Part 3!

[The following is the conclusion to, “I have a very active mind… and it’s been doing quite a bit of thinking lately” Parts 1 & 2. If you missed it, please tune in here to catch up! (link opens in separate window) …Enjoy!]

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Part iii

This summer, I’ve been really getting into training for and racing in triathlons. Right now I’m just at the sprint distance, but I have goals for next year to work up to Olympic distance, then eventually Half-Ironman distance and before I turn 30, I think I’d like to complete an Ironman. Okay, it’s out there in the universe now. 

This might sound crazy, but I think a lot about life can be reflected in the sport of Triathlon (This is probably also true for a lot of other endurance sports, too).

Racing a tri, or just doing a workout at the gym, or at the park, or on the bike trail, or wherever gives me a lot of time and space to just think. I think about all kinds of things and sometimes, I think about nothing at all… Which is equally as nice.

While I was home, I completed a sprint distance tri. I also got to go on some good longer bike rides with my dad. All of these experiences cemented my thoughts on how endurance sports reflect life in some ways, and the pieces came together to now–this point where I feel like I can actually write about it.

When you’re doing a triathlon you swim, you bike, and you run back-to-back-to-back. And even on shorter distances, it can still be daunting to toe the starting line and imagine what awaits you out on the course. I think there’s this moment for everyone where the nerves kick in just a little, where you wonder if you’re going to be able to do it, where you hope all your training will pay off, where you think: “Oh shoot, what did I get myself into?” And then the horn goes off and you have to swim. And suddenly you just have to forget about all those little worries. All your thoughts break down to is simply:

Swim. Swim. Breathe… Swim. Swim. Breathe… Don’t drown. Don’t get kicked in the face. Swim. Swim. Breathe…

The thing is, you don’t really know if you’ll finish a race (or a workout) feeling good, or if you’ll have to force yourself to the line. You don’t know if you’ll be 100% prepared, or if you’re more like 75% prepared. You think you and you hope. And somewhere inside, your body knows you really are prepared and you’ll be okay. But your mind doesn’t hear it. There’s this moment where you just have to put faith in yourself, and hope for the best. This moment where you have to trust yourself and that tiny voice inside that says: “Go. You can do it. You’ll survive.”  We can do so much more than we think we can. We just have to be brave enough to try.

So, you’re racing, and you make it through the swim feeling okay, and you think: “I can do this. I am doing this.” Then it’s off to the bike. Now… the bike is the part of the race where you spend the most time. You have a lot of space to think. But it won’t do you any good to think about how hard the swim was, or to think about how challenging the run will be after this ride. However it went, the swim is done and you can’t change it, and the run isn’t here yet so you can’t know yet how you’ll feel. All you can do is live in that moment.

Pedal. Pedal. Switch gears. Drink water. Climb. Coast. Pedal. Pedal.

The course I rode through Folsom on my bike that particular day, had what I’d call some (smaller) rolling hills. But for someone not used to riding many hills, it was a bit of a challenge. There was one hill I cruised down and got up to 30 MPH easily. A long, fast, decline. The course was out and back, and at the bottom of the hill I thought: “Oh shoot, I’m going to have to ride UP that hill on the way back.” Which was not a good thought, it was a tiring thought. Until I realized that it did no good to think about that hill either.

It did no good, because for 1) there was another uphill happening presently that was more relevant than that one, and because 2) I knew that I was going to go up that UP anyway. Whether I wanted to, or didn’t want to, it was going to happen to me either way. And I wasn’t just going to quit the race because of that one hill, I was just going to have to do it anyway, and move on.

And what do you know? On the way back in, I came to the hill and got to the top. As it turned out, it wasn’t even as bad as I initially thought it would be. Because right before that hill was that other uphill I had to climb on the way out, which was now a downhill on the way back. And that now-downhill gave me enough speed to get halfway up the now-big-giant-uphill with some sense of ease. With a little powering through the second half, I made it to the top and then I made it back to transition to head out on the run.

And even though my legs were tired from the bike, and I couldn’t feel most of my feet for the first mile or so… what happened on the bike no longer mattered. What happened or didn’t happen on the bike couldn’t be un-done. There was only the run, and me. Suddenly, running as best I could for the next 30 minutes was all that mattered. That was the only thing I could do in that moment in hopes of reaching my time-goal. I couldn’t re-do the swim, or the bike to push myself harder. Nor could I go back and save more energy for the run.

Moments like this remind me that we all only do the best we can, with what we have, when we have it. I used to believe so strongly in that. I used to live by that in so many aspects of my life… I’m beginning to again.

And I think that’s what this all breaks down to. That’s what endurance sports are about. And that’s what life is about. Doing the best you can. Making the most out of what you’ve got in any given moment. Not spending time worrying about the rest of those un-controllable variables. And hoping for the best.

You can’t control what the course looks like in life, or in racing. You can only show up and say: “I’m going to do it anyway.” Sometimes, we come across things that make us feel really insecure and unsure about ourselves. In life, hills can come in all sorts of disguises. It’s in those moments where all you can do is put faith in yourself that you’ll be able to make it to the top. And hope that you have a tailwind, or a downhill, or a few good friends, helping you along.

Because… Life doesn’t always work out how you think it will, or hope it might. Sometimes, that’s really hard to understand. But as that same oldest friend of mine said to me last week: You just have to be hopeful that there’s something more for you out there in the world, and there will be. Things will work themselves out.

It does no good to worry about what that hill will look like on the way back, because you just don’t know. And you won’t know until you get there to find out. Don’t spend time worrying, because on some level, you already know that no matter what it is, you’re going to have to get through it anyway. Don’t spend time worrying, because there is only today. There is only this moment. There is only the present. The swim is done, and the run isn’t here yet. 

Recently, another friend said to me: “I don’t understand why anyone would want to go out and run, for fun! I don’t get why people do that. Fun run? No.” I just kind of smiled and said something like: “Yeah, it’s not always fun, I guess.” But it got me thinking: Why do I like running? Why do I like swimming and biking? What is it about endurance sports? Why do I do that? And I think this is my answer.

These sports help me to make sense of life. They help me make sense of myself. They give me a place to be thoughtful, or to clear my head completely. They give me space to take a breath, to be away from my day-to-day worries for a little while. They make my body, mind, and spirit stronger. They give me the chance to learn something new about the world, or about myself. They remind me of what’s important and teach me how to live in the present of each moment.

There’s something I get from doing these things that I don’t get from anything else. These sports put something in front of me that reflect life so greatly. Something that isn’t always fun, and often is quite challenging and tiring. Sometimes I don’t even know if I’ll be able to do a workout, or a race, or meet a time goal, or whatever. But somehow, somehow, I finish. Somehow, I get myself out the door, and to the gym, or the park, or the trail, or the starting line… and I do it anyways. Because something in me knows. Because something in me trusts the faith I have in myself. Because something in me says:

Go. You can do it. You’ll survive. You can do so much more than you think you can. You just have to be brave enough to try. 

