Eleven years ago I moved my little family (which at that point consisted of a husband, a toddler and two beagles) to Watertown, New York. We had been living in Oklahoma for a good seven years, ever since we’d gotten married. I had been working part-time at a public library and going to school to get my MLIS. I worked with some really wonderful people at that library. Thanks to them, I found my passion for the profession. It was 2004, 2005, right at that time when librarians ruled the blogosphere and Web 2.0/Library 2.0 was this whole big thing.
When I finally graduated in 2006, a few months after my son was born (ya, timed that one almost perfectly), I felt like I was coming into the profession at a really exciting time. I spent those first few years trying to find my footing as a new mom and a new librarian. After a few years of full-time experience under my belt, I decided it was time to make a move professionally. Although public libraries will always have a special place in my heart, my experience in graduate school had revealed a passion for teaching information literacy. So, I decided to make a career shift to academic libraries and ended up being offered an entry-level Public Services and Reference position at SUNY Jefferson Community College. I was so excited but so terrified at the same time.
I sometimes feel as though my path as a librarian reflects the different stages of life. Childhood, adolescence, young adult, middle-age…sometimes I feel like I’m between young adult and middle age, other days when I’m feeling more cynical, I’m definitely more middle-aged bordering on mid-life crisis. Having said that, it was in Watertown, during my time at SUNY JCC that I truly came of age as a librarian. That was where I learned some serious shit and I have so many people to thank for that. Not just my colleagues at the library or the campus community as a whole but the entire SUNY librarian community. I had some amazing mentors and was provided with so many opportunities that allowed me to really discover what I was actually good at. As a result, I now feel confident and inspired in my profession. There’s been personal growth too. I experienced some hard times those first few years and if it wasn’t for the support of my family, friends, and colleagues, I probably never would have gotten back on my feet again, never would have made it through my divorce and certainly never would have believed in myself again.
This past July I moved my little family again. This time, it was with my son, my dog and three cats. I packed all of them into my car and drove all the way to Houston, Texas, my parents following along in a U-Haul. In August, I started a new job as Information Literacy Instruction Coordinator at the University of Houston-Downtown. These past four months have been full of so much change and I must admit, I’m experiencing a rather overwhelming mental exhaustion from it all. We’re renting a home for now, so there’s this sense that we’re kinda only halfway moved. When you move as an adult, with kids and animals, there are all these little things that you don’t anticipate that end up adding little bite-sized portions of stress. Establishing new doctors, vets, banks, getting a new driver’s license, car registration, car insurance. I love living in a city where there is so much to choose from, so many things to do, but a bigger city means longer drives and more traffic. Which for me, just means spending more money on Audible but still, if I need to take my car in to get serviced, I can’t just drop it off during my lunch break. Instead, I have to take the morning or afternoon off because it takes me 30 to 40 minutes to get pretty much anywhere around here. Regardless, we’ve been settling in quite well and finding our rhythm.
My new job is a good fit too. I get to really focus on what I love to do and there’s some interesting challenges/oportunities I’m looking forward to taking on. I really like it here. But I do have these moments where I get a little teary and start to really miss my life in Upstate New York. I miss the familiar, I miss my friends. I think remembering my life there brings up so much nostalgia, especially where my son is concerned. I have so many fond memories of him growing up there, so maybe it’s less about missing a place and more about missing a time. It’s hard to tell. At any rate, we have a new adventure ahead of us now. I’m looking forward to seeing what it will bring.