Friday, December 10, 2010


In my opinion, I have already written (rather obliquely) about the wisest decision I made this year.  About a year ago, I was told I needed to do what was best for my career.  I thought I was doing that, but that comment, and the context in which it was made, pushed me to rethink what was best for my career.  I'm forty-one.  If things go well, I could work for the next thirty years or close to it.  I do not want to waste those decades.

But what did I actually do?  I talked to people I trusted about options.  I spoke up about some things more and some things less.  I began conceptualizing a book that I am actually going to attempt to write, knowing that the book may not happen but a few articles will, and my teaching will be better just from the research alone.  I started doing things with a stronger sense of purpose.  Usually, I would apply for some grants, workshops, or programs just because they sounded like fun, and I knew it would be cool to do if it could happen.  Now, I'm thinking a bit more linearly.  I am careful not to be too narrow-minded, but I do have a stronger sense of purpose than I have ever had before.  I'm willing to take some risks.  At dinner tonight, the husband and I were talking about a grant application I'm writing that will enable me to travel to a country where I don't even know the language but would be able to do some research.  I actually have a list of grants and fellowships and such, and I'll be applying for them all.  But if I get none of them?  I can still move forward on all the projects I have in mind.  I think that's why I feel so positive about some of the choices I have made in the last few months: I can see completing them under a variety of circumstances.

Obviously, I don't know if I've made the best decisions, yet.  But I am really happy with where I am right now.  The husband thinks I am really onto something.  Other people who know me have been supportive and encouraging.  Some people have even said they think I'm "finally" making the right choices.  I have some endpoints in mind, but I'm making sure the journey is worth it, too.

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