One more day…

…and I’m off to the rational side of the border for my annual October excursion. I didn’t know for sure till the last minute if I’d even be able to go.

I need this trip badly. My stress level is high. I-79 in West Virginia had better watch out.

(Postcard via https://dr.library.brocku.ca/handle/10464/6325)

Ten years in the profession

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the official start of my full-time career as a librarian. It also marks the midpoint of my career, as retirement becomes an option (and one I plan to pursue) at the twenty-year point.

I love my work. It’s essentially an extension of what I’d been doing as a hobby for more than a decade before I entered the profession; I create digital content from historical materials and share it with the world. As a librarian, backed by a university and a lot of grant funding, I just get to do it on a much larger scale, with more resources, and a much bigger content base to start from. It’s great; I was lucky enough to find a position doing exactly what I wanted to be doing when I decided to get my Master’s degree. Now I’m tenured university faculty with a pretty nice life and lots of job security. I think that’s pretty much the last thing most visitors to this site might have expected, say, twenty years ago.

My enthusiasm for my newfound career may literally have saved me from a  meltdown (or worse) in “the dark years” of 2011-2013 when I was simultaneously dealing with the end of my marriage, my mom’s startlingly rapid descent into dementia, and the loss of my dad. My career gave me something I could focus on and feel I had control over at a point when I didn’t really feel I had control over many other parts of my life. And the timing was good, as it coincided with the time I needed to be building up a beefy portfolio to make tenure. I became a bit of an overachiever in this one area, though I may have neglected some other areas in the process. My job, in short, became a bigger part of my life than I hd ever expected (or thought I wanted) it to be.

I’m at a little different point now. I still love my work and have no intention of giving it up, but the past two years (and especially the last few months) have been very challenging for me and really for everyone I work with. I’m finding myself reassessing what’s important to me, personally and professionally. After finally dealing with what was likely a longstanding case of depression a few years back, I learned how to enjoy other things again and stopped relying so much on my work for my happiness in life.

Now I’m once again thinking very seriously about what the next ten years will look like for me, both personally and professionally.

Literally.

This weekend.

It’s not really about the anniversary so much as about some recent issues at work, but this does seem to be an appropriate time to be thinking about this stuff. I’m 55 years old and whether I like it or not, I’m entering a new phase in my life that requires some contemplation. I need to start thinking about what’s important to me personally and then to make the things that are important to me professionally fit into that plan. That may be something of a reversal of the past ten years, or ot may just be a recognition of the fact that the two are not interchangeable.

Either way, I’ll let you know how it turns out. Maybe.

 

While we’re on the subject of maps…

How does this one look as a plan for the two weeks surrounding Christmas?

I’ve never spent any significant time in Texas (except for a little town called Fredericksburg, where I once spent far more time than I ever wanted) and winter is the only time I could probably stand to do it. To be honest, I feel like this might well be the only time I would ever do a major Texas trip, but it seems like something I should do at least once.

I had originally planned a California Christmas but I’m not sure my heart is in a long holiday flight, even though I have been a bit nostalgic since I’ve been reading this book on Highway 99. Longtime readers may remember I used to have something of an obsession with that particular road back in the 1990s.

But I’m really excited to see some territory I’ve never seen before, since it seems I almost never head south anymore. So if not this big trip, I may at least land in Miami. I haven’t been there in about fifty years, so it should at least seem new.

Or I may decide that I need my traditional “calm and restful” holiday vacation in Virginia Beach.

So many destinations. So little time.

I made a sex map

This map displays every spot (or at least every spot I remember) where I’ve had sex. Reds are precise locations while oranges just mark the vicinity. Yes, that means I don’t necessarily remember everyplace I’ve had sex down to the building, address, alley, or bush. The 1990s version of me was a major slut, OK?

Try building your own. It’s fun, if sometimes mildly disturbing…

Sex map

Refreshing

I figured it was about time for a new look, and one that is a much better responsive template than the one it replaced. I don’t do design for a living anymore (though it remains a big aspect of what I do for a living) but I still have some strong opinions:

  1. Whether I like it or not, most people access the web using handheld devices now. If your site doesn’t work well in that environment, you are not serving your users well.
  2. I very much believe that the mobile and desktop experiences should be as similar as possible (i.e. no separate templates for each).
  3. Otherstream is now something of a time capsule rather than a regular part of my daily life, but if I’m going to keep in online in whatever form, I’m also going to keep it accessible to anyone who is using a reasonably current and common browser/platform.
  4. As a librarian, I am inclined to standardize data and content as much as possible so that it is portable and easily migratable.
  5. I am not however, going to obsess over every page. Let me know if you run into problems.

If you’re still reading, thanks. I’m gonna go watch a “Perry Mason” now…

Realizations upon hitting another age milestone

Know what’s so great about being 55?

  • Being past most of the sex and love bullshit. No romantic drama, no overactive genitalia getting me in trouble (or wasting my time), no quest for “the love of my life” nor “the lust of my night,” and therefore much less time wasted.
  • I still have enough energy and enthusiasm (and and finally, enough money) to enjoy life. I travel a lot, no longer stay in toilets, always order a side of baba ghanouj even when I’m eating alone, and don’t stress over having to spend an extra twenty bucks on something.
  • Having a decent car.
  • Not giving a shit what anyone thinks about whether I prefer to spend most of my time alone (eat alone, go to movies alone, travel alone, etc.)
  • Loving my job (finally) but not counting on it for all my happiness like I did a few years ago when I was such a basket case.
  • Knowing who my real friends are (though I sort of always did).
  • Not owing anyone anything but maybe gratitude.
  • I’m on the 21st floor looking out at Detroit and you’re not!