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A look back at 2020

 |  Personal, Work

I know it’s customary to write up ‘year in review’ style posts at the end of the actual year in question, but I think I’m only just getting over 2020 enough to write about it.

How do you put into perspective a year that has simultaneously seen the lows of a loss of a parent, but the highs of a business earning nearly double the gross profit of the year before? A year that put me right back to where I started 9 years ago juggling kids at home with work, but with unprecedented demand on my services to boot. It’s no understatement to say it was an utterly ridiculous year: on a personal level, on a professional level… on every level.

I don’t want to just sidestep 2020 and pretend it didn’t happen. Although my grief was complicated by a fractured relationship and the long-lasting repercussions of Other Choices Made, and I’m not sure if I have or will ever fully come to terms with ‘it’, a loss is still a loss. And it wasn’t just the death of my mum either, as 2020 was the 20th anniversary of the loss of my eldest brother, too. It was an anniversary I felt extraordinarily deeply despite (because of?) the huge timescales involved.

I took big steps in pursuing Very Expensive outside help for my daughter in 2020, a subject I’m desperate to talk about but don’t know where to start. (I don’t want to shit all over her privacy, either.)

And yes, business. After a rocky start that saw me claiming government grants as client after client cancelled projects, I targeted new niches, doubled-down on my ‘stupid goal’ of increasing my recurring income to £750 per month and kept my head down. By the end of the year I’d had my “best month ever” (which I’ve since beat again in Feb, then again in March), nearly tripled my recurring income goal and continuously secured projects months in advance. Still not done any work on my side projects, mind you.

The increased workload and increased pressure at home, combined with decreased time and access to the things that keep my mind steady (jogging groups, gym, etc) hasn’t been kind to my mental health. I’ve had some deep, long lows in 2020 (and I’ve not done so great so far this year either). Bad habits have crept back in, which leads to a vicious cycle of wallowing, so self-medicating (drinking at home), so wallowing and so on. Despite this, I have been able to drag myself out eventually instead of reaching the point where I sit and cry in bed for days at a time. I’m seeing this as evidence of growth, not a reason to beat myself up.

I see the privilege I’ve had in gaining work over the past year instead of losing it, and while some of that was because of the additional time I put in, most of it was luck, good connections, or being in the right place at the right time. I hope 2021 continues to afford me the same privilege, although preferably without the death bits too.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

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