So… Be brave. Be strong. Trust yourself. You’ll survive.

That’s something that sports have taught me about myself, and about life. It’s something I try to remind myself when I feel unsure and insecure. It’s something I try to remember in those moments right before the horn goes off.

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Be well. 

Love, 

~Meghan

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I have a very active mind

and it’s been doing quite a bit of thinking lately. 

[parts 1 & 2 of a 3 part semi-related-thoughts-on-life-and-growing-up-series (oh, that’s basically my whole blog right now? yeah… maybe.)]

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Part i

I traveled home to California for the past two weeks. I didn’t really go with the intent of doing anything specific while I was there besides visiting my parents. I ended up seeing people, and not seeing other people, and talking a lot, and listening a lot, and thinking a lot, and then not thinking a lot. I was bored and I was busy, I had places to go and I didn’t have places to go, I wanted to leave and I wanted to stay, and I missed my cat a lot.

I guess maybe that’s what vacations as an ‘adult’ are supposed to be like: A timeout from your “real” life to figure things out, and not figure things out, and talk, and not talk, and do and don’t do. And maybe miss your cat or your bed or other things you had to leave behind for a little bit so you appreciate them more when you get back. Though, when you get back, you also miss some of the things you left on vacation.

I think sometimes it’s hard to “vacation” in the place where you grew up. It’s this weird space where everything stays basically how you remember it, even though you’re a completely different person. It’s familiar/comforting and yet strange/stifling all in the same moment. When you arrive, you feel like an adult. And somewhere in the middle you kind of start to feel a little like a kid again. That’s why I can never stay in my hometown for too long. That’s why I never want to move back there. That’s why it’s hard to vacation there.

Somehow sleeping in your old room feels safe, but also very strange. It confuses you about where you belong or don’t belong these days. Sometimes it makes you forget about how far you’ve come and how much you’ve grown into the person you are. But sometimes it helps you to remember that stuff, too.

It’s a little like the Twilight Zone. That’s why I always have to leave in the end–because deep down I know it isn’t where I belong, no matter how familiar it feels. What was once home, is now just home. Still comforting and safe, but just not in the same ways.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a good place to grow up. But now when I’m there, I go out in public and hope that I don’t run into any former classmates or anyone I know (and there’s always the chance of that happening). I think what I like about living somewhere different is that… no one knows you, and you can be whoever you want to be.

I’m reading this book right now called Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (I definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone). It’s a compilation book of all these letters asking for advice on life and love, and Dear Sugar’s  responses to them. Some of the things she says really stick with me. In one of her responses, she talks about pretending to be the person you want to be someday until one day you realize you actually are that person.

When I’m home, I feel like it’s harder to be the person I want to be. There’s too much history there. Too much same-ness. Too much of those Twilight-Zone-esque feelings.

I don’t mean to insult the place. I don’t mean to say it isn’t a good place to live for some people who do grow up and become the person they want to be. I just mean that it’s not that place for me. For me, it’s just that familiar place where nothing ever changes. A great place to visit, but not a good place to stay. But that’s me. Maybe you guys feel different about your hometowns. Maybe you still live in your hometowns and are completely happy. That’s you.

But if you’re like me, you leave in the end because you know you have to. And when you get back to wherever you’re at now, you kind of miss the familiar feeling of knowing that everything is okay, and existing in this place where you don’t really have to worry about anything. You miss seeing your parents regularly and being somewhere that’s constant.

Part ii

I think that’s one of the hardest thing about growing up: realizing that this constant, stable life your parents built for you is now something you have to try and create for yourself. But when you’re 23… you have no idea how to do that. You have no idea how to do it because you don’t really know what you want in regards to most things, yet somehow that is the only thing you really want. How conflicting.

You want to find home again, but in the adult world this time. You want someplace comforting to come back to at the end of the day. You want to be surrounded by people who love you without question or hesitation. You want to have some sort of normalcy that you share with others. You’re desperate to just be grown up already but you want to have fun, too, and not take things so seriously. What a strange little place to be in, your twenties.

Everyone keeps saying things like: “High school is the best years of your life!” and then, “College is the best years of your life!” and then, “Your twenties are really the best years of your life.” And me? I’m just like: Well shoot… I kind of hope not. (Maybe they meant your ‘later’ twenties, yeah.) 

While these eras have definitely had their good times, they’ve also had some particular challenges that make me hope for better, more constant, days on the horizon. Too many life lessons and inconsistencies and not enough easy fun or sense of order. Or more likely, it’s just that those lesson-times weigh heavier on my mind than the easy-times. Which, I guess could be good. I guess that means that I’m growing as a human being and remembering not to learn the same lessons (i.e. make the same mistakes) over and over again.

[Afterthought: Do some people really just have peaceful, blissfully ignorant, harmonious lives all the time? …I wonder if they grow as human beings or if they just stay the same. I wonder if I’d trade the learning-life I’ve been given for a static-life. I don’t know. Lessons do shape us to be stronger, wiser, people. So… Yeah. I don’t know. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program already in progress:] 

I don’t know how everyone else feels about this kind of stuff… but I like to tell myself that everyone feels basically the same way, they just don’t like to talk about it, or be up-front about it. Which then makes me feel like I’m left out of some inside-joke or that I missed the train to easy-town when other people’s lives seem to be so much more put-together than mine. I’m sure I can’t be the only one feeling like this. But damn you, Social Media, for showing off all the great party pictures and awesome camping trips They took while I was busy feeling insecure about having no friends and no idea what I’m doing with my life…

I just want to live and be happy and surround myself with people I love, and who love me back, to share that happiness with. So I’m trying. One day at a time, I’m trying. 

It’s not always easy. Sometimes I wish I had more control over certain aspects of my life than I actually do. I think we all feel that way sometimes.

I remind myself: I can only control me. I can only control what I do and how I feel. And not what other people do or how they feel. 

We’re all only in charge of our own little lives and that will be true no matter how hard we wish we could influence others to see things our way, or feel things the way we feel them, or do things the way we think they should be done.

In talking with one of my oldest friends the other day, he mentioned something his grandma said to him (my understanding is after 5 glasses of vodka? but… true and relevant nonetheless). It was something along the lines of: We are only in control of what happens in our lives… but only to about 50%.

I’d add to that and say that the other 50% is the completely uncontrollable–the other 50% is all those random things that happen to us every day. Our lives revolve, to some extent, around Chaos Theory and other variables we can never change (and might not even know exist out there). There are whole books about that.

I hope to them one of these days, if for nothing else than to remind myself to feel okay about it all. To remind myself that I can only do the most that is in my power to do at any given moment, and the rest… is out of my control. 

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[This concludes part 1 & 2. Please look out for part 3 sometime within the next 24-48 hours]

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Thoughts on growing up against your will…

I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. And by “lately,” I kind of mean the last 5 or 6 years of my life.

