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.