Life the last few days are feeling more settled. 

Background story: My last job came with a M-F schedule + light call 2 weeks per month. No weekends. Occasionally surgery ran late or I had to round on a patient at the hospital, but for the most part I knew what my days would look like. It wasn't perfect, but it was predicable. Side note, I have to wonder how you fellow every weekday workers get your teeth cleaned or go to the chiropractor because I never mastered that level of organization. 

About 9 months into the job, the surgeon I worked with accepted a position out of state. Because we were a team of two in a surgical subspecialty, once she left my role was going to be temporarily eliminated. I managed all of our post-ops for a month after her departure, then I was shifted over to General Surgery. We shared the same hallway and I'd assisted them before on certain cases so there was some familiarity, but it was a different schedule, different skill set, a different dynamic. It wasn't what I'd signed up for. A candidate to replace my boss interviewed then declined, so there was no immediate prospect for her replacement. 

I had all but decided to move on at that point—I'd hit the one year mark and the situation was much more nuanced than I feel comfortable sharing—which led me to reach out to another organization's recruiter to inquire about a job posting I'd come across. I had to reschedule my interview twice because of last minute scheduling changes at work, which was a clear indicator that the boundary between my work and home life wasn't what it should be. To be clear, I didn't mind getting called in to assist with middle of the night surgical emergencies and other less convenient aspects of the job. The fact is, I didn't feel fulfilled practicing that type of medicine, and you should be if you're going to make that many sacrifices in your personal life.

One of the biggest appeals of my current job is the 12-hour shift format. I work 14 shifts a month and the rest of the days are my own. My schedule is inconsistent right now and I'm commuting a lot, but come December things will begin to settle and I'm assured that my schedule will be fairly set. I think it'll be worth the small, unexpected wait.

The learning curve was STEEP the first few shifts on my own. I had never before charted on so many patients in a day, nor charted on so many different complaints, and I was completely overwhelmed. I spent a few hours organizing my charting templates on a Sunday afternoon and life got so much easier after that.

The best part of all this? I leave my work behind when I go home every night. No one calls me about a patient once I'm out the door. I set a rule for myself that all my charts are signed before I leave for the day so nothing ever carries over into my personal life or next shift. Each work day stands on its own, even if it means staying late to finish. And those 12-hour shifts? Because I'm consistently busy, they feel akin to the 8-hour days I used to work.

The more I settle in, the more I feel a pull toward balance in my free time. I was sacrificing entire days off just trying to feel normal again, never fully relaxing because my to-do list would run on repeat in the back of my mind. I was stuck in a dysfunctional vortex where I did nothing yet didn't feel rested, either. It's been the story of my life for a long time. There will be days like that in the future—days when my body + mind need total respite—but it's no longer all of my days off. And when it does happen, I'll embrace it without shame so it actually serves its purpose.

These days I'm limiting my day off to-do lists to 3 items. It's enough to make a dent in the chores while preserving my mental health. I'm also quick to forgive myself if I don't check them all off. As a result, I'm actually finding myself doing more during my free time. It seems once I relinquished myself from all the unnecessary expectations, and subsequent guilt, the internal resistance lifted. After months of ignoring household tasks, I feel drawn back in an almost intuitive way. [True story, I recently went almost two months without wearing a white t-shirt because I was resisting having to wash and hang a load of delicates.] I'm still working on meal prep/cooking, but I'll get there when I'm ready. Tonight, I'm making Husband a long ago promised casserole. Baby steps.

For the first time in months, earlier this week I dedicated an entire afternoon to plant care. I put on an audiobook and took my time caring for them. Watering, rearranging, cleaning, treating for pests, and setting up/refilling humidifiers. I've had some plants perish this year, and I've let go of many others that didn't like my care or I didn't love. Most of all, I don't feel guilty anymore because they didn't survive the season I was in. This is my hobby, meant for enjoyment, and like many things I applied unnecessary pressure that robbed it of pleasure. I've also made an interesting observation of late: I no longer pursue nor buy challenging plants; plants that are picky, pest magnets, or have died on my watch before. What I'm left with is fewer "collector" plants, and more beautiful tried and true favorites. Focusing on quality over quantity—while being realistic about what I can offer—has brought me closer to my ideal plant collection.