But that’s the thing… whether you want it to happen or not, growing up is going to happen to you anyways. And that sucks.

Sometimes, I wish I could just go back in time to a place where I was happy, knew what I wanted, knew where I belonged, knew who loved me, and knew what I was doing with my life (or at least what I had planned for it). I wish I could just go back to a place that made sense… and lock myself there with the ability to make only correct life-decisions necessary to keep me right where I was at.

Growing up is good (in general, I think). We all eventually have to learn about the world, and life, and the people around us, and the choices we make. Learn about them in a way where it somehow makes us more mature, wiser, human beings. I think growing up is supposed to teach us about ourselves, and about life, and about how to navigate the world while we’re here. Which… I guess are good things, but that doesn’t mean the processes sucks any less.

Growing up can be kind of bad, too (a little, I think). It involves not only having to go through tough “life-lessons” you’d rather not experience, but in the process it also kind of shatters your innocence, your naivete, your “life is beautiful all the time and everyone is happy” world-view. Which I think is what’s hardest about growing up: Learning more about the world and other humans and yourself and realizing that everything is not going to be beautiful and happy all the time (as maybe you once believed).

More than one person in the past 3 months has told me that I tend to jump to the worst possible scenario and think more about what could go wrong instead of thinking about all the things that could go right. I don’t know how long I’ve been like that. I hope not too long, and I hope there’s still a chance to change. In the same breath, I feel like my super power lately has been the ability to have two decisions in front of me, and to always choose the wrong one. So, jumping to the conclusion that things will go wrong is maybe rooted in the path that my “growing up” has taken me down recently.

I used to think of myself as this free-spirited kid who took chances and looked at life as having endless possibilities, taking on a “Why not?” attitude and feeling like every question in my life deserved the chance to be played out to determine the answer. I was someone who accepted and sought out “change,” this spontaneous person who got bored if she did the same thing too many days in a row.

So, it would seem that either my experiences have somehow changed that about me, or that maybe I had wrong ideas about who I was. I tend to believe the former. I know who I am, and ever since I started feeling “not like myself anymore,” I’ve been trying to figure out how to feel like “me” again.

Life is crazy. You can make one decision that alters the course of the rest of your life without you even knowing it.

Examples:

What if I had said “yes” instead of “no” to go to that party with those people freshman year of college? Would I have felt more connected to them and thus felt more connected to my school and then been more happy with my first year college experience? If I had, would I still be where I am today (physically, emotionally, etc.)? …How the hell did I get to Michigan, of all places, again?

What if I had said “no” instead of “yes” to that job in (fucking) Indiana? [sidebar: Whenever I think of Indiana, I always think “Fucking Indiana. Ruined my life that damned place.”] Would I still be in a committed relationship? Would I be working in the TR field? Would I have found something else that I enjoyed more? Would I still be where I am today (physically, emotionally, etc.)?

The hard part is: we’ll never know!

The smallest decisions shape your life, but you really don’t realize that when you’re making them. Whether you say “yes” or “no” to a simple question could have a HUGE impact on what happens to you in a year or two. Who knew?

So, here’s something that sucks about graduating college:

You’re so hyped up and excited because you LOVED what you studied, and now you finally have a degree, and a purpose, and you just CANNOT wait to get into the field, so much so, that you’ll take the very first job that’s offered to you because you think that’s what you want. You think that’s what’s going to make you happy. So you do it. And for a brief second, it is what you want, and it does make you happy. But not really.

Reality is: you chose your “career” over your family only to discover that you don’t really like your career as much as you thought you would and it wasn’t at all worth sacrificing the relationships with the people you love. Only, by the time you’re able to realize this, and fix it all, it’s too late. Six months have passed, and the people you love have been hurt by your decisions and now they’re confused about their future with you. You’re hurt by your decisions, too, and left wishing there was a way to tell your past-self not to take that damned job and to go get a job at McDonald’s instead because even THAT would be better than THIS.

Now, you no longer have (in the same way) the support system you once thought was always going to be there for you through ups/downs, good/bad, thick/thin, etc./etc.. AND! You no longer feel excited about your “career” or your field or your degree. You start wishing you had studied something different, only you don’t know what you would study if you could do it again.

And then you just feel like 18-year-old-You again who was so clueless as to what she wanted to “be when she grew up.” And you wish there was such a thing as having a guidance counselor for Life. Because it’s the end of your Sophomore Year of Real World and you’re still clueless as to where your life is actually headed.

Either everyone else your age is a career-picking genius, feels “a calling”/”a passion,” or is DAMN good at pretending to know what’s up with their life. Because you just feel left out.

Fuck. Graduating college sucks.

College in general kind of sucks. Like, as a system, not as an experience. You’re in this institution that basically forces you, at the age of 18, to decide what you want to do for the next 10 to 20 years of your life. Statistics say, you’ll change careers something like 3 times before you retire and the way things are going, I’ll probably have to retire when I’m 80.

But god… 18-year-old-me hardly wanted to admit out loud to herself that she was actually gay! Basically proving that she knew nothing about anything (she hardly knew herself, after all) and she had to decide these huge life decisions based on what? 18 years sounds like a long time, and seems like you’d have built up a lot of life experience, but when you hardly remember half of it… 18 is really like being 9 only with more responsibilities and expectations that you don’t know how to deal with (because you’re 9!).

HOW CAN A 9-YEAR-OLD BE EXPECTED TO SERIOUSLY DECIDE WHAT THEY WANT TO BE WHEN THEY’RE 23!?

Yeah… 18-year-old me was really dumb. In 5 years I’ll probably look back and say: “Yeah… 23-year-old me was pretty dumb.” So maybe in 10 years I’ll be able to say: “Yeah… 28-year-old me was dumb, but getting there.” Tell me… when does the madness end?! When do you know what you’re supposed to do with your life and where you’re supposed to be?!

Sigh. I just want to get it right. It seems like all I’ve been doing is getting it wrong.

If/when I ever have a kid, I’m going to sit them down at 17 and say: Look, if you want to go to college, cool, that’s great! I support you. But, if you want to take time off, and do something else like work, or travel, or volunteer, or live somewhere else, I’ll support that too. You’re 17, you’re very young. I don’t expect you to know right now what you want to do with your life forever. I don’t want you to feel like you’re boxed in or forced to make choices for when you’re 25 or 30 when you’re 17. It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to wait to go to school until you know more. At 23, I had gone to college, graduated, had a job, and still didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was 25 or 30 (hopefully by this time, I’ll have figured out what I want to do). 

I’ll also tell them how, looking back, I kind of wish I had figured myself out a little more before trying to figure out what that self wanted to do for a career. Probably would have saved myself and my parents a lot of money (sorry Mom and Dad)

It’s simply not fair to ask 17 and 18 year old kids to pick a career. And that’s exactly what college does. Whether it’s right or wrong for the individual students, that’s what it does to everyone. The system works for most people, but overall I think it’s flawed.

