Thursday, January 12, 2017

Feeling the Feels too Much

Outside my bedroom window, the wind is gusting fiercely, rumbling through eaves and whistling through cracks. It's January in Indiana--which means that four days ago, it was literally 0 degrees with snow on the ground, whereas right at this moment, it's 63 degrees with a tiny chance of tornadoes. (I'm kidding about the tornado part.) (But not really.)

"Welcome to Indiana! If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."

I've heard variations of this statement a dozen times, about a dozen different cities (but not Palm Springs, of course.) And it's true for all of those places, but it's really true of here in Indiana. I like the mercurial nature of the weather here; it's an accurate reflection of the mercurial nature of life.

And of my mood, these days.

Today at work, we had the opportunity to attend a seminar for professional development credits. The nature of the subject matter was "Compassion Fatigue." Sitting there in the darkened room, listening to the presenter, surrounded by my colleagues (most of who work the public service desks much more than I do) I felt like a bit of a fraud. One of the unexpected delights of my job is that it's so peaceful--on a usual day, I work with about half a dozen folks, and interact with perhaps another half dozen or so for some reason. But other than that, I keep myself to myself, sitting at my desk, ordering materials, reading reviews and news, and doing various other collection development duties. I work with the public about five hours a month. It wasn't until I had been doing this collection development gig for a couple of months that I realized how much less stress I have now, not having to be "on" for the public, not having to be constantly sensitive to scores of different peoples' moods, needs, and often troubled minds.

I don't work on the front lines, and so I don't necessarily have the pleasure of triaging folks who might be in crisis. I don't experience the fulfillment, anymore, that can come from knowing you've connected a person with some piece of information, or some resource, that might change their life. Oddly, I am just fine with this--I took to this new job quite nicely. And given my own crowded thoughts, my own moodiness, my own worries and frets and neuroses, perhaps that is just as well--perhaps all of the compassion I have needs to go to me.

At least these days.

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