So Much for Not Procrastinating in 2012: Better Late than Never

“So, I think my resolution for 2012 will be to stop procrastinating,” I declared.
“And what else?” prompted my friend.

“Well, I don’t know yet. I haven’t made my resolution list for this year.”

“Really? So how’s that not procrastinating working out for you?”

Here we are with another year at our backs. I have to give myself at least a bit of credit for having made such an ambitious resolution list for 2011, even if there’s a part of me that’s now thinking we ought to tear a leaf out of cellphone providers’ books and institute resolution rollover plans. There’s something to be said for the argument that we need to set realistic goals for ourselves in life, and that whatever we might say, a year is sometimes insufficient. Then the voice in my head that reminds me that procrastinating has been one of my watch-words on nearly every new-year’s resolution list for as long as I can remember, and I find myself scribbling yet another resolution reminder on my list: note to self- stop rationalizing resolution rollover.

I refuse to let myself think that starting a full week into 2012 will make my resolve any weaker, and as always, I plan to challenge myself in ways both fun and fulfilling, combining pleasure and personal enrichment with professional advancement and self-improvement.

1: Complete my dissertation. I’ve been carrying this thing round with me for exactly two years like a burdensome pregnancy, and I often find the love-hate relationship I have with it not unlike the way singer/songwriter Robbie Williams once described fame: it’s “like having a little baby. It’s really great and really lovely and it takes its first steps and you’re there and you cry, and then it dances a little bit, and you’re there and cry too…and then it shits itself and it pukes everywhere and it goes through the terrible twos when it pulls things off shelves and it burns itself and all that stuff, and you just want to go: ‘This is great. Can I give it you back for a little bit while I do this?'”
I’m not going to delude myself into thinking that completing my dissertation will in any way constitute job security—not in this cut-throat academic market—but I covet that sense of personal accomplishment, and all the more because I’ve moved beyond the desire to prove myself to anyone else (or so I say). What true fulfillment is there in walking across the stage in a vindictive victory dance, proclaiming to the world, “Who says a blind girl can’t get a PH.D.? In yo face!” If I’ve really dedicated the last four years of my life merely to proving a point, I might as well quit now, because where’s the true sense of accomplishment in that? (Never mind the fact that quitting is practically impossible, because, as they say on Avenue Q, what would I do with a B.A in English?). Note to Self: marginal resolution- stop listening to “It Sucks to be Me (What do you do with a B.A in English) on loop on my Mp3 player, as I suspect this might be a large contributing factor to my academic depression…that and having no visible means of livelihood.

2: Make a habit of writing down at least five things that made me smile each day, as long as the things that make me smile don’t involve witnessing someone I intensely dislike falling down a flight of stairs.

3: accept that in each moment of each day, I am precisely where God wants me to be, and learn to recognize the touch of his hand in every situation, even those that inconvenience me. I recently read a story about a man who discovered on his way to work one morning that he’d left his metro card at home and turned back on his way to the subway. He worked at the World Trade Center. That morning was September 11. Over a decade later, he’s probably supremely grateful that he forgot his metro card. The Lord is my navigator. I’m merely along for the ride.

4: read at least one biography of Queen Victoria (unfortunately this is a rollover from last year. I discovered while watching “The Young Victoria” and “The King’s Speech” last year that I really ought to have been better at identifying historical figures, particularly given my chosen career and field of specialization).
5: Read at least ten more titles on the BBC’s list of 100 books everyone should read that I still have yet to cover.

6: Watch at least five films in my pet project: “Catching up with Colin”—you know, the one I promised I’d finish last year. (This, admittedly, comes under the heading of pleasure, with border-line cross-overs into the professional…yes, I do in fact list “adaptation studies” as one of my research interests on my CV). Sadly, I only watched 2 more in 2011 that I hadn’t previously seen, but in my defense, the Firth filmography is impressively lengthy and constantly growing.

Admittedly this list isn’t nearly as extensive as last year’s, but I think that item 1 at least will keep me fairly busy. I do have plenty to look forward to this year, namely a trip to Boston with K in April to present our Sherlock Holmes paper and the forthcoming publication of that paper in /Sherlock Holmes in the 21st Century/.

So, 2012, give me all you’ve got—I’m ready!

Think about it!

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