Casualties of Fall Term

Before making New Year’s Resolutions, I find it useful to reflect on the things I wanted to accomplish in 2005 and didn’t. Sure, I got a lot done, but not always what I thought I wanted to get done.

1. Exercise

So a few years back we got this monster treadmill to make it easier to exercise. As in, you don’t have to leave home. It faces the TV and the stereo, so there’s the possibility of entertainment. And yet, somehow, once fall got serious, it was usually the first to go. Since my parents left, I’ve been on it every day. That’ll be a week tomorrow. Will give it a shot again for winter term.

2. Writing

Some scholars struggle to write. Not me. But I struggled to find time to write. And so the book, the book that I dreamed of finishing in summer 2004 (when I was moving) summer 2005 (when I was recovering from moving) is now entering 2006. I’d like to have a draft by the end of April, which means a strict regimen of writing for 30 minutes to an hour a day, 5 days a week, with more when I can. I kept waiting for days away from the office to get writing done last term, and it just didn’t happen after September. December I got to write a short essay, but it wasn’t for the book. Luckily, I have no other deadlines looming, apart from nonwriting obligations.

3. Reading

I think I’ve mentioned it in this blog before, but the ability to read finished, polished material appears to be inversely proportional to one’s level of success as a scholar. I read all the time, but it’s been a neverending stream of book manuscripts, journal article manuscripts, grant applications, letters of recommendation, student papers, theses, etc. etc. My new idea? Disappear to the library at least once a week. We’ll see if it happens, but it sure would be nice.

4. All sense of proportion

These are two tickets to a Canadiens/Florida hockey game scheduled for the 1st of November. We bought them in advance, along with tickets to a Canadiens/Leafs exhibition game, which was a blast. We were looking forward to the game. But we forgot to go. At some point on November 3rd or 4th, we are sitting, exhausted in front of TV and Carrie looks over at me from the couch. She’s sprawled there and I’m laid out on the recliner. She looks over and says “weren’t we supposed to go to a hockey game?” I look back at her in horror. We get out the tickets. I’d like to say there was much cursing and stomping of feet, but we were both resigned to it. OVer $100 down the tubes and no hockey game for us. We’ll do better next year.

So my New Year’s Resolutions?

1. Get a grip.

2. Go for that six weeks off thing I blogged about before. My hypothesis: I can take the extra time off with no noticeable drop in productivity (to the contrary, more headspace may mean more writing and reading gets done — I’m going to take books on vacation, after all), other than not being available for meetings at certain times during the summer. We’ll see how that goes, and if I actually manage to take six weeks off.