an early reflection on 2021

I know I’m a bit early on this, with a few weeks left in 2021, but I find myself in an introspective mood this evening. Flames dancing in the fireplace are the ghosts of the plans from the beginning of the year, but they’re not haunting ghosts.

At the beginning of 2021, we began to see the path that would allow us to escape our current circumstance. The path remains rocky, as the news reminds us every day, but watching the news every day sometimes hides the longer term progress. When we focus on our feet for every step, we don’t always realize just how much distance we’ve covered.

Aikido restarted. After months of station keeping via Zoom, which provided an opportunity to explore aspects of the arts we didn’t cover to this depth or intensity, we made our way back into the dojo. Strange as it sounds, it’s good to be thrown properly and with some vigor, and to get up and do it again, and again, and again. I’m looking forward to my first national course, meeting up with old friends too long unseen.

The Milford Science Fiction Writers Conference met in September, old friendships renews and new friends made. I was reminded that I can string words together, and once we get into the spring, I’m looking forward to having more time to do that stringing.

One of my points of focus for the autumn has been my teaching. It felt good to be back in the classroom with students, I keep finding gems in the material I’m teaching that I hadn’t noticed before, and I’m always heartened by the students who do the same.

I’m coming to the end of my term as the Associate Dean Education for my Faculty. The past couple of years have been difficult, as they have been for everyone, and our current circumstance highjacked some of the plans we’d made a couple of years ago, but we’ve made it this far. I’ve described it at times as rebuilding a ship mid-voyage, at night, in the middle of a storm, but we had a stout ship and an exceptional crew.

There are things I haven’t done. I haven’t put down as many words as I’d like to have, but I’ll fix that next year. I haven’t done as much math, and yes, again, next year. And the same for the reading project, which has languished for almost all of 2021.

But all of that’s OK. We’re in the midst of something the likes of which none of have ever seen. We need to take care of each other and recognize that Hofstadter’s principle applies: it’s all harder than we’d planned, even taking into account Hofstadter’s principle, and it’s all taking longer than we’d planned as well.

We continue to take care of each other, recognizing the state of the world. And we need to take care of ourselves as we take care of others. In spite of the world, or perhaps because of the world, I can only remain optimistic. But I do look forward to the parting of the clouds and the end of this storm.

~ by Jim Anderson on 12 December 2021.

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