Other instinctual goals as of late: less screen time, more reading for pleasure, more baths/sauna sessions, comfier clothing, and less clutter.

Some days, it's okay to simply light a candle and watch YouTube videos.

Settling In

Thursday, October 20, 2022

 

Hey. A year later. A year wiser. Another year of missing writing for pleasure.

My first job as a physician assistant has come and gone. Two+ months into the new one, and I'm still mourning in some small ways. Because what I thought might be my forever place in medicine was not. I felt like a failure, a quitter, a fool. The fact is, it wasn't what I thought it was and probably never would be. Hardest of all, it wasn't what I dreamed of all those days and nights while I was still in pursuit. The dream that pushed me to keep chasing the goal, even when it took more than I had to give. If I'm honest the reality of the situation set in early, and during my time trudging to the one year mark I focused on gaining all the experience I could. It was a way to push through profound feelings of disappointment while still feeling like I was accomplishing something. I gave the obligatory 3 month notice, which served as a very slow wind down to a hard 1.5 years. Enough time to be logically sure about my choice and simultaneously emotionally fraught with what-ifs. 

I'll say this: I learned so much about what I need from this career. What I want? Well, I'm still figuring that out. But my needs, the fundamental requirements to stay healthy in the working world? I'm much closer to understanding those. If I was to sum it up in one statement, it would be this: There must be equity and well-defined boundaries between my work life and personal life. 

In mid-August I said my farewell to one job, and started (with a lot of trepidation) the new one. I had two-ish weeks off in between, which felt like enough time to a take a major leap: stopping my antidepressant of over a decade. I had been in weekly therapy for 9 months, the type where every faulty thought process as an adult was an opportunity to delve into its origin within my childhood. At that point I was clear on my motives as a human, and needed to move on to the phase where I actually did something about it. Alterations in lifestyle, mindfulness, and habit changes up the wazoo. It was time to stop talking and start doing. The thing was, I was living an emotionally blunted life. 

I have been on some sort of antidepressant medication most of my adult life. It started in my early twenties when I was having hair-on-fire anxiety on the regular. I just couldn't figure out how to stop worrying, ruminating, and reacting my way through life. And because my bandwidth was already used up, I turned to medication. It blunted my emotions, which I didn't hate, but the anxiety continued to burn through me. I tried doubling my dose this February to no avail, at which point it became abundantly clear that what I needed was some serious lifestyle changes. 

I'm going to pause here to say this: don't discontinue psychiatric medications without professional support. Don't do it cold turkey. Don't do it without a plan. These medications are a lifesaver for so many, and offer a tremendous value in the world. If it becomes necessary to resume taking them, I will do so without shame. I have no regrets about taking an antidepressant and neither should you.

To sum it up, it didn't go well. The withdrawal period came with severe side effects, which I wasn't anticipating, requiring me to start taking it again so I could wean off even slower. What's more, a lot of unpleasant feelings were unroofed in the process. Old resentments I'd been carrying about my relationship bubbled anew to the point that it almost became unbearable to be around each other. I had never defined who I was as an individual in a (sometimes complicated) relationship, and it had finally taken its toll. There were many moments when I almost started taking the medicine again, knowing I had not given myself a proper chance to see what lies beneath. I was miserable and didn't like who I had become without it. Because emotionally blunted was better than whatever this was. I was being swallowed by all the assertions I'd never made, all the realizations I'd never come to, all the boundaries I'd never set, and all the hard admissions I'd never said out loud. I was beside myself with fear that I was an angry person who had made all the wrong choices.

Fortunately I'm through the worst of it.

I realized I was done digging. That it was time to set the past down and move forward. Two weeks ago I said goodbye to my therapist. I'm leaning into things like reflexology, reading for pleasure, and (!!!) writing again. I've been contemplating finding a different kind of therapist. I don't know what raw, unfiltered version of myself will emerge when the dust finally settles, but I think I'll like her. She puts up with a lot less shit. 

