2016 in review...

I have to admit that 2016 was a bit of a rough year; and not in the John Oliver "F$%k 2016" because of Brexit and Trump's election kind of way (although there is that too). Rather happenstances at work coupled to the realities of being a relatively new dad conspired to complicate things.

As parents we learned that 'with mobility comes great responsibility'. Once our son was able to run around the apartment, gone were the days of being able to sit down and read or use a PC. As I should have expected - though perhaps hadn't fully appreciated - this led to an utter tanking of at-home productivity. In fact, I daresay that 2016 is the least 'productive' year I've had since becoming an adult. Don't get me wrong, a large part of the reason that I left academia was because I felt that the poor work-life balance wasn't justifying the rewards. Here I'm talking about the ability to do anything at home - be it work, hobbies, blogging, etc. Also, because we've been more-or-less sticking to a 'no-screens' policy, I've pretty much fallen off of the face of the earth when it comes to staying in contact with folks via FaceBook or email.

I knew that having a child would mean giving up a lot of free time, but I've seen other folks manage to continue productive postdocs or careers whilst being new parents. Unless you count watching the entire run of The Sopranos in short bursts once the baby was put to bed and the kitchen was cleaned, I did little at home, work or play. I know, I know - this probably shouldn't be a big deal, and again, I should've expected it. But as someone who, as a postdoc, used to work most weekends, I really felt like I was accomplishing nothing.

Things kind of took a weird turn career-wise as well: organizational changes and reprioritization of objectives led to my main project shifting unexpectedly. I was quite passionate about what I was doing and, unfortunately, it did bum me out. On the plus side, this forced me to learn a number of new skills and explore a completely new field. Thankfully, things are looking up for 2017 as I'm actively working on multiple manuscripts detailing our work on my 'passion project' and it looks like I'll be heading up some more exciting stuff.

I feel like I tell myself this every year, but my main goal for 2017 is to better balance the demands of work, family, and play. First, I'm crossing my fingers here, but I assume that our son will soon (eventually?) be able to occupy himself sufficiently such that I can get a little more work done here and there. You know, to keep treading water if nothing else. Second, I've always been pretty bad about staying in contact with folks via email, but as mentioned above in 2016 I fell off of the map. To be fair, our 'no screens' policy has a lot to do with this, but I don't think that becoming a hermit will do anything to help with my feelings of accomplishing nothing. Oh, and as always, I want to get back to blogging. Though I've wanted to get back to blogging since like 2009[1].

I'm not calling these resolutions, because those typically fail. Instead, I think that my holiday break is as good a time as any to adjust my priorities and objectives such that I can achieve as many of them as possible. All of this being said, I realize that I'm basically building a house of cards atop the expected behavior of a toddler. Plan B will be to start pounding two cans of Monster™ every day instead of one. 

[1] I have a good reason for wanting to blog. As I may have mentioned before, writing is a skill that benefits from regular maintenance. When I was blogging and writing papers regularly, sentences and ideas flowed much more naturally then they do now. If you want to get good at coding, code every day. Same goes for writing, no? Alternatively, I may just be getting old. Well, I'm certainly getting old.