In the final moments of a day, a month, and in today’s case, the year, it would be easy to look over your shoulder and think, meh, I didn’t get much done. Most people I know are racing towards the finish line for 2016. It would be easy to blame the slow burn of of the year on the presidential election results, but it seems like a confluence of events have not led to the most thrilling end of the year for many people in my world.
In the Weiner household, 2016 was a mixed bag. It was never all great or all challenging–the year brought us a steady tide of ups and downs, new adventures and frustrations that we worked our way through one day at a time.
On the job front, things are starting to calm for both my husband and me. In 2015, my husband and I were in the middle of major professional transitions, and I had hoped that 2016 would bring us a little respite from the stress and anxiety that comes with two people trying to figure out their work lives at the same time. It was anything but that: my husband found a new job and so did I. Instead of making transitions one at a time, we started our new professional adventures at practically the same time after Labor Day.
On the kid front, our daughters are having a really great year. They are both in the same school–the little one started kindergarten and the big one started second grade. This was the summer they both truly learned to swim. We spent the summer watching them jump and splash and throw themselves into their off the ledge of the pool with abandon. It was gratifying to know that they were finally happy in the water. Big sister learned to play guitar over the summer and even though she hates practicing her teacher says she’s quite good. In the final days of the year, little sister is putting together the pieces of reading and surprising us daily with the words she can read. They both finally (after much practice) mastered the art of the cartwheel and the handstand which they won’t stop doing whenever they detect even an inch of extra space.
Outside of work, I have settled into a productive rhythm with personal projects and self care. I posted 6 times to Rogue Cheerios–a slower year for me. Unlike 2015 where I was writing elsewhere, I was focused on a new project–a weekly podcast that I produce with a friend. The podcast, Boy vs. Girl, is a discussion of gender and gender stereotypes and together with my co-host, author, Matthew Dicks, we produced 49 episodes in 2016. I have been a devoted fan of many podcasts since my youngest was born in 2011 and have fallen deeply in love with the art and artistry of podcasting. I have discovered that I’m an aural learner and I listen to podcasts nonstop whenever I’m on my own in the world. I spent two months making a podcast project proposal for a contest earlier this year and crafted a beta episode that still needs refinement for Vitae (where I’ve written about higher education, non-academic job searching and faculty and family life). I see lots of possibilities in the format–I am even thinking about recording oral histories of family members this year.
My return to exercise as a form of self care in 2015 was a habit I was able to keep in 2016. I have found a home in a local gym owned and operated by two incredibly, savvy women and I find myself there several times a week. 147 times total this year which amounts to roughly 3x a week.
And I got back into reading!! It’s the second year of my book club and in concert with some smart women, I read some amazing books this year:
- Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
- Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
- Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel
- Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman
- Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
- The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
- The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- Orphan Train by
- Election by Tom Perotta
I have never read anything post-apocalyptic and in light of this year’s presidential election, I’m kind of glad I did. I discovered I like biographies (though I’ll admit I’m still reading the Jobs biography even months later–it is rich and detailed). But the best of the list was Being Mortal. It changed the way I see the world.
We started off 2015 with a trip to Disney World with my sister and her family. We were able to get away together for our yearly pilgrimage to Cape Cod and for a trip to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary with our girls. We spent a night in New York City and took the girls to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the first time. This last month of the year was probably our best, though. I logged over 2,000 miles welcoming a new nephew, celebrating my mother-in-law’s birthday, and toasting two friends’ weddings (back to back on the last two days of the year).
So when you look at the data, we did a lot this year:
- Jobs started in household: 3 (2 for husband and 1 for me)
- Blog posts: 6
- Days spent at the beach: 12
- Books read: 11
- Workouts completed: 147
- Podcasts produced: 49
- Big birthdays celebrated: 2 (1 for stepmom and 1 for mother-in-law)
- Nephews born: 1
Looking ahead to 2017, I have lots to do. New podcast project ideas, a webinar to produce about finding a non-academic job, lots of personal projects to catch up on at home, songs to learn on the guitar, I have a list I’m maintaining. And rather than focusing on what I can and can’t get done, I’m just taking it one day at a time. Bit by bit, moment by moment.
Onward to 2017……