2012 thus far has been, to paraphrase Charles Dickens, the best of years and the worst of years. I can’t capture in words how much I miss Matt, my best friend and daily confidant. His absence from my life is a source of profound sadness, but I do believe that it’s for the best. It’s not the best for me, but it’s the right thing for him to do in order to realign himself with his own needs and wants. I have tried to step back gracefully in order to give him space, but I won’t lie: it’s a struggle. It has been neither graceful nor easy. He says that I am being generous and patient with him; all I can say is that I am trying. I mention this in the context of my goals for 2012 because dealing with my heartache has been the hardest thing this year. And yet I’ve managed to remain fully functional—working, running, writing, eating. I’m pretty pleased with that accomplishment. I have yet to spend a day curled in the fetal position sobbing, though I’ve spent a few nights doing just that.
(Oh well. The heartache comes and goes.)
Other than nursing a broken heart, 2012 has been pretty good to me. I’m loving my work these days, and I have a new friend in the department who makes me laugh. I chopped off all my hair and now have a breezy new ‘do for summer. I have a 40-pound watermelon in my living room. I feel optimistic about the future, perhaps delusionally so, but I don’t care. I like my delusion. I have basil growing on my patio and a friend who keeps giving me butternut squashes from her summer CSA share. I’ve put down enough roots in this town to hold me steady, and that feels good. I know where to go for a glass of wine, a pizza, or a walk in the woods. I’m neither depressed nor riddled with anxiety, and that feels really good.
In short, I feel happy these days, even with my broken heart. I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true. I love Matt and he makes me happy, but he’s never been the only source of my happiness. And thank goodness for it. Now let’s get down to business and talk about 2012’s goals, shall we?
* Publish, publish, publish. My advisor and I submitted two research grants in April. I consider grant submission to be a type of publication, though it’s a small audience who will read a research grant. I also submitted a piece to The Chronicle for their Point of View column; I’m waiting to hear back from them.
Verdict: Excellent progress here!
* Peace and quiet. The underlying rationale for this goal was anxiety management. In January, I said that I would do yoga twice a week and eat a quiet, candlelit dinner twice a week, and I have done neither of those things consistently. I have, however, been running regularly (2-3 times a week, on average), and that seems to be keeping my anxiety in check. I’ve also been trying to get into bed earlier so I can read for a bit, and that always feels incredibly relaxing to me.
But I have to confess something. This year I have found it easier to feel happy and optimistic when I’m doing something. In those quiet moments, I find myself brooding about things, and once I get going, it’s hard to stop. I suspect that I’ve been avoiding too much quiet so that I won’t start feeling sorry for myself.
* Thoughtful consumerism. This goal has turned out to be a very interesting pursuit this year. In April, I pursued full-time veganism (and here’s an index of my blog posts from that project), which was fun and eye-opening. I shopped at Plato’s Closet for the first time and scored two shirts and a dress. You can see the dress in the first photo up there. (I think secondhand clothes shopping counts as thoughtful consumerism, don’t you?) I wrote a little bit about simplifying my life in baby steps.
I’m happy with my progress in this category. I consider myself to be a thoughtful consumer already; I think my underlying motivation for making it a 2012 goal was to have an excuse to write more about these issues on the blog. I don’t want to write a blog exclusively devoted to this topic, but I’m happy to have the freedom to explore it when I have something to say. I have more posts I’d like to write, too, which is the best feeling.
Verdict: Steady progress here!
Bonus goal: Organize the archives of this blog. Here’s the thing: when you’ve been blogging for years, you accumulate a lot of posts. I love how organized other people’s blogs are—they make it so easy to find the posts on a particular topic. As a blogger, I tend to take a meandering course, which means I write about a lot of different things without much organizational forethought. But! I’ve been catching up on my Recipe Index and writing new index pages for various topics. I am especially excited about my index for The Academic Life because it was so fun to dig into my old posts and remember all the ups and downs of my career so far. I sometimes wish I could tell my past self that everything is going to be okay, but now I feel that it is my past experience that assures me that everything is going to be okay.
For a meta-index of my projects, check out the Project Index page.
Verdict: Onward and upward, friends!
And as always, thank you for reading. You, dear readers, are so good to me.