I am now officially a librarian without a library. For a while I honestly didn’t think that it would ever be quite like this. Sure, like many, from time to time I thought of moving on. There were many days and even weeks where I was unhappy in my job but I’d never reached my breaking point. When I did, a month ago, there was a rush of relief, anxiety and everything that comes along with change. I was displaced.
When it’s time to move forward, it’s time. Despite earning a Masters in Library and Information Studies, one of two Masters degrees I hold, and having devoted myself to that career for well over a decade, I had become despondent. I was going through the motions but the joy was gone. I’d worked in library administration for over 7 years and while I took a great deal of pride in what I did, it never felt truly like I would remain there forever. There are things and phases of one’s life that, although they seem permanent, are only meant to last a season. My season of libraries are likely over. However, I’m smart enough not to say that I’ll never go back to them. Twelve years is a long time and the skills that I developed and honed while working there won’t be relegated to a shelf to accumulate dust.
I’d forgotten what it was like to truly rest. To know that I wasn’t responsible for anyone but myself was liberating. When I finished my last day on the job I felt a euphoria I’ve never felt before. Prior to that I was anxious. I could see the end in sight but was filled with both procrastination and nervousness. There was a part of me that was fearful that I wouldn’t know what to do once it was over. I’d done the same thing for so long that I just couldn’t fully see past the job. The date was set and my responsibilities outlined but it felt a bit outside of my grasp. I knew that nothing I did would change the inevitability of it all. And even though I was ready to move on, my body and parts of my mind just couldn’t let it go.
I sat in front of my computer on that last day. I was there for hours. When I finished at 11:45pm I looked over at my husband and said, “It is finished.” The feeling that I had was hard to explain. I was so exhausted by that point that there was no desire to celebrate or even cry. All I could muster was a sigh of relief. There was a lot to document and a lot that I feared I may forget to mention. In the end it was truly complete. I was ending something that was virtually the entirety of my life and was approaching an abyss that I knew nothing about.
In less than a month I’d tendered my resignation, put our house on the market, accepted an offer, moved out-of-town and was actively job hunting. It really has been a crazy few months. In December I’d had a hysterectomy. I thought that it would be the only thing that I would have to be truly concerned about. But life, as usual, had other plans. I’ve tried to remain as optimistic as possible. There’s no need to be angry with life for doing what it does best, change.
It has been challenging. It’s also been cathartic and enlightening. As of today both my husband and I are unemployed and will soon have no money at all. Is it stressful? Yes. Would I change the path that I took to get here? Maybe. But I am at peace and am happy about this next chapter in our lives. As I get older I continue to evolve in ways that I never imagined possible. I am grateful for the life that I have. I am appreciative of the experiences that I’ve lived and most importantly, I am humbled by my willingness to make a change even in the face of adversity. Sometimes we have to do something drastic and uncomfortable in order to continue in the path that we’re meant to live.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 2/12/14 issue of The Union-Recorder. It appeared under the title, The Anxiety Has Ended; It’s Time to be Liberated.