Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Priorities

It is quite possible that my priorities are out of order. I mean by other people's standards or expectations.

This is something I have been considering for some time.

For example: after I moved again (to this lovely new apartment), one co-worker remarked, "You moved? Again? Why don't you just buy a house?" Like me, she meant. Her first act on moving here 17 years ago, was to buy a house. Of course, she was hired at a better income level and with complete security so... we weren't exactly in the same place then. Another colleague, from a different department, said something similar only a couple days ago: surprise that I moved again, to another apartment, rather than buying a house.

But why have I moved four times since I came to this town, living in five different apartments for periods between one and seven years? Why not buy a house and be like everyone else with homeowner security?

Good questions.

For example: after I got tenured and promoted the first time why didn't I turn around and focus my energy on the next promotion? (There aren't all that many in the academic world, outside of moving into administration, ugh.) Why didn't I invest my time in writing and publishing in academic journals and books, like everyone else? Especially since I like research and find history fascinating. Why put my time into teaching, which is more and more becoming a low-level activity for professors? In other words, I am not defining "success" in traditional academic terms, and possibly not in the terms of My U.

What then are my priorities in the area of teaching, research, and academic progress?

Good questions.

As a kind of sideways answer, I can say that 2011has been about exploring and pushing at new areas in my life for balance. Like improving my living situation by moving to this fab new apartment, decluttering my goods, and turning toward buying land and building a house for retirement (2012 project!).

Like building a new community, improving my current community, and making new ties professional and personal for career, health, and sanity reasons. Initiating new projects to build connections across job and personal lines.

Like changing my diet to a non- (or low-) sugar/no processed or fast foods/three-meals-two-snacks a day minimum. Increasing exercise -- walking, biking, yoga -- for heart health. Taking care of allergies.

Like adding creative habits to my weekly activities: writing prose, photography, cooking, even teaching.

Like working on my resources: money of course, but also time and possessions and friendships and skills. Like using my time in more intelligent, more positive ways -- ways that please me, support me, feed me.

Some of this I have been successful at -- on my terms. So considering priorities and consciously setting some -- for 2012 -- is next. And I can say that it has been a long time since I've even been interested in setting short-term or long-term goals. This is another healthy step.

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