As we near the end of the year, I’ve been thinking about what kind of year 2012 has been. For me, 2012 has been a year of pondering and growing up in many ways. The beginning of the year was about expanding my horizons, taking on new projects, getting myself out into the world more with my writing and my work. It’s also been a year of reckoning in some ways—thinking carefully about the near and more distant future career-wise and more personally. The later part of the year has been about trying to focus—closing certain doors so that I can go ahead and walk through others.
Serenity in the Storm in 2012
Last fall I started the old blogaroo and have learned so much since then about writing every day, about blogging, about the online community (and I have SO much more to learn!!). Writing the blog quickly expanded to writing for some other websites and organizations. This has been great and it helped to connect me to the broader animal rights/social justice community. Then several months ago, I realized that I needed to make some changes with where I was putting my time and energy. Rather than increasingly expanding my involvement in the broader community willy nilly, I needed to take a step back, take stock, and focus my energies more. Part of this was meant to adjust for making more time for the upcoming dissertation writing. And part of this focusing was in order to ensure that the projects that I was taking on aligned with my values. This year, I’ve really begun to take to heart the importance of realizing the intersections of oppression for animals, humans and the environment and the last few months have been about trying to align my energies with projects that work for the liberation of all sites of oppression and discrimination and not just animals.
Work life in 2012
2012 has been an amazing year of school and work. It’s definitely had some ups and downs with my project being rejected funding at the beginning of the year and coming to terms with having to proceed without the financial and moral support of external funding agencies. Then, of course, was the nightmare of getting my project approved by the ethics review boards and discovering that my project was in a weird no-man’s-land of subject matter—not animal research in the sense of being lab research and not straight-up human subjects research—and dealing with the repercussions of that. And then there were the ups and downs of the project itself—from the difficulty gaining access to dairy farms, to the difficult nature of the work itself. I went to a number of amazing conferences where my mind was exposed to brilliant and thought-provoking ideas and where I met some extraordinary people—the Association for American Geographers meeting, the Institute for Critical Animal Studies conference, the Animal Rights Conference (recapped in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), and the Decolonizing Cascadia Critical Geographies Conference. Most days, I feel so lucky to be in the position to be doing this work, engaging with these amazing communities and I can’t imagine anything better than being in school, getting to choose the topic that most interests me, and spending huge amounts of time researching, writing about it, and sharing what I’m learning with others. Heaven!
Personal reflections in 2012
This year, I’ve thought a lot about the future. Apparently the late 20s are a time of reckoning (Saturn Returns), a time to think about what growing up really means and to take stock and make plans for the direction we’re heading. If all goes according to plan, I’ll be going on the job market next fall and I’ve spent a great deal of time this year thinking about what that means, what kinds of jobs I would and wouldn’t like to do, what going on the job market will mean for our family, etc. I’ve also thought a lot about the choice to have or not have children and had many conversations with Eric and friends and family about it. We haven’t made a decision about that one way or another and for now that conversation is on the back burner, but I plan to do some posts in the new year about the thought-process behind this choice. 2012 began (literally on January 1) with the beginning of a 10 years in the making tattoo project. It is now finally finished, except for some touch up, and it was a wonderful project to mark a year that felt significant in many ways. Overall, 2012 has been a wonderful year at home with Eric, Maizy, Eden and Abigail, the chickens, and now, Saoirse.
Next up, I’ll share a little of what my plans are for 2013—changes to the blog, writing plans, etc. In the meantime, I am ever grateful for all of you who read the blog, comment and are part of the broader online vegan/animal rights community!
What reflections/highlights/realizations are you having as we near the end of 2012?