The Extreme Unknown: 2021 Year-in-Review & Thoughts for 2022

Here are a couple of earlier year-in-review posts:

This one’s going to be a little different. I will write up my catalogue of great stuff that happened but I want to give some space to the hard stuff first.

My family has definitely been playing the pandemic on easy mode, as it were, but I have hit a wall of not hopelessness exactly, but grim resignation. Resignation specifically to the fact that things will keep shifting, that it will probably get worse before it gets better, that making plans based on timing of perceived lowered risk (for example, When-My-Kid-Is-Vaccinated) is more likely to lead to disappointment than not. Resignation to the extreme unknown.

Anticipating a year of shifts, the only goal I set was for the first quarter off 2021: to complete and defend my dissertation. I did it! Goal achieved! Setting such a straightforward goal means I can feel good about how I spent my time this year.

I only set a word for the first quarter, which was PLAY and I have no idea how I did with that.

I did some great stuff in addition to defending my dissertation this year:

  • I made extensive use of the public library. My kid actually bumped up against the checkout limit.
  • I got vaccinated and boosted.
  • I got my thyroid managed and hit my target lab results for the first time in the 10 years since my Hashimoto’s diagnosis.
  • I consulted for Quirkos and developed content for their blog.
  • I organized a FanLIS panel for the Fan Studies Network North America conference.
  • I got and swam in a mermaid tail.
  • I had a pool party for my 40th birthday.
  • I presented at MIRA, Micro Camp, ALISE, and World View.
  • I took M to swim lessons.
  • I embraced my Trekkie nature.
  • I applied for, was offered, and accepted my dream postdoc.

I couldn’t have done these things without immense help:

  • from my advisor & committee.
  • from W’s mom, who provided me with time for both work and rest.
  • from W, who provided for my basic material needs, kept the house clean, continued to be an awesome dad, and made me feel good about myself.

If there was a theme for this year, it was Star Trek. The Next Generation was a balm in the weeks after my grandmother’s death. Lower Decks, Discovery, and Prodigy revitalized my love of Trek. Discovery, in particular, helped me remain hopeful and trust in my values as a guide for living.

(My core values, by the way, are curiosity, creativity, and care.)

I’m doing a New Year New Moon retreat with Katy Peplin on January 2nd, so I will probably dig into my dreams and plans for 2022 then.

For now, I’ll say my word of the year for 2022 is MEND. My goal is to keep going.

✴️ Also on Micro.blog

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Kimberly Hirsh, PhD @KimberlyHirsh
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We must acknowledge that much of what we know of this country today, including its culture, economic growth, and development throughout history and across time, has been made possible by the labor of enslaved Africans and their ascendants who suffered the horror of the transatlantic trafficking of their people, chattel slavery, and Jim Crow. We are indebted to their labor and their sacrifice, and we must acknowledge the tremors of that violence throughout the generations and the resulting impact that can still be felt and witnessed today. I thank Dr. Terah ‘TJ’ Stewart for the text of this labor acknowledgement.