I was undeclared until the end of my second year of college and felt forced to pick because, after all, what kind of kid didn’t know what they wanted to do with their life by now? Obviously everyone is cut out for having a typical-career and following a typical-track through school. [sarcasm]

Damn… I’m 23 and I STILL don’t know. That’s my problem right now.

At this moment, there are so many uncertainties in my life. I feel like I have no clue as to:

1) Where I want to be right now.

2) What I want to do right now.

So… I’m stuck not knowing where to go or what to do. It’s terrible!

It makes me feel like I don’t belong anywhere. It makes me question where “home” is because nowhere I’ve been in the past year and a half has felt remotely like “home” besides for that 2-bedroom apartment I lived in with Jen in the time before I took that damned job. And even after (when she had to get a roommate who wasn’t me to help pay the bills), it STILL felt like home. Even now, not living there, not being in a serious relationship, not having any real claim to it at all… Apartment H-2 still feels like home and I can’t explain that. It makes me wish things were different. It makes me wonder if I should have made different decisions a year ago, 2 years ago, 3, 4, 5 years ago. It makes me want things that don’t exist anymore. It makes me realize that my innocent, naive, “everything and everyone is happy” worldview is gone.

So… I really am sorry, Rachel, that I’m jealous because everything is going right in your world and that you’re still able to see the happy side of relationships, and careers, and friendships, and living situations. I’m so beyond jealous because I think as much as I try, I won’t be able to un-remember the “growing up” that has taught me how quickly things can change and how one seemingly small decision can affect the course of your life. I love you, and I support you, and I just want to protect you from experiencing the learning-aches that I’ve experienced.

And I’m sorry, Dad and Mom, that I’m impatient and (what probably comes off as) negative about relationships, and careers, and friendships and living situations. I wish I had the life-experiences you guys do without having to go through the heartache of it. I wish I had your insight and your knowing that, without a doubt, things will work out how they’re supposed to. But I don’t. I appreciate your being there and listening and sharing your experiences. I just don’t know as sure as you guys do.

I wish I had a more care-free attitude about things lately. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I’m SO GOOD at saying: “Screw it, I’m just going to do my thing, I’m going to be happy and whatever happens happens, and that’s that. I don’t need anyone else but me.” I do so well… and then out of nowhere, I just feel like something is missing, and whatever it is, I know I’m not going to be 100% happy until it’s in my life. Is it a relationship? A career? A friendship? A living situation? I don’t know. And I don’t know how to know.

When your life feels like it has no direction, you feel pretty bad about yourself and what you’re doing. You feel pretty empty with your day-to-day happenings. You feel like you’re just spinning your wheels and not going anywhere or making forward progress or doing anything worthwhile at all.

So what do you do, then?

I try to think about the question: “If I could be doing anything with my life right now, regardless of money, time, requirements, etc… what would I be doing?”

No “job” really feels like it would be fulfilling to me as a person or to my contributing to the world right now. I don’t really know if going back into the TR field is what I want to do either. Traveling doesn’t even seem fun or interesting unless I could have a companion with me. Going back to school would be nice, but I have no idea what to study!

I think it might be nice to volunteer for the humane society or something. Or to become a semi-famous writer/artist/performer or a youtube celebrity or something crazy like that. Hm… how to pay the bills in the meantime of that pursuit?

Purpose: I wish I knew what that felt like.

I think, too, that the people you surround yourself with can help ease some of the ache of lacking clear purpose and direction. If you can hang out with someone and just have fun for a whole day, who cares what you do to make the money you spend to have that fun. You’re 23, you should be having fun and not worrying so much about a “career” anyway. Which is great, but also hard when you have exactly 1.5 friends in the immediate vicinity.

So, I’ve been trying to think a lot about where I want to be. And who I want to be around.  And hoping to figure out the what I want to do somewhere along the way. So far… I don’t have any clear answers. 

I guess all this is just part of growing up, and I’m trying to understand that. I wish I knew what I was supposed to be doing with my life right now and where I’m supposed to be doing it. But I’m trying to learn how to be okay with not knowing everything and I’m getting a little more patient every day it seems. In the meantime, I’ll just be trying my best to enjoy the journey. Hope to see you along the way. 

I love you all,

~Meghan

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If you’re going through Hell… keep on going

You might get out before the devil even knows you’re there. 

Thanks Rodney Atkins. I heard your song on the radio today and it could not have been better timing.

If only you knew the week I’ve been having, Mr. Atkins, if only…

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I have to believe that everything happens for a reason. I have to believe that the world has a way of working itself out and putting you right where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. I have to believe it… or else I might go crazy. And I’ve been trying really hard to do just that and let it be and go on with my life… but it has been so incredibly difficult to do lately.

I’ve been blaming myself for a lot this week.

I feel like I made a terrible mistake in moving to Indiana and taking this job and leaving my friends, my support system out here, and most importantly, my girlfriend, in Michigan. It’s one of those times where I feel like if I could do anything to just go back in time and tell myself to make different decisions with my life, I would do pretty much anything.

This feeling happened to me once before while at Eastern, at a point where I wasn’t very happy with my living situation and the decisions I had made in roommates.

I wrote in my journal the things I would tell to my past self if only I had the chance to tell her how to make better decisions along with the exact decisions she should have made instead… I was quite upset about the situation. I remember texting my mom at one point saying: “I made a terrible mistake in moving in with Roommate (let’s call her Jackie).”

Without going into much detail… it probably was a mistake. But you know what… in the end I learned such things as the kinds of people I’d want to live with as roommates, I learned how to be responsible and self-reliant, I was able to build a closer relationship with my dear friend Patrick due to living closer to him, and I also believe that if my living situation had been different, Jen and I never would have started dating. You see… I wrote to Past-Me and told her that instead of deciding to live with Jackie, she should instead choose to live with her friends–Sarah and Jen. And I think had I been living with them as friends, nothing relationship-y would have ever developed between Jen and I.

So some good things came out of a bad situation in the end. Though it took me awhile to realize it all.

Then you’d think that with that terrible mistake experience behind me and realizing that good things can happen and I can learn and grow as a person, that I’d feel generally okay about this terrible mistake experience, right? Wrong.

I feel awful. Maybe I’m still too close to the situation to realize the big picture, but honestly–I screwed up. And in my own opinion, I’ve taken far too long to correct the mistake.

As I said, I’ve been blaming myself for a lot this week, and moving here and taking too long to correct it is the majority of what I feel so bad about.

It’s hard, you know? You get a job, you’re excited about the possibilities you imagine for it, you’re excited just to be employed in your field, you move, you start your job, it’s not perfect but it’s okay, you give it a good run because that’s who you are, you try to find the positives because that’s who you are, but a couple months later you realize this isn’t what you want, you aren’t happy, you hate Indiana, so you look for new jobs, it takes too long, your girlfriend gets impatient that it’s taking too long, you get impatient that it’s taking too long, and so you decide to just quit your job, and move back to Michigan to the people you love and who love you back and you decide to figure out the rest out on the way (because what’s important to you just can’t wait any more), and by the time you think that you’re starting to get everything worked out, you can even see the finish line–Michigan job opportunities fall through, distance and time has put so much strain on your relationship, your current apartment makes it so ridiculously hard and expensive to move-out early, and you start to realize that maybe everything is just going to fall apart before it even has a chance to get put back together.

