Goodness, time flies. How did this rock around so soon? In some ways I still feel like I am incredibly new at this, and yet being in my third year makes me more of a senior in this game. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this morning the dominant feeling was ‘slightly stunned.’
To be fair, I have come a long way. I have designed and undertaken a fieldwork project of substantial and respectable complexity from beginning to nearly finished. I have written and submitted a paper for publication and resubmitted it revised in response to peer review. Peer review … That makes me a scholarly peer! I have reached that point where I know more than my supervisors about my topic. And to cap it all off, I am on track to finish in three years and I feel like I can do it.
This morning I was feeling ambivalent about celebrating the anniversary because it seemed a bit like an exercise in mere stubbornness. Now, I’m good at stubbornness but it’s not always a thing to celebrate. Simply being somewhere for a length of time isn’t always an achievement either. The thing is, if I don’t celebrate this and then also get coy about celebrating other milestones-along-the-way, then what on earth is worth celebrating? Three years is a long time and there have to be points along the way worth acknowledging. Some of my reticence comes from a sense that because I haven’t finished it, any celebration seems premature. The value of the work seems contingent on finishing, in the autohypercriticalamus* at least.
I have a lot more I want to write. There are a clutch of proto-blog posts connected with fieldwork experiences that I still want to write. At the time I was too exhausted, either physically or mentally, to shape them up into something coherent enough to post. They may start appearing soon as “fieldwork retrospectives” here because I still want to write them even though it is past the chronological point that inspired them.
So I shall celebrate getting this far. It doesn’t matter that I still feel like I am just beginning. I have already learned a lot. The coming year is another big one with new challenges. To invoke my dragon metaphor, this year is about saddling up and riding.
+ ‘I’m Still Standing’ Second Anniversary Achievement Badge
+ Level UP!
* Yes, I made up a word for the place in your mind that keeps dreaming up excessive expectations for yourself that you’d never put on anyone else.