I’ll echo what everyone else is saying, that 2016 was a trying year for many reasons, including personal ones. Tied up with all that difficulty though is a lot of personal growth. Even though a lot of bad stuff happened in the past year, I have learned from every part of it.
I’m going to continue this lemons-into-lemonade kind of approach into 2017. To that end I’ve come up with a few resolutions for myself.
Really important and big resolutions:
- Maintain a daily meditation and/or yoga practice. In May of the past year I got an injury in yoga class, where I pulled my left hip adductor (basically, groin). I was ordered to quit going to yoga until it was fully healed. This really bummed me out, because I felt I had benefitted a lot from the mindfulness practice that my yoga teacher incorporates into her classes. Luckily I realized that I could practice mindfulness without yoga, and I got my toes wet with meditation. I’ve been meditating more and more since then, and it’s helped me quite a lot with taking a breather from my work and with sleeping better. In 2017 I want to do this basically every day. You can meditate for as little as 5 minutes, so there is no excuse for not meditating besides “It’s not important to me.”
- Get back into writing 5 days a week. I’m on the job market this year and it’s very time consuming. Luckily, I think the most time-consuming parts are behind me. I’ve gotten much faster at writing my cover letters, and all my materials have been created at this point. With that, I am re-committing myself to writing 5 days a week, if not my dissertation, then some kind of blog post. I have previously noted on this blog that writing 5 days a week is essential to being a prolific scholar.
Even though these are big goals, they can be broken down into tiny ones, since they’re both every-day activities. Each day, I just have to do a little bit—at least 5 minutes of meditation, and at least 250 words. Come on, I can do that! My Facebook password is changed to something I don’t know now, so that I can’t log on and waste time there. I’m hoping this leads to more productive activity, even if that productive activity is a game or knitting, two things that are relaxing but not as pointless as browsing Facebook.
I also want to briefly reflect on things I’ve achieved in 2016, because I personally struggle with giving myself enough credit for what I’ve done.
- I started this blog in March 2016, and I’ve written 24 posts—not a great number, but nothing to sneeze at either!
- I submitted my first manuscript to a journal, after spending a lot of time doing archival research (another first).
- I started singing professionally, including securing my job singing High Mass in Latin at a Catholic church, and taking voice lessons.
- I designed and taught a course on Analysis of Popular Music that I think was a big success.
- I went on a short vacation with my cousin, who is my oldest friend, and reconnected with her.
- As a co-chair, I put on a successful graduate student conference, and wrote up a thorough manual on the process for future chairs.
- I started doing the household budget and really sticking to it! I hate numbers so this is a big achievement for me.
- I applied for 25 tenure-track jobs in music theory, and even had my first on-campus interview.
- I spent two weeks in Europe.
- I started meditating.
- I started a new job at the Writing Center at Medgar Evers College and have learned a lot about effective feedback on written work.
- I started volunteering with CUNY Citizenship Now! and joined a group of politically active women.
- I made a resolution to read 6 books, and almost did it. Maybe next year.
- I knitted a fluffy cowl, a little doll of Smudge, some gauntlets, and a large portion of a sweater.
I forgot about a lot of these things until I went back through my calendar and looked at my appointments. I see a lot of firsts and a lot of change in there.
So, here’s to keeping up this level of achievement and self-improvement in 2017!