My friend Hawk said this to me just now, and it is true. I am in my pajamas, drinking tea and pondering sleep, even though I have nowhere to go tomorrow morning and potentially nowhere to go in a morning-time for a long time.
The rest of the creatures in the house are already asleep. One creature in particular is feeling very sick. My dear Zen has lost her appetite and is incredibly subdued. She drinks water from time to time, and eats just a little, then leaves her dish and wanders off to rest fitfully. Tomorrow may hold a trip to the dreaded vet if she does not feel better in the morning.
My last day was just about how I expected it to be, but with much better food.
Most of the food pictured above was gluten-free! I was suitably impressed.
There were goodbyes and presents and hugs and awkward moments and there was even a suitably bizarre patron interaction to send me off in style.
It will take a while for me to believe it is over. I thought about taking a photo of my badge before I turned it in or of my office before I turned out the lights, but I do not know what I would see when I looked at those pictures in the future. Certainly not the same ambivalence I feel now; that will wash away soon enough.
It would have been easier to be raucous and drunk tonight.
For the photo a day meme: a photo of you when you were happy.
Today I am happy. Tomorrow is my last day at my job.
I still believe in the public library’s importance to society, perhaps now more than ever. Some of my colleagues do so much with so little; their perseverance inspired me to pursue an advanced degree in the field. Each day brought a new challenge, and I tried to meet each one with tenacity and grace. I learned more at this job than in all of my prior jobs combined, not only about libraries but about the world and about myself.
But my job has changed me in some ways I can no longer abide. I do not like who I have become and I do not like what I have sacrificed in order to deal with the reality of my day-to-day.
This decision was not made lightly, and could not have been made at all if not for my husband’s dedication to my well-being. I have not always been good at discerning when or how to sever ties with parts of my life, but this time I do so on my own terms with my touchstones of honesty and compassion intact.
I do not yet know what my next venture will be, but I am moving forward with confidence and hope.
It isn’t quite what I thought it would be, and some days it is downright taxing, but I am grateful for my job at the library. I work with an astounding group of people who have shown me limitless generosity and sympathy. Some of the interactions with the public have been harrowing, but I enjoy helping people find information, especially when I get to learn something in the process. We have an amazing collection in a remarkable building, and we serve an incredibly diverse population. When I am not bogged down by the minutiae of management, I am awed by the intricacies of such a grand institution.
On that note, I realize it is hip now for San Franciscan yuppies to lampoon the homelessness problem as it pertains to the main branch of the public library. I truly pity those of you who do. Who do you think will suffer from the degradation of libraries and deprofessionalization of librarians, only people not privileged enough to swaddle themselves in overpaid “new media consultant” jobs? You might be able to order everything you need from Amazon now, until you realize that there is no 1-Click for consistent cultural community. When the glittering dust clears from the mashups and meetups, the library will still be here.
(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)