As far as my career, there are no regrets. There is however, a lot of acceptance and grace these days as I start to admit that what I pursued for 12+ years doesn't fill my bucket the way I thought it would. Perhaps I'll find my niche in medicine with time and experience, a place in the field that makes me excited to go to work everyday. Then again maybe not. My current job is allowing me to pay off my student loans more quickly, which means in a few years I'll be free to choose less of this or more of something else. Time will tell. In the meantime I'm learning more than I thought possible; I've become a significantly better PA over the past 3 months. These days I can participate in continuing education courses and create charting templates on my days off, and I don't feel like work is stripping me of my soul.

Here are some things I know for sure: nothing is permanent. I can walk away from something that doesn't serve me at any moment. I can change my mind and it doesn't make me a flake. Hindsight isn't always 20/20. One day at a time around here. As I slowly emerge from under the weight of the past few months, years, and decades, I see that life is always opening new doors.

I'm much less afraid to admit I didn't have it all figured out. 

As a result of this process, as hard as it has been, I'm slowly beginning to feel less anxious. Because once you embrace the idea of failure, begin to see it as a normal part of life + success, it no longer holds the power over you it once did.  The solution is to say "I didn't know, but now I do" and move on. 

I've missed you, friends. More to come.

The Next Chapter

Monday, October 17, 2022

 

It's been a while since I've connected with this platform. Earlier this year I installed a new template with the intent of dusting off this space so I could begin to write for pleasure again. I've missed the interpersonal connections and the mediation of typing out my thoughts. This place was my home for so long: a beacon when I was lost and lonely, a joyful place to share good news, a safe space to ponder life/love/parenthood, and a creative outlet for a stifled brain. The past few months I've been drawn back here with increasing intensity, and I'm finally heeding the call. It's time to write again, even if it's only to myself. It'll be imperfect, especially while I carve out time to make this space a priority; while I dive head first into the mystery that is HTML and blog design; while I regain the ability to put words to (digital) paper after years of holding it all in. 

First and foremost, an update. 

After almost 3 years in the Southeast attending graduate school, we are back in the Pacific Northwest. I'm in my first year as a practicing physician assistant in a surgical subspecialty. Kiddo has his first apartment less than an hour away from us and is learning how to adult + finding his niche in this world. Husband and I are young empty nesters living in a charming little house overlooking Puget Sound. We are learning and growing and embracing the idea of being settled for the first time in our relationship. We are imperfectly happy for the time being. 

There are still many unknowns + stressors, of course. I'm still a human who defaults to anxious. I still doubt myself and struggle with people pleasing. Only, a lot less so. With age and accomplishment comes a sense of peace. These days I feel at home in my own skin. I have a voice and I use it. I know my worth and chase it. I'd love to lament about how my twenties and most of my thirties were wasted on a woman so in her head she couldn't contemplate her own happiness. Looking back with regret would be a waste of time. Because here's the truth: I needed to go through it all to figure who I am and what I want. And I'm proud to say I'm mostly there.

Hello

Thursday, November 11, 2021



It's been a hot second since I put fingers to keyboard in this space.

I've missed it. A lot.

But I didn't have the bandwidth for much other than PA school this past semester.

I'll start by saying PA school is everything I thought it'd be and more. I knew it'd be hard, and it is, but with a little finesse it's more manageable than I expected. I've found a certain rhythm to things, especially since I'm over that first semester hurdle. (We had an interim semester of sorts between mid-November and Christmas break which more closely resembled what our schedule will be like from now until clinical rotations.) I feel so fortunate to have the cohort I do. We get along exceptionally well, so much so that many of them quickly became my friends both in and out of the classroom.

I've come to really love the South. The winters are mild, which is nice, but still hit that freezing mark often enough that I can appreciate the seasons. The universe guided us to the perfect apartment with an insanely easy commute, and I have unexpectedly found myself feeling very at home here.

Kiddo's internship in California has been an awesome adventure for all of us. He's learning and growing more that we ever expected at this point, and is finding out who he is and what he loves in the process. We have been incredibly fortunate that Husband has been able to make that his home base, because let's face it: he's still a teenager who needs parental support. And while this arrangement is amazing (I'd be worried about him ALL THE TIME were he living alone 2500 miles away), it's not always easy. Husband and I, at our longest stretch, didn't see each other for 8 weeks. That was tough.

