New year reflection

I wasn’t going to do a new year’s eve post but I changed my mind! This will just be a short piece looking at what I learned this year and my plans for the future.

I had an amazing year in many respects. It was easily my busiest year to date. Alongside all my autism advocacy work – which was significant – I worked four days a week in my day job and started in a new team in January where I only knew one person. This took some getting used to by in hindsight it has gone really well.

I think it was a year of resilience and stamina and managing a huge workload while trying to be kind to myself. Whimsy Manor remains wonderful as does its furry inhabitant Mr Kitty. 2018 was the first year where I have realised that I have a very large profile, which is a very strange thing to apply to yourself! I mostly avoid thinking about it and focus on doing good job of whatever i’m working on.

Highlights for me were  MC-ing the National Awards for Disability leadership, featuring in national and international media refuting harmful statements about autism by a researcher, having a book I coauthored with Dr Emma Goodall published and having a chapter in the Spectrum Women book. Other highlights include featuring on a mural in Canberra and one of the young people I mentor getting into a graphic design diploma course straight after school and another getting a job at the Harry Potter shop, Quizically. Despite (or maybe because of) it being ridiculously busy, I really enjoyed 2018.

I learned:

  • I really don’t want to be anyone other than who I am
  • My very troubled twenty-something self is part of who I am now. I don’t need to fear that person
  • People love my work and it helps them in their life 
  • There is quite a large mismatch between my perception of my performance and others’
  • My workplace is amazing 
  • I know who I am. This has taken a long time to realise 
  • I have good judgement and I can trust myself to make the right choice 
  • ‘Fame’ and recognition are largely meaningless
  • I know quite a lot about autism 
  • There is a lot of very deep prejudice around gender diversity 
  • When you come out as being gender diverse you find out who your friends are – and aren’t
  • Embracing my gender identity has opened many doors and changed how I see myself and the world in many ways
  • Much as I hate it, I carry privilege and all that comes with it  – (white and middle class) 
  • I am stronger than I think
  • My mental illness does not have to destroy me and I can usually manage it when things get scary
  • I like and value myself
  • I am a proud Autistic and non-binary person 
  • I am motivated by the need to make change.

I don’t really set new year’s resolutions – why resolve to do something only on one day? However, I have some plans for how I approach life in 2019. 

I will aim to:

  • Be more compassionate of others, especially people who see advocacy as a route to fame and glory, which is one thing I really struggle with
  • Promote opportunities for more people 
  • Learn from others 
  • Listen more
  • Do better with taking down-time, which I am currently not very good at
  • Say ‘NO!’ more often
  • Maintain my friendships 
  • Work on some of the more difficult relationships in my life 
  • Appreciate the amazing life that I have.

I hope you have a great new year and that your world is filled with good things in 2019 and beyond. 

Purrs from Mr Kitty.   

Jeanette 

Untitled design

Some of this things I did in 2018

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