12 Days Away

I’ve been away from my day job for 12 days. In those days I’ve had great moments filled with family, wonderful laughs, beautiful views, and interesting adventures. I’ve also had moments full of doubt, lack of energy, and what can easily be categorised as mild depression. I’m not adding in that last bit to bring you down but instead to have an honest conversation about what day to day life is like for the human being who is writing these pieces for this specific website. As I’ve said so many times before, growth comes from honest conversations and realisations about your day to day life. When we approach things with honesty and see the good, bad, and everything else in the middle, we learn more about who we are and where we can take ourselves and our journey. If we’re not growing, we’re dying. I don’t think I am ready for that part of the journey yet.

The best moments over the last 12 days have followed a pattern. They have been days where there’s a mix of being with people that I love and then also the moments where I am able to enjoy a peaceful inner quiet. The moments with the people that I love can be out in the city or just sitting around a table at home. The same can be said for the moments of peaceful inner quiet. I had those moments as I hung laundry outside in our backyard and as I wandered around in tide pools near the beaches of Plimmerton, New Zealand. As I step back to observe these patterns, I see once again that balance is important. Time with people and time with myself must be balanced. Too much of one may lead to an imbalance in my own personal sphere.

That’s where I think the bad moments, the ones filled with doubt, lack of energy, and mild depression come in. They creep into my personal sphere when I’ve had too much of another thing. It seems like a completely insane thing when I say it out loud (Hey! You’ve had too much of the people you love! Hey! You’ve had too much nature!) but as I step back from myself and let it sink it it all makes sense. Too much of something upsets a balance. I am continuing to learn about my own personal balance. I think we all have a personal balance we need to learn about and that’s up to us to find out. Of course, we’re all different and that’s where it gets confusing. What I say here is for me but I hope that you can maybe pull something for yourself as well.

I was out of that balance when I wrote my last piece and I can see that now. My hope is that these last twelve days have helped me find that balance once again. I am sure that it will be good for a bit of time and then eventually I’m going to swing the other way. I’ve done this numerous times in my life and I will most likely do it again. But my hope is that with every time I swing I can grow and learn. It feels like I am getting better.

The big change overall has come in recognising that this profession which I have chosen does not guide me or make me who I am. It may say that I’m Justin The Librarian and people in this profession may see me as that since that is what is outwardly projected, but in reality Justin The Librarian is just a not that clever identity that I constructed in around 2008. I did this so that I could collect and share my ideas online and in any publications. The moment where I started believing that I was Justin The Librarian was the shittiest moment of all. Over the last few years I’ve done my best to ensure that I never go down that path again. Once again, I think I’ve done an OK job but that in the long run this is something I will struggle with, overcome, and then struggle with again, hopefully along the way getting better at the journey each time.

I want to move forward in this life, whether it be my second half or final third or whatever else it ends up being, with more opportunities where I can have things like the last 12 days. I also want to collect these moments, understand them, and share them with the world. I guess this is a good time to tell everyone that I am going to write a book. I don’t know what kind of a book it is. I think it will be all over the place but have some connection around growth, understanding, balance, patience, and people. I might not ever finish it. There’s a chance no one will read it. There’s also a chance that people will. I don’t really care about what happens, but I think I am going to do this because it seems like the thing in the middle where all of these Justin roads are converging. It feels like this idea is the thing that will bring the balance in the next bit of my life. Here we go.


  1. As someone who also struggles to maintain balance, I’m so glad to know it’s not just me! I think I’m making progress because a few days ago, I heard about some awesome news a librarian received, and while I’m glad for them, I suddenly realized that that this person’s life is probably mostly spent librarianing in one way or another. I hope I’m wrong, though. πŸ™‚

  2. Another well-written post! Justin, please know that your posts are being read and appreciated. As a fellow librarian, it’s nice to know that others in the profession are going through the same things. Although I did enjoy the holidays with my family and friends on the US East Coast, like you, I also felt off balance because it was too much “people time” and not enough “me time.” Normally, my “me time” consists of some morning yoga to keep the body moving and the mind clear, in addition to some quiet time reading just before bed. I haven’t had these things for a while with the business of the holidays, and it’s made me feel cranky, not the person I like being or am normally. I’m just starting to get back to my regular routine now. Please continue to be good to yourself, Justin–well-being is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Best wishes!

  3. And one other thing, I’d like to think of myself not as “Eileen the Librarian,” but Eileen, who happens to be a librarian. πŸ™‚

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