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New Years’ Resolutions — It’s Never Too Late! January 26, 2011

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
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Yeah, yeah, whatever. Onely’s a little slow on the uptake. We’re 26 days past the new year already — duh! But given the maddening developments in my life since the *real* new year, I’m inclined to start from scratch and designate today, January 26th 2011, my official new year.

Since Christina and I began this blog, I’ve been enrolled in a wonderful doctoral program in Louisville, Kentucky. I have enjoyed constant support and intellectual engagement from my peers and mentors. I have grown in so many ways — as a person, as a teacher, as a scholar. In fact, it’s hard for me to imagine the development of Onely in any way separate from my journey in graduate school.

But my formal education is coming to a close — I’m set to graduate in May — and with that closure comes transition. The academic job market hasn’t been easy, and at this point I have no idea where I will be in six months, even in three. I have become comfortable with my life here, but I’ve also been looking forward to moving on and finding some security. I thought I’d be moving toward the ideal – an assistant professor position at a great university – and instead I find myself confronting the reality – the market is glutted with equally qualified candidates who have similar dreams, and I don’t have any control over how they compare to me.

Unfortunately, my “ideal” may not work out after all, and it’s been somewhat unsettling as I identify other “ideals.” The thing is, I’ve begun to remember that there are alternatives to what I thought I’d been aiming for this whole time — there are other “ideals.” Within this academic world I live in, you wouldn’t think there is anything to do but teach college students and publish lengthy papers in academic journals. In fact, that’s what I’ve basically assumed since beginning this program.

But that’s the culture of the academy, not of the world. And as I consider other paths, I’m reminded not only of who I was (what I believed, valued, desired) before this doctoral program, but how far I’ve come — not only professionally, but also personally. My original “self” is still intact; it’s just become a little more nerdy and a lot more satisfied. I’m beginning to wonder why I was dead-set on a particular future when, in fact, there could be many: I have this amazing degree (well, almost have it, knock on wood) and have accumulated years of teaching, research, writing, and editing experience — all of which can be used in new and exciting ways I couldn’t have predicted.

These last few weeks, as I’ve been rejected by institutions and people I unconsciously idealized for the last four years, I have begun to explore — and get excited about! — other options. Admittedly, it’s been difficult to explore these options without feeling like I’m somehow giving up or letting my colleagues down, and so I haven’t felt entirely open to this exploration, in spite of the fact that I keep returning to it. My conclusion: the process of letting go – even if it’s not permanent – is painful, no matter how rich the future promises to be.

So my late-January New Year’s resolution, official on January 26th, 2011, is as follows:

I welcome the uncertainty of the present and open my mind to whatever possibilities inhere in the future. After all, I could not have predicted them without letting go. And I could not be so welcoming if I were not Onely.

Copious Readers, what are your late- (or early!) January resolutions, and how will your Onely mindset help you maintain your resolve?

— Lisa


1. kevin blumer - January 26, 2011

i didnt really make any this year that i can remeber the inly thing that i can think of is have the best year going last year was my worst on record so it cant be hard to beet this year

Onely - January 26, 2011

Kevin — sorry to hear that you had the worst year last year. Thank goodness for new years — I wish you the best!

— L

2. Josie - January 27, 2011

Well I’m glad you asked, while I made several less-than-serious-resolutions, like not acquiring five dogs again, I have made one more Onely type resolution.
That being to appreciate where I am right now, whether single or not, and appreciate all that I am lucky enough to have, eg health, lovely friends, one dog (and a couple of part-time ones), employment, a beautiful place to live and a world full of possibilities.
If you’d like to read about less serious and yet still very important resolutions you could visit here:
Good luck with the job hunting, Onely.

Onely - January 27, 2011

Thanks for the link, Josie. My idea for your French-speaking trip next December is somewhere in the Caribbean where French is the primary language spoken (such as French Guinea, Guadalupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia, etc.). That way you avoid the nasty Europe weather but still get to use your language!

And I love your “serious” resolution too. Thanks for sharing!

— L

3. i0lnda - January 27, 2011


Your thoughts above are so mature and “thoughtful” …. not many people would have been able to analyse and reason-out the options you have ahead for you.

…. yes, I know that your ‘age’ makes you mature but there are many adults that do NOT display maturity in their thoughts or actions …. so don’t underestimate what I’ve said above/.

Congratulations and good luck with your rumination!!

Re resolutions ……. I don’t make them, because if I want to change something I don’t wait until the new year to do it! Having said that I did write down a list of projects I want to work on this year, but they aren’t resolutions!

Onely - January 27, 2011

Thanks Iolanda for the support… I need it!

And, I completely agree with your rationale for not making annual resolutions — it’s silly to wait until the new year to make life changes.

