Monday, September 28, 2015
Life lately, gratitude, and choosing happiness.
For the first time in what feels like a long while, I'm perched at a coffee shop catching up on my blogroll. I am woefully behind, and I've missed hearing about the happenings of my favorite bloggers. Now that it's time to write, however, I'm struggling to find a good flow. Perhaps I'm simply out of practice. Writing is my escape, my release, so I always fret just a little when I can't articulate feelings and thoughts with proficiency. I've said it a million times: I love this space. I love writing and reading the words of my fellow bloggers, and I despair ever so slightly when I lose my ability to connect with this corner of the internet I've carved for myself. Infrequency makes me creaky. When the days and weeks sans post begin to accumulate, I find myself writing them in my head; formulating ideas and sentences as a means of silently wishing my thoughts will magically translate onto digital paper.
Though I work four 10-hour shifts per week, which leaves me with three to spare, they are often planned in advance and filled nearly to the brim with the contents of my to-do list. (Even I cringe at the Look at me! I'm sooo busy! Woe is me! implication of saying these sorts of things.) On the days that I work, I work and little else. As is the life of a person who works inpatient hours. Mario has been a dream: cooking dinner almost every night, attending parent meetings at the school, and shuttling Kiddo home from practice every afternoon. His travel schedule has been light and irregular the last couple months, but that is changing as we adjust to the new normal. We are communicating better than ever, thank goodness, and have managed to coordinate our schedules quite gracefully. We are in the thick of cross country season, which means Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings are spent on the course, cheering on Kiddo and his team.
Oh, Kiddo. He's doing well in school and nurturing good, healthy peer relationships, but at home he's difficult. I can only assume his neurons are bathed in teenage hormones, those shady characters. Rule challenging and button pushing and frequent attempts to exert his independence are par for the course. He's a rather exhausting creature as of late and patience is in short supply. These phases usually last a couple weeks then we get a reprieve in the form of his usually good-natured self. In the meantime, I must fight the urge to pull the covers over my head, an attempt at a redo.
My schedule is changing in October to three 12-hour shifts per week. And while I'll enjoy the extra day off to attend to my business (and study for the GREs! Start, Sarah, start!), I'm sad to give up that extra day spent on the job. I like my job. I like being busy and having full days. I like the challenge and the patients and the social interaction. I'm also mildly concerned that I'll be racking up my patient care hours at a slower rate (three 12s means losing 16 hours/month), which may require that I get creative and offer my services elsewhere in the hospital one day a week. If they'll have me.
You see, I love my job while simultaneously counting the days until grad school. Because I don't want to work at the bottom forever. I have the utmost respect for the people who carry the burden of patient care on their shoulders, but they tend to work the hardest for the least amount of pay. For me it's a stepping stone rather than a place to get comfortable. This experience has been invaluable: even when I've climbed the rungs of the proverbial ladder, I'll never forget where I came from and the fundamentals of patient care. Human care.
The onset of autumn has brought about peace. A sense of feeling comfortable in my own skin, in my life as it is now, and in my marriage. Mario and I have taken advantage of a couple Kiddo-less evenings to wander our favorite Portland neighborhoods, to try new restaurants, to date each other. I have loved looking back on the evolution of our marriage over the last couple years. They were hard years; years filled with a lot of discussions and disagreements and plenty of growing pains, but we see each other and the collective Us so differently. The dynamic of our relationship has evolved in the best ways: parenting equality, career equality, and time spent together. I really love who we've become and what lies ahead.
These days are devoted to development. Professional, personal, and parental. As the leaves change every year, so do we. Humans are not stationary creatures by nature, though I spent many years trapped in a stagnation of my own making. Those days are behind me. For now I'm taking things one day at a time while keeping the future in mind. The difference is that I'm not living for the months and years ahead as I once did. Learning to live in the now is my hardest fought habit. Focusing on what could be rather than what is depleted me of the joy that ordinary, unassuming moments can bring. I wasn't emotionally present to notice the touches of magic that occur before us each and every day. Life is about the journey, the path we must follow, and I realize now that all I wanted was to skip over the twists and turns; to be spared the bumps in the road when they actually served to mold me into a better version of myself.
I can't get those moments back, but I won't let them slip by again. I am no longer reckless with my time, taking for granted the present while I toil with the what ifs. With age comes intention, and I intend to live out the rest of my life without regret or resentment. There will be days when ugly bits and bad habits creep in, sure, but my fundamental response to adversity has changed.
I choose happiness. (Because it is a choice.)
I'm happy + grateful for:
1// sprinkle donuts
2// Starbucks' doodle cups (they remind me of The Secret Garden and I want to whip out the gel pens)
3// the dainty flowers on my rosemary plant
4// polka dot hoodies + hot lattes
5// cross country courses
6// apple pies + home cooked meals
7// finding my soulmate early on
8// pink + orange sunsets
9// the hospital hallways on Sunday mornings (the weekend shifts have a mellow vibe lacking during the week)
10// Portland's local shops with their unique wares and beautiful staging
11// quiet time
12// tea season (last year Husband and I started the cool weather tradition of drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed while we watch a show together)
13// fresh air, spicy food and Sudafed to ease my cold
14// pretty houseplants
15// motherhood (even when it's hard)