Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day and we're off to a poky start

Two posts in December, eh? That's a new low for me, I think. Hm. Maybe Resolution # 4 will be to do something about the pitiable rate-of-blogging around here.

Anyway, the holidays were fine etc. etc. Relaxed at Mom's house until we just sort of had to...escape. I can't relax for too long, I find. (I used to claim that I didn't understand the need to "relax," but somehow having an actual job has changed my tune there. I've noticed that I have a propensity for making sweeping and unfounded pronouncements of that sort. It could be endearing. I suspect that it's annoying and bizarre.) Anyway, after a few days of Mom's House of Decadence--with the wine, and the cookies, and the hugely fat cat, and the squishy dusty sofa, and the movies on demand--I kind of start despising myself. I need activity. So it was a lovely visit and it was lovely to come home.

I'm feeling a bit put out about how 2010 is starting off, though. First, I am, frankly, anxious about next week's very very safe "procedure"--the heart thing--and am even more anxious (I hate to admit) about the $1700 price tag. I mean, thank goodness I have insurance, etc. (If I didn't, though, I just wouldn't have had this checked out, and the likelihood of its actually killing me is minuscule, soo...? Okay, are my priorities completely off here?) But that's a solid slab of cash. And TM and I, with our loans and on our salaries (hooray we have full-time jobs, but still--Field just ranked in as the lowest-paying college in the state, at least among colleges and universities that shared their salary information), are not rolling in dough. The money issue alarms me. I'm also hoping to go on a couple of trips next year--one to Ireland with my mom, and one to an overseas conference, and there's talk of going somewhere fun for spring break--so...yeah, my priorities are ridiculous. Never mind. Writing this paragraph has made it clear that no one should pity me at all.

Nonetheless, this stuff is stressing me out, and, since we start classes on the 11th, I'm feeling that I won't really have the chance to restore myself and get all organized and refreshed for the semester ahead. And I am also consequently beating myself up for not being more upbeat and energetic during these last weeks.

Another reason for the sluggishness, at least today, is that I celebrated New Year's Eve with a scorching urinary tract infection that hit me just before midnight. (Prior to that, TM and I had a lovely quiet evening together, full of fun and delight. It wasn't all bad, by any means.) So I stayed up in the bathroom until 4 am reading and shivering (it's damn cold here) and drinking appropriately calibrated fluids. It's pretty much gone now, though I'm still guzzling cranberry juice to make sure, and I've had some naps and things and feel okay. But heck, today has not been the restorative and energizing January 1st that I typically enjoy. And the irony of getting this infection really no earlier than 11 pm, so that it fully hit me right around midnight, after more than a decade with no such troubles--hell, what's that about? In a completely irrational way I'm a little worried about this year.

But okay, it's time to move on from all that. 2009 was, in many ways, pretty awesome. TM and I got engaged, moved in together, and got married. We traveled to Dominca and France. I gave papers at Kalamazoo and Leeds. I got a book contract and scored an extra course release for next semester. My brother and his wife conceived a child. In fact, other than the irritating medical issues and, oh, the health care debates, wars, etc., it was a pretty good year.

Here's what I'd like to think about for next year.

1) I want to work on learning to promote my research and to network better (an idea I got from a recent post of Dr. Crazy's). I suck at these things, actually changing the subject when people ask me about my work, and this is a problem.

2) I want to more consistently make time to exercise, but I need to give some very concrete thought to what this will look like before I make some kind of resolution, since amorphous "exercise more!"-type resolutions don't work very well. In fact, I need to be more concrete about no. 1, too.

3) Work on my relationship with money. I don't like the fact that what scares me about my procedure is the cost (which is not even all THAT unreasonable, and which I can cover quite easily from my savings), and that the price actually makes me want to cancel it, despite the preceding parenthesis. Anxiety about money hampered my enjoyment of our France trip last summer. These things bother me; I am not at all wealthy but neither am I about to starve. I am not profligate, so the occasional bigger expense is not a catastrophe. I'm trying to see next week's credit card hit as an opportunity to work on how I think about money: to be grateful, for example, for its ability to cover such costs without actually affecting my day-to-day living at all, rather than begrudging its removal from my account. I think that it's very important that I try to do this.

There are other things I'm kicking around, too--I sure do love me some self-improvement--but I think that that's enough for now. Time for a glass of cranberry juice. And happy new year, everyone!


What Now? said...

Hmm, maybe the fact that the UTI hit at 11 p.m. meant that you heralded in the new year by engaging in positive self-care? Surely we can reframe this as a positive omen!

Anyway, glad you're feeling better now -- ah, here we go: 2010 has begun with improving health and a general upward trajectory; the remainder of the year will clearly be fabulous!

I'll be interested to read about your ongoing money thoughts; I have a similar goal this year, of recognizing just how ample my resources are instead of worrying about their scarcity.

heu mihi said...

Excellent spin, WN! I like it. And I'll keep the money issue in mind as a future blogging topic; it might help me to reflect on it in this forum, actually.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Money stuff panics me, too. My only response has been to ignore it completely (except for paying the bills on time), with the result being an enormous mountain of consumer debt.

As for the exercise thing, I learned a trick for that: Think about what activities you enjoyed as a child, and do a more or less grown-up version of that. This can be tough for academics, since often our favorite activity involved curling up with a book. But I realized that I loved riding my bike around the neighborhood as a child, and hiking in the woods at summer camp. So now I commute on my bike (15 min. each way for half an hour of snuck-in daily exercise total) and go hiking whenever I can. I have friends who are part of ultimate frisbee leagues, who are part of swimming groups (complete with a group coach), who take belly-dance classes. The trick is to make it something you already love, and so will look forward to, rather than a chore.

Belle said...

Well, whatever you do, don't cancel the surgery! That is definitely some self-care that you need to take care of!!! Stressing about it, the money angle or whatever? That, m'dear, can wait. Calm, serene... that's what you need before the Thing.

Dame Eleanor Hull said...

You're getting the nasties (UTI, surgery) over with early in the year and it will all get better from here on out.

medieval woman said...

I agree - put off the spring break trip if you need to, but keep the surgery on the docket! I know you'll be great and you will have an excellent relationship with money - it sounds like you already do! Hell, you have SAVINGS!

I'm thinking of you - might the other overseas conference next year begin with an "S" and end with a "iena"? I'll be there too!


Sisyphus said...

Ok, putting off required surgery necessary for your health and well-being just because you feel worried about the money is silly, and you know that. My cats agree, and declare that they will come over and stare at you balefully if you don't get your ticker fixed.

Good Enough Woman said...

To echo MW: "Hell, you have savings!" Clearly, you are a responsible steward of your $$$. Just continue to be a responsible steward of your health. Best wishes for a smooth procedure and recovery. Hugs.