I guess 2016 was the year that I finally became a grownup. Recently married, baby, permanent job, house with a mortgage. Did I rise to the test? It was a tumultuous year.

The words don’t come easily but on many levels I disappointed myself. Too many hours at work; at the same time, not enough achieved. No time for LaTeX, no time for yoga, no time for writing papers; worst, not enough time for my research students. And with all that still the feeling that I should have spent more time with Benjamin — not enough time for him, even.

It’s perhaps human nature or a sign of mild mental trouble that I focus so much on the negative. Of course buying a house is an amazing thing. Of course experiencing the first year of my first son’s life is without parallel or equal. And finally having the security of a permanent position at the University means I can focus around my career in a tangible way. I made good progress on a number of projects, and travelled to German and Netherlands for successful ‘networking’ for future collaborations. My teaching load is stabilising and I should be able to be more efficient in that work in 2017. I work with great people and I’m feeling positive about the direction of the school and faculty I work for.

I’ve managed to keep my head above water, but where’s that going to get me if things repeat themselves in 2017? In five years? As a result, I think that’s why as 2016 has drawn to a close I’ve felt flatter than usual. ‘I’m looking forward to a sane year next year’, I tell people, even though I said much the same at the end of 2015.

Can I lose the extra few kilograms I’ve put on? Can I sleep more healthily, get back into yoga? Can I work more effectively and productively; write papers; win grants? Now that I’m a real grownup I have to worry about performance, not just keeping pace.

Hold up a sec, though. Close my eyes, take a breath. How about I don’t worry about it all, and just let life be life. I’ll do the best I can, and hopefully tomorrow I’ll do a better job than today.