This time last year when I was looking back on 2021, I wrote:
2020 was the year of the virus. 2021 was the year of the vaccine …and the virus, obviously, but still it felt like the year we fought back. With science!
Science continued to win the battle in 2022. But it was messy. The Situation isn’t over yet, and everyone has different ideas about the correct levels of risk-taking.
It’s like when you’re driving and you think that everyone going faster than you is a maniac, and everyone going slower than you is an idiot.
The world opened up more in 2022. I was able to speak at more in-person events. I really missed that. I think I’m done with doing online talks.
There was a moment when I was speaking at Web Dev Conf in Bristol this year (a really nice little gathering), and during my presentation I was getting that response from the audience that you just don’t get with online talks, and I distinctly remember thinking, “Oh, I’ve really missed this!”
But like I said, The Situation isn’t over, and that makes things tricky for conferences. Most of the ones I spoke at or attended were doing their best to make things safe. CSS Day, Clarity, State Of The Browser: they all took measures to try to look out for everyone’s health.
For my part, I asked everyone attending dConstruct to take a COVID test the day before. Like I said at the time, I may have just been fooling myself with what might have been hygiene theatre, but like those other events, we all wanted to gather safely.
That can’t be said for the gigantic event in Berlin that I spoke at in Summer. There were tens of thousands of people in the venue. Inevitably, I—and others—caught COVID.
My bout of the ’rona wasn’t too bad, and I’m very glad that I didn’t pass it on to any family members (that’s been my biggest worry throughout The Situation). But it did mean that I wasn’t able to host UX London 2022.
That was a real downer. I spent much of 2022 focused on event curation: first UX London, and then dConstruct. I was really, really proud of the line-up I assembled for UX London so I was gutted not to be able to introduce those fabulous speakers in person.
Still, I got to host dConstruct, Leading Design, and Clarity, so 2022 was very much a bumper year for MCing—something I really, really enjoy.
Already I’ve got more of the same lined up for the first half of 2023: hosting Leading Design San Francisco in February and curating and hosting UX London in June.
I hope to do more speaking too. Alas, An Event Apart is no more, which is a real shame. But I hope there are other conferences out there that might be interested in what I have to say. If you’re organising one, get in touch.
Needless to say, 2022 was not a good year for world events. The callous and cruel invasion of Ukraine rightly dominated the news (sporting events and dead monarchs are not the defining events of the year). But even in the face of this evil, there’s cause for hope, seeing the galvanised response of the international community in standing up to Putin the bully.
In terms of more personal bad news, Jamie’s death is hard to bear.
I got to play lots of music in 2022. That’s something I definitely want to continue. In fact, 2023 kicked off with a great kitchen session yesterday evening—the perfect start to the year!
And I’ve got my health. That’s something I don’t take for granted.
One year ago, I wrote:
Maybe 2022 will turn out to be similar—shitty for a lot of people, and mostly unenventful for me. Or perhaps 2022 will be a year filled with joyful in-person activities, like conferences and musical gatherings. Either way, I’m ready.
For the most part, that played out. 2022 was thankfully fairly uneventful personally. And it was indeed a good year for in-person connections. I very much hope that continues in 2023.