Making 2016 Mine

new year 2016
by Stux, from Pixabay, CC0

Resolutions. You either love them or loathe them. Generally, I avoid them because all they seem to accomplish is making me feel guilty. That being said, I am making some plans and goals for 2016. I want to OWN 2016. I want to make it my bitch.

Bluntly: 2015 sucked ass. It was one of the worst years of my life. There were a couple highlights: a conference I love in March, FINALLY defending prospectus at the beginning of December, but on the whole it was absolutely horrifyingly terrible. My mother lost her job. I had a wholly unproductive guilt-ridden jobless spring semester. I spent three months genuinely suicidal. I had a sudden, difficult, painful move. And have been and currently still am living on a very tight budget, paycheck to paycheck, always worrying about how I was going pay the rent or buy food. My oldest, dearest, cat died. My paternal grandfather died. I made some serious mistakes. I was rejected by someone I really care about.  All in all, it’s been a SHIT year.

So, I am absolutely determined that somehow SOMEHOW I will make 2016 MINE. Mine, I tell you, MINE! *cue evil laugh*

I don’t want to call these my resolutions, exactly. “Plans” seems more accurate. And I’m trying not to make vague resolutions like “I resolve to be kinder” or whatever, but to focus only or mostly on concrete actionable plans. One thing that helps: I go into Jan 1st already a little better off for a couple reasons:

  1. An article I wrote has been accepted for publication in an academic journal (I’m being vague to keep my half-assed anonymity).
  2. I have applied for two jobs, and if I get either or both I will be much better off for the Spring and/or Summer.
  3. Having defended my prospectus on Dec 9th, I am now in a much better position to work on and finish in dissertation in a timely manner (meaning 1 or 1 and a half years).

So, here’s my list of plans:

  1. meditate 15-20 minutes daily
  2. try yoga or some other simple/basic exercise at least a couple days a week
  3. blog regularly (whether that is here or on my old blog)
  4. listen to 1 audiobook per month
  5. set up a reasonable writing schedule
  6. try to meet with a writer’s group semi-regularly
  7. apply for full-time teaching position
  8. apply for MFAH summer internship
  9. apply for research grant (either the American Association of Academic Women or another one I qualify for)
  10. revise my short story “Gone” and submit it to Conjunctions by end of February
  11. revise one paper for submission to an academic journal
  12. write a short screenplay for my brother to film
  13. go to ICFA conference in Orlando in March (definite)
  14. go to PKD conference in Fullerton in April (tentative)
  15. go to Virginia to visit family in May or June
  16. go to WorldCon in Kansas City in August (definite)
  17. go to Russian Utopia Conference in Paris in September (awaiting acceptance *fingers crossed*)
  18. complete 3 chapters of dissertation by end of the year

Good News and Bad News

Hello all, and sorry for the disappearance. It’s been very crazy the last three weeks, and taking the time out to post here was something I had neither the time nor the energy to do. But now I am taking a breather for the day and wanted to share some good news and bad news.

The good news: The semester is winding down, though I have an enormous amount of grading left to do. I spent the last couple weeks stressing out over my prospectus defense, which was yesterday. I feared I might throw up or burst into tears in the middle of it all, but I am happy to say that the defense went surprisingly well. My committee seemed impressed with my work, and I passed with flying colors. After the defense, I celebrated with coffee and cake with my dissertation director, my mother, and a couple friends. I cannot express how happy I am that’s over with. Obviously, I still have to write the actual dissertation, but having one less hoop to jump through means a LOT to me.

The bad news: My grandfather has cancer and is going down hill. We’ve known about the cancer for almost a year now, but he had been getting treatments and was stable for a long time, so we were cautiously optimistic he would pull through. However, in the last two weeks he has deteriorated rapidly, and the cancer has spread to his liver and pancreas. We are unsure how much longer he’ll be around, and this is almost definitely his last Christmas, so my brother and I have scrounged up the time and money to go to Arizona over winter break to visit him and the rest of our family. It’ll be the first time the whole family on my dad’s side will be in the same place in YEARS, so we’re going to try to make the most of it.

I’m not sure it’s quite hit me yet that I may be losing my grandfather soon. I’ve already lost one. I’m sad, of course, but it doesn’t seem to have really sunk in yet.

I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to blog while I’m with family, so it may be after Christmas before you hear from me again. So: I wish you all Happy Holidays, whether those holidays include Chanukah, or Kwanzaa, or Mawlid, or Christmas, or just the simple joy of winter. I will see you all again before the end of the year.

UPDATE (Dec 11th): My grandfather died early this morning. I am heartbroken that my frantic attempts to get out to see him before he died have been for nothing. My father didn’t get to see him before he passed either, which is particularly horrible. My trip is now one for mourning.