Being Weird

Weird – out of the norm; state of being that allows unique and unfamiliar traits to be represented; not going with the status quo; being true to oneself; living an abundant life…

I like that word, weird. It’s very useful when you experience an emotion you’ve never experienced before. It’s useful when trying to describe something that is good but completely new. Weird.

I have found that I use that word frequently lately to describe where I am. As I come closer to graduation I am confronted with the fact that I get to choose my life. Weird. I get to decide whether to relocate or to stay local, whether to keep in touch with some people or not. I get to decide if I want to work in a hospital, or a clinic, or a store, or on my own. It’s like I have a multiple choice game, a choose my own adventure kind of life ahead of me. I can decide for myself whether I like the ocean or the mountains or the plains or whatever. I don’t have to do what I’ve always done any longer. The only word for it is weird. Weird.

Why is there no word for being able to choose your own life? Why is it that people typically fall into a place and just make the best, or the worst of it, rather than change the place? Why is it that all of the decisions in the past were based on what other people thought, or did, or didn’t do… why did others pave my path instead of myself? Weird. Seems it’s more common than not that we don’t actually choose which direction we go. Why not?

Why is it we are constantly trying to prove ourselves to people we don’t know or don’t like? Why do we try to do things that we know we don’t care for? Why do we work in places we hate, live in cities we can’t stand, and never ever dream? Weird.

Who is it that decided we would grow up and be a doctor, nurse, teacher, lawyer, game designer, architect? Did we decide it? Did we really choose? Or did we ‘take the advice’ of our parents, our teachers, our peers? Did we try something and fail and decide with only one failure to just give up? Did we decide we weren’t good enough? What a terrible loss! How did we decide to give power to others on how we live our own lives? Why didn’t we just do what we felt best? Why didn’t we get out our hatchets and carve our own path instead? Weird.

I love the word weird. I love being weird. I love creating my own life how I feel is best. I love the fear that comes with the unknown, the knowledge that if there’s a twinge of fear that it’s good, that I will be challenged. I can feel the fear, the excitement, physically. Now that I am learning to listen to myself, my own feelings, now that I am doing that I am beginning to use my body as a measure of which way to turn. If there is a crushing feeling in my chest, if I cannot breathe and my heart begins to break, then I know that is the wrong direction. If the fear is there, the anticipation, the opening of my lungs, the breathing deeply and enjoying the breath then I know that that is the better choice, the better path to follow. All of this time has been wasted listening only to my head, listening to the lies others have told me, and not listening to my heart. Weird.

Maybe we could all be a little more weird. Weird in our own individual ways. Maybe we can actually step up and into who we are meant to be. Maybe we can actually tell it like it is, speak truth in love and let others know how we feel. Maybe we have to start with ourselves. Maybe we need to learn to listen to our dreams, our own individual purpose. There is hope, there is peace but to get there you have to believe. Believe in yourself and trust in your power to accomplish more than you’ve ever knew possible. Let fear be your friend and your guide, who knows what’s on the other side of the bend? It may be a life that you love.

thanks for reading,

me

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Ambulatory Rotation

Another month of pharmacy school has gone by, this one at a doctor’s office where I was able to work with an amazing team. Each day we had new people come in to ask questions about the meds, to find out how to get healthy again, to find out how to stay healthy… these people, patients, needed time to digest what their doctors have told them. They needed time spent face to face to go over their conditions and to know that someone was listening to them. We would often spend an hour or more talking with them, getting to know them, finding out their likes and their dislikes, finding out how we can help them take charge of their health. It was humbling.

They would look to us because we understood their conditions and because we understood their medicines. They would trust us when we told them they needed to change something because their kidneys were bad, or because if they stayed on it they’d mess up their hearts. We would help them understand how to take their blood thinners and how to measure their sugars. We did all of this and so much more.

One man came in with blood pressure to the roof and we put him directly with a doctor and recommended what would help right away. An hour later his blood pressure was back down and he understood a little better how dangerous that could be.

One lady came in and just happened to mention she felt like an elephant was sitting on her chest a few nights before, she was there to check her blood thinner. We sent her back for an ECG to make certain she would be OK to go home.

Another couple came in because his blood work didn’t look good, they were scared, they thought this must mean the end is coming quicker than they thought. We were able to give them comfort and reassurance that all he needed to do was change his diet some, drink more water, and have an evening walk every night. Simple things that every one can do to prevent the fears they had that day. His wife began to cry she was so relieved that this was something they could handle.

