Monday was my first day back at the office since March 2020.
I knew the return to in-person work was coming for weeks. Those were weeks of mental stress and intense Sunday scaries. So, I was delightfully surprised when everything was... fine.
In fact, it was more than fine. It was fun.
Yes, it was still weird and a little scary, but I was so excited to see people again that I was able to push all my other doubts aside. I had the very first in-person reference desk shift of the week and I found myself giving students overly enthusiastic greetings. They'd walk into the library and I would "Hi! Welcome! How can I help?" at them like a happy dog. It just felt so wonderful to connect again.
I am an introvert, but working at the desk again reminded me how much I love connecting with our campus community. As the Outreach librarian, my job is to connect with people. That is really hard to do through a screen. Now, I get to have those casual conversations that forge relationships again. I get to see our students smile (well - smize - behind a mask). I get to share the gratitude that comes from being helpful. My three days in the office reminded me of why I love my job and University so darn much.
What surprised you this week?
I spent the past week pondering what I wanted to write in a Friday post.
I tossed around the idea of a lengthy essay... and then tabled that because I know my bandwidth limits. I liked the idea of making a weekly recommendation... but then recalled I found that to be a chore most weeks over on my old blog. I thought about pivoting and writing a post deep diving into a single search process... but the thought of writing that bored me.
So, I turned back to the brain dump planning document I created when I wanted to get back into blogging. I reread my ideas which drove me to focus on what I like about blogging. I like sharing. I like being upbeat. I like the little happy things we encounter.
Thus, the idea for this new weekly post arose.
On Fridays, I will now share a list of "Just Good Things." These will be posts of all the good things I encountered, saw, used, or experienced. The goal of this post is to share gratitude and the bright side of life.
To kick things off, here is my list from this week:
What are your good things of the week?
I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year
Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker
I started reading this book last week. WaPo excerpted several chunks of the text and I devoured them all. Figured it was worth reading the rest.
For non-fiction, it’s a quick and easy read. That could be partly because I am hate reading this. It’s reminding me of just how angry I was for the four years of his presidency.
The first chapters almost read like a thriller. The virus is emerging and you know what's coming, but watching the train wreck of government in-action ratchets up the tension.
I returned to the office on Monday. I spent all of today thinking it was Friday. It feels like Friday. Why is it not Friday? I am tired enough for it to be a Friday.
Anyway... here's what has my attention at the moment.
The romances were added after I finished the first in the series. The Mars books were recommended by my dad.
You can see my complete TBR list on Pinterest.
I go back to the office tomorrow. Tomorrow! And, I have intense Sunday scaries about it.
Part of this is due to my overall anxiety/panic attack issues. I am a creature of routine. When that routine gets disrupted I get cranky and anxious. I like my routines. I really like the groove I developed while working from home. I created boundaries between work and life. I got daycare routines nailed down. I managed to get a nice mix of me/work/family time figured out. Heck - I even was able to fit in more exercise than I had in the months before the pandemic.
Now all of that is being upended.
My fear is not so much about work - I LOVE my job - but about everything else. My anxiety rears its head when I can't control things. In this kind of situation, there is so much that is out of my control. I can make plans, set a new routine, wear a mask, wash hands, and all that... but there is just so little else in my control. I can't control what our office looks like. I can't control the actions of the people around me (although I will most certainly remind them to wear a mask). I can't decide if/when we roll back reopening, change our hours, and handle whatever chaos is coming with our planned remodel. I can't control the emotions of everyone in a year when we all have compounding trauma.
Plus, there are a ton of unknowns. How many people will visit the library? Will our teaching/reference workload be more online or in-person? Will there be an on-campus outbreak? Will my daycare end up closing? Will? Will? Will?
I hate not knowing.
What I am doing is taking it one day at the time and giving myself as much time and patience as I am able. Everything is changing - but everything always changes. This is just a bigger change - but it's still just a day-by-day thing like any other.
How are you handling all the recent changes?
The best part about having your own blog is that you get to make the rules.
After my vacation last week, I realized that I did not miss writing this weekly post. Since I'm trying to Marie Kondo my life better (and remove things that don't spark joy), I've decided to end this feature.
I'll come up with something else to post on Fridays but the topic/theme is TBD.
Reentering work after a vacation is just rude.
Here's what I've been focusing on lately.
I enjoy renaissance festivals. I enjoy romance novels. This is a romance set around a renn faire. I'm in!
I'm so in that I actually binge read most of the book last night. I finally had to tell myself to go to bed at 2am. This is a steamy one!
I have read every strip created by PhD Comics. I most definitely will read their book too.
You can see my complete TBR list on Pinterest.