Still, as with anything hard, we learned our lesson and intend to stick to our 4-6 week limit between visits. It's not always easy living alone (even an introvert needs a hug once in a while, you know?), but the ability to focus solely on school sans mom/wife guilt was a gift. I'll be forever grateful for the opportunity to adjust + learn + grow at my own pace. As of now we don't have any plans for Husband to move here full time. We remind ourselves that this is but a short season in our marriage, and we'll both be better for it in the end. Bonus: reunions are that much sweeter because all we care about is being together.

For Christmas I flew out to California and we spent a week at Disneyland + Universal Studios. It was lovely and I came back with my bucket filled. Second semester officially started on the 2nd, but they kindly transitioned us back with a day of narrated PowerPoint lectures. First semester had a more fluid schedule, so I'm adjusting to 6-8 hour days which primarily involve sitting in a classroom listening to extensive PowerPoint lectures.

All in all I'm so happy to be here in the finally stages of a looong journey. I have a ways to go, for sure, but it's a blip compared to what it took to get here. 2018 was a whirlwind, but so many amazing things happened in just 12 months. I can't wait to see what 2019 has in store.

Though I'm not a New Year's resolution kind of gal, I've made some goals for myself this year. Self care went down the drain first semester, and understandably so, but I've started the year with a Whole30. I've done a few and they always help me press the reset button. I'm only on Day 5 and I feel loads better than I did going into it. It usually takes a couple weeks to feel a difference, which suggests my body wasn't very happy with the way I was treating it. My hope is to continue following the eating principles of this plan after the 30 days, but with some modifications to ensure my success in the long run. A 90/10 kind of thing.

Also on the list:

Improve my sleep hygiene considerably (it's been baaad) // more FaceTime dates with my husband and son + more regular visits // better organization (academic and personal) // decreasing my cell phone use, particularly mindless Instagram scrolling when I'm stressed/bored/tired (one day a week spent with my phone put away, perhaps) // adding in more exercise...even if it's just a short walk to the mailbox between study sessions // no clothing/beauty purchases for at least 90 days // removing 5 items from my house each week

It sounds like a lot, but this is totally doable with my current schedule...and will lend itself to a better overall existence. Which in turn will have a positive effect on my academic performance.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I've missed my interaction with all of you. I've missed writing for pleasure. I'm happy to be back to both.

See you soon.

Sarah

Ushering in 2019: A Life Update

Sunday, January 6, 2019


Just like that, I'm almost through orientation week. Which means next week things start getting real, real fast. My emotions have been all over the place: butterflies of excitement when I least expect it; fear of what's to come (and more fear over my ability to incorporate the fire hose of information that'll be coming at me); pangs of loneliness when I climb into an empty bed at night. Fortunately the moments of melancholy are few and far between these days.

Our apartment is losing its newness and becoming more familiar with each passing day. The boxes are all emptied and our belongings have found their places. Every evening candles burn with familiar scents, replacing the smell of new carpet and freshly painted walls. It's smaller than the home before it, but I like the simplicity and coziness of it's size and location. And while a lot of the art and chotchkes are tucked away for another day and/or another home, the space still very much represents who we are and what we love. The second bedroom is unoccupied, as is the sunroom/office, but they'll be furnished and ready when the boys eventually make their way back.

This morning at orientation we had a financial expert as a guest speaker. He was dynamic and real and funny, and now I'm insanely motivated to create an updated budget + get back to our debt snowball after a long hiatus. We also heard from a panel of 3rd year students in the midst of their clinical rotations. It gave me a serious case of the tingles. I can't wait to practice medicine! There's a lot that stands between me and The Dream, but I'm making a conscious effort to only focus on today—to enjoy the process and immerse myself in the experience. I have an exceptional group of cohorts I'd like to get to know better, and I enjoy learning so darn much; it would be a shame to miss out because I was always looking ahead. Living in the now hasn't always come naturally to me, but I'm getting there.

