Saturday, December 31, 2005

luckily I'm an athlete

So, now I have to explain this. First, I have to say that being unhappy is different from having regrets. In this case, I have no regrets, I'm just unhappy, just for right now.

I hadn't said anything to anyone at all about the fact that I was feeling sad and unhappy, and I hadn't blogged about it because I didn't want it to be concrete or permanent. And the reason I finally blogged it on Thursday night was that I had a moment where I realized that I needed to accept that I was sad and unhappy. And Friday morning, when I woke up and remembered, and found a mailbox full of responses, I immediately regretted posting. Just like I knew I would.

I thought for a moment about deleting it, but I knew I couldn't. Because it wouldn't make it go away - I had already put it out there, and I couldn't evade accountability for it. I had to start thinking through it.

I started thinking about why I was feeling this way. I didn't want to be unhappy, because I was in the midst of so many new things - new job, new location, new apartment, new lifestyle. I'm not supposed to be unhappy in those things, right? I worked so hard for it. But yesterday, I finally forced myself to accept that yes, these things are hard. Not being sure of what I'm doing, of what's next, being afraid and uncertain of what my future will look like, or how things will unfold - these things are all scary and difficult. And I finally realized that I didn't want to admit that I was unhappy because I know that it is only temporary, and since it was temporary it seemed foolish to be unhappy about it. I finally accepted that I was sad and unhappy and then I was ok with the fact that I know it's only temporary. Work will pick up, my new place will start to feel like home, I'll start to feel comfortable with where I am and what I'm doing. It will happen.

Today in day 2 of my epiphany, I started to realize a little bit more. This morning I was cut off from the internet for most of the day (gasp) and couldn't get on to the blog to say, "I'm alright! I'm oooook. I figured it out." Having nothing to do, I watched some Arrested Development on DVD, drank coffee in my pjs, wandered around my apartment bored and listless. I finally got around to catching up in my journal, which I've been both 1. meaning to do and 2. avoiding doing. Then I put together a photo album of my law school pictures, something I've been meaning to do for 3 years. All this efficiency driven SOLELY by the lack of internet!

As I put the photos in the album and wrote out my angst in my journal (a much better forum for such emotional outbursts) I realized that part of being nervous and uncertain about what's new is getting over what's old and familiar. I thought it sounded silly to admit that I loved law school more than anything I've ever done, and that I miss it more than I've missed anything. Whether that's foolish or not, that's how I feel, and I need to be ok with the fact that I loved the people and the experiences I had in law school, and that I miss them so very, very much. I cried a little bit, on and off, and I was distraught to realize that there were so many things that I never captured in pictures, there are so many events and moments and wonderful things that I don't have tangibly documented.

This same feeling has happened to me before. When I graduated from high school, I was devastated that all of my friends were scattering and moving on. I was, too, but I had moved around most of my life and was never close to my extended family and for the first time, I felt like I had a home and an extended family with my high school friends. But if you tell other people that you miss high school and your high school friends, and that college was disappointing and difficult at first, people mock you and think you're crazy. It took me a while to learn how to continue old friendships in a new, changed lifestyle. Yet, to this day my high school friends are still family to me, and I don't regret that they're so important to me or such an integral part of my life.

So it's like that, all over again. Except this time I think I know a little bit better how to be flexible about doing new things and being in new places while still integrating the people and things that have come before. I'm sad and unhappy and angry that the best experience of my life was finite, from the beginning. I'm sad that it had to end, and I'm pissed that nothing will ever be like that. But I'm delighted to have had that time and those experiences, and it was time for them to end anyway, really. As long as I can acknowledge fully what this transition means for me, I know I'll be fine.

And oddly enough, as soon as I finished shedding a tear or two over the photo album and the journal, the internet magically started working again. And it all coincides with bringing in A New Year.

My bestfriend&roommate from law school told me a story about her mom. Her mom is very friendly, extroverted, bubbly, and sometimes flaky woman, and I love her as though she's my own mother. The family was taking a walk one day while they were in a European city on vacation. Her mother tripped on the sidewalk and took a wicked digger - a hard fall, nothing graceful about it. As the family looked on in horror and amusement, she bounced up quickly and said breathlessly, "Luckily I'm an athlete!" - a comment to which the family was not really sure how to respond. I laughed my ass off when I heard that story, and ever since then, when I stumble or walk into a doorway or bash my knee or foot into some stationary object (I have terrible peripheral perception), that line comes to mind. And today, as I look to recover from this stumble and move onto what's next, I think, "Luckily I'm an athlete!"

3 comments:

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Melissa said...

Hey there - I'm a second year (barely) Public Defender also and am going through exactly what you are too, although some of the angst has subsided since I started. If you want to chat, I'm usually online (AIM - hippieg471) or email (mkowalewski@gmail.com). I've been reading for awhile and love what you have to say. I also wanted to let you know that you're not the only one feeling like this.

Anonymous said...

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