2013 is almost over, and while it was not a bad year, the promise of a ‘clean slate’ that the New Year brings is almost always welcome. Of course, it is not all roses and unicorns (or is that glitter and unicorns.. would glitter even be considered a good thing!?). January starts off with a bit of a mixed bag of emotions as my oldest daughter leaves for a year in Australia on Jan. 26th. While I am extremely excited for her, as a mom who is extremely good friends with her girls, it will be heart-wrenching to see her go. The house will be quiet with both girls gone (and no, we will not be getting a dog …). On that note, I admit I have never been as thankful for the advances in global communications technology as I am in this moment, knowing we can Skype and email each other while she is away.
With my maternal duties have all but been put on hold (besides my eternal love and support), it is the first time since I’ve entered academia (I went back to university in 2002, when my girls were 8 and 12) that I will not have to think about being home in time to make dinner, or to try to read and write around the schedules of my children. Just as well, since I have two co-authored book chapters due in March. It will be interesting to see if I can figure out how to actually wholly focus on my work. My colleagues have always laughed when I told them that I cannot work in silence.. it puts me to sleep! I went through all three degrees with the TV and/or radio (or video games) blaring in the background, and my work space was in the living room until midway through my PhD (figured if I had to “working” at least I was physical visible and available for them). During the last bit of my PhD, I worked through the night, freeing up more time in the day for family responsibilities. But from January 26 to December 6th, the only person I will have to worry about (in a manner of speaking) is myself – and if I am being nice, my partner come meal times. In February I get to plan my partner’s 40th birthday party. Never quite sure what to do for his birthday, but I think this milestone should be celebrated if only by (finally) getting him an HDTV to game on so he can stop squinting at the minuscule words on the old picture tube television I have in my office.
That brings me to the end of March. It is so strange (and extremely unsettling) to not have any clue what comes after March 31st (besides April 1st ….). As mentioned in my last post, there was comfort in knowing what year after year had in store for me while I was in school. There was comfort in knowing that January, May and September marked the start of a new semester. My funding was also relatively stable so I could plot out what conferences I could attend. These days, it’s all so up in the air that every time a call for papers comes out I get anxiety – wanting to submit, but not having any idea if I can actually attend. But there are a handful of conferences that I will definitely try to attend this year like the Canadian Game Studies Association annual conference “in St. Catharines, Ontario, on May 28 and 29, in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences”, DiGRA which will be held in Snowbird, Utah August 3-6th, and of course IR15 (AoIR’s annual conference) in Bangkok this October. Those three alone will probably bust my current annual salary but hey – at this stage of my career, networking is half the work! That being said, I also have a few pending job applications out for review – and that can mean anything can happen. I spread my applications far and wide, so who knows what continent I will be on come fall.
Of course, in terms of fitness goals for 2014, I still have my Spartan Race season pass that the company honored from last year (silly me under-trained last year and suffered a stupid season ending injury). The first race of the Spartan season (for me) is May 18th … not much time to get my act together and get back into *finishing* shape (I run these races for *fun* and personal challenge – I would be silly to say *compete* but I digress). It is hard because so many of my racing friends are signing up for all the races, Spartan, Mud Hero, Prison Break, and so many more – and I sit on the fence, being out of shape again, but mostly because I have no clue where I will be when the races roll around.
So that’s my year in a nutshell. More waiting, wondering and working towards finding stability again. But looking around me, I know that life is pretty good regardless. So while I rant and ramble on about not knowing what the future holds, I know there are worse things in life!
So – all that to say. My Goals for 2014:
- not cry too much when my baby leaves for Australia
- organize a 40th bday party for my partner (even though he’s not a big party guy)
- write two kick-ass chapters with my co-authors
- complete my Spartan trifecta come hell or high water and maybe get a Mud Hero and Prison Break race under my belt this year
- keep applying for and hope to get an academic job in my field
- attend at least 3 conferences