Saturday night, we in the spot

Happy-New-Year-Images. Last year, I decided to skip the standard annual retrospective and opted instead for predicting what I was going to be talking about this year. As matters evolved, I was right. I predicted that I was going to be talking about my fitness journey and about my career journey. Go me!

This year, I’ve decided to do a certain special take on the year-end retrospective. Austin, the fun loving, deeply thinking, sweetly romantic Modern Philosopher who rocks his toga at his online home here, challenged us all during his final Friday Night Think Tank of the year with this question:

Did you kick ass in 2016?

Under normal circumstances, I have to stop and think hard about this one and the answer is usually a mixed bag.

Not this year.

In spite of the fact that the American voters have elected the anti-Christ to be the leader of the free world, so that we might be staring the end of the world in the face, I personally have had an amazing year.

Did I kick ass this year? You bet your sweet bippy I did!

Work/Career/School: Last November, when I submitted my two graduate school applications, I was telling myself that this was my final shot at my dream life. After all, I was getting older every year and if it took me too long to get into grad school, I was going to find it impossible to get a job. I told myself that, if I didn’t get in anywhere, I would take that as a sign that the cosmos disagreed with me as to what I should be doing with the rest of my life. Fortunately, however, after giving the matter some though, the cosmos couldn’t come up with anything better and here I am.

I got the good news back in January, and spent about five months dithering around at my old job waiting until it was time for me to stop working there, pack my stuff and head south. And then, when I got here, I had another two months to wait until classes started. But all that waiting was totally worth it. I love my classes, I love my cohort, I love the professors, I love my advisor, I love the program, I love the teaching I get to do … There’s nothing I’m doing in this program that I am prepared to complain about at this point. This is just the perfect life for me and, even though I’m only discovering it relatively late in life, that doesn’t make it any less fun or exciting. I am on my way to my well-lived life!

In 2017, I’ll finish my first year and start my second year. I’ll be making contacts for bouts of ethnology here in Durham as well as over in the Basque County, and I’ll have started working on my Master’s Thesis before the year is out, too. This is all really exciting. I’m enjoying my winter break but I’m also rarin’ to go and get started on my second semester.

Weight Loss/Fitness/Health: I said I wanted to get fit this year but the beginning of the year was a lot of starting and stopping and dithering around that goal, too. I started strong and saw some results that made me happy but it didn’t last. No, really. I talked about it a lot but it didn’t last.

Then I moved to North Carolina and, for reasons that are still not entirely clear to me, the weight just started falling off me. I lost the first 15 pounds during the first month I was here and, while my weight loss has slowed significantly, I am proud to be able to report that I have lost 40 pounds and about seven inches all around, with my initial goal well within my sights. I have all kinds of non-scale victories to celebrate, I am losing my body image issues, I have all kinds of energy I didn’t used to have and Derek totally appreciates the change.

The next step in my fitness odyssey is to tackle the diabetes. I ran out of diabetes meds shortly after I got to North Carolina. Instead of being a bit sane about the whole thing and running to the Campus Health Center, I have just stayed off the meds. Fortunately, I haven’t gotten significantly blinder or lost the feeling in the skin of my feet, or any of the various scary symptoms of diabetes like that. I have finally purchased a new blood glucose monitor with cheaper test strips, and my plan is to start measuring my fasting blood sugar because I know that if I am measuring and I grow alarmed by the numbers, I will start paying attention to how I’m eating. And that, in its turn, will help me to see to what degree I can control my blood sugar without drugs.

So, yeah, I totally rocked 2016! It’s been such a good year that I’m wondering about 2017. This past year is going to be a tough act to follow.

Of course, there have been other things. There has been Derek, who I love to pieces. There has been Gina and Kimmie, going from almost destroying themselves to saving themselves and moving forward with their lives in extremely promising ways. There has been Ricky, who is still very afraid of growing up and there have been the steps I need to take with him to ease him into it. There is David and the ways in which I am going to be making some major changes in his life, which I’ll tell you about later.

Life proceeds apace. At this point, I really don’t need to look behind me; forward march, all the way.

I hope you have a safe and festive New Year, and a fulfilling and prosperous 2017.

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