

It's been a difficult year of weeknotes. We were well into the pandemic when I started and since there has been another lockdown, lots of uncertainty, government ineptitude and u-turn, another-another lockdown, anxiety, loneliness, sickness, death, and tears.

Yikes!

An exterior shot of someone's house. In the front window a life-sized skeleton model, arms spread to the top of the window, mouth open. A paper speech bubble reads: Get me out of here. Been here since March 23rd.
"get me out of here, been here since March 23rd" - skeleton, a Halloween decoration in Balham, London, credit: R, 2020

Let's focus more on the positive. I'll just sneak a few titbits of anxiety throughout. The bitter broccoli in the child's macaroni. Nom nom nom.

Move

We moved to Sheffield! Thank you to the few people we know here who have all been so welcoming ❤️

I can't believe we've been here nearly a year. On the other hand it feels like an absolute age ago when I first started writing these notes and we were still living in London. Our neighbour's builders had dramatically drilled their way into our flat, a major remote working distraction, and I must have felt it was worth sharing (1. Meek Note).

We're looking to buy our first home now here in Sheffield, which is theoretically exciting but actually pretty stressful – the market is wild, other people had the same idea.

A snowy hill. People snowboard and ski. On the horizon trees a stunning view of the city nestled in the hills. A sunny hill of rolling grass and lush greenery. On the horizon trees a stunning view of the city nestled in the hills.
a view of Sheffield, winter and summer

And no wonder, it's beautiful here; the city is alive with activity and events; there's great food and drink, yes please; and all the green, so much green, in the outdoor city.

We'd been scheming to move for ages. In February of 2020 I attended Front End North, a tech conference in Sheffield. I was there for the very-excellent-and-relevant-to-my-interests-speakers, yes, but mostly – can you keep a secret? Mostly I was there so my company would pay for me to explore Sheffield 😅

Our plan was to have a last blow-out year in London then make the leap to Sheffield in 2021. I could never have imagined then that we'd be moving during a global pandemic and that I'd be able to move and keep my job.

Career

Remote Work

Avoiding a clean leap to Sheffield has been a blessing and a curse.

I'm still working from home almost full time, I haven't got colleagues nearby to hang out with, I'm struggling with being home alone most days, and it's definitely not sustainable. Did you know I'm actually a social butterfly?

I'm not particularly keen on the long commute or co-working spaces whilst the pandemic is ongoing but both could help. We're expected to be in the office at least 2 days a week next year. Will the "new normal" turn out to be better? Or will it be too huge a money and time sink?

In the meantime I should update my LinkedIn profile in case things don't pan out. I'm hoping for the best but feeling lots of uncertainty and anxiety and loneliness over it in the meantime.

A photo of me sat at a dining table working. Taken in secret from the point of view of R, working from the sofa. I'm wearing a suit for fancy formal friday. I have no beard. I look weirdly young? I'm sat on a cushion because of the uncomfortable dining chair. Working from a 13 inch Macbook. I'm sat in my office / guest bedroom – we have a guest bedroom! This time I'm facing the camera smiling, cup of tea in hand. My desk is a proper desk. There's a good sized monitor, a proper camera as a webcam, and fancy microphone on a boom arm. Behind me a plant trials down the wall, other picture hooks remain empty.
How it started: candid, fancy formal, focused, doing my best with a tricky situation. How it's going: posed, fake, fancy office equipment, complete wanker, empty picture hooks to represent my empty soul.

Progress

At the beginning of the year I felt somewhat rudderless, like do I want to keep doing what I'm doing? Now I feel more confident.

Hello my name is Lee. I'm a senior software engineer. I'm a UI engineer. A design systems person. And I'm not shit, mostly.

Also this year:

Family & Friends

We've spent lots of time with family and friends this year yet there are still people we haven't seen in ages or for not long enough. We're very fortunate to have such a good bunch. ❤️

Highlights: 2 beautiful weddings, lazy weekends with friends exploring each other's home towns and eating all the pastry, and spending time with my very little siblings – I hope they haven't grown up too much since then!

Hobbies

I just about kept up running 5k a few times a week but that is over. I'm going to build back up. I'm going to start swimming. I'm going to get on my bike – I'm going to get a bike and get comfortable riding a bike on the road then I'll get on my bike. You'll see!

We have a small garden now which was a delight to have in summer. I didn't make the most of it for gardening though, I thought we might have bought a house sooner, or that allotments would be more available. I did grow some chillis again though! They did well. We could hear passersby comment on them regularly, and people would stop to chat whilst I was out watering them. 😊

3 varieties of chilli sat outside my front door. Their branches are heavy with chillis, red, orange, and green.
chillis

Of course, there was also plenty of time in lockdown to stretch my dough skills and try some new breads. Oh yes, I need to make a babka again!

A huge circular, chocolate babka bread on a plate.
homemade sourdough babka
Pretty bagels on a cooling rack. Half with black and white sesame seeds, half with poppy seeds.
homemade sourdough bagels

Fin

I think that's it! Not it, but enough it for now. I'll share more it next week, I guess!