It’s safe to say that 2020 has been… a year. I think we’d all just like to move on with our lives and forget about this train-wreck of a year, but before we all do just that, I wanted to take a moment to reflect. Of course a lot of my goals and plans were demolished, but that’s not to say I didn’t achieve anything. I expect this post will be quite long because there is an awful lot to cover, so let’s just get into it.
How did I do with my Goals?
Everyone’s lives were thrown off track this year, so it would be perfectly reasonable if I hadn’t managed to achieve any of my goals this year, but thankfully that wasn’t the case. I managed to pull myself together somewhere in April and did my best to carry on where I could. I made 5 goals for 2020:
- Read Everyday
- Build My Portfolio
- Build and Prep my Business for 2021
- Save Money
- Be more Active
Some went better than others. I can tell you right now that I was not in the least bit active, but since we’ve effectively been locked up for half the year, I think I can be excused from that one! The others went much better, but I still had to make a lot of compromises along the way.
Reading every day is something I’ve done for several years now successfully, so the goal was really to just carry on doing so, but lockdown left me with little motivation to read. I started the year strong, but my motivation fizzled out around June/July, so I decided to take a break from reading. I went 4 months without reading anything, which hasn’t happened…ever really. I’ve always been an avid reader, but this year has been difficult and I clearly just needed a break. I am happy to report though that my motivation to read is now back again and I will hopefully be making up for lost time in the New Year.
Build my portfolio and prepping my business are the two that I struggled with the most because it’s very difficult to build a portfolio and a presence in the community when you’re not allowed to leave your house to shoot or do anything. It was also very emotionally challenging for me because 2020 was a year I has been looking forward to for years since it’s the first full year that I would not be in school. I hated school, so the idea of having my first whole year of freedom to do what I wanted was obviously very appealing. I had so many plans for 2020, which were all promptly squashed, so I was naturally devastated. I had waited so many long years to be out of school, so that I could start living my life and having it so utterly ruined by the pandemic felt like some sort of twisted cosmic joke! I did eventually pull myself together because I realised that crying about it wasn’t going to get me anywhere, but there was still the issue of ‘well what can I do?’. I decided that even though I couldn’t build my portfolio and make connections in the way I wanted, I could still work on building my skills and prepping other things. I got a Skillshare membership after years of getting endless YouTube ads for it, I invested in an IPad Pro to take my art to the next level and spent time learning more about my craft. I was able to get some images for my portfolio once restrictions eased a bit, so I would still say I fulfilled that goal, just not to the level I was originally aimed for. Although I wasn’t able to prep for my business launch by making connections and going to events like planned, I worked on digital drawing instead and have now started a RedBubble shop! This was something I’d always planned to do, but had put to the side for a few years, but since I couldn’t advance my business in other ways I chose to bring it back into the picture and rearrange my business plan a bit. None of this was easy and I still didn’t manage to get everything done that I would have liked, but I think given the circumstances, I achieved more than enough to earn the right to tick those goals off!
The only positive is I saved twice the amount of money I set out to since I wasn’t able to ‘go window shopping’ twice a week, which inevitably ended in me buying stuff – (oops…!). Not only have I saved more than I thought I could, I also seem to have kicked the habit of ‘window shopping’ since I haven’t been doing since the restrictions have eased, which I’m sure will serve me well in the long run, so silver linings and all that!
What did I achieve?
Given the year we’ve all had, I would say it is more than okay for us to have achieved nothing this year. I had all these plans for 2020 that didn’t happen, so I certainly haven’t achieved as much as I had planed to, but that’s not to say this year went by without anything worthy of a pat on the back.
If you watch my vlogs (YOUTUBE) then you’ll know I spent most of lockdown make dresses out of trash, which I eventually ended up shooting in a gruelling two weeks. My bedroom looked like a wasteland for months and shooting the dresses was not easy, but the final results made it all worth it. I am so immensely proud of the work I created from the project (the dresses and the photos) and even more proud that I managed to get it all done using stuff I had lying around the house and using my grandparents living room as a (rather pokey) studio.
