A new year and new challenges
2008 was good but crazily busy with starting a new job, moving and finally getting some publications out. The past three years have been very much about reaching up and out and achieving new things. This year will hopefully be about getting settled and about building a foundation at work and at home on which I can rely for some years to come. Professionally I don’t want to take on more new responsibilities just for the sake of it, and want to build on what I already have and focus on getting better at what I already do. Personally I want to get involved in the community here and keep working on making personal well-being a priority.
I will be teaching very little in 2009. I only have a summer course for four weeks in June-July, but this is a new course and will require some attention to logistics in addition to catching up on the literature and preparing the course. Hopefully the lesser teaching load will allow me to focus on getting through the backlog of papers to write and manuscripts to revise, especially as my main projects are moving towards a heavy writing-up phase in collaboration with many others. I also want to get back to reading and catching up on literature, something which has truly fallen by the wayside the past few years. This post and it’s comments gave some good ideas for how to get back to the pile of papers-to-read that is always lurking. I have three grad students to get started this spring semester and another one to follow up, two conferences to attend in the spring and at least one in the fall, about six weeks of field work planned for the summer and probably more than enough work-related travel. If I can get the two new projects off to a reasonable start, get some papers out the door and some time during the year, when the time is right, start working on one larger and maybe some smaller proposals I’ll consider the year a success.
Personally I want to get back to running or doing other kinds of exercise regularly. I started thinking about how to really make this a priority in December and want to keep thinking about it that way. I also want to learn to have fun outside here in winter. I want to buy some better skis and learn proper skiing, so I’m not afraid of making a fool of myself when being outside. I want to learn to be comfortable with winter fieldwork and all the safety and logistic issues that one needs to know to enjoy time outside here. I’m always shying away from this, because I don’t like things I’m not good at and I’m not practical at all, but really want to approach this in a different way.
I hope I will have more time at home than last year and especially a more regular schedule with fewer interruptions by travel. Never having more than two or three consecutive weeks at home was probably the single most stressful issue last year and the lack of consistency makes it difficult for me to stick to a writing schedule/ training schedule/reading schedule or attend any kind of regular event or activity. I’m sure there will still be travel and for the next few months there will be some travel each month, but we have cancelled a planned vacation in order to get some more time at home and actively limiting travel should probably go on my priority list for 2009.