Another man came in to make certain he wasn’t bleeding internally because of his blood thinner. He had started it because of a blood clot of unknown origin. I see him sitting there and I wonder quietly like the rest why it happened and pray to myself it’s not an early sign of cancer.

Real people, real blood, real dreams, real lives. Dozens of them over the last month. And to think a pharmacist does nothing but count pills? Nonsense.

thank you for reading,

me

Life is for living

Live dangerously. Take chances. Dream. We all come into this world the same way. We all leave it the same way too. We are born and we die. We know how it begins and we know how it ends, why not make the middle more interesting? That’s the living part.

I’m tired of living vicariously through others. I want my own adventures, my own chances to fail. I want to live for the sake of living. It’s interesting, coming to the end of my school career. I’ll be a licensed pharmacist by this time next year. So what am I going to do with it? Who am I going to be? How do I want my life to look in ten years? five? three?

It’s easier to know what I don’t want than to know what I want. I don’t want where I’m at. I don’t want to get up, go to work, wish I was off, go home, go to sleep, and get up and do it all over again. I can hear my ‘friends’ saying, “but that’s what growing up is all about”. I can hear them saying, “get over it.” But I don’t care what they say. I don’t want that and so I am not going to put up with that either. I can hear them again, “you’ll learn” and totally discounting me, thinking I’m naive and that I just don’t know anything.

But I do know. I do know a lot. I’m not a kid, I’m in my 40s. I’m not naive, I have an incredible grasp of life. Maybe that’s the problem? Because I have such a grasp of life and because I understand how amazingly fragile it is, maybe that’s why I refuse to let it slip away unnoticed. I refuse to give up or give in. Not ever, never again.

I will not let my life go unnoticed. I will not let the days slip by without recognizing the love and the pain around me. I write. I write to save my memories and to remember my dreams. So what do I want in the next few years? Freedom, peace, adventure, love. I know something others around me don’t realize. I know that people do live lives they love. I’ve met them and I want to be like them. I’m not saying I don’t love my life now, I’m saying that I am not content to let it be this way forever. I am content that today I will go to work to learn and that I will be challenged and tired. I am happy to do that today. Even tomorrow and so on for weeks, months, maybe even years. What I am not content to do is allow my work life to be my only life. I will play and I will live.

thank you for reading,

me

Random Thoughts This Morning

1 – Why do people find the bad in everything? It seems so much easier to find the pitfalls, the mistakes, the ‘it didn’t work’ parts… why can’t we start to see the great things? Why can’t we see the beauty? I posted on Facebook asking if any of my friends sail. I got a lot of positive comments such that they like to but no one really does. I had two who said they would love to go sailing with me but I’m not sure I’d be in the same stadium as them let alone, alone on a boat… then there’s the one comment “the happiest days for boat owners are the day they buy the boat and the day they sell it.” REally? Then why do people keep buying them? Why do people actually live on them sometimes? The downer really got to me. Burst my bubble some. I try hard not to do that to others, I’m sure that I do but I try not to.

2 – I have a friend who is thinking of leaving her marriage. How can I help her? She sounds so much like me but she’s so much earlier in it than I was. I don’t want her to destroy a marriage that could still work yet I don’t want her to stay in it if it will destroy her drive, her love of life. I can only tell her to trust her heart but I want to make everything better. I think often that marriage should be more of a time limited contract. If everyone thought, “if I don’t straighten up then she (or he) won’t renew” then maybe we’d behave better? Let’s say every 5 or 10 years you have to decide whether the other partner has kept his side of the deal. Has he supported her? Helped keep up the house? Has she helped him? I mean, it doesn’t really matter what the role is, so long as they are agreed upon. And a clause that says you can get out if you find you just aren’t compatible? Why would someone stay if they aren’t happy anyway? My ex was never happy, yet he didn’t want a divorce? That just didn’t make sense to me. If he hated me so much then why wouldn’t he leave? Oh well.

3 – So do I get a boat? I still want one. I still imagine the feel of the boat rocking under me day and night. I imagine waking with the sunrise, or with the storm. They both delight me. I imagine living wherever I want to live, leaving and coming as I please and taking my home with me. I imagine being able to still come to land when needed, working for 3 or 4 days a week and still being able to enjoy my home. I imagine I would be the black sheep of the family, because I prefer my own company to theirs. I imagine living a life of adventure, where I can love on others and I can still have my peace and privacy… I know there will be downers but they aren’t me.

