There's a meme going round twitter, to list the three things (most important) that you accomplished.
quote this tweet with your top 3 personal accomplishments of 2017 (you decide what counts)
— Adam J. Kurtz (@adamjk) December 24, 2017
Doc Becca owned it:
1. Was denied tenure
2. Said “I disagree.”
3. Was awarded tenure. https://t.co/PtTdO6KB1R
— Dr Becca, PhD (@doc_becca) December 25, 2017
I have tried several times to answer this. The trouble is my distribution of accomplishments is very flat, or rather, like the distribution of outcomes when you roll a die: everything is 1/6. I think of these three, and then of those three, and then these other three.
Which leads me to this thought:
I didn't have a major event like Dr. Becca. I had lots and lots of little and small things, none of which stick out as One of The Most Important Personal Accomplishments.
So what are my small deeds? I gave away more than 10% of my income (if you need a nudge: Donor's Choose). I listened, without judging, to all sorts of people: my trainees, the folks who work in my lab, my friends, my step-ish kids, my family. I dealt with problems large and small in my lab, and made sure that even when things were rough, people felt that they were heard and problems were equitably solved. I was kind to people who were not kind to me. I did some good science, and got some good things published. I made life better for others, without their knowing it was me doing it. I stepped up when someone needed to, but did not fail to take care of myself. I loved, and got love back. None of it spectacular, or reaching the level of yes, these three points on the distribution stand out. In short, I lived.