Last night after class I came home, put on comfy clothes, and...meal prepped. I know. I wasn't expecting that either. Though orientation is far from rigorous, I'm mentally exhausted by day's end. There is a lot of information being thrown at us, and little context regarding how to apply it just yet, so it all feels very big and speculative. And let's not forget: the buildup to this week has been a long time coming, so it'll take a moment to wrap my mind around the fact that it's all finally happening in real time. I'm processing and increasing my bandwidth by the hour these days. Anyway. I chopped veggies and cubed cheese and made myself a lettuce-wrapped turkey sandwich for dinner. I packed my lunch for today and went to bed before midnight for the first time in months. Progress.

This weekend will be more of the same.  On the agenda: sleep, (more) meal prep, and maybe a facial? Relaxation! The sooner I finish normalizing this life of mine, the sooner I'll acclimate to, well, life as I now know it. So while I'm saying yes to social engagements and yes to opportunities in an attempt to immerse myself in this amazing experience, I'm also saying yes to well-being and quiet time and ritual. Because those are important, too (maybe more so?).

In the meantime, here are some things I've seen, heard and bookmarked as of late:

Speaking of meal prep, these 20 On-the-Go Paleo Lunches look awesome. (I'm getting back to eating Whole30/Paleo as much as possible.)

The Instant De-Frizzer by Living Proof is helping sooo much with my hair in this hot, humid climate. In combination with their Nourishing Styling Cream, things are staying a lot smoother. (It's been raining heavily the last few days, so I need all the help I can get.)

This Summer Cobb Salad with Coconut Bacon looks bonkers good. (I've been craving veggies...turns out there is such a thing as too many catered box lunches.)

On the recommendation of my fellow students, I bought an iPad Pro and pencil tool this week which will allow me to take notes directly on our PowerPoint slides. Advice or suggestions on apps or ways to use it that will optimize my experience? (I loathed to buy more technology, especially after the expense of upgrading my laptop, but it seems invaluable for anatomy.)

Clever Ideas for Organization and Storage in Small Spaces is right up my alley since moving across the country into a much smaller abode a month ago.

I haven't been hungry for breakfast on the mornings with an earlier start time, so these macadamia nut butter packets have been bridging the meal gap. (I eat it straight out of the packet.)

Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles (I could eat pickles for breakfast, lunch and dinner!)

A fascinating New Yorker piece on the concept of "financial resentment."

I had a rare chocolate craving last night...this Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Freezer Fudge would definitely do the job.

How to Make Friends, According to Science (Interesting stats! I'm meeting a lot of new people right now...)

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Seen, Heard and Bookmarked: Orientation Week

Friday, August 3, 2018


We're getting there. In a flash of productivity I emptied out those last few lingering boxes last night and boy what a difference a few boxes make in a relatively small space. Paper and cardboard also invite/harbor those bugs the South is known for, so there's a very practical reason to banish them from our apartment. It's slowly starting to resemble a place someone would live in and call home and what a relief that is. Next up: clearing clutter from surfaces and hanging our art.

We've accumulated a lot of lovely, unique art over the years and my favorite way to display it is through densely arranged collage walls. The bigger the wall the better. I like the aesthetic of a cohesive collage where the art provides the color, so I've replaced/painted all our frames to be either black or white. (Black is usually living room art while white goes in the bedroom/hallway/loft space/etc.)

I like art to be our wallpaper, but I'll be honest: I've never tackled such a small space. I oscillate between thinking it will look cozy or completely overwhelming. I'll have to follow my gut on this one and have the spackle on standby should it go the latter direction.

Husband leaves for a business trip this coming Monday, returns home on Friday, then both him and Kiddo head to California indefinitely the following Monday. Husband and I made a goal to go no more than 6 weeks without seeing each other, but I don't know when I'll see Kiddo next. If things go well with his internship—and I hope they do—it could be Christmas. And though I'm so grateful for this opportunity before him, our whole family dynamic is about to change. It's weird, sad and wonderful all at once. To be able to embark on this journey that involves rigorous study and very little free time without the guilt of neglecting my family is a gift. Mom guilt is no joke, you know? Wrapping my head around all this is another matter entirely, however.

