2016 was a struggle for many of us, with some pretty unpleasant stuff going on all over the world. To combat the feeling that 2016 was nothing but a huge trash fire, several of my friends have published lists of their 2016 highlights, and reading them really warmed my heart, as I felt so pleased for them having some wonderful experienced (there was much compersion to be had!). So, in return, here is my list of things that were awesome about 2016. I hope next year is half as amazing!
- Went to the Australian Scout Jamboree 2016 in NSW with 39 other awesome people for 10 days, and watched kids have awesome fun, and learn and grow as they took care of each other.
- Quit my job, after 7 years, for a proper holiday that didn’t involve attending conferences or scout events!
- Went to Linux.conf.au 2016 in Geelong, and ran a one-day Open Knowledge Australia mini-conference. I’ll get to do this again in 2 weeks' time in Hobart!
- Helped out with the Scouts Victoria Kangaree, getting about 10 hours sleep in 3 days, and generally being amazing. It was really gratifying.
- Went to my first festival, Confest, in NSW. It was an amazing week in which I did too much volunteering, had very little mobile reception (which was the best!), and met awesome people!
- Saw some awesome shows for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, including Lisa-Skye’s “Spiders Wearing Party Hats,” which, between MICF and Fringe, I saw 3 times!
- Experienced and participated in my first ever scene at a kink club, expanding my comfort zone. It was a fascinating experience!
- Helped set up computers for Popup Playground’s Small Time Criminals, which is still running until February, and which you should totally book in if you haven’t already!
- Went on my first overseas touring holiday to Europe. This was amazing, three weeks was exactly the right duration, and I absolutely loved it!
- Did some awesome and fulfilling work with Invent The World, using Minecraft and other games to teach kids online empathy, problem solving, teamwork, and keyboard and mouse motor skills. Seeing these kids work together and learn was exhausting, but extremely rewarding, and I really hope to do more of this in the future.
- Planned and ran GovHack Melbourne 2016, a weekend hackathon for about 100 people, with an amazing team of volunteers!
- Attended my first PyCon AU in Melbourne, where I went to an education seminar, learned some awesome stuff from some even more awesome friends, new and old!
- Went to Slut Walk Melbourne for the first time, and marched with hundreds of others against slut shaming and rape culture.
- Attended HealthHack Melbourne 2016, as a participant, and not a volunteer, for a change, and, with my team, achieved second place for our hack!
- Visited Adelaide for the first time, for the GovHack 2016 National Red Carpet Awards; a beautiful city!
- Returned to Wellington, NZ, for yet another amazing KiwiCon, which ran in spite of the earthquake earlier that week!
- Presented a talk about getting youth involved in tech at that fantastic BuzzConf emerging technology festival in Ballan, Victoria. A delightful, family-oriented feel permeated the event, and I met some of the best people!
- Expanded my comfort zone further by attending my first ever gay clubs etc.
- Went to the ever awesome Swingin' Bella Christmas, and sang and danced to the excellent music they play there every year!
- Formed new relationships (from friendships to intimate partnerships) with some brilliant folks, while amicably ending some that had run their courses.
The experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met this year have been unforgettable, and I’ll cherish many of them for years to come. Thank you to all of you who have made my life amazing simply by being a part of it.