In many ways, tonight I find myself in the same situation as I have found myself at many points in my life. I’m alone in my silent, dark living room. The only light comes from my computer screen and the Himalayan salt lamp that I never turn off (in the vain hopes that the box will be right, that it really will purify the air around me and reduce my stress and anxiety levels-thus far, it hasn’t). Like so many times before, I have what seems to be an impossible task in front of me-this time, it’s another paper. I have to finish it tonight and submit it to the writing center tomorrow for editing, so I can have time to make the necessary changes before I submit it to my instructor. Same song and dance as usual.
But I’m tired, y’all. Like, the kind of tired where you envy Sleeping Beauty because the bitch didn’t have to even wake up to go to the bathroom. I would give just about anything, including a couple of the less-important limbs, to have a week to just lay in bed and stare at the wall. In fact, for the first few weeks of this semester, I did spend an awful lot of time outside of work staring at my bedroom walls, giving in to a depressive fog that hadn’t been that deep in a while. I don’t know, it just all got to be a bit too much for a moment.
But…this is also it. Five papers (including this one) and one presentation separate me from a master’s degree. It’s hard to believe that this journey is almost complete, and I really have no plans for college beyond this. I always knew when I graduated with my Bachelor’s that I wanted to go back, but here it is. I can practically see the finish line if I squint hard enough.
So…I guess I’ll keep going tonight. And for the next few months. I’ll stay in this dark room until I finish. I have no more eloquent words, because I’m saving them for my paper.
I graduated from high school in 2008, which-if you’re keeping track-means that next year will be TEN WHOLE YEARS. It’s pretty hard for me to wrap my brain around it, because sometimes it feels like no time has passed at all. This weekend our former class president circulated a “survey” on Facebook asking about potential 10 year reunion locations for next year, because apparently the planning process needs to start a full 18 months in advance. On top of it, today I got added to an entire group dedicated to the planning of our ten year reunion. Here’s some thoughts that have gone through my head in the last 24-48 hours since realizing that this is a thing that’s happening:
- Where do I want our reunion to be? Is hell an option?
- Because that’s what it’ll be. Hell.
- They really put “apple orchard” as an option of where to have it? Seriously?
- Eh, whatever. I’m writing “nowhere”. Hahahah I’m funny.
- I can’t believe it’s been almost ten years since I walked through those sweaty, disgusting hallways.
- I am so not going to this thing.
- You’d have to pay me a lot of money to go.
- Oh God there’s an entire Facebook group dedicated to this.
- There’s no way I’m joining it.
- OK, fine, I’ll join it.
- OH SHIT. Somebody posted “I’m not going because I hate 98% of you”!!!!!!
- THE DRAMZ. THE DRAMZ. WHERE’S MY POPCORN
- Oh shit she called someone a bitch. Maybe this group will be better than I thought!!!
- …until the admin turns off commenting/posting without “prior approval”. Fuckin lame.
- Why do we need a reunion. Literally, why do we need it? That’s what Facebook is for.
- Oh how cute, someone posted “I thought we might have grown up by now but I guess not”. I wish I could reply “I thought you would’ve stopped posting about how wonderful your ‘hubs’ is and how thankful to Jesus you are by now, but sometimes life throws us a curveball”
- The amount of people posting about how excited they are is somewhat surprising.
- But then again, these are the people who thought those “.08” shirts were funny.
- Come to think of it, I wonder how long it’ll be until that gets brought up.
- Two hours! Wow.
- They’ve got that infamous picture of all the douchelords in the office smiling because they got “busted”.
- You just know they still talk about that to people. That’s their party story.
- I wonder if they consider that they peaked at 17? Probably not.
- Looking at this picture fills me with hatred the likes of which I haven’t felt in ten years.
- Yeah I’m not going to this fuckin thing.
For Christmas I got my mom and I tickets to see The Lion King musical.
There’s a reason people rave about this show, and there’s a reason it’s been around for 18 years. It was seriously amazing, and possibly the best show/musical I’ve ever seen.
The only thing more amazing than the show was seeing how happy my mom was. Worth every penny of our ticket price-and since I splurged on 6th row seats, they were kind of pricey.
We had an adventure! And it was awesome.
As 2016 came to an end, I spent some time considering what kind of year it was for me. When it began, I was determined to make it better than the previous year had been, which had been peppered with loss, grief and struggles. I was optimistic that 2016 would be better than all of that, but I’ve come to the conclusion that a year will never just be smooth or rough. There are good and bad things mixed in throughout, and that’s just how life goes.
