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New Year’s Day and moments of joy

There’s something refreshing and somewhat cleansing about the start of a new year.

What is literally just another day, the one that came after yesterday and comes before tomorrow, always feels different to me. Like some invisible line in the sand, the change of the month from a 12 to a 1 and the number of the year inching up ever so slightly somehow allows my brain to compartmentalise the year that was and leave it behind me.

As an autistic person living a divergent life who is often left bemused by social norms, I find it amusing that New Year’s Day has such a profound effect on me. I feel fresh, rebooted and less burdened. I was born with a different type of brain that causes me to experience the world at a heightened level of intensity and I suppose this is one of those moments where that is actually a good thing.

I live in a constant state of extremes and while 2017 delivered some horrific moments of emotional pain, it also brought unprecedented moments of joy.

The night I found out my talk had been accepted for UX Australia 2017.

The way it felt standing on that stage in August in front of 300+ people and the way the room was lit.

Fighting back tears of joy after being called a ‘good egg’ by a conference attendee after giving a talk in Melbourne on my birthday in late September.

Realising someone that I thought was against me, had my back the whole time.

Discussing my book deal in Wellington over pancakes under fairy lights.

The way the retail assistant made me feel when I bought my first pair of Louboutin pumps to celebrate a few days later.

Landing my first freelance contract.

Mentoring at a disability inclusion hackathon and bawling my eyes out reading the stunningly beautiful attendee reviews.

My first fuck up as a freelancer and how I successfully turned it around.

Being given a peek into a conversation had between a client team about me and how much I’d helped someone.

The countless amazing women I met going through their own autism diagnosis processes just like I did almost 2 years ago.

Receiving emails and messages from people working for a former employer because they missed me or found something cool they thought I’d like to see.

Delivering 7 different talks across both UX and Diversity & Inclusion in 2017 with varied levels of preparation ranging from off-the-cuff panel appearances to big conference talks planned and rehearsed months in advance.

Seeing Les Miserables onstage for the first time and somehow keeping it together during Bring Him Home.

Discovering Lindy Bop and Irregular Choice and taking my vintage styling skills to the next level by attending a workshop.

The relationships I started and built by accident simply by being myself.

Designing my own job and realising that I can be successful as a freelancer.

Here’s to many more in 2018!

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