Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010.....Welcome, 2011!

It seems like time has been flying lately - 2010 is already about to come to a close!  In the spirit of New Year's, I've been spending this evening looking back on the year and looking forward to 2011.

I can't say that 2010 has been the best year.  Lab work has been frustrating at best, and finishing up my thesis has taken longer than I hoped.  Nothing super exciting has happened, really - but nothing really bad either.  It's kind of like when professional sports teams have "rebuilding" years - I'm just putting together the pieces for my next steps.  But there have been some exciting things:

- Brendan and I went to Disney World for our first real vacation

(photo courtesy of Disney but purchased by me)

- I decided to sign up for my first half marathon, and started training

- I published a review article, which will be most of the intro to my thesis
- I visited Colorado with my parents for vacation
- I trained for my first half marathon, and ran the 10-mile Broad Street Run in preparation

- I ran my first half marathon, the 13.1 Marathon Boston, in June (in 3:02)

 - At the same time, I went on postdoc interviews at Harvard and Brown
- I spent a full 8 days at Brendan's house, which was different than our usual weekends together!
- After the first half, I signed up for two more to complete the year

- I visited home with Brendan in August, where we got to visit the State Fair, Duluth, and the MN Renaissance Fair
- I was asked to be a bridesmaid for my friend Ashley's wedding - a first for me!
- I finished my second half marathon, the ING Philly Distance Run (in 3:15)
- I visited a friend in Germany for a week - my first time in Europe and something I'd always wanted to do
- I accepted a postdoc position at Harvard (!)

- I finished my third half marathon, the Philly Half Marathon, with a PR (in 2:58)
- The day after the half,  I had a thesis committee meeting and got permission to defend my thesis this spring
- I visited home a few times and spent some quality time with my parents and Brendan before buckling down these next few months

There has been a lot of excitement, but the real changes are to come!  If things go well, 2011 should bring a Ph.D., a new postdoc position, a big move to Boston, moving in with Brendan, and lots of other changes.  Lots of major life changes this year!

I have a few goals for 2011 that I hope to achieve:

2011 New Years Resolutions & Goals

Fitness/Health Goals:
- Run more.  I am already committed to running the Broad Street Run, even if I have to pay for a hotel for that in May.  I would like to run a few more half marathons, and get stronger and faster as I keep training.  I have new Vibram Five Finger shoes (more on that later), and I'd like to improve my leg and foot strength by training in those sometimes.  My ultimate goal is to run a marathon in a few years if I can keep improving, so this year should put me on that path.
- Get more toned.  I want to work on more strength training and feel stronger! This means using weights more often, working on lunges and ab work, and doing the Exhale Core Fusion and 30 Day Shred DVDs occasionally.  I am going to make a schedule for each month, taking account my work and life schedule as well, so that I incorporate as much strength training as reasonably possible.
- Lose a bit of weight.  I don't have a specific number in mind, but I would like to fit into ALL of my clothes.  I'm not sure which is tightest, but I have a pair of too-tight jeans and a few pairs of capri pants that I would like to fit into.  This is my pre-preparation for all the wedding stuff coming up (two weddings and counting to go to in 2011!), and ultimately for my wedding in a few years.

Career Goals:
- Finish my Ph.D. strong.  Whatever that ends up meaning with the research I can finish, I want to be proud of the work I've done as a Ph.D. candidate.
- Enjoy my actual thesis defense.  I tend to stress about these things, and I want to have fun and celebrate finishing, not panic about it.  Of course, this means getting down to work on everything now so that I don't feel rushed at the end!
- Get a strong start to my postdoc.  I want to tackle a new project with a clear head, tons of motivation, and all the energy I can muster.  I also would like to apply for and receive funding (i.e. a grant) in the next year, but if I try hard on applications and can't get funding yet, that's ok too.

Life Goals:
- Become financially stable.  As a college student and then a graduate student, my credit card balances have almost always been going in the wrong direction.  Starting when I move in with Brendan and start my postdoc, I would like to allocate $500 or more per month toward savings (for emergency funds) or paying off credit cards.  I currently pay $200 or so towards credit cards and savings, so this is a huge improvement!  It won't fix everything all at once, but it should slowly improve my credit (and my ability to pay for house-, wedding-, and kid-related things in the future).
- Take at least one vacation (or mini-vacation).  Of course this is at odds with the last goal, but I need to learn to relax, and this year I'll really need that.  In addition to our yearly trip to Maine, I would like to take another trip out of state.  It may be easiest to do that in May, when I'm in between jobs, but we'll have to see when everything works out!
- Enjoy all the life changes that come this year, and take them in stride.  This means trying not to worry so much.  I will only get to move in with my boyfriend for the first time once, and only get to start my first postdoc once, too.  They are major milestones, so I want to cherish them, not have them as a source of stress.
- Work on not stressing and panicking when things don't go right immediately.  I don't deal well with setbacks, or with conflict.  I am used to being a "good girl," and when things go wrong or I get in an argument, I seriously start to panic (I've even started hyperventilating before!).  This has to change in the upcoming year for many reasons.  Part of being an adult means taking criticism well, and finding solutions to problems.  For the health of myself, my career, and my future family, I need to take this seriously.  I'm starting out by repeating a mantra, "let it go" or "I'm ok," every time I feel the need to obsess over a problem or conflict - hopefully this will help me learn better coping skills!
- Savor the first 7 months of living together with Brendan.  I want to enjoy every minute of us finally getting to have a life together - the good and the bad - because we'll never get the same kind of "start" again and it should be full of excitement.  I want to make sure we get through any difficulties we face smoothly, and keep our home and our new identity as a "family" (not just people who date) full of love and kindness.

So there you have it - not too complicated, but I think they are good goals for 2011.  And now it's time to watch the ball drop, have a drink, and kiss my sweetie over Skype for the new year (for the last time before we are together!).

Happy New Year!!

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