2015 in Review

by Jonathan Sterne on January 2, 2016

Like most years, 2015 was mixed with both good and bad. It was a tough year for a lot of my friends, and lots of terrible stuff happened in the world, but I’m not one of the “good riddance to 2015” people.

On a personal level, I have a lot of good memories. My travel experiences have been SO good and so whirlwind that I haven’t said too much about them here. Delhi, Paris and Berlin were intellectual highlights. Maui was, well, Maui. Teaching was great as usual, and I am back to my own writing priorities, more or less, after digging out from having said yes to too many “small” projects that took me away from my own work. I probably read more finished books in 2015 (as opposed to student writing and work in progress) than in a long time, which was also immensely satisfying. As usual, I gave too many talks and did way more service than I probably should have. I didn’t swim enough — only some of which can be blamed on injuries. Carrie finished 4 years’ heavy admin and I finished 1 year’s heavy admin. Good riddance to admin.

Cancer-wise it ended well, with me being demoted to every-six-month scans (from every 3 months).  I’ll take it.

Probably the most important change in my life was musical. My 2015 New Year’s resolution was to spend 15 minutes a day (when home) with a stringed musical instrument, which was a way to get my head back into playing. I have done a lot of electronic stuff in recent years, which is fun but lacks the instant gratification factor of playing bass or guitar. It is without question the best resolution I ever made and the only one I’ve kept. A year later, I have six months of guitar lessons under my belt, which have in turn improved my bass playing in entirely unpredicted ways. I am in two bands that practice regularly and will gig (and MAYBE even record) in 2016. and in a related development Carrie is finally learning drums after a couple decades’ worth of my not-so-subtle suggestion and playing in one of them. I am absolutely certain that there is nothing else I could have done that would have been better for my general happiness and well-being.

My friend Loretta posted on Facebook that what you do on New Year’s Day says something about the year to come. Mine was spent watching the outdoor NHL hockey game, playing bass and guitar, doing a little gear maintenance, reading the paper, hanging out with Carrie and the cats, and eating leftovers and catching up on TV series we neglected while in Europe.

Given that I’m teaching two new courses and doing a ton of service this winter, I’m not sure that it’s an accurate picture of what’s about to come, but I’ll take it.

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