It's so hard for me to believe that this is the 500th post on this blog. It all started years ago because I got angry, and that fact hasn't really altered, but so much else has changed. Here are some things that I've notice along the way:
- It's okay to get angry, but I need to do something with my anger. I used to think it was useless to get angry, even in the midst of my ire. I also know part of my reticence to show anger had to do with the inescapable socialization that women are supposed to be nice. It's okay to get angry, but more to the point: it's important to get angry. Being silent can be seen as agreement, so taking a stand is important. I've come to see speaking up as part of my job, both at my place of employment and in the profession in general.
- There are like minded people everywhere, just not always right next to me. Writing hundreds of posts, tweeting like a maniac, and generally being myself has brought so many amazing people into my life. Of my closest friends, people who I consider not just friends but family, the unmistakable majority of them are people I met through social media and through blogging. When I started this blog, I was definitely working with some great people, but beyond having "library" or "librarian" in our job titles we didn't have a lot in common. All of that changed over the course of this blog.
- Mistakes are the best learning opportunities. I never set out to waste time or flub a project, but I can tell you I've learned more from my mistakes than anything else. Best of all, I've learned that being open about my mistakes can save other people a lot of headache and heartache. There were times that I ran events where it almost seemed the staff outnumbered the patrons. Then there was that book review blog we tried to start, for and by the alum of a former school. The blog posts that fell flat. The time I unknowingly offended someone I respect and was called out for it. These were valuable experiences. I do what I can to avoid repeating mistakes, but I'm glad I've had the opportunity to learn.
- Being vulnerable and being human are the best way forward, even though it might not seem that way at the time. There's that great Oscar Wilde quote, "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken." At first it sounds so ridiculously trite that it should be ignored, but I think it sounds like a cliche because it's so very true. I was never milquetoast or bland, but writing this blog has helped me find and strengthen my voice. I've also been able to find my passion within librarianship.
- I have to keep listening. I don't know everything. Yes, I've reached this point in my career that all my mouthing off has started to pay off. I get invited to give talks and asked to write things. I'm currently sitting on two invitations to write books (neither of which I have time for right now, but both of which I want to pursue eventually). Despite all this, I am still and forever learning and growing. Everything from minor issues like new technology to major concerns like a learning theory I'd embraced being called into question. I know I wouldn't be able to continue on this path if I hadn't been writing this blog.
Thank you for whatever part of this journey you've seen, and thank you for reading this blog. Here's to 500 more posts.