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Archive for December, 2011

Less reflecting, more living.

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Since I’ve been maintaining this blog for several months, I don’t feel compelled to write a grand reflection on my thoughts about 2011. All I know is that I’m ending the year with people I like a lot and I’m starting 2012 with judo and BJJ, also with people I like a lot.

Each year, we’ll find ourselves going through periods that seem impossible. I think that as long as we take risks, let the people we care about help us in the hard times, and always return the support, we’ll never walk away from a year’s end with regrets.

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Smashing the challenge.

December 30, 2011 2 comments

I’ll be brief.

So a few weeks ago, I wrote this post debating how easy I should go on myself in terms of school considering I became very sick at the end of October and was pretty much the walking dead until mid-December. Of course, I never want to go easy on myself, but I was worried about my health. I do not believe that grades truly measure a student’s ability. However, I plan on pursuing other degrees in the future so I do need to maintain a certain GPA. Also, I am hyper-competitive (mostly with myself) so I can’t really control my compulsion to achieve.

Anyway, I got all my grades for the semester. I won’t be too braggy and say exactly how I did, but I will say that Shingles is not match for me.

Categories: Challenges, School

You need both sides of the coin.

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday was an amazing day for me.  I had lunch with a family friend, Amy, who’s known my parents since before I was born and my very close with my mom. We had some really interesting conversations about family, communities, motivation, and just life in general. Talking with Amy had this unique feel of spending some quiet time with family, but also that little bit of excitement that comes with good conversation. While Amy sometimes does act like my mama sometimes (giving me a little bag of Hanukkah gelt, asking me if I’m cold as I walk around in a spring jacket in 34 degree weather), it’s in a reassuring way. During yesterday’s conversation, I saw that even though Amy has strong memories of me a little kid, she’s able to see me as an adult, probably more so than I’m able to see myself that way.

Later on in the day, I met up with my friends, Dennis and Jenny, who recently got married. Now, I’ve known Dennis since I was about 10 years old and I met Jenny when I was 15 or 16. We all went to the same high school. Last night at dinner, it could have been two hours of “Remember when that gym teacher, Mr. Blah Blah Blah, got mad because of that thing? That was so funny!” Instead, it was about four hours of intense conversation about our careers (Jenny is in nursing school and Dennis, who served in both the military and law enforcement, is now a teacher) and the difficulties and rewards of being a “helping professional.” We talked about some of the things we’ve struggled with recently and what we hope for in the future. We didn’t skip over the dumb jokes though, nor did Dennis forget to tell us some hilarious stories about my brother. I felt like I was with my true family. Those four hours felt perfect.

While I was having this wonderful day, my great aunt and her family were in a hospice in New England with her son, my cousin, Steven. Steven was sick for a very long time, but things began to deteriorate for him quickly in the last few weeks. Last night, Steven was surrounded by people who loved him, but he didn’t make it through the night. Truthfully, I didn’t know Steven well. My dad’s side of the family is pretty big and I haven’t seen most of my relatives on his side since I was in elementary school. Steven and I had reconnected through Facebook in the last year or so, but still our interactions were very limited. What I remember about Steven is that he was remarkably smart and that he had a fantastic dry wit. Also, I knew I like Steven the first time I met him. My family when to visit my great aunt when I was about five years old and my brother was about seven.  Steven was there, too. He was in his twenties then, lounging on the couch, reading a book. My brother and I were bored. I had a twenty pack of plastic barrettes with little bunnies and duckies and kitty cats on them.  My brother and I asked Steven if we could put all the barrettes in his hair. He said yes. We spent a long time methodically fastening the barrettes into Steven’s hair while he read his book. He was nice enough to leave them in for a while after we were done.

It’s strange for me to think that Steven and his family were going through something so painful while I was I was having such a good time. I don’t feel guilty about or anything quite like that. It’s more like, thinking about Steven being gone makes me feel very appreciate for all the people in my life and the impact they’ve had on me, no matter how great or small. I have lifelong friends like Amy, Dennis, and Jenny who have evolved into my family, giving me such support and inspiration. In the last two years, I’ve made friends through school and judo who I know have made me stronger.

Life is full of loss, but I think it also comes with some pretty incredible gains.

By request.

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

My friend, Suzanne, wanted me to write a poem about how giant Christmas lawn ornaments can make us feel sad:

The snowman deflates.

On ice, the polar bear drifts.

Next: Easter bunnies!

Categories: Friends, holidays, poetry

From silence to growth.

December 28, 2011 5 comments

I like the evolution of friendships,

From barely noticing to passing conversation,

To inside jokes and prickly debates which lead to

Dreaming and planning.

And sometimes after years of unintentional silence,

Reconvening and making something old feel new.

 

 

Teach me to relax.

December 27, 2011 4 comments

This week marks the second week of my winter break. Next Tuesday, I’ll return to my internship. The following Wednesday, I start my last semester of classes. After that, I will have earned my Master’s in Social Work and full-time employment awaits (fingers crossed). That means this week should be a chance for me to breathe easy and collect myself in preparation for the stress, panic, and chaos that will inevitably sneak up on me during the next three and half months. Sounds OK, right?

Last week, I was perfectly happy with this arrangement. I finally cleaned up my apartment and went to the supermarket. I ran. I read. I wrote. I trained. I even socialized. On Saturday night, I went to my dad’s and planned on staying the next day for Christmas. I thought I was going to go home Monday morning. I’m still at my dad’s.

I don’t know why.

Yesterday started out the same as last week. I’m really good at occupying my time. I read and wrote. I signed up for an LSW licensing exam prep course. I applied to a summer study abroad program. Up until about 4:30 PM, I felt like I was striking a good balance between enjoying my time and keeping focused on the future. I planned on going to judo. I really did. At first, it was not even a question. However, having all day to think about whatever I wanted to think about instead of the social worky things that preoccupy me during the semester, I started to have some irrational fears.

My grandmom is not doing so great, and her condition is such that she’s not going to make significant improvements in her health. So yesterday, I’m looking at my dad making phone calls to her nursing facility to check in and all I could I think about is that one day, it will be me on the phone with my dad’s medical team trying to figure out what’s best for him. Which led to me to think about how many good years I might have left with my dad. Which made me think I should spend more time with him. Which made me question if I should go to judo. If I went to judo, was I choosing judo over my family? What kind of person does that make me if I chose judo, which I’m not even good at, over my family? And lastly, what the hell is wrong with me that my brain would equate going to judo with not caring about my family? By the time I realized what a nutball I was being, the window for me to make it practice slammed shut. Great.

Did I enjoy hanging out with my dad? Yes. The thing is, though, is that my dad would have been totally cool with me leaving for practice and to return to my regular life. He trained for a billion years. He knows how it is. I think my problem is that too much time for myself is not a good thing. I thrive on the challenge of deadline and meeting one goal after another, no matter how big or small. Being still never feels right.

During a break, if I don’t give myself enough structure, I start to question pretty much everything about who I am and what I’m doing with my life. I find myself wishing I was one of those people who could be truly content with small bouts of laziness, but laziness brings me panic. As last night demonstrates, laziness come with a whole spider web of crazy, unproductive thoughts as well.

Here I sit, once again, wondering where the balance lies.

Haikuesday 12.27.11

December 27, 2011 1 comment

1.

I read some haikus

by a Japanese master–

so clean and simple.

2.

Something inside melts

and instantly refreezes.

I’m  still not ready.

3.

Without confidence,

I am just a projection

of who I could be.

Categories: poetry