Friday, April 8, 2011

The big 3-0

Today I turn 30 years old. I've lived 3 whole decades, and baring accident or major illness, should live several more. Some people, I suppose, might be worried, or sad, or depressed at hitting the 30-mark. Hypothetically you're no longer a kid, or some might see it as meaning they're no longer young. You're expected to act more mature, have a job, RSPs, maybe a house or condo, some children perhaps? Times, of course, are changing and it seems that those traditional grown-up-like achievements are coming later in life. People stay in school longer, take longer to get married (if they even do), many women wait to establish their careers (and are thus older) before they have children. Thirty, it would appear, doesn't mean a whole lot except that it's a nice round number that marks the turn-over of a new decade, and I'm not worried.

I've actually been looking forward to my 30th birthday. Of course, some might argue that's because I am married and have a stable, reasonably well-paying job, and the only reason we haven't bought a house is because we're not living in the city we wish to settle down in, so I have no need to be worried. Sure, I have achieved a lot of those traditional grown up milestones so this birthday shouldn't be a big deal--right? Well...yes it isn't. Sorry, I have no 'but' here. I don't mind my age. Besides, I've felt like I'm 40 for years (I'm a fantastic worrier); and I've been looking forward to retirement since I was in undergrad (I like to plan for the long term). I also don't like to stay up late on weekdays and I don't like loud noise (I'm a real curmudgeon). My chronological age is finally catching up with my mental age.

All that being said I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on few things on this milestone birthday.

My top achievements/proudest moments in life thus far:
1999 (age 18)--Off the Page: Into Reality?
My play, the one I wrote in high school for the drama club to perform at the Sears Drama Festival. For being a high school student, I think it was actually a pretty good play. I wrote the first draft in 2 weeks, then re-drafted it (and made it a heck of a lot better) over another 2 weeks. My friend Michelle and I attempted to direct it (this was during some of the teacher/contract stife that went on in Ontario in the 90s) and we had no idea what we were doing. A week or two before the festival it looked like it was going to be a giant mess, but we pulled things together and I think it worked out pretty well. Unfortunately I don't think I have a copy of the script any more.

2004 (age 23)--Marrying Andrew J.B. Milne
Yeah, there's a big gap there in years. Much of my time spent in nursing wasn't fun. I mean, I had fun with my nursing friends, but the degree itself was horrid. At any rate, in October of this year Andrew and I got married. I'm pretty sure people did all kinds of things behind the scenes that we weren't aware of and I am forever grateful. Friends offered their services for everything from the photography, to the dinner, and spontaneously acting as ushers (that job completely slipped our minds). Family provided all of the ceremony music and my mom sewed my dress. What else can I say but at the end of the day I ended up married to possibly the only person I know who puts up with me and my neurosis, eats whatever I put in front of him, listens to me yak about figure skating, goes along with my crazy ideas (like training for a marathon) and gives me messages when my shoulders are sore. He is the BEST HUSBAND EVER (sorry ladies).

2004, 2008, 2010 (ages 23, 27 and 29)--Grad school
After completing my nursing degree I entered a unique MA program for popular fiction writers run out of a small, Catholic liberal arts university in Greensburg, Pennsylvania called Seton Hill. I was so, SO excited when I was accepted, and the first drive up that long, curving drive lined with trees is pretty magical. Unfortunately, I didn't graduate. I studied in the program for 3 semester before sort of...loosing my way in writing. I learned A LOT, though, and my writing improved tremendously during that time.

In 2007 I decided it was time to give grad school a second try, this time in the area of Library and Information Studies. I knew I didn't want to be an RA the rest of my life (and the Public Health school at the U of A listed the MCAT as a part of their application requirements--not sure if that's still the case) so decided I might like to be a librarian. I had to apply twice. When I received word of my acceptance (right at the end of the day, just before I headed off to meet Andrew) I was excited. I think I just grinned at Andrew when I reached our meeting spot to bike home. I received a scholarship during my second year, which was a first. I've always earned reasonable grades in school, but never good enough to be awarded a scholarship before. In June of 2010 I walked across the stage at the Northern Jubilee Auditorium with my classmates officially a Master of Library and Information Studies.

Other happy memories that might not constitute as the 'the best': my trips to Europe, especially the last one where I got to visit Juno Beach and Vimy Ridge; hiking in the Rockies--there's nothing like being at the top of a mountain on a sunny day; passing my figure skating tests; winning a piano scholarship one year at the Woodstock Rotary Music Festival (can't remember when exactly, I was little); and I was probably pretty happy to win a colouring contest as a kid that got me tickets to see Fred Penner (again, no specific memory of this, I just know it happened).

What I hope to achieve during my 30th year:
At one point I was of the opinion that I wanted to start trying to have children by the time I was 30, but the idea of me and children, and having one of my own seem like pretty foreign concepts--so I'll skip it (at least for now). What I've listed here isn't a do or die-type either. They're just things I'd like to work towards. I suppose instead of New Years resolutions, they're birthday-year resolutions.

1) Writing, editing, and representation
I've been querying literary agents for several months now with no luck. I hope that's not because my work isn't good enough, but because I haven't found the right agent yet. I'll keep querying, while in the meantime I'll keep writing. I'm hoping to have my third and final story with Nora wrapped up by the end of the month, and then it's edit, edit, edit. I'd also like to revisit an older manuscript that was received warmly (by friendly readers, at least), but the first three chapters need to be revamped. So, my writing, editing, and representation goal for my 30th year are to keep writing, and hopefully to have two manuscripts in a state with which I can query agents/publishers. I'd like to see myself with an agent by the end of the year, but that's something I have less control over so I don't want to record it as a make-or-break goal.

2) Being a better librarian
I handed in my last assignment for my Master degree a year ago today, and I returned to full time work a month later (after returning from Europe). I spend part of my time (sometimes half, sometimes all depending on the week) acting as a research librarian. My confidence in developing search strategies and navigating medical databases/resources has improved, but I feel like I'm not keeping my knowledge up-to-date. I realize this is a challenge for everyone, but I haven't read a journal article, or taken a continuing education course since leaving school. I have attended a conference on evidence-based medicine, but that wasn't specific to librarianship. My goals for the year are to keep up on the health librarian RSS feeds I've signed up for, and maybe find a workshop or something similar attend. Also right now I'm working with a fantastic librarian on a search involving a large pharmaceutical component. I'm learning a lot about identifying drug names, building searches, etc.

I think that's it for now. Time to go out and *be* 30. Thank you everyone for being a part of the 30 years I've lived so far and I hope many of you can hang around for the next 30, 60, or however many years I hang around for.



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