— Lisa

4. singlutionary - January 27, 2011

There is something wonderful about academics working outside of academia — at least for a while. If that ends up happening to you, I suspect it is the opposite of giving up and will give you a deeper perspective on your academic life and career. I returned to academics this fall but I realize that there is a distinct difference between me and the wonderful professors who have never been in the “outside” world. I bring a perspective to my studies that they don’t have because they have always been immersed in them.

I was going to go straight through for a PhD but have now decided to finish the MA and work on other projects for a while. I asked a friend of mine who is getting a masters in Philosophy what he intends to do with his degree after graduating and he said (in true southern humor): “Smile at it”

If nothing else, you’ve got a very bright and shiny thing to smile at.

Onely - January 27, 2011

Haha Singlutionary, I truly hope that my degree will be shiny. Perhaps it will be if I encase it in glass.

I think you’re smart to stop at the MA and wait until you do the PhD…. The thing I always tell people when they say they admire what I do is, it’s not worth it unless you really love it. Luckily I do, but I know so many in my program (and elsewhere) who don’t, and then they get stuck….

Thanks for the affirmations, and good luck with your own graduate work πŸ™‚

— Lisa

5. Alan - January 27, 2011

I’ve been shifting gears a bit too. I planned to get a new job this year, preferably at a hospital where nurses are treated better. But recently I’ve begun to wonder if I’m well-suited to the money focus one finds in healthcare. I’m wondering if I’d be happier in academia.

Also focusing on community as well. While I’ve though about renting a house, it seems a waste for one person and two cats, and require both part-time and full-time work to pay for (although it would take care of the noisy neighbor question decisively). I’ve started to look into cooperative housing and roommates. Might find a smaller church too, one where you know people better.

Onely - January 29, 2011

So interesting, Alan — sounds like we are living opposite lives (what with you looking into academia and me looking out). Great resolutions; thanks for sharing.

— Lisa

6. bobusmaximus - January 27, 2011

I made my resolutions early and so I’m actually a few months in. Sometimes I feel like I pretty much wasted my twenties and I don’t want to look back and feel the same way about any more of my life.

So, I started on a Masters program. It’s going really well so far, and though it’s sometimes hard to work it round full time teaching, it’s worth it.

I’m resolving to be more physically active as well as mentally. I joined a Roller Derby team and I love it! I think it’s the best thing I’ve done for years, and I’ve already met so many great people.

It’s helping with my third resolution – I’m learning to ignore the pressure to couple up and start thinking babies and focusing on just enjoying being, well, onely, I suppose. (It’s not a word I’d heard of until I recently stumbled across your blog, but I like it).

Onely - January 29, 2011

Roller Derby is my secret dream activity! I am so jealous/admirative (that’s not a word but whatever!) — the best part about it is that it’s tied into your third resolution. πŸ™‚

Welcome to Onely!

— Lisa

7. Arene - January 28, 2011

You go girl! I think its fantastic that you now realize that you have a vast amount of options and a great degree.
I don’t make new year resolutions, since I am Jewish, I have both the regular new year and the Jewish new year, plus birthdays that I can make resolutions on… so its a bit of a fiasco.
I am trying to be more grateful for what I do have.

Onely - January 29, 2011

Thanks for the affirmation, Arene! Your resolution doesn’t need to be associated with a single occasion: Being grateful for what we have has everyday importance — which is, perhaps, part of the reason it’s such a difficult attitude to maintain.

— Lisa

8. Q Turner - January 30, 2011

I have 2 sisters in academia, and it’s a tough row to hoe. I wish you all the best of luck with whatever may come. It was about at your same point (6 months prior to graduation–with BA, not higher degree) that I realized more schooling wasn’t going to help me achieve my goals. So I sold my soul to marketing. =D

Anyway, my goal this year is to PUBLISH MY YA SCI-FI NOVEL! It will happen. I swear it. Halfway through a re-write right now.

We had the same thoughts for the new year as you, incidentally: http://www.pinkkisses.com/2011/01/09/pk-prescription-13-chase-your-dreams-2

Good luck, and PK2U!

Onely - January 31, 2011

Thanks Q, for the link and good vibes. I LOVE your goal and think that revision is by far the hardest part of writing (I’ve been doing plenty of it myself recently), so I hope you give yourself lots of kudos when you accomplish it!


9. Sixty and Single in Seattle - February 1, 2011

Lisa, it’s inspirational to read this. I’m at Year Two of my Seattle life and blog, and looking back at what I’d hoped for and what’s actually happened, and it all feels right. I know that will be true for you as well. I look forward to tagging along on your journey.

Onely - February 4, 2011

Thanks Mary for the support! Really means a lot πŸ™‚

— Lisa

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