I’m a week behind….as usual. The reason I’m only going to play catch-up for this post is that Week 51 is 100 things I am grateful for, and right now, I am having a hard time focusing on one thing.
So, week 50. I’m almost done with the challenge. This is the week that is dedicated to lessons that I have learned in the last year.
What haven’t I learned in the last year? This time last year I was in a meeting at Cal State Fullerton being told that the reason I was not successful in the programme was because I had a bad attitude, and I was forced to come to the realization that incorrectly cited parts of my paper were going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back on what was a horrible two years. I was beyond depressed, I was lonely, I had no money, and I was seriously at a loss for where my life was headed.
Today I woke up in Scotland. While the last couple of weeks have been rough in terms of my depression and anxiety, I am the happiest I have been in years. I’m working on my PhD, I’ve made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones, and have settled into a very very good life. I’m even dating (I promise I did not make him up). Life is not even close to perfect, but it is getting there.
So, what have I learned this year?
I learned the power of family. My family never once wavered with their support when I was battling the programme, and then when I applied for the job here and decided that I was never going back to the United States. My sister in snark offered me advice and puppy love, and my favoruite Russian gave up her time to be my lawyer and try to minimize the damage done to me personally and professionally. My mom and brother got on a plane to come spend a week with me, and my sister sends me care packages and drops everything on the weekends to Skype with me and tell me that the world is not going to end for me anytime soon.
I learned that even on my lowest days, I have a lot to be grateful for. I started this challenge because things were starting to get bad in the programme and I wanted to try and keep myself from falling into the dark and twisty that was my usual MO. Every week I got to remind myself of something that I liked, someone that inspired me, or somewhere that I have had been lucky enough to visit. Even if it was little things like my favourite type of music, or my favourite type of food, it reminded me of things that I enjoy, and allowed me some distance from the things that I didn’t.
I learned the power of being myself. I’m a flamingo in a flock of pigeons, and every day I am a little more proud of that. I’m a nerd. I like books, I like cat videos, puppies, chocolate, and watching horror movies. I overthink everything, I’m awkward, and I am a true gypsy soul. I believe that store brand American peanut butter tastes better than almost anything else, and a quesadilla will solve all of my problems. I like to shop when I am sad. I am sarcastic, sometimes even when I don’t mean to be. I don’t understand dating. Some people get me, most people don’t….and that is okay (okay, I say okay, but what I really mean is, I want everyone to like me)
I learned that my slow cooking skills need a lot of work. Life goal for the new year: Learn how to use the slow cooker properly.
I learned that all the medication in the world is not going to make me feel as good as fresh air and yoga does. I have not done yoga properly in a month, and I can really feel it. I’m lacking some motivation, but I am hoping that someone can kick my butt into getting it done and staying on a schedule. The weather might be too cold for me to enjoy the fresh air, but my new yoga mat has barely been used, and that is a shame. I need to fix that. Like right now. In fact, I am going to put this on hold and do some yoga.
I learned that I can survive just about anything. Anyone who reads through the last year of posts will know how much I have done, and how there were only a few times that I really wanted to give up. Eventually though all roads led to Edinburgh, and I am a happy happy girl. Now I just have to survive until February when I can go home and get some sunshine and some more of my shoes.
The shoes. They are important. My goal now is to make my list of 100 things I am grateful for before Saturday so that I actually complete the challenge for the week in which it is intended.