…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)
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.
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.
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!
Well researched articles in reputable publications, written by knowledgeable professionals who cite legitimate facts and documented sources?
Facebook memes full of outrageous claims, conspiracy theories, misspellings, and stolen images, that cite no sources and are published by some random anonymous guy you’ve never heard of?
Gospel truth, of course.
The problem is not that people are stupid. The problem is that people are lazy.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my dad. He didn’t particularly like to be photographed, so he very often made some kind of goofy grin or hid his face. But this one actually looks like him, which is kind of nice.
I also like it, though, because he’s driving and it makes me think of all the road trips we took when I was a kid (he didn’t like to fly any more than he liked to be photographed) and because in this shot, we just happen to be on the way to Toronto.
It’s weird, though, for me to realize that my dad was about a year younger than I am now when this photo was taken.
I’ve always thought I was more line my mom than my dad in general. We have more of a family resemblance and we maybe shared a few more interests overall. But as I get older, I see more of my dad in me too, or at least the things I romanticize about him, like his love of driving and exploring and the way he always had some little diner tucked away in whichever town we were in.
And his sense of humor.
And the fact that we both ended up a little, uh, endearingly impatient. Yeah. That’s a diplomatic way to put it…
Anyway, I miss him.
Happy Father’s Day.