4 – I spent the day outside yesterday, the weather was perfect. I laid on my blanket under a tree and studied and read and just rested my soul. It was wonderful. I so much prefer to be outside than inside no matter the weather. I have two weeks left to this rotation and then I have a month off. It’s beginning to feel as if I might actually make it, I might actually graduate in May. The questions remain what will I do then? I have a lot of the what, just looking for how. How can I convince my family that living on a boat is a good idea? How can I learn to sail without having a boat yet? (I will be spending a week on one in south Florida after graduation.) How can I be sure I’m doing the right thing? How do I get a job that will allow my random, crazy ideas? How can I live the life of my dreams? “Trust my heart, it sees things my brain refuses to see.” The more I trust myself, the more excited I become about living. I never knew how much more life was out there when I was in my dungeon!

And so we all begin another week, another day, another morning. May this week be filled with love and passion and dreams that come true.

thank you for reading,

me

The Next 30 Days

It’s “crunch” time. It’s almost the end of the semester. Four plus exams, a case study, and two Practicals left in less than 20 days… only 8 days of actual classes. Four finals followed immediately by mediation with the ex, then starting rotations, then my daughter gets married… less than 30 days from today. My friend, Time, must feel the need to push me forward because this Time is coming so quickly now that I keep thinking I’m forgetting to do something. From one minute to the next I have no idea what I am doing. I’m OK for a bit if I just sit and ignore everything and concentrate on only one thing, but then I get sidetracked because of something I forgot.

I have choices still, I have to remind myself that I do still get to choose. I get to choose whether I will “freak out” and yell at my kids while they run around like wild animals in the house while I study. Or I could take a deep breath, send them outside, and refocus. I have the choice whether I let myself feel the overwhelm that is trying to set in or I can notice that it’s there and stop and plan a way to go forward. Everything I do is a choice.

Problem is is that some of these choices were made earlier when I felt like I had more time. Habits are hard to change. I fill my calendar from morning to night, from Sunday to Saturday and fail to schedule time for me in. This habit has got to change. Sure, I know I’ll be able to make it through the next 30 days. I know I will still be breathing when it’s done, aside from an act of God, these next 30 days will pass. At the end I will have passed my classes, successfully mediated with my ex, married off my daughter to a great guy and be in the midst of my rotations. This will all happen. I believe it. I have faith that these next days will pass and I will survive it. I might even be better for it.

In the meantime, though, how do I go through these days with grace. How do I keep a loving tone in my voice and a caring look on my face? How do I be the person I want to be while I travel through this stressful season? These are real questions. I am definitely open for suggestions.

I know I will force myself to sit and write so I don’t forget this part of my life, and so I can vent. I know I will put myself to bed with things left undone. I know I will continue to rise in the morning. What do I need to do to keep myself sane? More of what I already do but I have to be deliberate. I have to deliberately get up and drink a cup of tea and read before I start my day. I have to deliberately take myself outside and exercise in the fresh air. I have to deliberately make myself go out with friends despite my exams. I have to remember to live my life around and through the next 30 days.

There are three things I know that help me a lot. Writing, reading and eating on time. Sleep is also a huge factor on the way I feel. If I am sleep deprived I tend toward being depressed. If I am hungry, I tend toward overwhelm. Writing helps me do brain dumps and reading helps me think on different things.

Maybe I’ll learn not to schedule everything at once someday. That would be nice, free Time.

So here’s to the next 30 days!

thanks for reading,

me

Stressing

What is stress?  How can I beat it?  Or can I make it work for me?  No one in their right mind would argue with me on whether I live a stressful life or not.  My life is full of the top reasons for stress out there.  Recent divorce – check, recent death in the family – check, doctorate level classes – check, upcoming wedding (my daughter, not me) – check, financial issues – check, and numerous others.

So why am I still standing?  Still smiling?  Still out there trying to help others?  Sometimes I don’t know.  I know I get statements frequently such as “I could never do what you do.” Or “I don’t have the time to do that.”  Or “You are so much better at that than I am.”…

Too often I do make it look easy.  I keep my worries to myself.  I say “I’m fine.”  I offer to help them.  But when I do these things they don’t know my heart.  They don’t understand that given the choices, I refuse to go any way but forward.  Yes, I could have stayed with my ex.  Yes, I could have given up.  Yes, I could have quit.  Yes I could have decided to not change my life.

