Seriously, is this a joke?
So the past four months of my life have been much like a Greek tragedy. First, my parents retire and moved to Arizona. Then my living situation went from bearable, to intolerable, to unlivable. Ultimately, I moved out. Just as I moved into my new apartment my wallet, chock full of rent money, was stolen. Financial woes ensued. Finally, when I felt like I was getting back on solid ground Nursing school started up again. I felt overwhelmed and stressed, but certain that things couldn’t possibly get any worse and that I would weather out this storm. Then last Sunday happened. The clinical adviser of the hospital I work at allowed me to leave work early so that I could go home and study for my Med-Surg quiz. I was elated. I was going to go home and finally get ahead of the ball. Where I was going to stay for the rest of the semester. Wrong. I looked up at the crosswalk signal before I started to cross the road. 16 seconds left. I can make it, I thought to myself as I stepped into the crosswalk. I watched the seconds count down, 15, 14, 13, 12, and then all 11 seconds a car making a left hand turn rams into me and throws me several feet from the crosswalk. By the sheer grace of God I didn’t hit my head or lose consciousness. Two beautiful, compassionate women who were enjoying the lovely autumn weather eating lunch outside at a near by Japanese restaurant come to my aid. Before I can fully comprehend what just happened several other bi-standards, two of which where physicians hover around me. I fully remember the feeling of complete loneliness I felt as everyone asked if there was anyone they could call for me. No, there was not. My family lives in Arizona and I don’t want to worry them. I’ll call when things have calmed down. Within minutes of the accident police, firefighters, and EMT showed up. All incredibly cute, and all I could think was, “Christ. I’ve peed my pants.” I’m hysterical from the time I was hit to the time my best friend and roommate came to the ED, but I did a good job of not showing it.
X-rays were ordered and my coworkers came to the ED Bay to check on me. Thankfully, nothing was broken. A very nice police officer came in to the bay and told me that the driver of the vehicle was arrested on charges not related to the accident. I suppose I should have felt vindication, but I just felt sad. I left the ED roughly 3 hours after first arriving. I was in a knee immobilizer and had a cane to help me walk.
When I called my mother I could hear the stress in her voice. She was my emergency contact on hospital record. As she began to realize that I was okay her voice steadied and a resounding, “We’re getting you a lawyer tomorrow” bellowed through the phone. We’re not sue-happy kind of people, but given the circumstances something needs to be done.
The past four months have have been the hardest of my life. I hope that this accident is the last in a string of some very bad luck. As far as I’m concerned no luck is better than bad luck.
Moving Sucks Major Ass
So, the reality of the situation hit me pretty hard during dinner tonight. Thanks to the fact that I have to work this weekend, that dinner, a mishmash of pasta to rid the cabinets of all of its contents, was the last time I’ll ever sit around that particular dinner table with my parents. This move is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but it’s always been a distant whisper. Now, it’s a raging storm right outside my doorstep and I’m not sure I’m strong enough to withstand the gale. This is the first time in years that I’ve been unable to sleep due to a mind so full of thought and sadness that it could morph into a black hole. I looked for solace in the aid of fermented grapes, but to no avail. My mind still races with anxieties of the future.
I am a worrier by nature. It’s what I do best. I worry that I’ll be able to pay rent, and that my parents will arrive safely to their final destination. I worry about how I’m going to keep my sanity without being able to vent the days frustrations at the dinner table. I worry that without my mothers uncanny ability to spot when I’m in a funk that I’ll sink into a deep spiraling depression that seems to be just beckoning on the horizon.
Coming to grips with the fact that I won’t see my sweet little Norbu until my birthday is also adding to this pile of misery. I’ve never not had an animal companion and this new life sans a pet is going to be quite the adjustment.
I’ve been blessed with some of the most supportive, kind, compassionate and caring of friends. I know they will help see me through this difficult time, but I know no amount of affection will bring comfort on that first night in the new apartment.
To most having the parental unit move clear across the country is a fresh of breath air. An opportunity to live life on your own terms, and to finally spread your wings. To me, however, it signifies something much more heinous. The details of which are inappropriate for a blog of this transparency. Suffice it to say that this move conjures up feelings of abandonment, loss, and depravity no child should ever experience. I know this all sounds wildly exaggerated, but trust me, it is not.
I’m losing the two people most dear to my heart. The two people who showed me what it means to love unconditionally, even if their daughter wasn’t of blood relation. They helped me blossom into the woman that I am today, and for that I am eternally grateful. God only knows where I’d be today if not for them and the guidance they provided me. I know I’ll get to see them next year, but a lot happens in a year and the thought that I won’t be able to share my life with them so freely saddens my heart.
I try very hard to maintain a stiff upper lip and to keep control of my emotions, and I’ve done a good job of that until this evening, when the cup that holds my sadness could hold no more and overflowed. I’m not good with goodbyes, or even with finishing a good book. Thankfully though, that’s exactly what this feels like, the end of a good book in a long series. Here’s to the sequel.
Mr. Right part une
A friend recently said I should write down all the qualities I want in a life long mate, here are just a few:
•Optimism. I see the glass as half full and will not be able to keep pulling my husband up by his own boots straps all the time.
•Fortitude. Life has handed me a few shitty hands, but I always manage push past the adversity and come out the other side. I need him to be able to do the same so we can help each other out.
•Perseverance. Again, I’ve had to crawl over some pointy mountain ranges. I want someone who will help me get past the rocky terrain.
•Honesty without brutality.
•Dedication. I’m going to be giving him my all and I want the same in return.
