I know many folks out there find it increasingly difficult to talk about positive personal achievements when the year and world in general just seems like another raging dumpster fire, but we shouldn’t feel guilty of finding those positives to help push us forward and keep us going. Looking back on my own year, I feel very fortunate that 2017 was good to me on both a personal and business level.
One of my biggest achievements this year was the release of my second book, Color Accessibility Workflows, published by A Book Apart. I’m hugely grateful for any opportunity to talk about color and how it can impact people in the digital world, and writing for A Book Apart has long been a dream of mine. I’m happy to say that it came true, and, best of all I got my book cover on a mug!
My other big achievement of the year was launching my side business, Geri Draws Japan, in July. So far, I have launched 24 different products, exhibited at three events (Hyper Japan Summer Festival, Doki Doki Manchester Japanese Festival, and the Hyper Japan Christmas Market), and shipped to 18 different countries. I’m so pleased with my first six months of business and can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.
2017 marked my third year of living in the UK and I successfully extended my visa until 2020! Just filling out that paperwork correctly is an impressive feat in itself. I passed the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N4 level exam—another achievement I never thought I would reach if you had asked me 10 years ago. I’m most proud of the fact that learning Japanese has become so ingrained into my daily routine that procrastination is no longer an issue—it’s simply part of my life now.
Of course, the biggest and most amazing thing to happen was my trip to Japan to film for TV Tokyo’s「世界！日本行きたい人応援団」program, which I could also say was one of my best life experiences—not just a 2017 highlight!
Simon and I had a few trips of our own, including two weeks camping in beautiful Scotland, a second trip to Copenhagen and my first proper music festival, three weddings in the New Forest, Brighton, and San Diego to watch lovely friends get married, and of course our bi-annual trips back to Newfoundland. Speaking of Newfoundland, I also ran my first Tely 10 (ten mile) race in July and came in under my time goal!
Bonus: 2017 Gigs
It was a pretty good year for gigs. We saw:
- X Japan
- Angel Olsen
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
- The Shins
- Grizzly Bear
- Haven Festival (Iggy Pop, Beach House, Feist, Band of Horses, Bon Iver, The National)
- The National (two more times!)
I’m keeping my goals for 2018 fairly modest. I’m working my way toward the JLPT N3 level exam that I’m planning to take in July. I’ll be studying intermediate Japanese at a language school in Tokyo and doing a homestay with a Japanese family to help boost my speaking confidence. Starting in January I’m taking a trial lesson for the tsugaru shamisen and hopefully learning at my own pace once I manage to get my hands on one in March. Other than that and the usual keep-fit goals, I want to focus more on Geri Draws Japan—release more products, exhibit at more events, and expand my business. I have so many more ideas, illustrations, and products to bring to life and I can’t wait to get started.
Happy New Year!