Monday, January 23, 2012

The Path Ahead

Hello friends,

The new semester has started and I am finally (after, what?, 7 months???) getting back into a routine.  I am a person who likes routine, so although I find my motivation for school a little harder to come by at the moment, I am happy that nearly all of my current life events fit neatly into an excel spreadsheet (only sort of kidding).

This weekend, I deviated from the plan a little and got some much needed R&R on Saturday instead of my usual morning long run.  I slept in until 11:30 *gasp* then got dressed and headed downtown to watch the Mizzou vs. Baylor men's basketball game over a giant beer with friends.  Yesterday, I made up my long run and was up bright and early to crank out the 6 miles ("long" runs are always relative - in a couple of months, I'll be up to 10 and 12 milers while my friends are running 18's and 20's, so I'm enjoying the 6's while I can).  It was one of those really great runs where you get lost in thought and the miles sort of fly by.  On the run, I realized:  I haven't really taken much time to think lately.  I haven't taken a lot of time to reflect on 2011 or to think about the things I really want for 2012.  I have been so busy dealing with the circumstances life has thrown at me over the last few weeks (or, for that matter, last several months!), that I failed to take the time to regroup and refocus.  Usually, I like to do that as a year winds down and a new one is still new.  But, I figure, it's never too late, and now is as good a time as any.

So, as I soaked up the hour of me time, I made a few decisions:
1.  I'm not yet entirely sure of the general direction I want to take my life in 2012.
2.  I think I have a WORD for 2012 (but I'll write more about that later).
3.  There are a few things that I know with certainty I want in 2012.  Goals if you will.

  • I want to put more emphasis on my relationships with family and close friends.  
  • I want to attend a Bengali language school in the summer (preferably the one in Dhaka).  
  • I want to write a successful grant application that allows me to get back to Bangladesh and back to research ASAP.
  • I want to submit 2 papers for publication this year (a decent number for a grad student, I think).
  • I want to run a sub 2:10 half marathon in Lincoln on May 6th.
The last four are more tangible and also have very obvious steps that need to be taken in order to accomplish these goals.  The first, however, is a bit more abstract.  It's something that I hope to write more about later this week after I've given it some more thought.  I also plan to write a little more about my running goal when the time is right and when I've settled on a definite training plan.

I know that there are many more things I want to accomplish in 2012 and I know that at the end of the year, I want to feel like the intentions I set for myself in January (or February - whatever) have led me down a path that feels authentic to me.  I don't want to flail through the year, dealing with one thing after the next, without a path ahead to guide me.

Are you someone who likes routine?  Or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person?  Do you take time (at the end or beginning of a year, on your birthday, or whenever) to set some goals or intentions for the future?


  1. Katie! I think you have some pretty legit goals, and considering you're one of the darlings of the anthro department, you should have no problems reaching them (and I look forward to reading those published papers and feeling nostalgic for the HBE seminar days!).

    Maybe you're on more of a deer path, narrow and barely perceptible to others but it goes in the direction where there might be a clearer trail. Even making your way down a path that might someday lead you to a path that you love can offer some amazing things...But if it goes in a straight line, my advice is to get off, as that is entirely too boring.

    To your path-happiness!

  2. Emily! :) Thank you! First of all, I can assure you that no path I've ever taken has resembled anything close to a straight line. Secondly, we really miss you around here. When are you going to give in and come back for your PhD? :)

  3. Routines and goals all the way, baby! I have a definite routine of sitting down around New Year's and reviewing the past year, as well as setting goals for the next.
    After a couple years of fuzzy goals, I figured out that setting clear plans to achieve goals is the only way to make sure that they happen. I think you have a great plan for this year, and I know you'll rock it. I've set similar goals to spend time with friends and family, and one way I've kept up with it is to set reminders for myself (or write it in a planner) to email/call/get together with certain people. Time goes by too fast and I forget otherwise.
    You're awesome! You can DO it!