Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blogiversary Here and Gone, and the Jesus Birthday on the Horizon

So yes, it's time for some navel-gazing. Last year, in the annual blogiversary post (for my blogiversary was at the end of July), I wrote the following in conclusion:

So what will the blog show in the coming year? Impossible to tell, obviously. But a few months ago I was talking to my mom on the phone, and I told her (I have no recollection of the context for this comment), "I feel like I'm changing again." I remember when I said it I felt surprised, like I'd thought I was done with the whole changing nonsense when I got out of grad school and my 20s. (Incidentally, my mom claims that the changing does slow up when you hit your late 40s, but never stops completely. Good to know. Especially as my whole life I've always hated all change - in myself, in others, whatever. Change, for me, is something I fight with my whole being until I finally reach a kind of defeated acceptance.) And I've also been feeling like whatever changing is happening in me is a kind of weird gearing up for a real change. It's sort of like how you can smell a thunderstorm in the air before it arrives - I smell a change on the horizon for me. And I don't have a real sense of what it will be. Will it be a new job? A relationship? Both? Something else? I suppose I'll have to wait and see.... And you'll all have to keep reading.

(But watch NOTHING changes, and I look at this blog post a year from now and I'm MORTIFIED. How embarassing.)

Well. Look at that. On the surface, not much has changed. I don't have a new relationship, not really, and I don't have a new job. I felt a big change coming, and, well, much like how it can feel like it's going to storm on a very hot day, and then there can be some lightening and such, the rain doesn't come and it remains as humid and ridiculously hot as ever. Except I do feel like I've gone through a lot in the past year, and I don't feel like I'm in an identical place to the one that I was in last year at this time. So what has this year been for me, if not one of dramatic change?
  • Last year I was wigging about going on the market, feeling vaguely like a traitor to my current university for even considering it, and feeling pretty insecure about anything at all coming of it. Well, I went on the market, the sky did not fall, and while I didn't get an offer, I did do very well, and I ultimately felt like not getting an offer was probably best. I realized a lot about my current job and current location that's good, and I learned a lot about who I've become as a scholar over the past four years. And so this year if I send anything out it won't be with the sense of "I must get the fuck out of here" that I felt last year. I'm a lot more comfortable in my life now than I was then - and I think that's maybe because I really put myself out there to try to see whether I should or could be someplace else.
  • As for the job, my current job, I feel much more... at ease, and even hopeful, about the potential of this place. I've been able to do what I want to do here in ways that I probably wouldn't be able to do in another institution, and even though there are "things" there is change on the horizon at the institutional level as well as at the departmental level. If I stay here through tenure, and thus most likely through the rest of my career, I can be happy here. And if I move on I can care about this place and the people here still, and maybe do what I can from afar to continue in my commitment to what this place is and to the students that are here. That feels good.
  • Relationships. Let's start with friend relationships. First of all, A. and I are back to being bestest of friends (we had fallen out of touch in the past five years or so, for reasons I won't get into but which had little to do with either of us, actually), and that is fabulous. And I've got BFF here, and I'm forging friendships with other people here, too, whom previously I'd been merely superficially friendly with. All of this is awesome. And I've made some real bloggy-type friends, had my first blogger meet-up, etc., and that has been awesome as well. All in all, I've got a pretty vibrant social life for a loser who is a workaholic. I've got peeps :)
  • Relationships: romantic. Ah fuck. How do I even begin to do a recap of those in the past year? Well, so the fall was pretty drama-free. I suppose that was good. And then the spring. Ah, the spring. I had an Infatuation. I did some dating via the online means that are the bane of 21st century daters' existence. And then, somehow, I ended up in some sort of bizarrely intimate pseudo-relationship that I have trouble defining, for any number of reasons. So in other words, it's not like I've got my shit together on this score. That said, well, I'm not feeling totally hopeless about the whole enterprise. A lot is up in the air through this year, honestly, as this is the year before I go up for tenure, and should there be a move, that will make things go in one direction, and should there not be a move, that will make things go in another. What matters is that I do know that I'm lovely, and so if what I want is a "real" relationship I'll figure out how to make that happen in one way or another, whether the pseudo-thing materializes into that or whether the pseudo-thing falls by the wayside and I seek greener pastures. The point though is that I am turning 33, and I need to figure this shit out sooner rather than later if babies are something I want to consider. Because, seriously people, I realize that it's probably going to take me a good few years to get it totally together, and with that being the case, I can't just go along like the fool that I've been throughout my dating life. It's all about priorities, and I need to make sure that this bullshit with romantic stuff remains one. Can't end up in a series of long-term pseudo-things only to wake up at 45 and realize that I no longer get to decide.
But so yes, I'm turning 33. And BFF has a theory that this is an incredibly significant birthday because it is also the age of Jesus when he died on the cross, and thus it is a birthday of deep reflection about what the hell a person has accomplished in her life. I mean, what with the whole failing to perform miracles thing, and the fact that I'll not be dying on the cross to take away the sins of the world, perhaps it's time to figure out what I might be doing in my remaining time on this here earth.

