Members of the UVenus community share their words and intentions for 2020
Elizabeth Ross Hubbell, Academic Impressions, Denver, Colo.
I have tried a year of no shopping before and barely made it through January. This year, I’m committed. I know that cutting back on unnecessary expenses will make room for future amazing experiences. My big wins for 2019: published a book, completely cut out alcohol and spent my first full year vegan. Last year was all about my personal health; this year is all about financial health! All of these help me to bring my full self to my work, my relationships and enjoying simple daily pleasures.
Janni Aragon, UVIC, B.C., Canada
This school year’s backdrop or theme is kindness. Kindness is easy and healthy. It also means being kind to myself. I will continue to use this as one of my mantras at work and in my personal life. My biggest win was seeing that these small acts of kindness go a long way at work.
I had more student emails and more student appointments in my student office hours than the previous year. I made a point of reminding my students that my teaching is a form of mentoring, and this resonated with many. The emails and cards at the end of the year expressing that I was kind was impactful for me. Kindness does not mean that I did not have firm deadlines, but that I was approachable and supportive.
Kindness toward myself meant that I let go of transactional work relationships that were not friendships. This was a bit harder, but going back into full-time teaching meant that I had to focus my energy on myself and my students. Leaving academic administration was fraught with mixed feelings. But it is good to not work in a toxic work environment with a never-ending revolving door of leaders and their sycophants. I do not regret this change, and I learned so much about myself and the inner workings of my workplace.
Mary Churchill, Boston University, Boston, Mass.
My word for 2020 is abundance. It was a word that came up in a “View From Venus” podcast episode with Mikaela Kiner this past fall (listen here) and it has resonated ever since. At this point in my life, I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude, and while I have always been a glass-is-half-full kind of person, I now describe myself as a glass-is-overflowing kind of person. In reframing my life through a lens of abundance, I create the space for more generosity. Growing up working-class to poor meant growing up in a culture of scarcity, and it has taken me many years to reach a place in my life where I can see that not only do I have enough, I have an abundance, and in having an abundance, I also have so much to give. So, in keeping with the abundance theme, I have more than one word for 2020! My words are abundance, gratitude and generosity.
Melissa Nicolas, Washington State University, Pullman, Wash.
Like Janni (above), my biggest win in 2019 was leaving a toxic administrative position and softly landing at a new institution with supportive and generous colleagues. And I am so grateful to be working with students again. Regrets? I sold my house at what I thought was the top of the market, only to see it appreciate by another 35 percent. Ouch!
My word for 2020 is “intuition.” I have always had strong spidey senses, gut feelings and the ability to sense when something might not be a good idea, but I have spent the first half of my life trying to convince myself that intuition is just gobbledygook; no self-respecting academic should put any faith in feelings. Turns out that if I listened to my intuition more, I might have avoided some of the mistakes and wrong turns I’ve made. So in 2020, as I reach the half-century mark, I’m working on trusting myself.
Meg Palladino, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
My word for 2020 is reflection. It is easy to set goals, but sometimes I get lost on my way to achieving them. Spending time on reflection will help me reach my goals, realize how far I have come and learn from mistakes. To help, I recently got The Five Minute Journal, which promises to make me happier in just five minutes a day and increase my productivity. I haven’t yet taken my five minutes to begin the journal, but daily journaling is one of my goals…
Elizabeth Lewis Pardoe, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Acceptance. Acceptance that my boys will be both be college men. Acceptance that I will never solve all the problems faced by all the people around me -- including my own.
Lee Skallerup Bessette, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
I’m with Elizabeth in my commitment to buying less as well as Meg’s word, “reflection.” This year will mark the 10-year anniversary of getting online, starting my blog and using Twitter. I feel like I haven’t stopped since then. If the past decade was about establishing myself, then I want the next decade to be about using what I’ve built and accomplished in the most positive and productive ways I can.
What are you saying yes to in 2020? What are you letting go of? What were your big wins in 2019? Regrets?
What are your intentions for 2020? What do you want to focus on? Is there a word or phrase that sums it up for you?