•Decisiveness. Someone who can make a decision, wether it be where to go for dinner or which hospital to go to when I break an ankle wearing high heels. AND THEN STICK BY THAT DECISION.
•Intelligence. I don’t mean “went to Harvard” smart. I mean, “Likes to read for fun” smart. Someone who can hold a half decent conversation about current affairs.
•Flexibility. And not of the physical kind (although that wouldn’t hurt). Someone who can go with the flow of life, who can give and take as appropriate without obtuse recognition.
•Protection. Someone who will physically, emotionally, and financially keep me from harms way.
•Fatherly. I want children one day and my husband has to want them too. And he has to be just as freaked as I am about having kids, but also play it just as cool and not actually freak.
•Animal lover, more specifically dogs.
•Someone who can tell I had a hard day and will pour me a glass of wine and let me bitch.
•Someone who, if he wakes up before me, makes me a cup of coffee because he knows I hate waking up in the morning.
•Someone who will kill the spiders.
I guess what I’m saying is I want a male version of me, because I would do all of these things and more for the right man.
Yesterday, I took a road-trip with a friend of mine up to my Alma Mater, the University of Maine at Farmington. For those of you who don’t know, Farmington is a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere, Maine.
At the time of the trip it was fun to be back on campus and seeing how some things have changed, but mostly things had remained the same. I hadn’t been on the UMF campus in over 6 years.
I had flashbacks of study parties in the lounge of the dorm, late night mud wrestling, river parties, and other fun times. For a brief moment I missed those days of my youth. It’s amazing to me now that A) I managed to survive living in such a small town and B) that I didn’t manage to get into more (or any for that matter) trouble than I did.
After some reflection, I don’t think that I’ll ever go back to Farmington. It’s a fine town with a very quaint feel to it, but that chapter of my life is over. I’ve changed A LOT since my time in Farmington. It doesn’t have the same “at home” feel to it it did six years ago. Why stay stuck in the past when I can move on to a super, ultra, mega bright future?
I’m grateful for the time I spent in Farmington; it helped mold me into the person I am today. However, it is in the past now and that’s okay. It’s actually quite nice to have such a sense of closure. Not that I felt like anything was ever left unfinished. Now it’s time to move on to Nursing school at the University of Southern Maine. YAY!
On letting go…
We often hear people say, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. This is terrific advice, expect that we as a society are so conditioned to sweat the small stuff that we don’t know how not to.
In Buddhism there is a very special painting known as The Wheel of Life. Of the many complicated themes depicted in this painting there is one in particular that focuses on the connection between experiences and the emotions those experiences produce. Emotions, according to this painting, are not just a knee jerk reaction to the experience. Instead, there is a series of steps that everyone goes through that connects the experience to the emotion.
The first step in converting an experience into emotion is to actually have an experience. There are all types of experiences; seeing something scary, watching a loved one cry, hearing a baby laugh or being cut off on the highway. The experience in and of themselves are neither good nor bad until we decide that they are, which is the second step in this process.
After one has had an experience one places a judgment on it. This judgment determines whether the experience was positive, neutral, or negative. This process of judging an experience can happen in a split second. If one is deathly scared of snakes and misjudges a coil of rope as a snake then immediately the mind determines crossing paths with a snake to be a negative experience.
The third step in the process is to take that judgment and attach a thought or a feeling to it. If one is deathly scared of snakes and makes the judgment that crossing paths with one is a negative experience then it is likely that one attach the feeling of fear to that judgment.
Only after these three steps have taken place can one take action, which is the fourth and final step to the process. In the snake example a reaction one might have is to run in the opposite direction of the snake. Another reaction one might have is to face one’s fear and confront the snake only to find that it is, in fact, just a coil of rope; in which case one might feel differently about the experience.
This process also works with positive and neutral experiences as well. For example, if one experiences the laughter of a baby and deems this experience as positive, then it is likely that one will attach the feeling of happiness to hearing the baby laugh and may smile at the baby.
This process of attaching judgments to experiences happens multiple times a day. It can happen seemingly automatically, or one can be aware of the process as it happens. Awareness of the process won’t change the process, but it can affect the outcome of the process.
The act of letting go is simply the active awareness one has of an experience and the emotions and judgments one places on that experience. There is one technique in particular that has helped me the most. It is simple, yet effective.
When I am experiencing something, whether it be negative or positive, I take a moment to close my eyes and take a deep breath. If it’s a negative experience then I ask myself “Why is this a negative experience? What can be done to change this into a positive experience?” Then I take the appropriate action. Often times, the emotion I feel during a negative experience is mostly due the lack of control I feel over the situation. Again, I simply breathe and try to let the moment pass. When I am having a positive experience the process is pretty much the same. I’ll take a moment to close my eyes and take a deep breath. Then I’ll ask myself, “Why is this a positive experience?” And then I try my damnedest to fill my heart with the feeling I’m experiencing so that I can call upon it later.
In the few months that I’ve been trying to be actively aware of my reaction to life’s experiences I’ve noticed that I’ve become much more mellow, and have less need to be in control of every minute detail. I’ve also noticed how truly wonderful my life really is and I’ve started to have greater appreciation for the little things. It sounds cheesy, but it’s totally true.
By letting becoming aware of why I’m feeling a particular emotion I’ve been able to let go of the need for control and the need for expectation. This isn’t to say that I’ve totally relinquished my controlling ways, but I’ve made vast improvements in my ability to roll with the punches, so to speak. And these improvements have my life more carefree, less stressful, and more magical.