Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year! I hope that 2011 will be a memorable year for all those things that bring joy and peace into our lives. And I wish that for the world as well. There has been too much conflict, too much death, too much war, and not enough peace and joy. 

I don't think I will miss 2010 even though there were some happy and memorable times. It was one of those years that stand apart from the others. 1985 was one of those years for me. They are challenging years, educational in their own way, but the process of learning comes at a cost. This year was incredibly frustrating, confusing and disappointing. I am not quite sure yet what I lost this year, but work problems took their toll and I think that has led to a widespread disillusion with the academic work world. That in and of itself would have been such a terrible thing for me to admit ten years ago, that I was disillusioned with my career and my work. Now it is not. But it is a tough thing to let go of--that intense love of work that I used to have--actually sad in many ways. A small grieving process in terms of letting go of the way I used to look at my work. I am not sure a new job would do the trick for me anymore, because I have become so skeptical about academia and the research world in general. However, my consulting work for the university library (Live, Kirsten and Liz) and for Liiv-MD (Bernadette), were the high points of this work year. Without them, I would surely have slid into a real depression in reaction to my work life. These jobs challenged me and got me thinking in new ways, and helped me to rediscover the joy of immersing myself in work and new projects. They also made me realize that I could leave academia and not look back. I wouldn't miss it very much. So that's a good realization, as well as knowing that I let something new into my life, in a non-traditional way. I broke my own mold and that was good for me.

The happy times were spent with family and friends, both here in Norway and in NY. Some of the highpoints of this year were seeing Pat Metheny in concert, Birgitte’s PhD defense and dinner afterwards, Caroline and Marius’ wedding, a relaxing summer vacation with Trond, and my trip to NY in August and seeing all my wonderful friends and family there. Those times are precious to me--treasures in my heart. Those times are what life is really all about, or what I want my life to be mostly about, and they are what I want more of as I get older. The sadness of this year was the passing of my colleague and friend Liza right before Christmas. Although we (her colleagues and friends) knew it could happen at any time since she was quite sick, when it did, it happened so fast and it made me realize again how unpredictable life is. We don't always have time to get our lives in order and to say goodbye. We cannot and should not take life for granted, and we should try to live each day in the best way possible. Not always easy to do or to remember, but well-worth thinking about. I say this mostly to remind myself to do that.

My one New Year’s resolution, if I was going to make one, would probably be to complain less about my workplace (if that is possible). I will certainly try. I imagine it will go like this though—I will want to complain, but will put a lid on it. Then I’ll go buy a punching bag to take out my frustrations, and who knows, that may help to get me into better physical shape. Or I’ll buy a dart board and hang it on the inside of my office door. Tossing a few darts at the board may help me feel better. In any case, I’m definitely going to try to deal with my workplace frustrations, and otherwise make the best of my life outside of work, which is most important.

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