Wow, I just can’t get away from this shitty new WordPress posting block. I really hate it but, evidently, if I want to continue using WordPress, I’m stuck with it. Crap.

Not sure how I feel about starting 2021 this way.

But never mind my complaining (already!). Happy New Year, folks!

I am not going to waste any time at all in here talking about 2020 in review. The year was awful, for reasons with which we are all familiar. Of course, I am not expecting everything to miraculously right itself now that January is here. I do try not to be unreasonable. But clearly, things are changing. There will be a new U.S. president, so I can probably postpone emigrating for a little while. There is now a vaccine for COVID-19, and I plan to get vaccinated just as soon as I am able. I expect, before the year is over, that things will be … different.

“Back to normal” is a concept I’m going to avoid for the moment.

As I embark on 2021, I have decided that this year’s theme is going to be professional development. This one kind of wrote itself.

The year will start with spring semester, during which I will divide my time between teaching a course called Anthropology and Development, and data analysis/dissertation writing. I have a couple of chapters drafted and I need to start working on a third chapter, since I hope to present it at a virtual conference later this spring.

This will be my first time actually teaching a course as the instructor of record (as opposed to serving as a teaching assistant), and I anticipate learning a lot about college level teaching. My class was full within a week after registration for the semester opened, which suggests to me that my class will be full of upperclassmen. I am jazzed for this; I like to teach.

I want to get another two chapters drafted before the end of the semester. That will mean that the dissertation will be halfway done (excluding the Introduction and the Conclusion) by May 2021. At that pace, I think it is reasonable for me to anticipate submitting a completed draft of the thing by the end of the year. In the best of all possible worlds, my advisor will receive this from me right after Thanksgiving 2021. I hope to finalize it in February 2022 and defend it in March or April. Graduation will be in May 2022. Woot.

There will be no classes during the Fall 2021 semester. Besides finishing my dissertation, I will be starting to apply for positions as either an assistant professor or a post-doc. This is the really, truly nerve-wracking part. I have been told repeatedly not to fret so much about my age but I also know that ageism is real and alive and well in the academy. But that will be my occupation during that semester; fall is hiring season for recent or upcoming Ph.D. graduates.

Like I said, lots of professional development stuff.

While all that is happening, I will continue with some of the discoveries and practices I learned during the year of self-care (2020). Of course, a lot of last year’s self-care had to do with exerting myself to avoid catching the plague. On top of that, I discovered intermittent fasting, using an app called Fastic. I have been fasting 16 hours per day, with an 8 hour window for eating. I think I’m going to up the ante to an 18/6 schedule and see how that fits my life.

I have discovered that I like intermittent fasting because it has made my a lot more mindful about when I am actually hungry and made me realize how much time I would spend sitting at my computer just noshing all day. Not good. I combined that lifestyle change with a continuous glucose monitor, a gadget that has definitely changed the way I eat. That is mostly because when my blood sugar goes high, the receiver I carry yells at me. I don’t like getting yelled at, so it stops me from eating like I’m stupid.

All this stuff didn’t fall into place until late in the year but that’s okay. I’ll keep it going into 2021 and finally stabilize my A1Cs to cut down on other health risks. I have had a diabetes-related minor stroke, and that was definitely a wake-up call. The stroke was so minor that I didn’t notice it right away but still, it just does something to you when a doctor tells you that they found a blockage in your brain.

That’s the kind of thing that gets your attention.

So this is where I am at the advent of 2021, feeling optimistic just because I’m like that. Besides, almost anything has to be better than last year.