My goal over the next two weeks is to wrap up lingering homework, explore our new neighborhood, and relax. Read! I'd love to devour a book for pleasure. I'm also going to put some business casual outfits together, (re)start a long-term Whole30,  and establish a low maintenance beauty routine that fits into this new climate. Though I'm not out in the sun a lot, my skin has already taken on a more golden hue which necessitates some new foundation. My skin and hair are totally different here, both good and bad, so it's time to adapt product-wise. I've been primarily makeup-free since my LASIK procedure in early June, but I like feeling a little more polished most days. I think it will help me feel put-together and create a sense of routine I so desperately need.

Also on the list? Sleep hygiene. I've yet to fall asleep before 1a since we left the PNW. Time to create a routine around bedtime as well.


Here are some things I've seen, heard and bookmarked this week:

While unpacking the living room I caught up on Molly's new show, Girl Meets Farm. It's adorable, of course.

3 Ways To Keep Humidity From Ruining Your Hair // I'm currently using Living Proof's Nourishing Styling Cream, which I've had for a while, but I'm eager to try Kate's other suggestions.

This simple embroidery hoop wreath tutorial is so, so lovely.

Rethinking the concept of happiness. (I have read and reread this post. Profound + thought-provoking. I've always struggled with society's definition/expectations when it comes to happiness re: what it looks like and how to obtain it.)

For the homebody moms out there. (Me.)

I have a tub of Lush's Big shampoo—I love sea salt shampoos—and look forward to trying this one after I use it up. (via Ashley)

One of our favorite restaurants in Portland—Batter Griddle & Drinkery—serves a bonkers good chicken and waffle. Husband always mused over the buttermilk syrup they served on the side. A homemade version recently landed in my blogroll.

After a lot of research I decided to replace my old Patagonia messenger bag with the Räven 28 Backpack by Fjäll Räven right before we left Portland.  I hadn't put it to proper use yet, but this week I walked to a nearby coffee shop and holy moly it's comfortable! (Dandelion is currently sold out, but I'm in love with it's bold, cheerful color...a departure from my normally neutral tones.) I highly recommend this backpack.

I started the Something in the Water audiobook on the tail end of our road trip and play it while I unpack. I can't to see where the author goes with this story. (Intrigue from the start!)

First piece of mounted wall art: my DIY faux succulent wreath (on the wall above our bed) // Pottery Barn has a ready-made version.


Have a great weekend!







Seen, Heard & Bookmarked: The Art of Settling In

Friday, July 13, 2018


We made it! A kid, a cat and a dozen or so houseplants all made the trek from Portland to Atlanta. Husband and I are only slightly worse for wear, both physically and emotionally. Now we are on the other side of the move—the side which goes mostly unconsidered until you're in the thick of it: unpacking. Though we downsized our belongings considerably, our apartment is feeling very small right about now. IKEA + some strategizing and we'll get there.


The packing, the goodbyes, the 5-day road trip, the movers unloading all our belonging, the piles of boxes...it was all so, well, intense. What's left after the dust settles is exhaustion and all the emotional stuff you didn't have the bandwidth to process. Melancholy begins to set in. I'll admit: the first couple days were rough. I miss my friends. My neighbors. My coworkers. The normalcy. The lump in my throat didn't want to budge. We left a place we loved. People we loved. We had created a life for ourselves—a life we could have lived long term—which made it the hardest move we've made to date. Today is one week to the day since we were handed the keys to our new life and things are looking up.

This move is a good thing. An exciting thing. I'm thrilled for this next chapter. And you know what? In a few short month (weeks, even) this life will begin to feel normal, too. The blunt edges of change and heartbreak and self-doubt have begun to soften just a little bit with each passing day. New joys will be discovered and a routine established. Still, it's important to recognize the unsettling nature of this in-between phase. The period where I wake up in the morning to unfamiliar surroundings. I don't recognize my belongings in this new space. I don't know where to put the plants without them withering in protest. I have no idea how two bathroom boxes will fit under one small vanity. Once the storage shortage is worked out and some art is hung, I have no doubt this space will begin to feel like home. It's the in-between, you see, and I'm in it.

