Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Loss of Sunshine

This weekend was a little overwhelming for me.  On top of midterm exams and readinging our current place for showings and trying to get ready to move to our new apartment, there was dinner with my in-laws on my schedule and an impromptu visit from my pre-teen's friend that ended up being quite a noisy afair with video games and songs simultaneously fighting for airspace amidst 3 boys trying to talk over their own noise.  In the midst of all of that, I got the sad news that my dear friend had lost her battle with cancer.  She was only 46, just 3 years older than me.  Even though I have known this day was coming (I found out a little more than a year ago) and knew that things were turning as a Hospice service was visiting in hopes to make her comfortable, it seemed so sudden.  I sent my condolences to her husband, but then I couldn't bear to be on Facebook anymore.  So many friends were announcing her death, I know it was their way to celebrate her and let others know of her passing, but it felt so bad to me.  I don't want to post all kinds of stuff so that my friends and family say 'sorry for your loss' it's a nice sentiment but it's not about me, it's about her husband, kids, grandkids and parents.  I believe that our energy continues, and she was a big ball of sunshine, always smiling with huge dimples, always making people feel comforted and happy.  Even when she was sick, she put on a good show, trying to make everyone who was worried about her take it in stride and know that everything was going to be OK.  
I suppose times like this could be powerful motivators, and I'm sure many people make commitments to live healthier when they lose someone they love to an illness.  While I haven't really fully accepted that she's gone, I know that she'd have told me how insignificant the things we worry about are.  She had 14 months from the time she was diagnosed to the time she left, and she filled that time with things that brought her joy.  Guess how concerned she was about what size jeans she could fit into? 
The past week I have been very aware of myself, aware of how much of my life I live by rote and how I do not feel an abundance of joy, at any given time.  There are always reasons to be stressed out, overwhelmed, irritated at the actions of others and constantly looking for some greener pasture.  I don't allow myself joy as often as it presents itself to me.  I'm too distracted with tasks and important stuff to notice all the awesome things I have in my life.  I spend so much time focusing on negative things that it creates a traffic jam for the good stuff trying to get in.  It's something I need to work on, and meditation will help, I just haven't invested as much time to it as I'd like recently, school, work, moving and planning a vacation have all sort of taken precedence, but once I graduate in 2 months, I'll have a lot more free time.  Then I will strengthen myself in mentally-healthy ways.  I will make smaller changes, as I have already begun over the last week, just in choosing to think more positively and find the good in the situation.  I will remind myself that stress and negativity are choices, even in the heat of the moment, and I am in control of how I see a thing.  Sounds elementary but the learned emotional response becomes so conditioned that it takes a lot of work to be aware of our reactions.  I'm sure I'll eventually accept that my friend is gone, I will grieve and then I will grow.  And I'll try to pass on a little bit of the sunshine that she brought into the lives of everyone she met.  Her greatest gifts to me are the lesson she  taught me without even saying a word.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Letting it go

It has been one of those weeks where I am happy tomorrow's Friday because I really need a break from this past week.  Not that my every waking moment is not consumed with tasks,even on the weekends, but a break from my job is needed right now.  I have a mid-level boss and a doctor (both female) whose personalities are so overwhelming for me that the little punk rebel girl in me can barely hold my tongue sometimes.  I try to discuss it with said manager and she dismisses me.  I really allow myself to get sucked into the expase of caring too much about my little department when these two women care so little about it.  I let it eat me up, I create these conversations in my head where I am serving up the delectable crow I'd like them to eat sometimes.  It makes my blood boil.  And they treat my immediate boss unfairly, and he is an honorable guy who is always looking out for his team, but with these women all on their power-trip lord over his domain he is out powered.  They have the slimeball scheming power to get anyone fired who they don't like.  And the manager above them trusts them blindly, so going above their head is useless.  Blah. I've had some really rude customers lately too.  But today I had two positive things happen and it took just those two little things to start to open me up to a few things.  One was a customer whom I'd helped out in a pinch.  Her glasses had broken and she was busy dealing with a funeral, and her son had been in a bad car accident the night before and she's from out of town and short a car because of her son's accident.  I found a temporary solution by setting her lenses into a different frame and mailed them to her wishing her a positive change of luck.  She called today to thank me and tell me she loves them and can see well and that I really helped her and made her day.  That made me feel so good that she took the time to tell me how grateful she was.  
The second thing was my History professor telling me that my short essays were among the best in the class and that I am mastering difficult material.  That is huge because history is a subject I have always been aweful at.  
So after those two positives happened I went back about my business and something came up that made me think of those two women at my work again and I started letting negative thoughts roll through my mind then I realized what it was making me feel like.  I felt like I had a ball of cement in my chest.  My shoulders were tight, my jaw clenched, my brow furled.  I felt bad.  My own thoughts made me feel bad.  And I was the only one that felt bad.  The women in question stop thinking about me instantly, but here I was giving up my happy feelings for them.  Willingly.  And stewing over it didn't make me feel good at all.  So there was no reason to go on feeling like that if it serves no purpose.  And I let it go, and felt better.  It felt really good to be aware of myself for a minute, deciding not to let myself feel like crap when it had no benefit to anyone, especially me.  That little moment of clarity kicked that ball of cement out of my chest and relaxed my shoulders.  I have a choice in my reaction to things, and I have a lifetime of reactions to sift through and a plenitude of more ahead of me, but I think this could be a major shift in thinking for my that will actually make my life so much richer in so many ways.  In a way, being aware is, in part, like sticking up for myself; it's making a statement that I deserve to feel good.  And it's been a long time since I've believed that. And maybe that's where my new chapter begins.