Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Resolutions: The Year of My Career

I think I spoke too soon when I said that I'm ready for 2014.

I woke up this morning to a whisper from Keith, "Happy 2014."

And then I got a horrible abdominal cramp. And my heart got stuck in my throat. Tears started to well up.

Why am I having a visceral reaction to the idea of being in a new calendar year? I've never experienced this before. I've always counted my blessing of the past year, thrown back a bunch of champagne, and welcomed the new day, the new year.

But something feels different... I feel like I'm getting old. Even though I'm 28 now, I'm dreading turning 30. Yeah, dreading it. I don't know why. My husband is losing his hair and my metabolism really isn't what it used to be. I'm a student. I'm a 28 year old student. I don't own anything other than a dilapidated Jeep and a whole lot of nice kitchen wares. And I live hundreds and hundreds of miles away from the people I love, including my husband.

Maybe I'm just unsatisfied with where I am in my life right now. Even after looking at my 2013 and spying all the jewels of the year, I am ultimately in a weird place I want to get out of. 

So my goal for 2014 is this: do everything possible to get myself nearer to a place I want to be. Even if I don't get all the way there, I want to be closer. 

Here's what I think is necessary for that:
  1. Write my dissertation. Just do it.
  2. Apply to every job in philosophy that is even remotely close to being open to me. This will happen in the Fall. Getting my dissertation together will greatly help my chances on the job market.
  3. Save money. I'm terrible about this. I don't have debt, but I don't have any savings either. If I seriously want to buy a house one day, I need to remedy this situation. Every month, I'll put away 10% of my fellowship check.
  4. Apply for external fellowships. I've been lazily sitting content with my university fellowship. It's time to beef up my CV with some fancier stuff.
  5. Submit papers to at least 5 conferences. Again, need to beef up the CV.
  6. Polish a paper and submit it to a journal. This is the most terrifying thing ever. It paralyzes me. Only academics can understand. Ugh, I'm sweating just thinking about it.
Okay. That's it. Six little big things that will make a little big impact on my career and on my quality of life. 

Last year was the year of running for me. This year is the year of my career. 

But also:
  1. Do a triathlon.
  2. Get a PR in the half marathon.
  3. Sail.
Check out this guy's photography. It's amazing.


  1. These are great goals! I'm 28, too, and starting to feel more like I'm in my 30s than in my 20s. It's one of those awkward, in-between ages, I think.

  2. Uuuummmm, yeah-- I'm turning 30 this year, and I seriously can't believe it. So glad I finished my degree while I'm still 29! Phew!! I totally know what you mean about all the academic stuff. It can be stressful, but once you get started, it'll get better. Also, SO excited that a triathlon is on you goal list for this year!! :)

  3. I had to comment because I feel the SAME way. I'm also 28, and while New Year's used to be it's making me feel nervous. Like I'm running "out of time" for things, and should be further ahead in my life, and blah, blah, blah. But I think all we can do is keep setting goals and continually work on improving ourselves, and it sounds like you're off to a great start for the new year! Best of luck with everything! :)

  4. I think everybody feels this way sometimes, even people who have exactly what they expected to have at x point in their lives. It's not necessarily predictable or preventable. I think it's great that you are identifying what you think might be the root of this feeling for you, though, and making plans to address those things. (I am 32 years old, and my boyfriend & I still rent a house with a roommate. That's my "I-thought-things-would-be-different-by-now" ish. On the other hand, it also helps to remind myself that that is *very* far from the worst housing situation I could be in.)

    Good luck with your goals!!!

  5. Unfortunately, the feelings you describe will plague you over and over again, especially in academia. At least you're being proactive about it. I don't know how the job market is for philosophy PhDs but if it's anything like what's going on in the sciences (read: rough), it might also be worth it to start networking and figuring out an non-academic path that would make you happy. I spent 12 years in grad school + as a post-doc, couldn't get a a job, and have been working in a completely different field for the past 2 years. Even though I missed my family A LOT and gave up at least one relationship due to being in academia, I don't ever regret going to grad school or doing my post-doc. But, I sometimes compare myself to my peers and feel depressed... but then I have to remind myself that I don't have any regrets! Anyway, do what you love, be with who you love... hopefully, it will all work out for you. Good luck!

  6. These are really big things. It’s pretty difficult to achieve, particularly the need to save money for your new house. But things can go well once you start to save. For now, maybe you can window shop for houses online first so you’ll have an idea on the price range of the houses for sale in the market.

    Leslie @ The Bolton Home Team