I did not do that though.  For me, I’ve had this extraordinary hunger to live.  I thank God every evening for all the things that I have: my kids, my health, my house… I thank Him that my roof doesn’t leak anymore.  I thank Him for giving me shelter from the cold, and from the storms.  I thank Him that I have shoes that fit and clothes that keep me warm.  I even thanked Him for giving my daughter lice… she laughed when I did that. She didn’t understand why.  Why be thankful for lice?  Several reasons, now I understand what it’s like to use the chemicals, to clean everything, to pick through every piece of hair on every child’s head.  I have an amazing understanding of something I only barely knew about before.  I told her how Corrrie Ten Boom, in “The Hiding Place”, thanked God for giving her lice while she was in the concentration camps.  Because of her lice and of those others in her sleeping area, they were no longer targeted for being raped and beaten.  The guards wanted nothing to do with them for fear of contracting it themselves.  In addition, as I am soon to be finishing my doctorate in pharmacy, I’ll be much better at helping others who need it.

I guess “my secret” to loving my life, regardless of the stress that is in it, is that I can ALWAYS find something to be thankful for.  But, make no mistake, it is NOT easy.  I may have made these last few years look easy but they were not.  I had two choices 1- go forward, or 2 – quit in some way.  Quitting did not give me power and so I always chose to move forward.  Sometimes, actually often, it meant walking through the fire to get to the other side… or remembering “the boulder is the path”.  Every moment of the day I have a choice.  I can choose to let things bring me down or I can choose to keep on smiling and keep on trucking.  Moving forward sometimes brings me to a place where I have to stop and feel my feelings.  I have to let myself sit and sob and rest.  These moments happen but they let me be authentic with myself.  Much of this time has been learning to be with me again, learning to love myself.

I hope that you are in a place where you can also be just you and love who you are,

thanks for reading,

me

Third year pharmacy

School starts tomorrow.  What can I do to keep ahead of the game and pass my classes without stressing out too much? Every year I start out with the intention of doing my best in all of my classes and the imagined ability to do just as well in all parts of my life.  I think it’s time to face reality.  My life is full and it’s not just school.  I have four amazing kids,  2 of which are adults.  I’m a single mom. I have a part time job. I’m in pharmacy school full time.  I’m the last stop for all of the responsibilities of the house,  the bills,  the kids’ school,  the appointments etc.  My life is full.  I go to church,  volunteer with scouts,  do in home parties and study.  Yup.  It’s crazy to think I can be my best in all that surrounds me.  Yet for some reason I thought that that was what I was supposed to be and anything less meant that I was a failure.  I kind of took it all personal.  I’ve been holding myself to an impossible standard that no one can achieve.

So?  What could I do differently this school year to live the amazing life I have in front of me?  I’m thinking I could start with giving myself a break.  Write myself into my own calendar so that I really do take time for myself.  I could learn that I don’t need perfection.  I could accept things as good enough.

I have measured myself by my grades and at the same time known that grades are only a small indicator of knowledge.  I have expected my relationships with my kids to go unharmed, by magic.  It doesn’t work that way.

So how do I find the right balance for me? For my family? For school? Work? Church? Scouts? Exercising?  What is my reason,  my why for what I do?  My kids,  always my kids; the creatures that God saw me sufficient to grow and to care for, even knowing my imperfections perfectly.  He created children in my own womb.  I am humbled by the tasks he has given me.

If my why is based on my children then why have I misplaced my measurement on my grades?  Grades are an important part of my graduating, for sure, but they are not the only thing required for my living.  Life,  my life?  I am building an amazing life for myself and my kids.  If I fail to fill myself up,  to rejuvenate myself, then I am merely trying to pour water from a dry cup.  I am no use to anyone, especially my kids. I’ve lived so long putting myself last only to find myself completely spent,  tired,  grouchy,  and depressed.  I’m learning that taking care of myself is required for taking care of my kids.  I’m also learning that I am worth taking care of just because I am,  kids or no kids.  I am worth it.  I deserve to take a break,  every single day.  I deserve to be treated well and I deserve to be loved.  If God sees me fit enough for Him to love then I am definitely worth it.

And so are you.  Thanks for reading.

me