Day 2: The Best of the Worst of Years
People seem generally agreed that 2016 was a crap year. The best people died and the worst people won. In the face of this crappiness, I sat down to think about the happy things of this past year. I made this list before Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds died and before a colleague was harassed by white supremacists for mocking their racist concepts and now I don’t have much enthusiasm for sharing it. I’m concerned about focusing on my individual successes in the face of collective adversity. I know that the political losses of this year and the emboldening of the agents of injustice will require vigilance and thoughtfulness for the sake of creating a new and better world. I recall the good things of the year then in the spirit of possibility for doing that work.
- It was my first year as a tenured professor.
- I’m on my first sabbatical.
- We bought a house!
- We moved to a big(gish) city.
- I turned 40.
- Some really great people came to visit.
- I had a gloriously sunny Cape May vacation with the nieces and nephews and sisters.
- I gave some good talks and got some good feedback on the book project I’m working on.
- I went to the Eastern APA, philoSophia, Ancient Philosophy Society, Wonder and the Natural World, Feminist Ethics, Methodologies, Metaphysics and Science Studies, SPEP, Society for Ancient Greek Philosophy, IPA conferences this year.
- I reconnected with old friends in Philadelphia and New York City.
- I attended a dear friend’s wedding.
- I found a running group in Indianapolis.
- I’ve been doing a reading group on some stuff I’ve been thinking about in the background for awhile and am glad to get into deeper.
- I made some new friends in Indianapolis.
I’ve been in close contact with alum from the last three institutions I’ve taught at (Wabash, UTPA, and Bryn Mawr).The celebrity deaths, the lack of indictments for police shootings of Black people, emboldened racism, anti-Semitism and misogyny, Brexit, the political situation in Turkey, the surprising election all made it a year of possibilities foreclosed. At the same time, it was for me a year that established new possibilities- a new house, a new city, the tenured life, sabbatical. I’m not entirely sure how to hold these things together. I’m working to make my own new possibilities a place from which to address and resist the foreclosed ones.
The featured image is of the lighthouse at Cape May, NJ, lit by the sun. I leave it here as a metaphorical demand for lighthouses.