Countdown: four days.

This past week has been a blur. I didn’t realize how much STUFF a person could accumulate. I’m 23; I shouldn’t have THAT much stuff.

Packing everything I own, Tetris-style, into one of those moving cubes is really quite interesting. Everything I own fits inside, with about half of the volume to spare. (Don’t be fooled: the process took the entirety of my Saturday, with 5 adults working and packing constantly.)

I guess I’m a bit empty feeling, now. My childhood bedroom is now empty and bed-free, leaving me in anticipation of the 13 hour car trek on Friday. I guess I should be feeling upset, but I’m not. I just feel empty, which is the exact feeling I had when I finished my graduate coursework this summer.

The turnaround time from moving in to starting my job is minimal: we drive down Friday, unload the cube on Saturday and Sunday, and I start work on Monday. I’m nervous, but thankful, because left to my own devices, I’m sure the homesickness would have consumed me. A single apartment for a single girl in a brand-new city, without any internet/television connection? Lonely.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m really excited to start my job and get working, earning a paycheck, but this is happening quite a bit faster than I had anticipated. I guess I’m also feeling torn between knowing I should feel upset for moving away from my family and feeling overjoyed that I can finally get out on my OWN.

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detachment.

sometimes inspiration strikes in the most unlikely of places.

we’ve been going through a struggle in our family for the past year and a half or so. our family friend was battling breast cancer for a while, and things took a turn for the worse. we thought she had been doing well, only to then discover it metastasized to her hips and knees, leaving her with broken bones and endless pain. time wore on, and things started to look up. this past fall, though, we learned that things were going downhill again. she was in and out of hospice care this fall, looking more frail and gaunt each time we visited. a few weeks had passed, luckily bringing some good news: her pain was managed and she had a hospital bed so she wouldn’t have to navigate upstairs each time she wanted some rest. unfortunately, bad news struck a third time: the cancer had metastasized yet again, and this time, the news was grim. somehow, it had made its way to her brain, and it was only a matter of time before the inevitable end. “once her swallowing goes, she’ll be close to the end.” i couldn’t help but think of how motor speech disorders, neuropath, and dysphagia never prepared me for the human side of the diseases.

i sleep with my phone on my bed, to track my sleeping patterns. last night, i slept restfully, but for whatever reason, tossed and turned the entire night (the app i use tracks any movements i make during the night). when the alarm wakes me at 7, i ritualistically check my emails and any texts i received while my phone was suspended in “sleeptracker” mode. it didn’t take me but two seconds to realize the night’s events when i read the byline of one of my emails: “some very bad news.”

i read the email somberly, however, didn’t cry, as i assumed i would. i knew this day was drawing ever-nearer since autumn struck, but this is not how things played out in my head. i drifted back to a restless limbo between conscious and unconsciousness. by 8, i couldn’t bear to be alone with my thoughts any longer, and headed downstairs. it hit me when i had to ask my parents if they checked their emails yet. like a tidal wave of emotion as i explained that our friend hadn’t lasted the night. i felt a tidal wave of grief, sadness, remorse for not having the emotional strength to be able to visit her in her last days at home because i was too afraid of shedding a tear. after a minute or two of intense sobbing, i put myself back together and braved a face.

i have been reading tuesdays with morrie (mitch albom) for the past few days, and have found much more solace than i anticipated. after i broke the news today, i turned to literature to condole my feelings. i don’t want to ruin the plot for anyone interested in reading it themselves, but the one takeaway i gleaned today was how most of us are afraid to show emotion (bingo!). maybe we’re embarrassed to cry in public, or feel fearful, sorrow, anger, even love, or maybe we’re trying to blockade ourselves from feeling emotions in their raw state. the book’s namesake describes to the narrator how he allows himself to be submerged in the emotions he is feeling, then is able to detach himself from those emotions and see them for what they truly are; not letting the emotion control him. how can we grow as emotional creatures if we suppress our need to express? and what better way to practice than with grief?

tonight at church, little words throughout the mass were affecting me, shining a spotlight on this morning’s news. normally, i am the kind of person to hide my sorrow, bite my lip, fight back the tears with every fiber of my being, but i didn’t see the point. i felt sad, and i wanted to cry. i let myself cry during mass, when i needed to. afterwards, i still felt sad, but i also felt liberated. so what if i look vulnerable and splotchy-faced? i grieve by crying. and by crying, i mean the nasty, scrunched-up, red-faced, snot-nosed, sobbing that no one wants to admit to actually doing.

granted, today was probably one of the easiest days to start this little “challenge” with myself, because it’s raw and tender, but i think it’s a good starting point.