And that sucks. That’s hell… Knowing that you’re so close, SO close to putting your life back together and it might just fall apart with only 10 meters left in the race.

If you’re going through hell… keep on going.

I have to believe that things will work out. I have to believe that this is all happening for a reason. I have to believe that if I keep pushing forward, if I just keep going, maybe things will start to make sense again.

It’s hard, and it’s frustrating. I blame myself for a lot of the negative things that have changed in my life because of me moving and taking this damned job.

Honestly, I feel like I’ve lost a piece of myself here. Be it the lack of immediate social support system, the lack of liberal and/or gay-friendly things and people (coupled with the overly conservative and religious messages that are the flip-side of that), the distance from Jen, the unhappiness with my job… whatever it is… it’s left me feeling not like myself. I feel uncomfortable with “me” right now. Which sucks.

I used to love who I was and who I have to believe I still am or can be again. Sometimes during my day-to-day when I’m around clients, or co-workers, or the lacrosse team I assistant coach for… I feel okay with who I am, I see the pieces of me still there. But when I come home at the end of the day, I’m not happy. I don’t like the way my life is, and I don’t like myself or at least, I don’t like whatever “me” I’ve somehow become over the past 6 months.

And then I just feel dumb… like my eyes have been closed and I couldn’t even see what was really going on. How could I have expected that things would get better just by thinking positively about my job, or about Indiana? And how could I have expected things to be the same with Jen when ‘me’ and everything about my life is so different?

I don’t want to lose the good things I have in my life just because I made the stupid mistake of moving for this job, and of not realizing what that meant, or of taking too long to realize what it’s done.

I just hope it’s not too late: to make changes, to have second chances, to own up to my mistakes and apologize for them, to figure out where I lost that awesome self-assured piece of myself, to figure out how to get it back, to… to… to…

I just hope it’s not too late to put my life back together.

I’ve learned in the past 7 days just how quickly life, and one’s outlook on life, can change in only one week. And a lot has the potential to change even more in the next week, though I hope for the better and not for the worse. Only time will tell us that one…

This week has been pretty terrible for a handful of reasons, so I’m really hoping that this is the bottom and the only place left to go is up… and I’m hoping that this is all happening for a reason and that somehow… SOMEHOW… the world will work itself out the way it’s meant to be. In the same breath, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to try my hardest to do all I can make it work out the way I want it to be, too.

In closing, I leave you with my newly adopted anthem for life:

If You’re Going Through Hell – Rodney Atkins

~M

Posted in Learning, Life outside | Leave a comment

Moving Forward

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who wrote to me or chatted with me after my last post. I’m so so thankful to know that I somehow got lucky enough to have such wonderful and supportive people to call my family and friends. I know that not everyone is as lucky as this.

I apologize that I haven’t been able to write back personally to everyone yet, but please know that I read all your emails and that I’m thinking of you.

In general, things are starting to look up, if only slightly. If nothing else, at least they are moving forward. I think it helps that this week I saw some positive changes in the world in regards to gay-rights and some changes in my personal working day-to-day life as well.

Positives – World: 

  1. Prop 8 was ruled unconstitutional
  2. Equal marriage was passed in Washington State
  3. New Jersey Legislature introduced a bill that would allow gay marriage

(Click for Links to articles)

All in the same week!

For once, it’s nice to see positive changes in the world of equal rights… especially with all the anti-gay messages we’ve been getting from the Republican presidential candidates the past couple months. It gives me hope that maybe the world in general is coming around… slowly, but at least things are looking up on some level.

Positives – Personal (Re: Work):

  1. The other therapists at work agreeing that at some point clients need to move on from our services (4 years of Rec. Therapy? At least I’m not the only one who thinks that’s a tad ridiculous).
  2. Our boss trying to work with us to ensure that our professional opinions are taken seriously by the case managers (and other “higher-ups”).
  3. A client of mine telling me that he finds his Rec. Therapy sessions to be beneficial to him and that he likes the suggestions I’ve given him the past couple weeks.

I know that it’s going to take a relatively long time for my actual job to catch up to what I imagine for my job… but it’s nice to see that changes are trying to happen. It’s also nice to see that all the therapists are on board and thinking along the same wave-length that I’ve been lately.

One thing I’ve decided about work is that I don’t care how things have “always” been done, or how people there are used to having it done or what they expect… I’m going to do things how I, as a professional, think things should be done in our field, even if they don’t go along with how things have “always been” for this organization. And along the way, hopefully other people will get on board and understand what it is Rec. Therapists are ACTUALLY supposed to be doing for their clients.

I’m starting to realize that I have some say in how my work goes and if I just speak up… there are people around to back me up. Maybe it will even inspire other therapists to speak up as well. Small improvements… I’ll take ’em.

Anyways. I just wanted to write a few blurbs about how things have gone this past week or so with work (which is one of my biggest challenges as of late). I realize things won’t get 100% better overnight… but at least they are moving in a slightly more positive direction, even if only slightly.

I still miss my friends, family and girlfriend terribly, and I miss the open-minded liberal-ness of places like college, but at least the other things are going alright.

I’ll try and write again soon!

~M

Posted in Learning, Life outside, Observations on the World | 1 Comment

Dear World,

Hello! Are any of you still awake and reading out there? It has been quite some time since I’ve updated around these parts of the internet. I guess that’s what happens when your life is busy and tiring again.

Much has changed since my last update which was… holy cow! Back in OCTOBER!? Ridiculous. It looks like I tried to start a few posts since then, but nothing ended up getting published (read: “getting all that much actually written”). So hopefully this time is different.

When I was home at Christmas, a few family members mentioned to me how they read my blog, so… this one’s for them! Hopefully my familial ties have kept them still interested in updates even after all this time.

So… where to begin?

I got a job. 

It is in the field that I studied for (Recreation Therapy), working mainly with the developmentally disabled population in the Northern Indiana-ish area. So… now I live in Indiana, and have a job like a grown-up.

I wish I could tell you that it has been everything I’ve dreamed of and more and that, although it is not my dream job, it is very close to what I want to be doing and that I’m ridiculously happy and everything is great. But… I can’t tell you any of that. Because that would be lying. I generally try to tell everyone I’m happy and things are great, but lately I’ve realized that I’ve only been doing that so that I can justify the good of this decision to myself. Even if there is seemingly little good in it.

Here’s what’s good about it:

A. It’s a real-type-job, therefore it makes money, therefore I can be more a independent-type of a human being. Which I think is something we all try to strive for around this point in our lives.

