First it was because I had over-committed myself at the end of 2015 and had things I needed to see through. Then it was because a really high stakes work project coincided with my studying for, and taking, the GRE. Then it was because on the day I took the GRE, I found out my mom has cancer.
The problem with feeling like you're treading water all the time is that you end up letting things you really care about slide because you don't have the emotional energy to do much more than the bare minimum. I basically didn't run at all in 2016. I didn't blog regularly. I gave up on reading anything other than what was assigned as part of the online book club I'm in. I had a hard time thinking about the strategic direction I wanted to take with the processes and people I manage because I was struggling to stay on top of the day-to-day things that needed to happen to keep things running.
I needed the time off that the Holiday Break provided. I needed to go away for a while and not think about anything other than the things right in front of me, and I needed to choose the ways in which I wanted 2017 to be different and the things that I wanted to spend my time and energy on in the coming year.
On New Year's Eve, a lot of my friends were sharing this tweet from John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats.
WHATEVER WENT DOWN IN YOUR LIFE THIS YEAR THAT YOU HATED, WATCH IT GO UP IN FLAMES IN YOUR MIND'S EYE— The Mountain Goats (@mountain_goats) December 31, 2016
And that felt like a fitting way to let go of all of the ways in which 2016 left me feelings burned out. So on New Year's Eve, I paused and thanked 2016 for all of the things it had given me and all of the things it took from me. And then I started a Google Drive folder called "Get Your Shit Together 2k17."
So it's 2017 and that work project is looming less largely over all of us, but we still have a lot of loose ends to tie up. And I still have some commitments, but I've mostly let go of the voluntary commitments that I don't feel totally invested in. I'm still waiting to find out if I got accepted to the PhD program I applied to, and probably will be until sometime in the spring. And my mom still has cancer, but she's got really great doctors who are working very hard to provide her with the best care.
And I decided that in 2017, I want to spend more time thinking about process--the how and the why of a project or task instead of just the results. And as I try to focus on staying grounded and present, I find myself saying "be where you are right now."
I guess this is as much a State of the Blog address as anything else. Or maybe a State of the Blogger address? Anyway, I really appreciate those of you who hung around the Unified Library Scene in 2016 because you found something of value here--an idea or a story that resonated with you and who you are or want to become. I hope that you continue to find something of value here again this year.
We couldn't have even done this if it wasn't for you.