I was going to open this post with something like “I go through all the trouble of setting up a blog on here, it would probably make sense for me to use it”, but I decided not to.
2020 was obviously a very different year, with some people experiencing more challenges than others. COVID upended the normalcy most of us experienced, and demanded changes in “the way things are done” in many facets of our lives, work primarily. For the office workers fortunate enough to be able to work from home, while a boon for many (myself included, I love it), it also introduced new challenges, one of which has been finding a way to stay disconnected from the grind.
It was thought, rather uncharitably, that remote work would see people slacking off, but in reality, we’ve been putting in more time than before. I have been caught up in this myself, and the general malaise from the pandemic didn’t motivate me to do more outside of it. I did read some books around user research, and attended the virtual UXRConf, but outside of that, I mostly just focused on me. I read, a lot. I hiked. I took up running again after being a weightlifting and powerlifting gym-rat for years. I got outside when I could, avoiding crowds, and got back in touch with a nature that I’ve taken for granted for too long. As a natural introvert, honestly, moments did feel liberating and recharging, though–even for me after a long enough timeline–felt constricting.
As we seem to be on the verge of going right back to “normal” here in the U.S., that malaise hasn’t necessarily gone away, but it has seen shifts in my priorities. One of those is practicing more self-compassion for not “grinding” or “hustling” as hard as the next person. I’m not the only one, many other knowledge workers are feeling the same. There is concrete data that has found long work hours has resulted in premature deaths.
This is part of the reason why I have not updated this site as much as I would have liked to before. The contact page is still dormant, though that’s fine, as it is only serves to send more work my way that I’m not interested in taking right now. This is only my second blog post since launch. I have updated a recent large project, and there’s part of me that feels the few there are enough, though as with most UX projects, they are usually large in scope.
But at the same time, this is still work. This is all part of the hustle of being a designer, and while I have this site to meet the expectations of the work, it is time taken away from things that let me recharge and fulfill myself as a person. While I love UX design and research, there are many more facets to me that make me whole, and it’s easy to lose sight of that when you’re constantly engaged with your work, treating yourself like a “brand” as we’ve been told to do for so long.
All in all, this pales in comparison to what service, hospitality, and healthcare workers have had to deal with, people who have been face-to-face with impatient and outright violent customers (still), to pandemic benefit amendments for them that were temporary or outright nonexistent, with the expectation that they still need to put themselves in the path of a virus that not-so-paradoxically “does not discriminate” while discriminating quite viciously against these workers.
But still, I’m going to go easy on myself and update this when I’m ready, and not punish myself for leaving it blank for so long as I was reflexively going to do. I’m apparently ready today, on Memorial Day, so maybe not taking this advice so well, but I had a spare moment and decided to get this out. And I may not be ready again for weeks, possibly months later. But for now I’m going to be diligent about being more patient with myself, and allowing myself to be a whole person again.