Twice a month I meet with one of my colleagues to work on our tenure packets. We both need to put them in next Fall. It was actually my colleague's (I'll call him Big Daddy) idea to schedule regular meetings to keep us on task. It's been working out rather nicely. Being the rule-follower that I am, I feel the need to have something done--some product--each time we meet. He, on the other hand, is never prepared. So often our meetings turn into working meetings and we hide ourselves from phones and email and work quietly (well most of the time) together for about an hour and a half. This means I'm already making considerable progress but there is still a long road ahead.
One of the things I need to do is describe my research life pre-tenure track. This means rehashing what I worked on for over seventeen years. It amazes me how much I've forgotten, like entire grants. Literally I spent years of my life working on research projects that seemed so critically important at the time and now I'm like--oh right we did do that project, didn't we? So its turning out to be a rather weird trip down memory lane. It is also interesting to see all the seedlings of the work I do now in the work I did then. It feels like I'm in an entirely new place, research agenda-wise, but all the roots are firmly in my old work.
I find this to be an aspect of aging that I enjoy--being able to look back at different versions of young Brigindo and trace the connections, all the twists and turns, to this Brigindo. With hindsight it makes so much sense but looking forward is another story completely.