I’m trying to make rational plans regarding the fact that I am about to, once again, face a big jump into the great unknown. Now when I say this I mean I have finally come to the conclusion that I need to leave the public once and for all. However, the fact that my small two days a week here basically pays my rent every month is not to be ignored. I remember this feeling, during my first year of grad school, let’s flash back to 2011. (The story of how I became a librarian in the first place).
In 2011 I was working a miserable job in real estate that often left me in tears at the end of the day, which was, what led me to going back to school in the first place. I was doing well in my first year of grad school, but it was hard to juggle working full time and doing a part-time load online through the University. On top of all that I was in a lousy relationship living with somebody who really wasn’t very motivated in any facet of his own life, and frankly, somebody I had no interest in spending my future with. I had been applying for jobs in the library world, all jobs that I could find, and getting rejection letter after rejection letter, after rejection letter.
I was stuck. I spent my days frustrated, angry, irritable, and somewhat hopeless while I plundered on doing all those things daily that I knew were slowly killing me inside. I wanted to do an internship which I felt was so important, since I had no prior library experience, but I couldn’t with my 9-5 M-F gig in hell. So, I kept on, saved all I could, worked my butt off and gave myself enough of a nest egg so that I felt comfortable for a bit launching off into the great unknown (with the backup of student loans if need be), AKA leaving my job without another lined up. In February of 2012, I cut the cord, and celebrated.
Many people in my life told me this was stupid. I even felt like I was a bit stupid myself, but I just knew that I needed to do it. It had never felt so good in my entire life to put in that letter of resignation, I felt so free and hopeful and full of opportunities.
But, my smile didn’t last too long.
It was hard to get a job, very hard in fact. What was nice about it is that I at least had a partner that paid half of the rent. This helped quite a bit and may have been one of the reasons we (both) stayed in a bad relationship for as long as we did. The first summer and fall seemed OK. I enjoyed taking my time with my school work, really absorbing it, being present with my studies, which is what I really wanted in the first place. I got to do an internship in an archive which I am so thankful for. I eventually found a very small PT gig at (of all places) a synagogue, where I made very little money and even less friends. I kept trying and trying, time went on, I watched my nest egg decrease and man do piles of money burn fast.
Luckily, as the synagogue became less and less of a good gig, I landed a PT job at the public in 2013 (where I am typing this from today, the very seat I started in almost 5 years ago) and I could leave the synagogue and work at the public part time only. Things seemed to be looking up, my coursework was going well, and I was getting actual real life public library experience.
Until I got left suddenly and very out-of-the-blue like by that boyfriend. Now, getting left sucks in and of itself, but the bigger devastation for me here lay in losing half of my rent and household expenses. Sounds like a shitty thing to say, but it’s true. Sometimes in adult land we rely on partners for more than just emotional payments. Things descended a bit from there, yeah, they got a bit dark. I remember a specific night where the cat and I went tumbling upside down when I rolled to the side of the Walmart futon and the weight made it topple over, that may have been the rock bottom. I laughed until I cried in my half-empty apartment. It was quite the ride. I kept on with school, kept my head up, and just tried to make it through living on the tightest of budgets but somehow always squeaking by. That was what 30 looked like for me.
More things happened, more changes. I landed a second part time gig at the U in 2015 where I still am today. I gained another relationship that I had high hopes for, then lost it. I had what was close to an emotional breakdown somewhere in there and began therapy and trying to heal myself. I broke addictions, gained knowledge really dug deep down in there and faced some of those demons I had been carrying around for way too long. (That’s wildly oversimplifying it, but I don’t need to bore you with all those details.)
Through it all I was working 6 days a week, and juggling so many new roles looking back I have no idea how I didn’t completely lose it, but I didn’t. Let me tell you, working six days a week when you live on your own and should do all the house things and try to relax on that ONE day, really catches up to you after 3 years of doing it.
If you follow me at all you will know that I’ve had a lot of failure in the library world these last 3 years, most of them very unforeseen. But it’s also reconnected me to writing, which I’ve been trying to push myself to do these last couple of years. Baby steps are still steps you know, they count.
Now I’m at another crossroads, that is pretty similar to the one I had 6 years ago. I’m spent. Like totally spent, and I need to take time and focus on things that can move me forward, and open doors for me. I have 3 things. Public, University and Writing. Out of these 3 the public has become a bit of a dead rot. I can’t move forward in my position, and I no longer find much happiness in being here. Worse, it takes up so much of my time that I have no energy to spend looking for other jobs in either writing or library capacities. I feel like I must let it go. But, this means that I literally will only be making enough money with the one job to feed myself very frugally after bills are paid, and god forbid any craziness is needed like dental work or medical stuff because that would just throw the whole operation for a loop. On the flip side I will have a glorious 3 days off a week to recover from this burnout, write, be productive, and think of my next big life move because well, it’s time.
But I’m scared. What if I can’t make it? What if I don’t? I just don’t think those are options. Why do I never consider the What if I die tomorrow? Fear is the number one reason I would think with money being a close second that I don’t do SO many things in my life. FEAR. Just plain old fear. I think about the things I can’t buy like any new clothes or frivolities like smell good candles or massages, all these things I’m able to do now to try to quell the misery that the job that makes me the money evokes. See the vicious cycle here? But we don’t NEED these things and it really doesn’t stack up to much when you weigh it against following what your heart desires and what you know your person needs does it?
It’s like operating without a safety net. I’ve done it before, I’m pretty sure I can do it again. *Sigh* I always thought by 34 I would be settled, whatever that is. It could be that I’m afraid of doing the work all over again. Either way I know all the “rational” plans I have made for myself up until now never panned out, maybe it’s time for some irrational ones.