When you are on the verge of the post-major-life-change melancholy it's important to find routine. Husband urged me to get out of the house for a few hours the other day and I'll admit: a couple hours spent paying bills and returning emails from a coffee shop down the road did wonders for my outlook. Before heading out I dug my blow dryer out of a miscellaneous bathroom box so my hair somewhat resembled my own mop for the first time in over a week...at least until I stepped outside. (If you have fine, shoulder-length, wavy hair and live in the South, send help.)


This particular apartment—our apartment—was slated for remodel when we put down our deposit back in April, so last week we were handed the keys to a practically new unit. And that's nice. Neither of us have been apartment-dwellers in 12+ years, so for the past few months we've been thinking back to the shabby spaces of our early adulthood with more than a little trepidation. This is nothing like that. Still, returning to apartment living after all those years has left us to relearn the etiquette of living above another person's home. Don't drop that box! Walk quieter! Turn down the television! I am perhaps overly concerned with being a considerate upstairs neighbor—that will moderate with time, I'm sure—but no one wants to be that guy. The one whose noise level prompts a note of complaint left on the front door.

All in all we were so fortunate in finding a place to live. The complex overall is perfect for us. It's within 2 miles of the college and has one of the most reasonable commutes of all the places we looked at. It's established and tree-lined and has a sunroom that's just right for Mario's office. There are walking trails and the whole esthetic is very lovely and tree house-like. It's quiet. It's a mere 5-minute walk to restaurants and grocery stores. It has all the amenities one could possibly need to live a comfortable life and I feel so lucky to have landed in the right place at the right time.  Looking back, we needn't have worried that it would all work out. It typically does no matter how much we fret beforehand.


Our new washer and dryer were delivered on Saturday, so I'm making my way through mounds of dirty laundry sorted onto the living room floor. We sold our old set back in mid-June, so it's been a while and we've been sweating a lot; we've reached critical mass if you know what I mean. (Side note: we went back to a top loader and it is bomb.) The ritual of doing laundry—sorting + washing + folding—all feels very normal. I'm looking forward to drawers full of clean clothes which is not something I normally consider. (Clean laundry = normalcy + routine!) All that said, I'm dressed in something besides cutoffs and a wrinkled t-shirt today so I'm feeling pretty normal-ish. Also, I found the box containing the contents of my underwear drawer a couple days ago, so I no longer have to borrow my husband's boxer briefs.


I'm going to admit something: I've been quite apprehensive about starting over socially. I received an orientation binder in the mail before we left, which includes the profiles of all my cohorts. It's a young class this year and I find myself stationed as the second oldest in the group (though there are still a lot of people also in their 30s). Age has never been something that has been on my radar. Truly. I don't dread birthdays and we have good friends that are much older and younger than us. People generally warm to me and I have no reason to believe this will be any different. I suppose it's good old vulnerability at facing this big, life-changing, scary endeavor that is behind my sudden insecurity, but nevertheless it's been on my mind a lot over the past few weeks. With Husband and Kiddo leaving for California in a couple weeks, I'll be flying solo to the family-friendly events. Vulnerable.

In an attempt to remediate these feelings, I put myself out there and posted to my program's FB page in order to connect with my future classmates. My hope is that we can meet up and become familiar with each other before orientation. Those of us without family can sit together at events. Sure enough, I got an overwhelming response from others who not only want to meet up in the coming weeks, but will also be sans significant other for one reason or another. Historically this sort of thing hasn't come naturally to me—putting myself out there socially—but I'm leaning into my discomfort + anxiety. Moving to a new place is hard + uncomfortable + lonely and I'm working to temper those feelings with proactive behaviors. Act the way you want to feel is my current mantra. Bonus: perhaps I'll stumble across the perfect anatomy partner before classes start.


So. This is the story, exactly one week in, of how I changed everything for the perfect reason. It hasn't been easy, but it sure will be worth it. Melancholy be damned! The next several weeks will involve last minute paperwork, writing essays/book reports, exploring our neighborhood and Atlanta as a whole, and finding that perfect place to study. There's a coffee shop within walking distance of our apartment that serves avocado toast. I know.

Until next time, friends.


P.S. If you get the opportunity to road trip across the United States, do it. It's gorgeous. Minus a cat and a moving truck that only goes 40mph on hills. But seriously. Do it.





Post-move musings

Monday, July 9, 2018

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