Let's Chat: Hello 2024

Happy New Year, dear readers! The end of 2023 slipped away with a host of activities: wrapping up a semester and submitting final grades, traveling and returning home, preparing for Christmas, actually reaching and celebrating Christmas, more traveling and returning home (again), then ringing in the new year. It's now 2024. Let's go!

And by let's go, I mean, sit right there and don't go anywhere. Make yourself comfortable. Join me on this first installation of a Let's Chat post, 2024-style. We'll meander between topics, letting the conversation take us where it wishes. 

Changes of Scenery. I mentioned that I traveled twice around Christmas: once from Pennsylvania to Florida and back to visit my parents, then from Pennsylvania to Georgia and back to attend the Peach Bowl. When I first arrived in Florida, my immediate response was that it wasn't real. Blue skies, sunshine, and palm trees in December? Is this some wonderful hoax? After a day, however, the tables turned and I began to believe that my real life in Pennsylvania where I'm an employed person who does mundane things like making grocery lists wasn't real, either. 

All of this was very confusing. Reality and alternate reality were working at odds. I chalked it up to the fact that, apparently, I'm like an infant who can't remember that her hand exists when it's covered up by a blanket. When I'm in Pennsylvania in December, places like Florida don't exist. They're covered by a blanket. And when I'm in Florida in December, places like Pennsylvania don't exist. Blanketed, all the way.

I'm back in Pennsylvania for the long haul now. Hello darkness, my old friend.

Another Semester Starts. Another semester always starts. That's just the nature of semesters. They're like tides, either coming in, or going out, or occasionally pulling you under. We start on Monday. I'm not going to endeavor the mental gymnastics to tally how many semesters I've started, and I'm certainly not going to bother with the distinction of how many of those were in the role of student instead of instructor, but suffice to say, it's a lot.

Everything is prepared, as it should be. This is not my first (or tenth, or twentieth) rodeo, given that semesters come in fall, spring, and summer varieties and I've taught all of them for a gazillion years. I've finalized my syllabi. I've published my Canvas sites for each class. I've visited each of my classrooms, walking up and down each row, running my hand along every desk to pray for each student who will be sitting in them next week. I'm ready to go.

Goals and Stuff.
I've never been a person to make New Year's Resolutions, but this year, I have a few. For the sake of accountability, let me itemize them:

  • Give up Dr Pepper. Granted, I've given up Dr Pepper before, but I fell off the wagon so hard during the pandemic that I would have taken Dr Pepper through an IV if you would have offered it to me. You might be like, "But Robin, wasn't the pandemic four years ago? Haven't you gotten past that yet?" and I would say yes (to the pandemic being four years ago) and no (to not getting past it.) But now it's time. Even though a part of me is crying as I type this, I'm prepared to swear off happiness in the form of delicious liquid sugar running through my veins.

  • Write more. Years ago, I wrote amply and effusively. It was a practice, a discipline. Let's blame everything on Covid at this point, because at the same time the pandemic (and my Dr Pepper usage) spiked, my writing tanked. Of course, goals need to be concrete. You can't just "write more" or "get healthy" or "eat better," but rather you need a plan. Given this, my plan is to form a habit of posting twice a week on this humble blog. (Mondays and Thursdays sound nice.) 

  • Use a planner. Why I'm blaming this on Covid, I don't know, but somewhere along the line I went from a person who had a planner (think: organization and structure!) to a person who wrote things down on scraps of paper, to a person who had occasional thoughts that flitted in my head like Post-It notes being rustled by an oscillating fan -- tentatively sticking there, but potentially blown away at any moment. Somehow, in my currently hopeful January frame of mind, I think a planner will definitively change things, that it will revive the best and most disciplined parts of me that have been dormant. I'll keep you posted.

How about you, dear reader? How has your new year started? I hope you are well in every way possible, and please let me thank you for joining me here at Robin Kramer Writes. You could be reading anything, but you're here. I'm honored.

And now, 2024. Let's do this!

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