Sunday, December 31, 2006

As 2006 ends....

I have mixed feelings about 2006 coming to a close. This year has been unusal in that it has been filled with both incredible highs and extraordinary lows. I mean, of course there are lows and highs in every year, but this year seemed a bit extreme, personally, in the highs and lows category. So it's hard for me to say "yeah, this was a good year" or "geez, am I glad to see this year go!" I feel a little of both.

The weird thing is that I look at the year as basically two separate halves. The first half (well, up through let's say the end of July), I consider The Bad Half. Mainly because of the third year review fiasco, and the month-ish where I wasn't entirely sure my contract would be renewed. The chaos and anger and confusion that brought about spilled over into every aspect of my life. I felt lousy, personally and professionally. I felt zero confidence about my teaching. I felt unsupported by my department. And worst of all, I felt like I was all alone in dealing with this. This phase continued through the end of the school year and through the first half of the summer----most likely because I was spending all this time in this environment that I wasn't really liking at that point, and it just kept perpetuating everything I was feeling. That was a very hard time for me.

August through the end of the year I consider to be The Good Half. Spending some time away from school (and students and, most importantly, toxic colleagues) really helped me put some distance between myself and the events of the first half of the year, and gain some much-needed perspective. But of course the big happiness-producing event was finding out that I was pregnant. People overuse the phrase "the right thing at the right time", but this pregnancy really is the right thing at the right time for us, which makes it all the sweeter. Dealing with the early symptoms of pregnancy during a really busy semester/term was challenging, but the excitement of integrating this new life into our lives made it easier to take. The end of the year also brought about, for me, a new dedication to and excitement for my research, and a lot of productivity. So I'm definitely ending the year on a high note.

I am definitely looking forward to 2007. Baby Jane will arrive sometime in the spring, and our lives will change in ways I can't even begin to fathom right now. I have a much-needed year off from teaching, and I will use that time not only to make substantial headway on my research, but also to think seriously about what happens next. (do I stay or do I go? how much do I want to get tenure here? if I leave, where do I want to go next?) I feel like 2007 is The Year of Taking Back Control of My Life, and that is definitely something to look forward to.

Happy new year, everyone! Whereever you are and whatever you do tonight, have fun and be safe!

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