This year was hard, there’s no doubt about it. The hardest by far was losing one of my friends and coworkers suddenly in July. I remember when I was getting ready to go to the visitation, my boss called me. He had just been by the funeral home to drop off some food for the family and to briefly pay his respects. He told me to prepare, that it was really hard to be in there, and to be strong for me and my other coworkers. I had never been through the experience of losing someone young and close to my age, and it was awful. When someone old dies, it’s still sad, but it makes sense. David was 22 years old, exuberant, full of life, and had an infectious laugh that I can still hear if I try hard enough. It wasn’t natural for him to die, and it felt unfair and made me angry and bitter. There’s no rationalizing that he’s out of pain and suffering. There’s just the pulse of an unfinished life. I still grieve for him, miss him terribly, and think of his family all the time.
In addition to that, my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of November, my graduation from grad school was delayed 6 more months, and work was…pretty stressful.
But I did learn from all of these experiences. At David’s funeral, his mom hugged me and cried and thanked me for being a great boss to David and told me that he really loved working for me and coming to work with us. Hearing that brought my true passions in management to life and made me realize that no matter what I’m taught from anyone, I will always care about my employees as human beings and try to be compassionate in that sense (to an extent).
It also made me think about how short life is, and I placed a higher importance on experiences vs. material things this year. There are things I want to do, and it’s either do them or don’t do them. I love musicals and Broadway shows, so this year I took advantage of the opportunities I could afford to go to. I went to a Harry Potter music experience at our local symphony orchestra; my mom and I saw Wicked in November; I got tickets for my best friend and I to see The Phantom of the Opera in a couple weeks in January and for my mom and I to go to The Lion King in February. In addition, I had the experience of a lifetime and went on my first *real* adult vacation in New York with my best friend in November. We went from the 25-28 and we went to 2 concerts, Aladdin on Broadway and to visit Times Square, the top of the Rockefeller Center, and the MoMA. This year I discovered a band-Ween- through my friend that has changed the way I view music and was a huge help to me during the rough patches I had this year. They announced a 3-night run in Port Chester, NY, so those were the 2 concerts we went to, and it was incredible! Definitely one of the high points of my year. So much so that when they announced a 2 night run in Chicago over St. Patrick’s Day 2017, I got tickets for my other friend and I to go to one of the shows. Experiences are important to me, and I intend to take advantage of these things because I can’t take my money with me when I go.
On top of that, I had an amazing trip with my coworkers to Vegas in early February that was insanely fun. I watched my two very best friends get married in August and September, and stood by them as they started their new lives with their spouses. I became a godmother to the most wonderful little boy.
I’m incredibly grateful for the amazing times in 2016, and for the lessons I learned from the hard times. I’m afraid of what bad may come this year, but with graduation coming up by the end of the summer, which will lead to exciting new paths, I can’t be too scared. I have wonderful things planned and a willingness to try. I won’t expect anything from this year-I will just take a deep breath and hang on.
I am struck, again, at how fast time passes, especially since when you’re in the moment it can sometimes feel like it’s at a stand still. I can’t believe that Christmas is in just a few days, and that 2017 is just a little over a week away. Though I can’t say I’m not welcoming the calendar flip heartily this year, I remain wary.
My mom and I aren’t much for the Christmas spirit this year, and for me it’s a combination of things. I’m a little more blue than normal, and not in that fun self-deprecating way that I always am. My post from the beginning of November still holds true-things are just kind of hard right now, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be okay. That’s what the self-care portion of my brain keeps saying, anyways.
I finished up my fall 2016 semester of grad school, and I’m shocked at how well things turned out. My semesters are 8 weeks long, so one traditional semester equals two for me. My first half went well, and I got two As. I really struggled the last 8 weeks with my one class, though, but I still ended up with a B. I’m looking forward to January and completing my two final core classes for the program, and then starting my last, 15-week class in the spring/summer semester for graduation in the fall (if all goes according to plan). Every time I get down about it I try to remember to tell myself that I’m doing a pretty great job with the immense stress I’m under at work and adding full time school to it as well. You go, girl.
My grandpa had the tumor on his bladder removed during two surgeries in November. The biopsy showed that the tumor was cancerous, and hearing that news was like a punch to the stomach. However, on the bright side, the doctor is very optimistic that he’ll be just fine in time. He started his first treatment on Wednesday. He’s getting injections directly into the bladder of a tuberculosis vaccine. I’ve never heard of it before, but I researched it a bit and the results have been good. He also had no reactions to it and is tolerating it really well thus far, so I am grateful for that. This experience has made me take pause and be thankful for the blessings I’ve got. This is a really sad and scary time for us, and it broke my heart to hear him say “I didn’t plan on retiring, then getting cancer”, but he’s a strong one, and we all keep praying.
I’m ready for the holidays to be over so I can focus on 2017, setting some goals, and working hard. I’m choosing to believe things are going to turn around. *100 emoji* *thumbs up*