B. Job experience. You know… for when I actually find a job that I want.

C. Some of my clients are cute kids that say silly things from time-to-time and make me smile.

D. My schedule is flexible. Kind of.

E. I get to play games, go bowling, go for walks, be in the community, be outside (on nice days), go swimming (inside) and do other “fun” things most jobs don’t get to do and I get paid for it.

F. It’s in the Midwest… so that means it’s “close” to Jen (who is in Saginaw – 4 hrs away) and “close” to friends who are still in the Ann Arbor area (3 hrs away). Related, a friend from my program who graduated with me also works for this organization.

G. I’m up to 4 decent radio stations to listen to while driving in my car.

And that’s about where the list ends. I think what motivates me the most right now to keep this job is:

1) money and

2) If I quit right now that would look bad on a future resume to a possible employer.

Because, if we’re being honest here for a second… I am really not all that happy living in Indiana and working at this place. It’s fine, you know. I mean it’s a job. How many college graduates can say that they got a job, in their field, less than 6 months after graduation? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I would think that the percentage of college graduates who fit that is very small. And so for that, I feel lucky and grateful. But is that enough to make me happy? Is that something that should carry weight in determining how satisfied I am with my career and life right now? I don’t know.

I tend to lean towards the thought that sometimes you can’t help the way you feel. Even when your brain tells you that you should be happy… sometimes you just aren’t.

That’s how I feel. I try to be happy. I am really trying. But it’s been a struggle to feel happy about all this the past handful of weeks. My brain and my logic say: “you should be happy” but everything else I listen to just doesn’t agree.

I’m having trouble with some things here. With the job itself, and with the area.

As far as my job goes… sometimes I just feel like I am not benefiting my clients as much as I could. I don’t always feel like a therapist. I felt more like a therapist in my internship when I was a student than I do here. I don’t feel very useful. I think that mainly has to do with the way that TR is structured here and how it is viewed by the organization and it’s something I want to change but I’m not sure how to do it. I’ve been trying to talk with the other Rec. Therapists to see how things could be changed, but it’s a long road to get to where I would see TR to be in an organization such as this one, and I’m not sure I want to invest myself that much in this job. In general, I don’t want to invest myself in this job any more than I absolutely have to in order to be good at it.

I miss my internship. I miss the life of the hospital and the busy days where patients come and go and you get new people and new things happen all the time. I miss the team atmosphere of working in Rehab. I miss staying in one place where everything else moves around you. I miss the structure that comes with hospital walls, and discharge dates.

Here… it’s different. Work never feels done. It goes on and on and on. I might work until 8:00 pm doing paperwork at home or seeing a client until 6:30 pm only to wake up and see another one at 8:00 am. There is always ALWAYS more work to do. Also… my clients never “leave.” Some of these clients have been seeing Rec. Therapists since 2007. I graduated high school in 2007… so much has happened in my life since then, and as a Rec. therapist, to think of seeing a client for that length of time is ridiculous. This is one reason I know I can’t handle this job for much more than a year. I’m tired of it already and it’s been practically a number of weeks.

Don’t get me wrong… some days are better than others. But 9 times out of 10, I’m wondering what I’m doing here and why.

Not to mention that Indiana is definitely NOT the place for me. Too conservative, too rural, too boring, too ugly. I know I make a good case for you guys to come visit me…

Maybe it’s the time of year that makes it seem boring and ugly. But that doesn’t change that it’s rural (at least compared to where I’ve lived in the past) and conservative by all standards. I pretty much feel like the only gay person in a 50 mile radius. I know there has to be other people out there somewhere… but I haven’t found them yet and I have no idea how to. It sucks. I feel so lonely here.

I go to work and have clients ask me about church, or my husband, or I sit with co-workers talking about their husbands and boyfriends and I stay quiet, just hoping that no one asks me about my personal life. I’m 99%  sure that “sexual orientation” is not covered in my company’s non-discrimination clause. It’s just… uncomfortable.

What I dislike the most about being here is how it’s making me feel. I used to feel confident and sure about who I was and I didn’t care if people knew I dated girls or identified as gay or whatever. Maybe it was being around like-minded people, or living in a college town, or even just SEEING other LGBT people around. But now that I’m here… I just feel less confident with myself. Like I’m scared again of people finding out and like I care again of what people will think. And it’s been a looooong time since I’ve felt this way.

I just feel out of place here. So very out of place.

It makes it hard to connect with people when you feel like you have this big piece of your life you can’t talk about. It’s been difficult to make friends. I can’t be myself in public, I can’t even be myself at work, or at least not every piece of myself. I don’t know how I’m supposed to connect with people and make friends when I’m scared and nervous about them finding out. I want to find people I can be real friends with. Ideally, I would find friends where these things really wouldn’t matter all that much. Like I could just talk about it like it was no big deal if I felt like talking about it.

It’s hard to be away from people who already know you and already like you. It’s really hard to be so far away from my family. I feel like I have no support system out here in no-man’s land, and I’m at a loss for how to build one.

Thankfully, I have one friend down here who I feel comfortable being around with all parts of my life. I can talk about dating Jen the way she talks about dating her boyfriend. Things aren’t weird. It’s not some big deal, it just is. I think it helps that we know each other from school.

Making friends involves “coming out” on some level. At school it was different. Maybe because there were so many potential friend options, or people just didn’t care, or those who did care were outnumbered by those who didn’t care. At school, I had the attitude that if someone didn’t like me or want to be my friend because I was gay, then that was their loss, because that was just one small part of a really cool person. I used to not care so much, but being here is making me different.

I don’t WANT to care so much about this. I don’t at all. I want to feel like how I did before I came here where I didn’t care what other people thought about me–have the “it’s their loss, it’s their problem not mine” attitude. But now… I’m insecure. And I HATE it.

I’m at a loss for how to connect with people on some real level. I’m at a loss for how to feel more confident in myself while in this new (and more conservative, and more adult) setting. I’m at a loss for how to feel good about my job.

After my internship in Boston, I moved to Saginaw where Jen had gotten a job. We had an apartment there where she was working while I was looking for a job. We were an hour and a half from Ann Arbor and some of my friends. It was a nice area to live in and while yes, it was more conservative than somewhere like California, I saw other people like me out and about all the time. It was close to a college, and close to Ann Arbor. And things were good and I was happy there.

And then I got a job. And I thought I would be happy having a job that wasn’t across the country and having some way to make money and having something to do instead of house-chores. But then I moved… and now I’m here. And most days, I feel guilty for leaving Saginaw and I feel like I should have tried harder to find a job in Michigan or to be more satisfied with taking a job that wasn’t in my field. It sucks.

I feel responsible for my own unhappiness. And that’s a terrible feeling. But I don’t know how to make it better.

I feel like maybe I did make a mistake in taking this job. Of course, it took making the mistake to realize what I really want, and what makes me happy. But now it’s too late to fix it in any sort of easy way.

