Goals and priorities

From time to time I come back to this blog, which reminds me of what my activities and priorities have been. Oddly enough, it’s easier to find this information here, than it is to find it in my paper journals. Thanks, HyperText.

Anyway, yesterday I had a very, very “flat” day. That is, it was hard to think of anything I actually wanted to do. I do have things I have to do, but still a while before my nearest deadline. That’s not to say that I shouldn’t get started on it, now: I should. It will keep me from stressing, later. The thing is, I can actually feel when new neural connections are forming, and it’s not all the time pleasant.

I mean, if it were all the time pleasant, there wouldn’t be a need for truancy to be illegal. People would actually like to learn. It can be nice to learn; not so nice to fail at learning — although I’m not so much failing, as missing obvious mistakes. The fact is, however: failing is an integral part of learning.

There are certain things that I need to take care of on a regular basis. Hygiene, exercise, taking care of (healthy) food, and taking care of my spaces, count among these. Then there are the things I need to be doing as career preparation: practicing other languages, practicing coding, homework/study, and job search. After that, come the creative pursuits, which (fortunately or not) are often the uppermost things in my mind: art practice, doing 15 minutes a day of free-writing. After that, come reading, blogging, and assorted other little things, like pen maintenance.

I do feel the need to start an outline, here. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do it on the computer, without drawing; and I don’t know how far a planner (on top of a Bullet Journal) will help. I am thinking that planning out each day like I would a workday, however, should help with keeping on top of all of my priorities — if I can have the discipline to follow it, and the flexibility to change course when needed.

Already, I have an idea of what Fall Semester will be like for me — if I don’t get another job in the meantime. I’m hoping to take on part-time work, and I’ll have a commitment of 20-30 hours/week for classes — I just looked it up. Just like I were a Master’s student, again. But that should be it, for University.

Although this is what I’m looking forward to…I can’t plan out everything that far ahead. Particularly speaking, I also have my language (a review of Spanish, which should help launch me into reading Spanish; there’s also no reason I can’t work on kanji acquisition) and coding classes to think about, meaning that without on-the-job training, I may not be ready to enter the professional job market until early next year.

And yes, time ticking forward is a concern for me. There is the option of not taking classes in the Fall, but that leaves me to learn XML (a future foundational skill) and Linked Data (another future skill), on my own. Particularly, XML is a key skill that I did not intensively learn on my first round through Grad School. Linked Data is more of a hint of things to come: Cataloging is not going to stay the same, going forward. I’ll need to understand XML and Linked Data, in order to avoid becoming obsolete when the switchover does happen.

At the same time, I should be working on Python skills, at the least. I might also want to update my HTML/CSS skills…and get into some of the toolkits that are used by Catalogers.

After that, I’m looking at getting more heavily involved with the ALA, updating my Metadata skills, practicing Cataloging and Classification on my own, and going back into further XML classes. By that time, I should be fairly solid in my knowledge, although they’ll mostly prepare me for Cataloging, Metadata Librarianship, and Archives work. And…there’s no guarantee that I’ll be able to find a job in my local area: though trust me, my prospects would be worse, if we moved to where we had been thinking of moving to.

…Which reminds me that I need to start practicing driving, again. That…that will likely not be fun. But I have the time to do it. Cooking is also another life skill that I need to be practicing. Ugh. Well — with things opening up again, I may actually be able to look up some good recipes to practice with; and, be able to make them. I guess I should understand that I don’t have to do it every day — for now.

I am wondering if my parents are right: they say that the fact I put ten years into working in a Public Library system, means that I don’t need to do an Internship. Fact is, nine out of the ten of those years were working-class labor, not even paraprofessional. What I learned, I majorly learned after leaving: that I did not have to put myself through that.

But, I suppose everyone who has worked in a Library before and is going into Cataloging, would feel that way. For me, the major turning point was realizing that there was really nothing I could do to make having to deal with random people (or co-workers), be more comfortable for me.

I didn’t get to that point until doing specific research on Personality…and stumbling across a lot of information on high-functioning Autism and (secondarily) its relation to both gender-nonbinary identity, and a disorder I know I have; which I’m still dealing with. Not having a background in Psychology (or help from Psychiatry) is not the greatest thing when you’re trying to puzzle this out.

