2012 – How was it for you?

I always find myself getting a little philosophical around NYE, and anxious about having let another year fly past without note. I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but at the end of 2011, I made two:

1. Stop being so tough on myself

2. Travel more

The first one might seem a bit vague, but it has a very specific meaning to me. I am an insanely busy person. I like it that way. I can do much more with a single hour than most, so I don’t like wasting any time. Historically I’ve been very bad at lazing around, and rarely allow any time for myself. But, towards the end of 2011, I realised that this was starting to cause problems. I’d completely lost the ability to relax, I always found myself writing lists in my head while reading a book, checking emails while on lunch, or only calling my parents while on the train to/from work – I was taking multi-tasking to an unreasonable level…. But, in 2012, I’ve been a lot kinder to myself…. and frankly, a lot more selfish.

Now I know people see selfishness as a negative trait, but I think that if you’re a busy person, always on the go, its easy to lose sight of what you actually want to do. You just go along with the flow, forgetting that you have the power to say ‘no’ or ‘yes’.

In 2012, I started saying YES to things that I secretly wanted, and I cast aside those things that were making me entirely miserable. THAT’s what I mean by being less tough on myself – I kind of regrouped, refocussed, and I’m finishing this year in a much happier place than I started it.

In terms of travel, I’ve been to Ireland, Santorini (Greece), Australia, New Zealand, Dubai and New York… so I’ve made a pretty good stab at the the resolution to travel more… need to line some stuff up for next year too though. On a more local scale, I travelled to the odd and distant land of SW15, to move in with my lovely boyfriend – that particular journey has been the best one yet 🙂

In terms of work, I’ve hosted some pretty high-profile visitors in my lab, I’ve spoken at the Royal Society, Oxford University, the Open University and a number of schools and science festivals. Myself and my collegues completed all of our European project work on budget and on time, and the new measurement system we spent many months designing arrived just as we broke up for Christmas – looking forward to getting my paws on it in a few days! I won an award from Serco (the company who currently run NPL) which involved a fancy black-tie event and a night in a very lovely hotel overlooking Hyde Park, and I made some headway on my MSc thesis.

I had a few interesting media interactions on my research on Energy Harvesting Technologies, and as a woman working in science. I did a radio show, vodcast and article for the Naked Scientists and recorded my very first podcast. I set myself up as a freelance science writer and published my first few paid articles for Materials Today. I’ve spoken to hundreds of inspiring young (and old) people across the country, I’ve been called a ‘skeptic’ (officially) ….and have had rejections from too many applications to mention. But I’m feeling good, because I threw myself into new experiences – I can’t win at everything, all the time.

In 2013 I’m resolved to take more risks – let’s see how that goes 🙂

How was your year? What new and exciting things did you do? Any lingering regrets? And what will 2013 hold for you?

Happy New Year from London-town