Thu 2 Apr 2009
Haven’t written in this blog for quite some time. But I wanted to say something to the ether that didn’t have a place on my other blog, or my Facebook status, or my Tweeter account, or, well human contact…
I’m doing good. I’m actually doing okay right now.
Moving the Chicago was a very positive thing, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a hard transition. (Hell, any move that begins with a day at Juvenile Court to deal with the aftermath of a mugging…) Harder than I thought. Sometime around February I started to find my feet, but I was still stumbling a bit.
Sometime mid-March things started falling into place. I made some life decisions about trying to rid myself of a large portion of my possessions and adjust the reasons and amount I buy and acquire. (For details please visit my other blog PN6700-PN6790: A Comic Book Collection.) That decision alone will mean a lot of work, but is positive both to clean-up my current life and put me on a more sane direction moving forward.
Then I attend a work conference, the Midwest CONTENTdm Users Group, at Purdue University which was an incredibly positive experience. Partially because it was a return, almost exactly one year to the day, from my last trip to Purdue; the first interview of my job search from last year. It was a return as a stronger librarian, who was actually glad that he didn’t get that job (though was very glad for the experience). Beyond that it was a conference that I used in a strong, professional sense. I networked. I spoke to vendors. I asked questions. I learned. I socialized. I acted like an adult. Plus, when I left town I got to eat more Maple Frosted Glazed Donuts from Krispy Kreme (yum!)
Since then work has been fairly non-stop as we’ve moved into high gear working on a grant application that is due at the end of the month. It has been a lot of work, it still has a lot more work to go, and will mean a heck of a lot of work over the next year if we get the grant. But again, it feels right. It feels like I’m doing the right job, that I found the right institution, that I can get excited and engaged by what I do. I ended up working late tonight, staying till 6 (when I normally leave at 4:30), and it felt good. I’m making connections with the people I work with, professional connections, which makes me feel like I’m on the same page as everyone in my environment, and only helps reinforce how toxic my previous work enviornment had felt to me.
And I’ve been making other small decisions. For the last week I have tried several small personal goals. Pause before opening a door. Slow your pace as you walk from place to place. Stop and take a breath before answering a question or making a decision. Find small tasks to do each night, even if you feel tired, rather than just crashing in front of the tv. These wee goals have given me tiny bursts of positive energy, tiny positive reinforcements that add up in the long run. I made a commitment to go see a friends show Saturday. I made plans to start rehearsing and playing with some friends I performed with, hell, over nine years ago.
Also sometimes saying “No” can make you feel better. I was reading a book, an early novel by Christopher Moore, that I was really not enjoying and rather than slogging through it I put it down, pulled out the bookmark, and moved on. And you know, the book I picked up next was a good one. Every time I delete a season pass from my DVR because I’m not enjoying the show anymore or I’m just watching out of habit (bye bye Simpsons, Family Guy, and Smallville) it feels like I reclaim a little of my life. It is more fulfilling to take the time to watch something you want to watch (catching up on Kings, say, or Breaking Bad), than to worry about having to find the time to watch another police procedural or mediocre cartoon beyond its prime.
There are other things. For the past few years I’ve been involved with an online comic book cataloging project (the Grand Comic Book Database), and was even made an editor in the summer of 2007. But for the past year, with the job search and the move and everything, I hadn’t been able to do anything with the project. I didn’t realize how much it was eating at me, so I finally wrote to the group and said I would have to officially stop being an editor. While everyone was great and leaving the door open to return when I find the time, it felt real good to clear that off my mental to do list, to unsubscribe to some e-mail lists, and delete several thousand unread e-mails from my inbox. Tiny acts of clearance and removal, just like tiny acts of positive action, can feel very fulfilling.
I know I am a lucky man. I have a job. I have my health. My sister just gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby girl and she and her family are moving back to the states in a few months. I listen to the news each day and know I could be in so many different bad places right now. But sometimes it is hard to remember that and you need to take good things and tell yourself that you deserve them. To find happiness in a good movie (watch Death Note II or The Last of the Shelia), a good book (One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson), or a new bad (the self-titled album by The Week That Was). To take a walk on an early Spring night. To get positive feedback about some writing on a blog (PN6700 might get a nice plug on a popular comics web site in the next weeks). To take a drive on a saturday afternoon. If I was a different man I’d be saying this is finding God in all things, but I’ll leave it at finding Peace in all things.
Anyway, I hope I can follow the groove awhile longer. It is time for bed. I sat down around 7:30 tonight to do a little ebay planning while I watched the last ER and before I knew it I had opened a seller account on Amazon, emptied an inbox, updated the software on my laptop, balanced my checkbook, found some cool free music on the web, and decided to update this blog. Tomorrow will be another busy day of grant applications, meetings with co-workers, and lots more. So goodnight and remember… there is always room for pie.
(Wow, that sign off was really unfulfilling. I need to come up with a catchphrase.)