As I sit here, there are over 20 inches of new fallen snow on the ground outside, and a hot cup of Earl Grey tea to my side. A perfect Sunday evening to sit back and reflect on another year gone by. I feel that these posts have always had a notable "lean" towards the adventure, and as I get older, I see things ever evolving. It's not that the adventuring has waned or disappeared, (it most certainly hasn't!), but more that I have discovered new ways to define what exactly "meaningful" adventures are, and what ones are the most profound to me.
Upon a quick inventory of my annual memories for 2022, I can certainly recall some more poignant and unique little adventures (like some of my weekend spins around Arizona), as well as more substantial and well-planned trips (like my 2nd multiday moto-camping trip to Colorado). I still had a fair amount of adventures on foot, and even by bicycle as well. Many of my so-called adventures, were more inward I would say, or perhaps seemingly mundane to an outside observer.
With this all said, I will still go through the list of "Greatest Hits" of 2022 below and reflect on some of my memorable experiences of my 45th year around the sun....
YEAR IN REVIEW:
As the calendar flipped over, and I returned from visiting family over the holidays (the first such trip since the onset of the pandemic), I was greeted with 2 feet of plowed-in snow at the end of my driveway. Winter had arrived in earnest. This was ok, as it put me in the right frame of mind to tackle one of my biggest challenges of the year. This challenge is likely not what you would think....any sort of physical endeavor on foot, but rather an entirely mental effort. For three weeks in January, as classes were still spinning up to full swing, I effectively locked myself into my home office in order to concentrate the entirety of my mental capacity and acquired knowledge, into writing a detailed National Science Foundation Proposal. This proposal, if funded, would allow me to not only carry out really interesting ice-core science (in the service of the broader ice-coring and glaciology community), but would also allow me to pay my graduate student a salary (and removing the burden of having to TA undergraduate classes). This was an immense source of anxiety and stress for me, and being the first full proposal that I was leading on my own, the pressure was intense. For days I doubted myself and had intense bouts of what is known as "Imposter Syndrome" - where despite my 15+ years of training, education, and experience, I still felt that I was not qualified to carry out the research I was proposing and in effect...didn't really know what I was talking about. Of course now, looking back, I know this was a silly mindset to get myself wrapped up into, but it's nearly impossible as an early-career scientist to NOT doubt yourself. Needless to say, the proposal was ultimately funded in July, which definitely brought about an immense sense of validation and a boost to my self-confidence as a scientist and principal investigator.