It’s not a visual that is used much anymore, but I remember New Year’s Eve being slightly disturbing as a child when the old, rickety Father Time smiled exhausted, and faded out and the baby with a sash and top hat came crawling in. This was on TV specials, by the way, not in our living room or anything.
After this year, I’m not so disturbed by the exhausted Father Time smiling and fading out. It was an exhausting year and I am looking forward to it being done and moving on fresh with the curiosity and excitement and general joy of a child. That has been missing a bit from the end of this year.
And so, let’s recap the year just to understand why Father Time is so exhausted.
The first three months of 2010 saw me huddled at my kitchen table, bundled in a blanket and writing 12 hours a day in an attempt to finish the doctoral tome, now three years in the making. In the evenings I was planning an international five week wedding extravaganza.
In March, when I got up from writing for the last time, I was permanently hunched over. My left hip refused to straighten out (and still sticks from time to time). I was hobbling for days but the writing was done and the 300 page beast turned in on March 23rd. Four days later, Pete and I left for the US and our last wedding planning trip.
In April we attended a family wedding in Croatia and got stuck in the village for a week because of the Iceland volcano, Mt. Kyjksntjdnusiohnelf (obviously, I don’t know it’s name, but that is close enough). On our return I feverishly finished a Postdoc application and submitted at the last minute, literally.
May was dedicated to preparing for the PhD viva. The day of Interrogation came and went with little drama, all of which was supplied by me, and a title of Doctor. (YEAH!!!!!!!!!!)
Two weeks later in June, I left for the beginning of the Wedding Extravaganza.
I haven’t mentioned Pete’s schedule much in this narrative. He was basically working his a** off in an attempt to build up some over-time and extra paid holiday time as well as his actually a** (although if he actually lost any of that I would have been very upset). He sacrificed a 24 hour period of sleep to help me print out my PhD and trouble-shoot the layout issues on printing day. He also took a day off for my Interrogation to hold my hand through the self-inflicted drama. But I’m sure his favourite activity of the months were the ballroom dance classes I forced on him in an attempt for us not to look foolish during our ‘first dance.’ However, none of this feverish activity compared to his week before leaving for the wedding. He started it off going to friends’ wedding and then spending the following week working insane hours while also interviewing for two jobs, accepting one job, and setting up his contracting company. He was also packing for the wedding extravaganza which would cover four climates and time zones in one large backpack.
We were married at the end of June. Five years from the day we met. It was a gorgeous day. The only one that week, actually. The next three weeks were spent flying around the world for honeymoon and a second reception.
In July we arrived back home more exhausted than when we left. Pete went back to work for two weeks before starting his new job and I started in on my minor revisions of the PhD.
In August, the minor revisions were done and my PostDoc application was rejected. This meant that I had no job prospects on the horizon. It was a few days of crying. Oh! But we got iphones!
On September 2, I was officially given the title of Dr. while at my last academic conference for the foreseeable future. For me, this is where it all started going a bit pear-shaped (career and body). The entire conference was spent listening to my former professors tell me, now that I was done, that there were no jobs out there. Thanks for that.
October passed with numerous job applications to universities, libraries, museums, radio stations, and production companies. All were met with silence. I started working on a media project based on my thesis work. It met a dead-end as well. But the month ended with another set of awesome jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treaters.
In November I had my thesis cited in a draft article as an emerging author and I have a draft chapter for a book looming, but more applications went unanswered and my morale and ambition and motivation sunk lower. A business trip to Paris with Pete didn’t go quite as we hoped and ended up being more exhausting than we hoped. I was so down that I couldn’t bring myself to go out and enjoy Paris on my own. But the month ended on a high note with a Thanksgiving dinner with good friends.
December brought my 32nd birthday and not much else, at least career-wise. Although my Nigella and Martha Stewart type skills are coming along nicely. The Christmas decorations never looked better and even though I joined Weight Watchers, my brownies are the best I have ever tasted, if I do say so myself. We marked our six-month anniversary on Christmas day and can’t believe how fast the months have gone. But we are still exhausted and feel like we have lost ourselves a bit.
We have those exhausted smiles of Father Time. We are anxious to start afresh in the new year. Bright-eyed, curious and excited about what the next year might bring.