I feel like anyone that knows me knows this type of thought process was coming...
My mom and I were talking about me and school. (I started library school this week.) She asked me if there was anything in my life that I am lacking. And the honest answer is that besides money and hopes for retirement, NOTHING.
I have a home, a family, and friends. I am healthy and I know how to get by on very little money. When I pay off my car in less than a year, I'll be $300/mo richer.
The only thing to gain as a librarian is a hope to retire someday. But is time off in the last couple of decades in my life worth giving up half my time now until the age of 65 or 70? I really don't think so. I suppose I'd also gain respect from a lot of people. It sounds WAY cooler to say you're a librarian than to have to correct people when they accidentally call me one now just because I work in a library. But that respect is ultimately just me worrying about what people think of me, and that's never held much weight with me anyway.
I've never been an ambitious person. I'm quite content with sitting in my own little corner thinking about nothing. I don't get bored. My goals in life include having a happy and healthy family and my own comfortable home. I have these things now, and those extraordinary things in themselves I know make me incredibly lucky. And those are the most important things. To be a librarian, I might be sacrificing a bit of my health. For a person like me, working full time would be a big strain on my mental health at the very least. Having a desk job (sitting still all day) I KNOW would have a big strain on my physical self. Being higher up on totem poles professionally is an isolating thing, by nature. I've never wanted to be in charge of things.
I'm very proud of my peers (Cari, Jeana, Jill, Mark) that have gotten their degrees in library science and gone on to be directors of libraries. That is so cool and they are good at their jobs. They are good at these jobs because they have big ideas and are incredibly smart and outgoing and rad. I love them for it.
I have to be honest with myself about my own abilities, though. I just chose to go back to a job in circulation because it was LESS responsibility. I'm not well-suited to big ideas and outgoingness. There are a lot of really rad people in the world that don't do what society would consider as "important" jobs. I've NEVER cared what kind of job a friend has as long as they're happy. I've seen more unhappy people in jobs of prestige than in jobs of lower status and perceived "drudgery".
I've given up on a lot of things in my life. I'm really quite good at making excuses and I'm on the path to making them about school right now. It's hard to say if I would have ever truly benefited or excelled from any of the things I've given up in my life (piano, flute, jazz dance, soccer, cello, etc) but my life is far from empty without these things.
Yesterday I realized that I'm starting to feel as free and "me" as I did in high school. I've had moments of this thought occurring in the last 6 months or so, but the thought is really becoming reality. I've started bellydancing regularly again...and just dancing for fun again. I danced for hours last night while listening to my radio show. I HAVE a radio show! I really really love it and get more enjoyment out of it than I could ever imagine enjoying being a librarian. The things I enjoy in life have always been simple things anyway. Perhaps if I had stayed in dance classes as a child I would have lost the joy I get now from dancing like an idiot with zero grace or style.
I do regret not learning a musical instrument, though. I feel I am too uncoordinated, but I know it would just take an inordinate amount of dedication...a trait I've had in life, but usually not in applications that involve working with my hands or "manipulating objects in the physical universe".
Have I essentially talked myself out of school? Maybe, but I feel a responsibility to the wonderful women that wrote me references and encouraged me in this endeavor. I feel I should stick out one semester for THEM. I've never been able to follow through when the motivation doesn't come from me, though, so I make no promises. Either way, I'll be fine.