Last year

A lot happened last year.

Twelve months ago I’d been breathing bushfire smoke for months and I was struggling with despair and anxiety (personal and empathetically global) over Australia’s devastating bushfire summer, after our hottest and driest year on record, and the lack of responsible climate action our government maintains.

Now, we’re on track to have experienced one of the wettest years on record for our region, with some areas flooding in recent months, others seeing welcome regrowth in farms, forests and gardens. After severe drought and bushfires, some places may not find the sudden deluge so exciting. While our new garden is loving the conditions, our garage has suffered some minor flooding as the dehydrated clay soils slowly drown under the weight of water. (Nice reminder that climate change brings rapidly changing extremes, not static increases or decreases.)

In between, we’ve suffered from pandemic anxieties, losses and inconveniences, along with the rest of the world.  

But I’m an optimist who believes personal challenges deliver indirect benefits (just like ecosystem disservices!). And we all experienced some happiness last year, despite the stresses. I had a few personal achievements that I’m so grateful for: I bought my first house with my husband (approaching 40, I’ve been dealing with the stresses and uncertainties of rental life for way too long and am so grateful to finally have an ‘owned’ place in the world); I escaped the curse of the postdoc and got my first Lecturer job (kind of like tenure track, for North American readers); and I won my first competitive grant (after 10 years as an early career researcher, more than 15 grant applications, and deflecting many disparaging judgements from the type of academics who think a researcher’s skill is synonymous with grant success).

Thanks for joining this journey – I love writing and it’s great to know you’re reading! Looking forward to this inspiring new year.

Here are my top five posts published in 2020:

And my five most read posts on the blog during the last 12 months:

(Note: it’s always fun for authors to look back at what our audience read each year, but I can’t help wondering how these ‘top blogs for the year’ posts influence future readership stats… Maybe a topic for a future paper on blog reach!)

© Manu Saunders 2021

5 thoughts on “Last year

  1. Bartosz Bartkowski January 1, 2021 / 6:49 PM

    Thanks for another year of interesting writing! I had the same thought exactly when I published my blog’s most read posts; that’s why I’ve been thinking about doing it differently next year and instead publishing a list of my posts that I like most, and maybe even “hidden gems” that didn’t receive the attention I thought they deserved;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. banyanwanderer January 2, 2021 / 4:48 AM

    Happy New Year!

    I had read about the bush fires in Australia, and was wondering whether the fires you mention above had anything to do with the invasive gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus) that is in the news over there.


    • Manu Saunders January 2, 2021 / 9:27 AM

      Gamba grass is invading across Top End of Australia. The bushfires I’m referring to were in the south eastern part of the country


  3. Finola January 4, 2021 / 6:02 PM

    Congratulations on the house and the grant! Always enjoy your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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