Looking forward, looking back. That's what we do this time of year, right? Why else start the year in a month called January?
So, I'll bite. It's practically required, I think, anyway. Since 2005 was a complicated year (is there any other kind?), it might be easier to group things together.
High points of 2005
Fred. That's my cat, in case you're uninformed. I adopted her in February from a local shelter, and my quality of life improved immeasurably. Not right away, to be honest, since she was very sick with a respiratory infection and things looked pretty grim for a while. But we both pulled through, and she's now healthy and happy and makes me laugh many times a day. She's also the best behaved cat I've ever had; for a while I'd thought of getting another, but I think I'm better off quitting while I'm ahead.
Stockholm. I went to a conference in Sweden for a few days in July, and had an awesome time. It was a stimulating environment, the people were fantastic, and the setting was magical. Best trip I've taken in ages. My only regret was that I couldn't afford to stay around longer.
Fall semester. This fall I loved all my classes, and my professors were amazing. I learned so much, and actually started to feel somewhat competent. (Which of course means I'm setting myself up for a big fall soon, but I'm just going to bask for the moment.)
Turning 40. Who ever would have thought? Some switch deep inside finally flipped, and I stopped dreading the new decade. I actually started looking forward to it, as a matter of fact, and so far I have been very happy as a forty-something. I had a terrific party: Dario was even here, so we could celebrate together just as we celebrated our 20th birthdays together when we first met. A lot of people couldn't come for various reasons, but we had a good group and I think everyone had a great time. The restaurant where I had it is an... unusual kind of place, and everyone was treated to a free tarot reading. As the birthday girl, mine was extra-special, and it was also a terrific reading. Plus, I had the prettiest dress in the whole world.
Low points of 2005
Getting sick. Last February I came down with a nasty case of bronchitis, teetered on the edge of pneumonia for a while, and experienced for the first time the unpleasantness that is being very ill when living alone. There was a good side to the experience, though, since it gave me the wake-up call I needed to start taking better care of myself. That became a theme of the year, which certainly was a good thing.
Spring semester. Even though I did fine academically, it was kind of a rough time. I was still jet-lagged from my winter break in Italy when the semester started, which pretty much set the tone for the weeks to come. Giorgio went into the hospital the night before I left to come back, and was in and out all spring. Getting sick myself threw me even more off my game, and as a result I spent most of the term feeling behind and lost. I think a lot of it was part of the natural growing pains involved in any intense process of change, and I guess getting a PhD would count as one of those.
I think that's it. Hard to complain about a year with more high points than low, right?
Some lists for 2005
- Experienced an 11 p.m. sunset and 4 a.m. sunrise. It was pretty cool, but also exhausting.
- Held a book containing a chapter written by me!
- Went to the ballet. The Bolshoi, no less. I figure I was waiting to start at the top.
- Watched TV for academic purposes. I dig it.
- Went on a date with a complete stranger. Twice (although I guess only the first counts as a first, huh?). Let's just say I'm not itching to repeat the experience.
Places I went
- I guess Italy counts, right, since I was there when the year began?
- I was supposed to go to Georgia for a conference, but that's when I got sick.
- New York, a couple of times. Including Queens, which actually counts as another first.
- Hershey, PA
What I want/plan/expect/wish for in 2006
- I'm on the programming committee for a (fun, non-academic) conference, meaning I'll probably be in Atlanta in July.
- I submitted a paper to a conference in Dresden in June. I'm not sure whether to hope for it or not: prestige and validation, yes, but ouch. Very expensive. We'll see.
- I'm submitting two papers for another important conference that isn't until November. I really, really hope at least one gets accepted for that.
- I'll cut the other school-related stuff short, and just say I hope it continues to go well. If all proceeds according to plan, I should finish my coursework at the end of the year, meaning I'll also need to have a committee picked and a dissertation topic chosen. Eep.
- I want to spend more time with friends in 2006. This year was not a very sociable one.
- I'd also like to have sex in 2006, but that seems highly unlikely.
- I want to get back into the exercise/eating/meditation program I had going this summer. I felt great and was several pounds thinner. I kept it up fairly well until the last month of school, so I figure I'm still starting out ahead if I hop back on right after the new year.
- Somehow, I'd like to find more time for creative outlets in 2006. Whether it's personal writing projects or knitting or beading, or something else entirely, I need some non-work projects going on.
- I hope my friends and loved ones are healthy, happy, and safe. That wasn't the case for too many of them in 2005. May Janus bring good tidings to all.