December 23, 2013

A Year in Review

I hate 2013. 

There, I said it. It's the end of the year and I'm not at all sorry to see it go. It's been the worst year of my life.

Let's look at my resolutions for the year, shall we? First up, finish my dissertation. Nope. Not even close on that one. Next up, find a job or post-doc. What is the point? I'm not even close to finishing, so why waste my time on the job search? Then there was the goal of reading 52 new books this year. Umm...I think I read ten or twelve. Maybe. I did read Pride and Prejudice twice (again). Reading for pleasure got preempted by the dissertation and stress and worrying over Dewey. Finally, there was the ever-lofty "take better care of myself" goal. Ha. I did yoga maybe twice this year, but I did lose thirty pounds. Then Dewey got sick and I ate my feelings the past three months because it was better than crying constantly, but I did that, too. I told you I was bad at resolutions. Maybe 2014 will be better resolution-wise.

I'm trying to pinpoint what exactly was so horrible about this year and I don't think it was any one thing necessarily, but a compilation of a whole lot of crap. 

Certainly, this wasn't a great year for teaching. Only teaching one class over the winter semester was terrible. It wrecked all the progress I'd made on my giant pile of grad school debt and seems to have cost me my best friend because I couldn't afford to go to her wedding in the Bahamas. We haven't talked since June and, before that, it was pretty strained, although I thought it was getting better. Then she didn't call or even text me for birthday, so I guess it was more strained than I realized. This semester was a really rough semester for teaching. I had one class that was great - good students (some not so good, too), good chemistry - and one class that started horribly, but picked up towards the end for some of the students. I just think 8:00 classes shouldn't exist. Trying to get this class to do their work, much less talk about it, was worse than pulling teeth. The number of students that failed the class is shocking, but it's impossible to pass them when they didn't do the three major assignments. Accepting that was difficult.

More difficult was losing three dogs this year. Winnie, technically my uncle's dog, but she grew up at my parents' house, with Dewey when they were puppies. She was Dewey's girlfriend and mother to the adorable duo of Princess and Tank. Then we lost Tank the day before my birthday. I thought that was horrendous, but I wasn't in any way, shape, or form prepared for what was to come - saying goodbye to Dewey. I dreaded it for years, since his first diagnosis with cancer, but November 25th was the worst day ever. Or maybe it was November 26th, when I woke up without him for the first time. 

I know he is not in pain anymore and that's what matters and I know that it gets easier over time, but living without him is hard. Every day there has been something that has reminded me of him, of how much my life revolved around him. It's been four weeks and there hasn't been a day that I haven't looked for him or called for him or wanted to hug him. I also realize I sound like a lunatic, but I'm hoping you won't judge. It was just me and him for a long time and those years were some of the toughest of my life.

Until this year. I can't wait to say goodbye and good riddance to this year.


9 comments:

  1. A hard year, indeed. I, too, began teaching as an adjunct and struggled with finishing my dissertation at what was also a time of considerable personal loss (different in kind, but I don't think that matters). It's very, very hard, and each hard thing makes the others harder. May it get better from here!

    For whatever it's worth, I realize in retrospect that I was able to finish my dissertation once I got a stable, full-time job (as it happened, a non-tenure-track academic one, which may be the best possible option if one still wants to finish the diss., with teaching at a good high school probably a close second). I think there was some cause and effect there. I realize there's a risk in giving up adjunct work, even for a few semesters, but there's also opportunity, to explore other options, but also to get off the semester-to-semester (which really means month-by-month) roller coaster long enough to think, regroup, and do whatever follows from there (whether it's finishing the diss or putting that energy into some alternative path).

    Whatever you decide to do, here's to a better 2014!

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    1. Thank you! I'm really looking forward to a break from the adjunct roller coaster. I'm already down to teach two online classes this summer - and they have students enrolled already! - but, of course, I'm not counting on those coming through. In the meantime, I'm refusing to look for more adjunct teaching until the PhD is done.I have a part-time job serving for this semester and I can bartend this summer again, so things will be ok. That big stress about money will be off my shoulders, letting me focus on the dissertation and get it done. That's all I want.

      Here's to a good 2014 for everyone!

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  2. Hugs. You don't sound like a lunatic at all ---- I totally understand how important a furry loved one is to one's sanity!

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  3. Of course you don't seem insane - furry family worm their way into the fabric of your life and take a long time to mourn, it's the price of opening your heart to anything, human or animal or whatever.

    Here's hoping for a much, much better 2014!

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    1. Thanks, JaneB! I'm hoping for a wonderful year for all of us!

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  4. Wishing you a much happier 2014. You suffered a lot of loss this past year, and it's always hard to do other things when mourning.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. Now it's back to the dissertation!

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  5. I'm sorry for all your losses this year, and hope the coming year is far, far better!

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