Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

I don't think I made any specific New Year's resolutions last year. I used to love having an end-of-year period of deep introspection and figuring out what lessons I needed to learn and what paths I needed to explore, but for the past two or three years I've had the sense that I'm going generally in the right direction and just need to keep chugging along. That's very satisfying in some ways, at least the feeling that there's nothing in my life right now that needs to be fixed, but I'm beginning to feel the need for some kind of spiritual challenge.

While I figure that out, though, it's a good time to look back for a moment. I have a surprisingly crappy memory, so I'm sure I'm forgetting some of the big things that have happened, but the highlights of this year include the following:
  • this was my first year of tenure, which was generally uneventful, but has given me an overall sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and relief
  • my book came out! That's a biggie. :)
  • I've made pretty good progress on the second book project. At the beginning of last year it was a very nebulous idea, and I was terrified of mentioning it to anyone. Over the course of the year I tracked down some good evidence in the archives, and had some wonderful and encouraging conversations with colleagues, and now I'm very excited about the whole thing.
  • I agreed (God help me) to host the yearly meeting of my principal academic organization in 2008. This isn't really an accomplishment yet, but several people talked to me about doing this, which means they must think I'm reasonably competent (or at least sufficiently gullible), and I'm kind of excited about that.
  • Several people in my department have made noises about how I'd be a good candidate for department chair.
  • I worked on my first Habitat for Humanity build! (and will do another this spring.)
  • Started taking yoga classes just about a year ago; that's been a great and satisfying success.
  • We made some nice improvements to the house this year, at least inside (outside is going to hell in a weedy overgrown handbasket) - new carpet and tile in the master bedroom & bath, a couple of new pieces of furniture, and lots of plans for next year...

Those are the big things; I guess the main theme is that this has been a really good year for my professional life. I haven't accomplished anything big (good or bad) personally or socially or spiritually; that's what I'd like to work on more for the coming year, though I'm not sure quite how to proceed. Mostly my goal is to make new friends: I like the people I work with, but I've felt a little starved for interesting conversation recently, and I realize that I've fallen into a lot of social ruts. (I even made the bar a far more interesting place in 2005 than I did in 2006; maybe I can liven that up a little too.) Time to stretch myself a little and shake things up.

What about you?

Have a lovely New Year's Eve, everyone; be safe, and I wish you all the best in friends, family, and good fortune for the new year!

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