I was on vacation last week and the week before spent most of the days in Chicago, attending the annual meeting of the Medical Library Association. As always, it was a meeting filled with great ideas, innovations, inspiration, and an awful lot of fun with friends and colleagues that I don’t get to see nearly enough. I wrote about one of the plenary sessions, “Reshaping Our Professional Identity,” over on the blog of the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc. Check it out there!
As for my vacation, let’s just say I enjoyed some early dog days of summer.
As noted in my previous post, I was on vacation last week. Vacation is important. Sadly, too few of us are afforded it, take it, and/or enjoy it. Many lament that taking a vacation only results in more work, either before you go away (all of the prep involved in going away) or upon your return (the pile of email and phone messages and “to do” items that await). I know very few people who actually go away for a week or two and stay away, i.e. don’t check email, answer calls, follow-up on things. Somehow, we just feel like we cannot be away. And this is a shame, because time away is really important. We need breaks from our work and the stresses of the everyday work-a-day world. We need some time to do nothing. We need a change of scenery every now and then.
Determined to follow my own convictions, I went away last week (well, for 5 days, anyway). I checked email only occasionally and I don’t believe that I actually replied to any until I returned home on Thursday. Even then, I answered only a couple of them; ones that just really needed to be answered. I tried really hard to simply enjoy being away and to engage the parts of my brain and my body (physically, because I sit way too much in my job) that don’t get the attention they deserve when I’m working.
Not out of the ordinary, I took along a journal and recorded our adventures. What was different this time, though, was that I illustrated the week. I owe a great deal to Suzy Becker, Mike Rohde, Sunni Brown, the folks at AlphaChimp, and others who have inspired me over the past year+ to think with both words and pictures. If you follow my blog, you know that I’ve mentioned all of these people before. They inspire me with their illustrated memoirs, their sketchnotes, their doodles, and their scribing. I took them all with me, in a way, on my trip. Here’s a little bit of the result (a few selections from my notebook):