I’m also incredibly proud of how much progress I’ve made with my creative skills this year. My life (like everyone else’s) may have been put on hold, but I am so glad I took the initiative and used the time wisely to really hone some of my skills. I took online courses on photography, digital art, retouching, colour grading and video editing, which really helped me push myself and improve my skills more than I would have done this year had everything gone to plan.
I thought I would include a list of some of the highlights of this year, as well as a little photo album I’ve put together because this year did have a whole lot of bad, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the good too:
- MY 18th BIRTHDAY!!!
- I opened a Redbubble shop
- My friend Charlie released his book – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seven-Wonders-Mae-Gaynor/dp/B08NWQZX5J/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=seven+wonders&qid=1609358715&quartzVehicle=907-1703&replacementKeywords=wonders&sr=8-6
- I made and shot 8 trash dresses during lockdown
- I also got my trashion project featured on a University website! https://www.falmouth-anchor.co.uk/2020/11/20/from-rags-to-riches-inside-samantha-drages-recycled-fashion-collection/
- I bought a pair of Doc Martens – this might seem small, but I’ve been waiting to buy them for years because I wanted to make sure I’d stopped growing!
What have I learnt?
We can all agree that this year was difficult, but it has taught me a lot. Whilst being in lockdown sucked, it did give me some time to get to know my own limits. Since everything was cancelled there was nothing to do but sit in my room and get on with my hobbies, which hasn’t happened since…. never. I have always been doing things, whether it was going to school, or taking on creative projects in the holidays or doing family things, there was never any time that I’ve truly had nothing to do. I had nowhere to go, nothing to hand in and no responsibilities, which unnerved me because I’m a person who likes to be busy, but slowing down really made me take a step back and realise how much I push myself. Leaving school had a similar effect on me because I hadn’t realised just how stressed I was until I suddenly didn’t have to mask at school all the time and I was allowed time to relax a little, but lockdown really brought that back. Although these days I don’t mask so much, I was still holding myself to those same ridiculously high (and neurotypical) standards I had in school, which would often cause burn out. Having the time out to really do nothing allowed me to take a step back and get a better grip on what I’m actually capable of doing vs what I constantly push myself to do.
2020 has also in a strange way, helped my anxiety. I have always been an anxious person because, as someone with Autism, my biggest fear is people changing the plan on me. I always plan for every possible outcome, so that I’m prepared for it and won’t have a meltdown and I have been constantly told its ridiculous, but in a way, 2020 actually proved me right… Everything that could have gone wrong this year, went wrong. It has been a train wreck of year that even I couldn’t have predicted. At first this made my anxiety a lot worse because in a way I was actually… right. These disastrous scenarios I dreamt up were suddenly very reasonable compared to what was actually happening, but in the end I came to the conclusion that sometimes shit just happens. I over prepared for every possible scenario I could think of and yet nothing could have prepared me for this year, so why waste so much time preparing for these farfetched things you have no control over? This year has been everyone’s worst case scenario and yet we’re all still here. I’ve survived a global pandemic along with all the other stuff that’s happened this year, so why am I worrying about what the cashier at Asda thinks of my outfit?
To sum it up, 2020 has taught me more about my own limits, how to take change in my stride when things go wrong and to stop worrying so much because everything works itself out in the end. Which is well and good, but I still don’t know how to use a washing machine, so I’ve still got a long way to go!
Now that we’ve reflected on 2020, it is time to say Good Riddance and think about the year to come. In England, the pandemic is still very much alive, so I’m not going to be making a serious plans for this year in terms of going anywhere, but I am going to be working on a lot more content. I have college work to do as usual, but I’m going to be making new goals (subscribe to see my next post about 2021 goal!), new content (YouTube and Blog), new art (see my RedBubble!) and hopefully a few big steps as I start my life as an adult!
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out