jump to navigation

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

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, single and happy, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: , , , ,

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

%d bloggers like this: