i’m pretty happy…

…so let’s try to keep it that way. Like many of you, I’ve recently gone to such events as new faculty orientation sessions, “welcome back” breakfasts, and human resources workshops. I like it here. I have a bunch of new friends, many of them academics like me and many of them not. In response to the question Why did you leave your previous job?, I have two answers. One of them is longer and somewhat more complicated. The shorter one, which I like better is this: I’m a salt water fish, and that was a fresh water environment.

Inspired by Geeky Mom, here is my (admittedly general) working list of personal and professional aspirations for the coming year. I will probably update this a bit:

  1. In general, do what I want to do in my teaching, research, and service without worrying about whether it will get me tenure. This is paradoxically, I am convinced, the way to get tenure. If it isn’t, well, I’m not going to turn myself into something I am not (see “salt water fish” above). I haven’t done the random quotations meme, but I like this Emerson quote found at Julie’s: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” If, in however many years, I am not tenured, then that’s the institution’s loss, and I’ll be on to something else.
  2. Be more disciplined about scheduling my time: writing, class prep, grading, teaching, service. Make use of iCal, my new Palm, all those self-help books on productivity. No tv and no Internet at home should help a great deal. I also want to create a long-term tentative calendar of goals and plot the way to achieve them.
  3. Get into the habit of not saying yes or no immediately.
  4. Pay better attention to my health. If my body is happy, my mind is usually happy.
    • Exercise regularly. Make it to the gym at least three times a week, and hopefully five. Take the classes at my gym: yoga, spinning Group Ride™, and Centergy™.
    • Eat well more often than not: complex carbohydrates, lots of fruits and vegetables, plenty of protein, plenty of water. Allow myself an ice cream cone or some Krispy Kreme donuts now and again.
    • Get plenty of sleep every night.
  5. Next spring, start looking for a place to buy here in Sparkle City. Now is the time, and there are plenty of cool, old homes within walking distance of the (surprisingly, for a town this small) happenin’ downtown.
  6. Stay single for awhile. If I meet someone who knocks me over with her wit, charm, and beauty…well, I just have to trust that I’ll know what to do. Otherwise, I plan to enjoy hanging out with friends.
  7. Go to New Orleans for Spring Break 2007 to help with the recovery effort.
  8. See as many musical performances as I can. Music makes me happy. Jeff Tweedy was great. I’m going to see Cat Power in Atlanta on September 12 with Scrivener. I think I’ll go see go to this show (featuring a friend of mine I haven’t seen in awhile) in Asheville on September 6. And there will be lots of acts to see at the Hub Bub Showroom.

Update: When I go to Kansas City next month, I’m going to get a black star tattooed on the outside of my right arm opposite the pen? that currently resides on the inside.

So what are your aspirations for the coming year?

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9 thoughts on “i’m pretty happy…

  1. I’m looking forward to Cat Power! Wilco just announced some more tour dates, but the closest they come to here is Huntsville, which is just too far for me to drive. Birmingham, I would probably make that trip.

    It sucks that the Decemberists aren’t playing Asheville this time through. If they were, I’d totally drive to Asheville and see them with you, and see them in Atlanta too.

  2. Those are some mighty fine goals!

    I think you might be in the best city for a music lover — easy drives to Atl, Asheville, Charlotte, and even Chapel Hill! I’m so jealous. Have fun!

  3. Word has it Wilco is coming here, too…we can compare notes.

    By the way, while my resolution was to simply say “no” once in a while, the exhortation to simply delay a response seems to me to be a wise one…I think I’ll steal it.

  4. Scrivener, I excited about Cat Power, too. It looks like Wilco is hitting some college towns they skipped the last time around.

    JM, this is definitely a good location for music. Now if we could just convince bands to actually stop here…

    Ryan, providing a delayed response, in my experience, is an extremely useful thing to do. Good luck with your resolutions.

  5. Can I admit that I giggled just a bit about #6? Wonderfully worded, and an excellent goal. Life is so much easier when you let yourself off the hook for a while.

    Are you going to post a pic of the tattoo, or was that an inside joke?

  6. Dude, looks like you don’t need the “things to do in the area” list-serv I was going to track down for you! You’re so busy — in a good, happy way — already! Awesome!

    Enjoy all the music. Like you I often have to drive to see good stuff, and I’m surrounded by drive-worthy venues, but sometimes the driving back late at night makes me tired just thinking about it. So I’ll just live vicariously through you and Scrivener!

  7. “In general, do what I want to do in my teaching, research, and service without worrying about whether it will get me tenure. This is paradoxically, I am convinced, the way to get tenure.”

    This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this argument. Refreshing, if it’s really true.

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