So what do I do? Do I try to clean up the mistake and get back to Michigan some how ASAP? Or do I try to invest in people and things here so that I can be happier? Or… is it something else entirely?

It sucks to feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to. Vacation? Forget it. Real-life grown-up jobs don’t get any worthwhile vacation time. Getting back to be closer to Jen? …But when? At least during the summer when it sucked to be apart, it was only for the summer and there was an end in sight, something to look forward to. What’s this, only for the year? Damn… that sucks. A year is a long time.

As far as Jen and I go… we get to see each other on the weekends. Sometimes every-other weekend. But do you know how fast a weekend goes? And it’s never long enough. I love spending time with her. I feel like myself and I feel happy and I feel like things are okay. And then the weekend is over… and I go back to being alone in frickin’ Indiana.

Maybe I sound like a pessimist… but this is how I see the world right now. This is how I feel. This is what’s real to me. It’s like I said earlier… sometimes even when you know you’re supposed to be happy and you know you’re supposed to try and find the good in things… you just don’t, and you just can’t.

Obviously, I’m open to any suggestions, comments, and/or support. At this point, I’m open to anything. Maybe you guys have been through this growing and learning thing, or maybe you just have been through something similar. Maybe you have some words of wisdom to share with me.

I would appreciate it.

~M

 

 

Posted in Learning | 1 Comment

I want to write a blog

[Back-story: the following was originally written on September 12 but I failed to publish it at the time because I got frustrated with the formatting of the post and it was getting all messed up. Well, now I have some time to re-type it and fix the formatting so I’m posting it. Yes, it’s much later than September 12 now, but it’s better than nothing!]

So I will!

And I am. This is me trying.

I admit that I haven’t been the most consistent of blog-authors. And maybe I’ve lost a few readers along the way because of it (I hope not!). But this is me trying and I’m going to continue to try. So… hopefully that’s good for you. It’s pretty good for me. 🙂

Realizations

I’ve realized a few things in the past week.

  1. I’m darn good at starting over.
  2. I do it quite a lot.
  3. But I hate endings (and “beginnings”). “Look… every ending is really just the beginning of something new.” Blarg. I still hate them!

In the past 4 and a half years of my life, I have done a lot of starting over. I would hope that I’d be getting better at it after that amount of time… and yet, although I’ve gotten  better at it, I can’t say if it’s any easier. I really dislike: 

  1. Starting over.
  2. Endings and goodbyes: As much as the cliche is that ‘endings are really just the start of something new,’ I still have a hard time not seeing at least some finality in endings. I think it’s just being realistic to realize that things will not be exactly the same as they were. 
  3. Going somewhere and meeting wonderful people I know I’ll be leaving soon. Also, making friends that I move away from and fail to continue having decent friendships with them.
  4. Knowing that right now I’m such a transient person and that my life is in constant motion: I like it to some degree… but at the same time I wish I could have a little more of a stable life. (Maybe this is my 22 going on 30 speaking? Or just 22 year old me who is tired of jumping around.)
  5. Moving in general.
  6. Establishing myself in new places.
  7. Being places with no social support system/s readily available.
Have I said “Blarg” yet? Blarg.
 
My internship is ending. My time in Boston is ending. My time of being a student is ending.
 
My job search is starting. My uncertain longer-term living situation is starting. My time of entering the real world is starting.
 
I wish I could go back to the start of school, the start of my internship, the start of my time in Boston. I think I might do some things different the second time around. No specific details on what. I’m beginning to realize that transitional phases of life are not as fun as more established and stable phases of life.
 
One day I’ll probably look back nostalgically and say how fun transitional phases were but really, Future Me… Think about that before you say it. Yeah parts have been fun, but this right now today is not fun. I need a job. I need a life. I need some more solid plans in my life. Not fun. Alright, enough complaining. Let’s get you an update on my life as of late, shall we?
 
Update
 
My internship ends this Friday [Sept. 16]. I can hardly believe it. It feels like just yesterday I was driving to Boston with my parents, my guinea pigs and my car packed to the brim–and more! And now suddenly here we are at the end of the Boston experience. It’s weird. At first I didn’t like the city really, but it’s grown on me a little more the longer I’m here. Even so, I’m not sure how much I’ll miss it once I’ve moved on from it. I’ll miss places like Spaulding and people like the other interns, staff at Spaulding, my roommates, and others I’ve met. But the city itself? I don’t anticipate missing it too much. I don’t see myself living in a big city when I grow-up. More like Ann Arbor, Portland… Somewhere like that.
 
Jen is arriving on Saturday to help me pack up my car and drive back to Michigan, where I’ll stay while I study for my test (Which is on October 4th), and apply for jobs.
 
I applied to and phone interviewed for a job in Washington state. At first they wanted a second interview but then they told me they were changing the position for their in-house people to be eligible to apply and told me that my timeline didn’t line up with theirs. Even though they needed someone to start November 1, and I’m free from uh… September 19th until…
 
Yup. Until whenever.
 
I’m over it. I found out that I didn’t get the job the day after I found out that Jen did get a job, and I have to believe that everything happens for a reason and that things are trying to work themselves out.
 
[Here is where my original post stops due to the formatting-frustration. So from here out this is October 9th me writing now.]
 
So where is my life at now? Here are some highlights:
  1. Made it back to Michigan and moved in to an apartment with Jen in Saginaw. 
  2. Took my National Certification Test on October 4th to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and passed it. 🙂
  3. Found a cat and decided to keep her, named her Stella. 
  4. Job-search is going but no major leads on that. 
  5. Friend-search is attempting to go but again, no major leads. 
It is frustrating to not have a job and to not have friends within a close range (Ann Arbor friends are about an hour and a half to an hour and forty minutes from here). Most days I feel socially deprived and financially frustrated. I’m trying to keep busy and I have been working on various little creative-projects and doing housework. Being unemployed is not as fun as you would think. Too much unstructured free time and not enough financial income to do anything super fun with it. So I’m hoping that I get some kind of a job lead very soon so that the bulk of my problems can be solved. 
 
In the mean-time I will be spending time exploring my creative side and also my potential to be a cat-lady.
 
I’ll let you know how it goes!
 
~Meghan
 
And  after ALL that… the formatting is STILL messed up. Ugh. I’m over it. Sorry it doesn’t look as pretty as I had planned. 
Posted in Internship, Learning, Life outside | Leave a comment

T-minus 4 weeks, 3 weeks, 2, 1….

REAL WORLD!!

Woah. Not ready for that. I mean, I am… but I’m not. I feel prepared for it in theory.

Everything in my life leading up to this point has prepared me to eventually enter the world as a degree-wielding, job-seeking adult. I feel like I am mature enough to handle grown-up tasks and decisions. I feel like I have prepared myself academically and socially to take on the real-life happenings of the real-world. I’ve grown up from the kid I was and I’m working towards the adult I’m going to be.

