Well, here I am in the middle of my PhD journey.  I have become the Master of English I was striving to become (I get my diploma at the end of January).  I survived the GRE after two rounds with it.  The first round was a technical failure, by the way.  I scored in the average range.  After all the studying I invested in the middle of researching a thesis, I knew I could do better.  After the thesis was complete, I put on my gloves and went in for round two.  I won that round, hands down, by knockout.  There has been some recovery time though.  The success was not without significant cost.  I have applied to three major universities, two of them very much ahead of schedule, and now….I must wait….

Big Daddy leaves in a few days for his first low residency…residency in Vermont.  I am very excited for him.  I’ve been using my time to proofread and help him revise his collection of short stories.  I am very very excited for him.

I have not taken any time (not had any to spare really) to evaluate 2015 and its impact on my life.  So while Big Daddy annihilates Muties in the Commonwealth, let’s reflect a bit…

In January, one wayward child moved back home from college with a hugenormous debt, no job, and a severely waning sense of her purpose in traditional college.  Smart as a whip-crack, terribly shy, and unsure of herself, this WomanChild did not adjust well to being back with the parentals.  It was hard for her, for us, but as with all things, we managed to make it through and see her back in the dorms come August.  Fast forward to Christmas and this WomanChild has had the same job for almost a year now, was so vivid and vibrant at Christmas dinner that we hardly recognized her.  She was cheerful, funny, bright, and has obviously done some serious soul searching about her future as a college student and beyond.  I couldn’t be happier for her or about the changes wrought in her.  In April, we lost our boy, and that’s all I will say about that.  In August, the other WomanChild relocated over 300 miles away from her mom.  She went to Texas which is, as they say, really like a whole other country.  It might as well be across an ocean for me.  I miss her terribly, but this Little One, Sunshine, never ceases to amaze me with her resilience and brilliance.  Then in October, with deadlines looming, my father almost didn’t make it through a back surgery, and I spent the majority of the month of November on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike to Oklahoma City.

Even I can honestly say 2015 has been the year of major upheaval.  In between all this major life-reorganizing mayhem, in the interstices, some major soul rearranging has happened as well.  I didn’t think I was capable of finishing the thesis, writing all the writing for the college applications, and doing well on the GRE, but I did.  I was a complete wreck while I did it.  There were days when I only knew what day it was in relation to when something was due.  There were days when I forgot to shower or eat.  I would find myself awake at 3 a.m., but instead of a freight train running through my brain, the cars of the train had all detached and derailed and my mind was just one big train wreck.  What I have though in the aftermath is some pretty significant data on my capabilities.  In fact, I’ve given myself little excuse or room for self-doubt in the future (don’t fret though because I am an incessant worrier and doubter).  I’m even a tiny bit impressed with my stamina and at my age!  Who’d have thunk it?  So what now?  I achieved some pretty hefty momentum, and I think I made it through the holidays on inertia alone.  I have to wait until February to hear if the schools I begged for acceptance from have any use for me.  (le sigh)

My bit of wisdom:  If you think you cannot do it, remember me, the lowly blogger, because honestly, if I can do it, so can you!  I have doubted myself in the last two years more than I have ever believed in myself in my life.  I was my own worst enemy final project after final project.  My self-talk would make a co-dependent, alcoholic, sailor blush! And if I can do it, you can too!

Searching for journals to submit articles for publication.  Revising articles for publication.  Keeping up on my reading (I’ll post my interim reading list elsewhere because I do have some recommendations to offer!).  Looking for some freelance work or temporary work as a proofreader/editor, writing tutor, adjunct for one semester…..whatever.  “Do you want to Supersize those fries?”  Literally, whatever.

So besides no-slip trainers in the drive-thru window at Mickey D’s, what can I expect from 2016?  One of those 2015 soul rearrangements makes me ready for whatever 2016 has to offer!!