When I said that I expected 2020 to be a challenging year, I didn’t quite mean this challenging.
The title of this post is both an indication of its content and a personal challenge. I’m not entirely sure how to provide a retrospective on 2019. I’m not even sure where to begin.
I might also note that this entire retrospective is probably the height of a “first-world consideration.” There are very real issues and real disasters going right now that make my reflections here seem trivial. I suppose, in fact, that they are. I don’t pretend to think that these matter one iota to the world at large.
They are important to me, though, so I am sharing them. If you’re reading this, I assume you have a reason for being interested. If not, well, there is always a lot of content out there.
Welcome to 2019, my occasional reader. I would do a review of 2018, but—except for a few minor highlights—2018 was not the most auspicious of years for me. I am quite content to leave it in the dustbin of my personal history.
I am far more interested in looking forward. There is a lot coming up this year. Most importantly, I am working to finish a dissertation and with it my doctorate. This is my final semester. When I finish, I will have completed the last step of a path I began almost a decade ago. Truth is, I had no clue where it would take me, and it has been an incredible journey. Scarier still, I have no clue where it will take me next. Where I will be in the fall of 2019 is still a complete mystery. I am looking forward to that next step, though. There is something exciting about the unknown, and the possibilities that lay beyond it.
I wanted to say that the close of this journey will be an easy one. I originally planned it to be. I was going to have a full draft by the end of the year …
So, I’ve been writing a dissertation, and I am finally starting to enjoy the experience. I have read through the theorists that ground my work1. The research is (mostly) coming together, and I am absolutely savoring the experience of just sitting down and writing. The chapters are starting to really flow, and I am looking at having a full first draft completed by the end of the year. In fact, I am behind on other important work2 because I have been enjoying the process of writing so much.
I think a good portion of my enjoyment comes from the fact that I have made a conscious effort not to allow feelings of guilt or lack to limit me. For a while, I did. I was trying to fit everything in and working very hard to please everyone. I was miserable, but I really didn’t want to face the alternative. It is amazing how difficult it can be to acknowledge and affirm our priorities to other people. This is especially true when those priorities mean that people will be disappointed or upset.
For me, that has been the real benefit of the dissertation. It is a consuming …