In the short term, I'll be finishing my book (work habits of today not withstanding). I'll either stay here and get tenure, go someplace else and get tenure, go someplace else and not get tenure, or end up in some other profession altogether. Maybe in the long-term I'll write a novel. Maybe I'll get married sometime, maybe I'll have a kid or two. I'll travel. Maybe sometime I'll get my finances together and buy a house. So yeah, those are the things in the works, I suppose. Of course, the only things I'm sure of are the book and my ability to get tenure here. But I suppose I'm open to the possibility of doing more than that, or doing other than the staying here and getting tenure thing. This year has really shown me exactly where the job falls in my list of priorities, and what I realize is that it's not #1 on the list anymore. I still care about it, and I still care about the work I'm doing, but I know that this isn't my main focus anymore in the way that it was in grad school or in the way that it was in my first years on the tenure track. I think that this is a positive development.


Hilaire said...

Oh yeah, I've heard this about 33, too, and I've heard it called the Buddha year, as well...because it's also the year that the Buddha attained enlightenment, or well as, erm, some other important people (I forget who) doing important things like dying or reaching impressive life stages. My 33rd birthday is also coming up. May we have enlightening years!

Hilaire said...

Somehow ended that last comment without saying it, terrible me: Happy Blogiversary!!! You are always a pleasure to read - thank you for your posts. And your help!

..... said...

delurking for a moment, simply because I just had the "Jesus birthday" thought this morning. My own 33rd is fast approaching.
I'm an English PhD that left tenure-track in the dust to focus on her family. I'm doing productive things, things that I hope will allow me a way back into higher ed at some point should I decide that's what I want, yet I'm still plagued by the --how do you put it-- "time to figure out what I might be doing in my remaining time on this here earth" factor.

I guess I read your blog because it symbolizes my own "greener pastures" and for me wrapped up in this whole "Jesus Birthday" phenomenon and the discomfort I feel with it is the never-quite- dead question of if my life would seem or be more significant if I hadn't chosen babies and family over academia. I know that it's not an either/or choice for everyone, but it was for me at the stage of life I encountered it.

Your blog and the honesty with which you write it encourages me because it reminds me that there are other people out there asking themselves the same "what the hell" questions I am, even if we are coming at them from different vantage points.

Congrats on the book, btw. I'm glad you posted a bit about what you work on. My dissertation was broadly focused on eighteenth-century women writers and I struggled with how to address their ?obvious? sexual euphemisms. For expediency, I ended up bracketing that discussion into a note rather than actually engaging it, but all that to say, I'm putting your book on my reading list!

Mick Bright Kim said...


Earnest English said...

Ah, the 33rd birthday. That's always also the age of transformation for almost all film and book heroines that we love: Bridget Jones, Izzy of Crossing Delancey, one of Colette's heroines, etc.

My 33rd certainly had changes in it. As does my 34th, which I am still in. I remember by the end of my 33rd, I totally thought I had my life figured out. I was also totally wrong. But I wish the best of luck to Dr. Crazy and all y'all.

Horace said...

I just had my Jesus birthday, and had about half a post written on it before I just gave up. But what I realized was that while the magic number could make me feel depressed about all I hadn't accomplished, it was also freeing--"Well, there's another yardstick I can't be compared to!" or "Heh, no matter what else happens, at least I outlived Jesus!"

So cheers to outliving Jesus, and another yardstick that can't measure you.

gwoertendyke said...

happy birthday, crazy.