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows. [Japanese Proverb]

i’m sitting here at my desk on this frigid (probably the only day i won’t get a retort from my mother for using this adjective because it’s currently -2 degrees here in pittsburgh, pa, with a wind chill of -25) evening, thinking that maybe i should confront the elephant in the room:

i’m scared.

earlier tonight, for a multitude of reasons, i turned off all of the lights in my bedroom, went inside my closet, sat down, and cried. why? you’re probably wondering. well, friend, i am, too.

this move to jacksonville is becoming very real to me, very quickly. i’m a worrywart, by design (i need to pick up with my yoga and meditation again), but i think i’m mostly afraid of leaving everything i’ve grown up with for the past 23 years of my life in exchange for a brand-new culture, climate, atmosphere…

and hey, maybe i’m part of the normal distribution on that little bell curve of 1 standard deviation from the norm. i guess the good (+1) part about moving away is that i can experience a new environment, while also having the opportunity to move back, or at least closer, if i wanted to (perks of a nationwide therapy company!!). the bad (-1), being stuck 812 miles away from my family for the next year and a half… but even brides & grooms get the nervous jitters before the big day, right? (the +/- 2 standard deviations being those who run away? let’s not think about those 3’s..)

…or maybe, my strength is admitting my apprehension?

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

H. P. Lovecraft

day 1: resolution 1.

i remember being a tween-ager sitting in my basement, watching dick clark’s new year’s rockin’ eve, thinking this is going to be my year. i’m going to re-invent myself. i’m going to make 15+ resolutions and follow them all. this is the year i’m going to finally get a boyfriend and be happy and life is going to be perfect. because we all know that at the naive ages of 11-14, life’s #1 problem was single life.

so there i was, resolving to be thinner, prettier, dress better, be nicer to my younger sisters… and you know what? basically none of that happened in the 364 days following. yea, maybe i thinned a little (or even fattened up a bit), maybe i learned a new makeup routine that ultimately failed, maybe my mom bought me some new clothes, and maybe one or two days a week i actually was kind to those little sisters of mine, but let me be the first to admit that if those resolutions were met, it was unintentional.

every year i resolve to complete grand, sometimes unachievable goals, and they basically never come true, unless by coincidence (coincidence, i thank you for helping me achieve my 2013 resolution of losing 10 pounds 😉 ). but for this-coming year, i wanted to resolve to do something meaningful, while also trying to stay realistic.

my goal for 2014 is to make myself a better person: to grow and accomplish something in this new year. i think a metamorphosis of a graduate student becoming a working professional is going to take more than one overarching resolution for 2014. adaptation and spontaneity aren’t my forte, so this is going to be an interesting feat. i know i overwork myself to the bone, because i’ve associated myself with being a busy (okay, overly busy) person. it’s my security blanket. i need constant structure for my crazy mind to comprehend all that i think i need to accomplish in the 12-13 waking hours of my day.

for the introductory resolution, i’ve decided to tackle what i believe is my ultimate flaw: allowing stress to consume me and take advantage of my energy, emotions, and everyday life. now, you may be thinking that relax!!! is a pretty obvious resolution to make, so i resolve to take a twist on that goal.

instead of being vague, as i’ve tried (and failed) to complete in the past, my goal is to take 30 minutes of every evening to decompress/relax by doing some activity that does not include: watching tv, being on social media, or doing anything work/responsibilities-related. this includes, but is not limited to: reading a book, taking a walk/exercising, doing yoga, journaling, blogging, meditating, taking a bubble bath… (you get the gist).

they say that it could take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form a habit, but i feel that a little solitude could go do some good. come january 21st, i may be rocking the nightly half-hour meg sessions with me, myself, and i, or i may have to stay strong and keep mentally forcing myself to not work for 30 excruciating minutes until march 7th. either way, i think i need to tackle my imperfections, and what better way to kick off the year than with some me time?

after all, it is my time to be selfish. 😉