And yeah: at a certain point, I do ask whether it is really actually worth it to keep up my Creative practices — or if, in the transition to adulthood, many people just do not find or make the time for these, anymore. I know that no matter what I do, I’m going to have to write. There’s really no question about it: I become disorganized and anchorless when I don’t record and develop my thoughts, in writing.

There’s also the fact that when I’m writing to an audience, that’s a very different type of practice than recording my thoughts to myself. Especially if I range into quasi-memoir or creative nonfiction, where it’s not only myself I’m potentially causing to look bad. (Though I should remember: sometimes things look bad, because they actually are bad.)

Right now, though, it does seem that Art and Creative Writing, although I’ve stuck with them for a while, are two of the least useful skills I have…even though they are what I started out with. Right now I’m not sure to what extent I should even continue with them…although, of course, this comes after having bought a bunch of Art Supplies.

The point of having the career was so that I would have the time, energy, and money to do these things! But having the career — and further becoming a fully functional, independent adult — itself, takes up a lot of time and energy. And money.

Also, of course, there’s the possibility of the new career path, not working out…which would likely then drop me back down to depending on my skills in reading, Writing, and Art. I’m still not certain I have the Art skills to be able to get through the major story that has been developing in the back of my mind since High School — in a Graphic Novel format, that is. Writing should be easier, but even then: it would be emotionally, tough.

Particularly…writing a story which in someone else’s hands might be a love story, but which has the sexuality portion stripped away from it…means that I’m writing an intimate story with nonbinary characters from an asexual perspective, and I haven’t read anything like this in my life. That could be reason enough to write it…

After all, there is enough for a, “slightly Autistic,” nonbinary asexual person to look forward to in life, isn’t there? It’s just different from whatever the norm is, and why the norm is what it is, has never been clear…

3 responses to “Goals and priorities”

  1. I wanted to offer you some encouragement and support, since I understand quite well the challenges of trying to carve out a new space for oneself.
    What I would like to emphasize is something you mentioned before: “stay curious” at all costs, and continue to look back on what you have found interesting in your life. Our world is huge and overwhelming, but that also means that there are niches and options for everyone. I truly believe that if you spend time actively pursuing your own curiosity: dig into articles about things that you aren’t reading just because they are marketable – make art that has been sitting in the back of your head and needs to come out – visit museums and think about art history – and continue writing the thoughts that all of those things generate!
    I also tried to avoid art and ended up in the corporate world. I managed to survive for a while, but just because I “could” make my skills work in that industry didn’t mean I enjoyed it. Thankfully I spent all of my free time doing the things I actually wanted to do – art, reading, etc. Eventually, when my company cut me loose, I had the chance to put my hobbies to use. I actually found a job making art and using my creativity, which I never could have planned for and never would have thought to look for.
    If you spend time deep in your curiosity you will find out what makes you happy, and that will make you good at it! Those skills are needed, and once you know what gives you passion you will recognize it when you encounter it in the world around you. It won’t happen right away, but I believe that following our curiosity is the only way to get it to click in the long run.
    I don’t mean to crash a personal blog, but I really saw a fellow soul out there and wanted to let you know that you’re not alone, and that it has the potential to turn out amazing for you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Andy,

      Thank you for the comment! I have been…not so much blogging for the past few days. Spring semester is winding down, I’ve found that it will be more difficult to gain my Cataloging tools access beyond the end of the semester than I had planned; and that’s majorly where my time has gone. I’m also a bit unaccustomed to actually having conversations on my blog, 🙂 but that’s on me. It does give me a reason to keep blogging, though.

      I may be a bit difficult to understand in this comment…I am hoping to come across well, more or less? (I’m having a health issue right now which may affect my clarity of thought)

      Thank you for encouraging me to follow my curiosity! I am lucky to have found a niche which feeds this…I wanted to get into Libraries for a number of reasons:

      1. I considered myself a writer at the time, and appreciated American libraries’ commitment to freedom of speech
      2. I hoped that taking a job at a Library would encourage me to read more, which would help me to write
      3. I needed a path to a job with a steady living wage and health insurance (this was before the Affordable Care Act)
      4. Historically speaking, I’ve been idealistic, and wanted to find a way to live well which did not involve commerce or marriage (this is complicated where it comes to taxes or tuition funding libraries)
      5. I’ve been a library user since I was a small child (of Public, School, & Academic libraries)
      6. At the time I began my career, any direction I had was not obvious to me
      7. I appreciated the open spirit of exchange and collaboration both in libraries and online.

