Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year's end post for 2017

A popular meme on Twitter these days is to state three things that you accomplished this year. Everyone is posting about prizes won, book contracts, degrees completed, and all that.

But nothing I could post would be on this order of magnitude. Here's what I really did:

1. Took care of people. What else can you call it when you cook, clean, buy groceries, do laundry, listen to stories, be patient, and provide care for children or the elderly? That's not an accomplishment, but it is definitely needed. It's invisible labor, all right, until somebody doesn't do it.

2. Wrote. Yet most of what I wrote was and is hard-fought words on a piece that I just could not seem to write--two pieces, actually. I finished one, and I'm seeing the finish line on another, with a third promised (why? WHY?). My main vow is never to agree to contribute a piece like this again. There's nothing wrong with the project; I just didn't click with it (or it with me), but having agreed to do it, I have had to carry it around with me every day, all year, instead of knocking it out as should have been the case. Probably 80% of the time was spent resisting writing and 20% writing.

3. Worked with collaborators on a large project. Taught (new) classes. Both were rewarding, but again: not quantifiable, and not in the service of the projects that I was so excited about last fall (2016).

4. Did what I could to fight against, endure, or ignore the current political dumpster fire. Actum est de republica, indeed.
5. On the plus side: Travel! Travel to archives, to conferences, and, if you want to count walking and hiking, engaging in what the Japanese call "forest bathing."  Reading good books. Seeing family. Getting excited about ideas. Shepherding administrative changes through various approval processes to do what Silicon Valley calls "making the world a better place." 

What about your year?


xykademiqz said...

Probably 80% of the time was spent resisting writing and 20% writing


Dame Eleanor Hull said...

Well done, thou good and faithful servant.

The combination of political and personal anxiety can be crippling. "Resisting writing" is often not only about the writing project. You did well to "accomplish" so much, while also doing the necessary things that tend to go unseen.

JaneB said...

I'm really riled by that twitter thing. GO AWAY all you shiny bright-eyed people with new PhDs and new jobs and new babies. You already went on about it quite enough. It's all of a piece with Christmas letters full of children's stuff and new purchases and house additions. I much prefer the one I got which began "this year, I did at least 52 loads of laundry and cooked a few hot dinners". Relatable!

I started a reply which began "1) did not push anyone out of a top floor window, nor did I jump" but decided that wasn't quite the professional tone I attempt to cultivate there. But it WAS quite an achievement!