Last year was a unique year of growth & change that I hadn’t anticipated at all, but looking back, I think I’m really grateful for how much the new year changed me for the better. A wise friend of mine refers to one’s early 30s as a “second adolescence,” and that is certainly the perfect descriptor for how the first quarter of my own 30s have felt, both creatively and personally.
Some might remember my 30s began on the heels of leaving a full time job with a pension to pursue creative work full time (more on that). After a couple years, the isolation of working full time (and then some because that’s how working for oneself goes!) brought some mental health issues to the surface in a way that got my attention. I spent a lot of time last year finding the right therapist for my needs and working on my issues, particularly taking on less design work and understanding the ebb and flow of my brain and how it relates to my ability to do creative work. I had absolutely no idea how intimately linked my anxiety/depression and creative output are, and it’s kind of blown my mind. (Maybe that’s something other folks inherently know, but for me, understanding that connection was revelatory.)
All of this sounds terribly serious, doesn’t it?
I guess I felt like sharing just a little about these adventures from the past year for context, particularly after the response to discussing mental health and crafting on my podcast, Very Serious Crafts, earlier this year (catch the episode about depression here). For anyone who may be concerned, I’m doing great headed in to 2020, all thanks to taking the time to do the work I needed to do to get back to feeling like myself. :) (TLDR: Therapy is great, everyone should go!)
Hands Occupied is 10 this year!
Speaking of heading in to 2020, let’s talk about what’s next. As I’ve said for years, opportunities in the blogging world continue to evolve and ultimately shrink as online behaviors change. Hands Occupied turns 10 in September, and I think it’s got me hankering for a bit of a change. In the first part of the year, I plan on taking a serious look at where best to focus my time as a craft designer.
In addition to the big H.O.-versary, the Hands Occupied Studio turns 1 in a few weeks, and I keep thinking about what more I can do with that space. The small IRL community that’s grown in Chicago around the Studio was a godsend this year, particularly when I was grappling with the sads, and I want to experiment with ways to make it grow. If you’ve got any suggestions or may be interested in hosting a workshop or event in the Hands Occupied Studio, please email me at heidi [at] handsoccupied [dot] com.
but life intervened
Until about a month ago, all of these plans fit nicely along a largely logical path that I’ve seen other designers follow, more or less. Then about 6 weeks ago, life tossed a monkey wrench in the works that could shift my career direction overall. Unfortunately, this project officially makes me one of those internet people who can’t talk about their [insert big thing here] right now.
Lucky for all of you, the deadline for said secret project is flying at my face at roughly 20,000 miles an hour, so while I’ll be a bit quiet this winter, the deadline will pass soon! And once my head is again above water, stay tuned for more about exciting new projects for Hands Occupied/me for the new decade.
Basically, I don’t know exactly what my odd design career journey is going to look like in a year or 18 months, but if 2019 taught me anything, it’s the value of having a little faith in yourself and accepting that a lot of things in this world are out of anyone’s control. Keeping that (and an excellent, focused work ethic) in my back pocket for 2020 seems like the right call.
Thanks for continuing to follow me on this journey,