One Word

This I’ll say at the outset: it is far harder for me to come up with one word than it is for me to come up with a thousand.

Write about my year and how it’s gone? Absolutely. Reflect on its dominant trends and emotions, and think about how I’d like to change them in the year ahead? Definitely.

One word? That’s hard.

After a lot of dithering, the one word I’ve come up with to encapsulate 2010: transition.

Over the course of this year, I transitioned fully — not just physically, but intellectually and emotionally — from the department I’d been a member of for the previous 11 years to the new department I helped to found. I went through the rite of passage of a promotion review. I packed up a subset of my belongings and moved them across the country for a sabbatical. And I finished up one major writing project, and started thinking about the next one.

All of that transition has been productive, but it has also been exhausting and at times quite painful. Everything that’s come out of it has been extremely good, and yet if you asked me, I’d tell you that it’s been a very hard year.

And so for 2011, the word I’m focusing on is still. I’m really hoping that I can slow things down, reflect a bit more, enjoy the time I’ve got where I’ve got it, and not be in such a rush to get on to the next thing. I want to linger in the next six months (hey, nine months!) of my sabbatical, to take my time sorting out the next project, to enjoy my friends and my colleagues and my students and my surroundings. Even if I am rushing about a bit — I’ve got some really fun travel coming up in the next few months — I want to see if I can find the stillness in the motion, to be a bit more aware of where I am, and what I’m working on, right now.