- After years of “negotiating” (which we also might call “fighting like an angry cat”) for a stable two-year rotation of courses that I teach, I seem to have achieved a two-year schedule that everybody respects and understands can’t just be “modified” at a whim. While I did agree to be flexible about something in the Spring, 1) it does not introduce a new prep for me and 2) it in no way trumps the stable rotation for which I’ve fought.
- This flexibility I’ve shown? It means I won’t teach composition in the spring!!!!! Huzzah!!!! (Look, I get that teaching comp is part of my gig, and I have found a way to come to terms with it, and I even sometimes enjoy it. But I did not go to graduate school to teach composition, and it is a pleasure to have a semester that will involve only teaching lit and theory.)
- In the spring, I will, for the first time in like five years, not be teaching a night course. I might actually be able to finish my book with a schedule where my afternoons are free for writing/revising. And where I’m not constantly trying to catch up after feeling annihilated by teaching at night. Will I have to teach at night again? Yes, that’s just the reality. But, after this semester, not until Fall 2015! (This is also why having a stable rotation of courses is so essential to me.)
- I’m continuing what I started last year with leaning back on heavy (and highly political) university service, and leaning into getting department assessment in shape. Yes, this is a wonderful trade-off. It allows me to use all of what I’ve learned through all of my institution-wide heavy-lifting to do service that nobody in my department gives a shit about, which means that I won’t have to fight with people. HOORAY!
- Research-wise, I really am going to be in a place to finish the book project, however much I haven’t met my own original deadlines for it, and I actually do think that the extra time is going to make it a better book. And I feel good about that. Also, I’m starting on some new research stuff in two areas. One area has landed me on an MLA panel that is designated as one of the Presidential Theme Panels (which has me terrified but also excited), and another that is going to bring me back to DH Lawrence and, also, I hope, to Italy in June!
- Grant applications, which, who knows, but maybe they will bear fruit?
- NYC in October.
- Chicago for MLA.
- Vacation in South Beach in January!!! For (a best friend from high school) Naomi’s 40th birthday!
- Maybe Boston in Spring, or Maybe Chicago in June. It all depends on what I decide is most awesome.
- Italy in June, maybe followed by Paris!
- Napa Valley in July or August!
- My new sectional sofa!
- A bunch of things I’ve been procrastinating about which are nowhere near as exciting as the new sofa, but which need to be done. (Getting the outside of my house stained and the deck sealed, getting some concrete work done on my porch….blah)
- Fun times with friends, old and new.
- Dating (sigh).
- Golf lessons!
- Returning to a fitness regimen, including both working out and eating in a more mindful way.
- Continuing to try to figure out crap with The Dude (which, the “figuring out” sort of sucks, but I am hopeful that we will come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion, whether as friends or something more.)
I have to say, I’m really looking forward to being 39. 38 was filled with high highs and low lows, which was both excellent and horrible, and I’m looking forward to more stability. Basically, in a lot of ways, 38 was, for me, about being at loose ends – professionally, personally, socially.
My aim for being 39 is to find my equilibrium again without losing the capacity for great joy that I found when I was 38. I know, a tall order, right? But I think my sense of professional optimism, which comes in large part from all of the professional battles I’ve fought and won in the past five years, will help with that. I’ve done the work with the job, and I don’t need to worry about that right now. I actually have the freedom to coast a bit. And as far as the personal, well, while it is true that we can’t control our relationships, I do feel like I’ve reached a point where I am much clearer about what I’m willing to allow to happen in my personal life, and what I want in my personal life. I think I just need to be mindful to keep what I’ve learned front and center. And there is nothing to say about my planned travels other than that if I can make them all happen (and half of them are already done deals), they will be awesome!
So that is me, looking ahead to Thursday. Let the games begin!