ASSOCIATES (2010, March, v. 16, no. 3)


Be It Ever So Humble…

sueknoche2Sue Knoche
Medical Library Assistant
ETSU Quillen College of Medicine Library, Johnson City, TN

By now most of the resolutions that were made in the excitement of the traditional New Year’s Eve parties are probably a faint memory. The beginning of each new year reminds us that we all age. With a little luck it will be gracefully, but as each year passes one tends to realize how fragile life can be. Youth does have an advantage over the rest of us, according to a new statistic that states people under age 18 are able to multi-task up to 7 things at once; age 20-30 tend to talk faster than average and can task 4 jobs at once. Other age groups were not mentioned in the study. Although I can chew gum and walk at the same time, I prefer to live by the philosophy “When you have quality, who needs quantity.” Perhaps multi-tasking in such frenzy reduces the quality of what you are trying to accomplish.

Travel is my favorite topic to discuss because whether your destination is job related as in a library conference, or takes you to an exotic location for rest and relaxation, it definitely takes skill, experience and computer savvy to research and plan the best quality trips at rock bottom prices. Library conferences give us a variety of scenic places we may not have visited before, interesting people to network with, colleagues who may become friends and lifelong learning experiences. In my opinion, we may be trying too hard to do things first and think about them afterward, or wishing our lives away by hoping the weekend or vacation will come sooner in the week, just to get a break. While most people are content with their life or choices made, there are others who would change their approach, choices, attitudes or situations.

A few months ago I fell while getting off a sailboat, and unfortunately it occurred in a foreign country where help was not readily available. Interestingly enough, I developed some creative ways to ease the pain until we arrived at home to seek professional medical assistance. I tried to incorporate positive thinking when this happened; but, later I did some armchair quarterbacking about what I could have, should have or would have done differently that unfortunately resulted in an attitude of feeling sorry for myself. Not all trips are perfect by any means, and although I’ve traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad over the years, the question I repeated was “Why me? Why now?” In hindsight, that thinking was counter-productive and my conclusion was “Why not me?” Although I was reduced to tears (probably from pain and a bruised ego), I realized if a video camera were available, surely the extraction would have been on You Tube or America’s Funniest Home Videos, since it took 5 men to successfully get me off that boat. It also occurred to me when I had a “pity party“ nobody else came, which was a clear message to just get over it and move on. My conclusion is that you can’t predict what may happen either traveling or at home, so it is just as easy to have a positive attitude rather than a negative one. It probably sounds redundant, but during recuperation I realized how lucky I was, because it could have been devastating with more damage to my leg than actually occurred.

One of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, said, “ The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.” We are not perfect, but we are all human beings and I have some amazing compassionate friends and co-workers who helped me through this ordeal. So my advice for life might be: Enjoy everything life has to offer, be a compassionate friend, and treasure those family moments that make life complete.