Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Taking Stock At the End of Another Academic Year

In academia, you have the chance to assess the events of the year twice--once at the end of December (like everybody else), then in April/May/June (depending where you teach). We're not quite at the end of the year yet: I have one class, some exams, three Gallatin colloquiums and a field trip to the Charles James exhibit at the Met before graduation, but it's so close that I'm thinking about what I did, what I didn't do, and what I'm hoping the next year will bring.

This (academic) year saw my book release, four conference papers and one published article (with another hopefully accepted and two more proposals solicited for upcoming anthologies). Much of this work was either completed before this year or produced in draft form/in terms of conference papers due to Severin. As he sleeps better, I'm starting to produce more developed work and as I sleep better after a prolonged period of severe insomnia during and after weaning him, my brain is beginning to work again. Hopefully I'll be able to capitalize on these efforts and get more substantial work done this next year.

Severin's accomplishments are more impressive. When I look at photos from last May, our dear little boy was just beginning to leave babyhood behind. He was on the cusp of sitting unaided, a development that would herald his acceleration into greater independence and activity, becoming more himself every day with his huge, joyous and highly social personality. It's amazing how grown up he seems at 16 months, even as I realise this is only the start of major transformations to come.

While time seems to have flown, last May seems a long time ago. I had barely left Severin other than to work and was limited in my actions by breast feeding (something so worthwhile but more life changing than I could have imagined). I miss those days and so hope I can repeat them with another child sometime soon. I'd also not heard of Waybuloo nor had I been introduced to the world of V-Tech toys and Severin's love for musical, light up bright coloured plastic. I was barely familiar with Julia Donaldson's work and now I'm able to recite chunks of Tabby McTat and Tiddler from memory.

In many ways, late April and early May are the best times of year. I'm totally exhausted with the extra hours I'm putting in at work and I've been eating horribly--too much bread, sugar and other carbs. I suspect my blood sugar has been sky high on a couple of occasions when I've eaten the food offered at work and the alternative was not to eat at all. But the entire summer is ahead, full of possibilities and unsullied by the realities of ambitions unfulfilled and potential disappointments. Standing on the cusp of this time allows me to hope for the best and deal with my current exhaustion--even as I vow not to indulge in carbs, to lose the pounds I must have gained recently and to lower my A1c before I see my endocrinologist in June. 

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