      Three (or four) of those things: freedom of speech, open exchange and collaboration, and being able to be an idealist and also be able to care for myself, still matter to me. The thing is, I’m much more about “books” and information resources, than I am about “people”. This much is fairly evident; I spent about ten years in roles which at least partially included serving people, because I didn’t know I didn’t have to. I didn’t know that it *wasn’t* all I had to look forward to. I was trying to acclimate myself to having to deal with the general public, and — not only is that something which, given my condition, may not be possible — I really didn’t have to do what I did. My problem is that I find mountains and then try to conquer them, when in reality the slope may be never-ending. I assumed there was an end-point after which it would be easier, that is; and although I did gain skills, I still had to be on (extra) medication not to be a nervous wreck, and I had to modulate my presentation (or “act” a part — while trying to seem genuine even to myself, which was also an external pressure) in order to reduce the rate of getting emotionally attacked.

      Right now my Cataloging class is just about over, and I’m finding that Cataloging and Metadata are a much better fit for my personality than a front-line service role. More or less, organizing information seems to suit me (though I have not yet experienced a job in this specialization). I get to work within an industry I (can, at times) admire, doing something that assists its goals, without having to be the one to deal with the general public (and without all the abuse and conflict that entails).

      The thing about Art: I got back *into* Art, academically speaking, because I wasn’t sure if I had made a mistake in not majoring in it, the first time. I also had the thought of making a Graphic Novelization of a story that had been bumping around in my head (and evolving) from — essentially — my teen years through my young-adult years. But I didn’t know if I really *liked* Art enough to be able to commit to that. I hadn’t had the time to focus on it. I’m not really on the level of people who, “just don’t want to do Art,” but it *is* work, for me. I mean, there’s really no way around it: “artwork” is art _work_, seriously.

      While I may have done Art, “for fun,” as a kid…it feels like a different world, with a bit of training. I’m not sure I like it as much, now. I’m pretty sure that this is a way a lot of people feel when they come out of Art School, though — at least my teachers in Community College seem not to have had positive feelings around their training. There’s just something about precision and intentionality with markmaking, that links with what feels like my own hypervigilance and drive for perfection.

      The drive for perfection is useful in something like coding or creating records, though: at least then, there’s an actual *possibility* of getting something perfect (and in effect, perfection is almost demanded). It’s looser with writing, but at least there is something to focus on, there; grammar, syntax, usage. With Art in particular: I love working with colors, I love the look of paints and inks when applied with a pen or brush. The thing is, I think my perfectionism really is not an asset to me, here — but I don’t quite know how to shut up the Art Critic. I know how to shut up the Writing Critic…but it takes effort for me to allow myself to visually play.

      It also takes time to kick out what feels boarded up. Time feels like my greatest pressure, right now.

      And…I’m getting tired. Now that I check, it’s nearly midnight. I hope you’re able to find this comment…

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think you’re right about the mountains. I am working on that perception as well and trying to get to a space where I am enjoying the climb, without focusing on putting the mountain behind me. This has gotten a lot easier with practice.
        I also think you’re right about the metadata and cataloging route, at least in terms of how you phrased your interpersonal experiences. I also recently had the chance to be a public school substitute teacher, which ticks off many boxes of things that I value, but was so horribly wrong for who I am. I couldn’t handle it and also found myself on the edge of a breakdown.
        Getting to know myself has taken a long time, and thankfully I find it pretty interesting. The more things we get a taste of the better we can target what will really be a good fit. I hope that where you’re headed in the next phase is a big step forward!
        As for the art, well there isn’t any reason to keep it going, but I do think there is always room to use it as a tool to learn about yourself. I know that looking back on what I had created was very interesting. Seeing themes that came up over and over, and kinds of mark making, and techniques that I kept falling back on helped me to think about the “why” and to look for other evolutions. For instance, I found that no matter what medium I was using I kept looking for ways to layer the colors and make dense mixes. That led me to looking for other ways to mix colors in other media, or to try other media. That said, the same thing can come from writing, and it sounds like you might want to try some creative writing work and think about the story you had in mind. Just because you envision a graphic novel doesn’t mean you need to do everything. Maybe someone else can help you illustrate it while you do the rest?
        Whatever happens, keep following your curiosity wherever it takes you (so long as it is fun) and you’ll keep adding pieces to your puzzle.

        Liked by 2 people

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