Dipping a Toe Back Into My Old Life

5 people posing with a trophy
The Winning 2019 Pub Quiz Team

One of my favorite parts of my professional life was being involved in the state library association.

I did two different stints on the executive board as the president of one of the divisions.

I spent years as a member of the steering committee of the Public Services Division.

I spent years as a member of the conference planning committee, including several years as the planner/writer of the annual pub quiz.

Even when pretty much everything else in my professional life was terrible, I always looked forward to MLA meetings and the conference. It is the one thing I miss about library life.

At the last in-person conference back in 2019, my team(pictured above) won the pub quiz. They decided that year to do a trophy that would be passed around each year to the new winning team. It was decided that I should take the trophy with me since I was the one most likely to return.

Then, the pandemic hit. The next conference and pub quiz was virtual and then I left the library world. I have had the trophy for three years,

This year is the first in-person conference since 2019 and the first one I have not attended in over 10 years. A friend contacted me to ask if I might be able to drop in this evening to give the trophy back and meet the PSD group for the annual “debrief” I have decided I will go and even stay to crash the pub quiz(assuming they let me in) It sounds fun, but it comes with anxiety for several reasons.

  • It is a little less than a 90-minute drive each way.
  • Pub Quiz will end between 10 and 11.
  • I have a barn shift at 7 tomorrow morning.
  • I will lose even more sleep than usual.
  • I might see people from my old life I would rather avoid.
  • The thought of an awkward conversation with these people recalls the stress and anxiety that led me to leave in the first place.
  • I will let them make me feel bad about myself again.
  • I might not be as welcome as I would like.
  • I might be completely unwelcome.
  • Most likely, my presence will barely be noticed at all, which would be even worse.

This trip back to a part of my old world is stirring up a lot of mixed emotions. It would be very easy for me to make an excuse to stay home. I will suck it up and go, though, even if it is just to return the trophy and then flee rather than hanging around.


8 thoughts on “Dipping a Toe Back Into My Old Life

  1. I think going and then leaving if you’re uncomfortable is a good approach. You never know how it will be, so there’s a chance it’ll be fine. One proactive thing you can do is avoid as much as possible any of the toxic people from your job. If you see them approaching, turn to someone and start talking, then excuse yourself and go get a drink or something. This may not be an option, but it’s worth attempting not to have a conversation that will only make you uncomfortable.


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