Most years, at the start of the new year, I tend to think about where I'm heading, what I want to accomplish, and how I want my life to change in the twelve months to come. Given how much of my life is up in the air for 2009, my thoughts have been drawn more to previous years and what my perspectives were at the time.
On Dec. 31, 2008, I was playing cards with my cousin and his wife. I'm in Maryland studying immunology and wondering where my studies will take me in the next few years, when I'll ever find a girlfriend, and whether I'll be home before next Christmas for any reason besides my sister's graduation.
On Dec. 31, 2007, I was in Chicago, celebrating with college buddies at a party which was sparsely attended due to a foot of fresh snow. I was excited about having just earned my MS and incredibly confused as to where I would end up for my PhD work.
On Dec. 31, 2006, I was with my cousin and his wife, again, but this was a party, so there were many others as well. I was working my my MS, still sore about having left Northwestern, and trying to figure out if I'd ever get over my ex-girlfriend.
On Dec. 31, 2005, I was in Evanston, at a party with Northwestern people. My girlfriend was visiting at the time, so she was there as well. I was spending quite a bit of time then wondering whether I would make it at Northwestern and hoping that the classes would not be as crushingly difficult as I feared they would be. I'd also just started doing research with my new PI, and I was very hopeful about where it was heading.
I could go further back, but I find the retrospective helpful. It's interesting what things we're worried about at various times in our lives and how those thing change over the course of just a year. One year doesn't seem like that much time, but when I look back at prior New Year's eves, it seems like an eternity.
I don't know what the coming year holds for me, but I'll wish all of you the best for the next twelve months.