Goals for 2015

date2015-01-04
5 min read

I am not really a New Year’s Resolution sort of person.

resolution — A firm decision to do or not to do something.

Resolutions tend to be absolute, so one gives up on them the first time they fail. It’s all or nothing. Black and white.

I prefer to live in shades of grey. I like to set goals.

goal — The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

A goal is a thing I can work towards. If…when I fail, I can pick myself up and continue pushing towards what I want. Goals are things I can change when life requires it.

Goals feel more like working on improving as a person and less like checking off an abitrary list of things I thought were a good idea at the turn of the year. So here I am setting some goals for 2015.

Fuck the tech community (mostly)

In October 2014, I left the tech community. The plan was to leave in 2015, but I just couldn’t wait.

Maybe you understand a little bit better now why I am leaving. Maybe it doesn’t matter. I don’t need your permission. I am gone.

I am not leaving tech entirely. I like my job and being able to pay my bills. I am, however, leaving the community.

What does leaving the tech community mean? No conferences (with one exception I agreed to months ago). No speaking. No organization. No local user groups. No helping people make their events more friendly to women. No more trying to explain basic human decency to people. No more free labor. No more. No more.

I meant it. I am still gone. The only thing I regret is waiting so long to leave.

I am committed to staying out of the tech community for the duration of 2015. At the end of the year, I will re-evaluate. If I am happier, it is unlikely I will return.

There are several notable exceptions:

  • CUSEC 2015 — I agreed to keynote this conference before I quit, so I am following through on my commitment.
  • social justice and feminism focused tech spaces (e.g. AlterConf, AdaCamp, Geek Feminism, DoubleUnion) — While these are tech-related, they focus on topics that matter to me, include people I care about, and build the kind of communities I thrive in. I will not remove myself entirely from people I care about, my social network, and my support system to spite the larger broken tech community.
  • work obligations — I will be keeping this to a minimum, but it may occasionally be necessary.

Self-care

One of the reasons I left the tech community is that it became all-consuming. It was bad for my sanity. It was bad for my health. I stopped having the energy or excitement to enjoy things I once loved. Things that made me a happy, healthy, well-rounded human being.

One of my major goals this year is to work at getting some of those things back. I spent years destroying them, so it will take time to get them back. It seems worth the effort.

  • Enjoy films I have never seen (old or new). Revisit films I enjoy. Write short film reviews when I’m in the mood.
  • Continue to develop my writing by publishing something at least once a month. Work more with a copyeditor to improve my skills and the quality of my work.
  • Draw more and improve my skills with the wacom tablet. Occasionally share my work when I feel comfortable doing so.
  • Continue to cook for pleasure by making cute food and learning new recipes.
  • Go for a walk in the afternoon, especially on workdays. The activity and sun are important with a desk job.
  • Do yoga twice a week. It helps with stress.
  • Read more books. I used to love books so much. I want to try to tap back into that. Also, it helps me sleep if I do it before bed.
  • Manage a good work-life balance. This was nearly impossible to do when I was doing tech work during my free time and it all kind of bled together.
  • Go on vacation. I haven’t had a real (i.e. not related to work, a conference, or a family obligation) vacation in years.
  • Make an effort to socialize with people I enjoy spending time with. Being a hermit isn’t good for me.

Things to Avoid

Ceasing to do things can be as much of a goal as doing things. I have already been working on some of these, but I want to continue with that work this year.

  • Avoid performing emotional labor for people who are not close friends or family, especially men. I’d be so happy if I was never expected to give free emotional labor to a man ever again.
  • Avoid people with poor boundaries and those who regularly disrespect the boundaries of others.
  • Avoid spending time with people who I am not excited about or who aren’t excited about me. I like a lot about this Fuck Yes or No post a friend shared recently.
  • Avoid making comments that conflate gender with genitals. I know better, but fucked up on this too many times last year. Changing language patterns is hard, but important. Please feel free to call me on this if you see me do it, and thanks to those who have done so before.

Miscellaneous

  • Work on being a better ally (a forever goal because that work never stops). I stepped down my activism, so I will have ample time to listen to and amplifying others.
  • Declutter my house. I have so much junk that I need to get rid of.
  • Volunteer more often at the animal rescue. I want to hug ALL THE CATS.