Yet… a part of me just wants to go back to school. Wants to feel the fresh possibilities of college on the horizon, decorate a dorm room, join a crew team or play lacrosse… and have only a vague idea of what I want to be when I grow up. Some part of me feels Fall just around the corner and knows I will be going school supply shopping and moving and buying my books.

What I mean to say is… I’m in denial. 

sidebar: I’m really going to miss school supply shopping …

Life is so weird. All these strange things happen that no one ever tells you about. They’re so weird that you can’t even really describe them. It’s like… you grow up. You’re the same, but a lot different, too. When you’re 22… sometimes you feel like a kid, like you’re 16 and just learning how to drive. And sometimes you feel like you’re 28 and trying to settle down and take responsibility for yourself and be a “real” adult. I don’t know what it feels like to be 28… all I know is how much can change in a time-span of 6 years.

6 years ago, I never would have imagined myself to be interning at the #5 Rehab Hospital in the nation, living in Boston, missing my wonderful girlfriend, missing my wonderful family, waiting for a degree from a school in Michigan (a Bachelor of Science degree at that!), looking for JOBS (what!?) and feeling like life was so up-in-the-air-topsy-turvy-someone-please-tell-me-where-it’s-gonna-land. And that’s just scratching the surface.

No… 16-year-old-Me would never have imagined any of this. Who knew what 16-year-old-Me imagined… but it definitely wasn’t this. 16-year-old-Me would never have thought we’d grow up to be Today-Me.

So… in 6 more years, I would think that 28-year-old-Me will have experienced much more than I can even imagine at this point in my life. In 6 more years, 28-year-old-Me will write about 22-year-old-Me and be unable to remember what we imagined. She’ll look back and say, “22-year-old-Me would never have thought we’d grow up to be Today-Me.”

I wonder what that day will be like… I wonder who I’ll be in 6 years.

But I don’t have the answer.

The thought of that is kind of ridiculous and scary. We can plan all we want to, imagine all we want to and say: “This is where I want to be in 5 years. In 6…” But I don’t think we will ever be right.

Applying for jobs is kind of like imaging all these different lives for yourself. It’s like imagining the possibilities if you were to have this job as opposed to that job. Picturing scenarios of what your life will be like when you live in Denver, in Seattle, in Ann Arbor… But who knows what might actually  happen.

Applying for jobs is like applying to college, but at least 100 times worse. You can’t go to Community Job if no one wants to hire you.

And the questions on the application are way harder.

Blarg. Growing up. What the heck.

My internship is over in 4 weeks. My target discharge date is 9/16 and since I’ve been making good gains, I don’t think there are going to be any barriers to discharge. I’m real-world ready. Or so they tell me. If only I had a case-manager to send out referrals and an Interdisciplinary Team to tell me where I go from here.

I get it now, Patients-who-don’t-want-to-leave. Sure, getting out sounds nice at first, but then you realize how scary the world is without your safety net.

Dear Spaulding, 

Please give me a job. Right where I am, doing what I’m doing. Just please don’t make me leave.

Love,

~Meghan

 

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Now my blog tells me how many words I put in each post

That last one had 929. Just thought that was a nice looking number. So I thought I’d share.

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It’s been awhile, eh?

Part i

I used to wonder a lot about what people were like before their brain injury. Now, as I hit the eleventh week mark, I wonder more about what healthy people would be like if they had a brain injury.

Aggravated and loud? Or soft-spoken and lacking initiation? Would they be upset and bad-tempered? Or sweet and smiley? Would they be severely impaired or would you be able to tell they had a brain injury at all?

I wonder about it. Some people are just a little different. Sometimes that doesn’t change with a brain injury. Would people wonder if it was the brain injury that made them a little odd, only to realize that they were probably like that before?

I’d like to think that parts of people’s personalities stay the same, even with a brain injury. It’s easy to believe it sometimes, too. As people get better, I see parts of them that I imagine is what they were like before they had an injury.

Part ii

I have one of the most interesting patients I’ve met all summer right now. She’s a young girl, injured in a car accident. When I met her for the first time a few weeks ago, she could barely focus for 5 minutes. She had a glazed over look in her eyes and was the definition of restless and impulsive. The first time I met her, two memorable things happened.

1) One second she was engaged in an activity, the next she rolled over in bed turning her back to me without any explanation.

2) She got up, walked over to her hanging wall calendar and asked “Is it really Monday, August 1st?” and when I told her “Yes, it is.” She proceeded to snap the plastic calendar cover off the wall and drop it to the floor saying “No! This is wrong!” And then went to lay back in bed like nothing happened.

Now when I see her, she focuses for 60 minutes on one thing with no problems. She asks me how my weekend was and how I found out about TR. She chooses activities she wants to do and tells me about what she’s interested in. She also talks about her injury and how interesting it is to her that it happened.

She’s able to explain to me that for awhile she just felt like she was dreaming. “It felt like the longest dream and all I wanted was to wake up, but I couldn’t.” She can explain why she was so restless before and what she was thinking when she tried to run away from the hospital. She tells me about how before her accident she was reading about the plasticity of the brain and how now she can feel it. She can feel her brain healing and recognizes that she can do things she couldn’t do before. She told me she wants to try and learn a new language because she feels like her brain is more able to learn things right now.  She’s like a little sponge. And she can tell me all about it.

Today I was asking her all kinds of questions. I told her she should write a book. I would read it.

She’s very insightful. It is the most interesting patient I’ve worked with thus far. Just the way that she can explain everything and what it feels like to have a brain injury.

I have no doubt that she will continue to make a spectacular recovery. It has been inspiring to watch… it’s almost literally like a light switch being flipped to “on.” It just reminds me how quickly everything can change and how you never really know what to expect because someone can always surprise you.

Part iii

Well… It has been quite awhile since I’ve updated. I have no real excuse besides that I hit a wall about two weeks ago in which I felt very de-motivated in general. It’s getting better. I think I just got to a point where everything was very busy and I realized how much I was not getting paid, but how much money I am actually losing and that I have no vacation to look forward to.

It’s also weird to feel fall right around the corner and realize that I will not be returning to school, buying books, going to class…

Life is changing. I feel like I’m going to be working for the rest of my life. Hopefully I make enough money and vacation time to feel like it’s worth it. And hopefully I find a job somewhere that I enjoy enough to do even when the money isn’t that great and the vacation time is too few and far between.

Speaking of jobs, I’ve been looking for one. It’s not fun. If you know of one, tell me! Please?

Part iv

I feel like I don’t sleep enough. I sleep 7-8 hours per night and usually more on the weekends. Which I feel like should be enough. But every night I feel exhausted and fall asleep within 5 minutes or so. The moral  of this story is that I felt bad for not updating for many weeks and I really felt like I had some things to say, but now it’s 10:15 pm and I feel like going to sleep. Perhaps I shall be inspired to write more in the next few days.

Thank you for sticking with me, and if you’re still reading even after the long delay, I thank you even more!

I love you all, and miss you all terribly. More people should come visit me in Boston. 🙂

~M

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