A few months back, one of the Admissions Representatives at my college brought a student to meet me who was considering coming back to school. He was a very strange person with high hopes of being an “animal whisperer” but had questions similar to many of the other students I get to meet on a daily basis. Will school be worth it? Can I get a job? What skills do I need to be successful? After giving him my usual talk about the benefits of education, I could tell he was overwhelmed, so I asked him if he was just to see what he would say. His response: “No, I’m just whelmed.” As my co-worker darted out of the room so she could laugh somewhere out of earshot, I had to do everything in my power to keep a straight face until he left. We still laugh about this statement practically every single day.
This week, I went from being “whelmed” to extremely extremely extremely overwhelmed. I’m sure many of you noticed…I tend to fall off the grid when that happens and avoid all means of communication. I guess it is safe to say I just become a recluse. Maybe that is just my way of bringing the “whelm” factor down, maybe it is just because I don’t want people to see me in a state of utter chaos, maybe I just don’t want people to see me vulnerable.
If I am learning anything about 2013, it is that this is the year of lessons for me. I’ve really done a lot of reflection when it comes to who I am as a person and what I want out of life. It’s not that I never acknowledged my areas of weakness in the past, I guess they just weren’t things I wanted to discuss or dissect. I am a very flawed person, I will be the first to admit it, but many of my flaws I love. They add character and make me who I am.
#1 on my list of flaws: I suck at dealing with or accepting change.
Yeah, I know many people dislike change, but I REALLY do not handle it well. Those who know me best will tell you that I’m a creature of habit. I like the routines I have established, the people I keep in my life, the traditions that exist in my world. Whenever something challenges any of those, I freak out and go into hiding. The week started out to be quite fabulous…I am not a Monday person at all, yet somehow I had managed to put in a five mile run AND make an awesome monkey bread for my coworkers before 8am. Then the week decided to Chuck Norris roundhouse me in the face.
After coming home from work, I was educated on a new level of difficulty that I did not know existed when I began my homework assignment for the week. (Kahlua wouldn’t have even helped). So I took a little break to Facetime with my mom…I love it since I don’t get to see my family as much as I’d like. This was when Chuck Norris disguised as my mother started the roundhouse. My mom let me know that my grandmother had been taken to the hospital for chest pain, and no one knew what was going on. Hospitals scare me. Bad things happening to my family scare me. Insert freak out. It was much later when we found out that my grandmother ended up suffering a heart attack.
I don’t know about anyone anyone else, but I have always viewed my family to be full of invincible people. Seriously, I have individuals in my blood line that are tough as nails, my grandmother being one of them. She may be 90 years old, but she texts, emails, and is alert like a young spring chicken. And while tomorrow is promised to no one, I’ve never considered a life where she may not be in it. After all, I am a creature of habit, and many of my favorite habits involve her. I love having Sunday dinner with her at my parents’ house. I love the ridiculously fun banter between her and my father. I love that every time she gets an email with a pug in it, she sends it to me because it reminds her of Simon. It became very apparent to me this week how fortunate I am to have her in my life and how worried I am that those days may be numbered. Things may never be the same again, but I pray they will.
Hey, I’ve been roundhoused, how about someone punches me in the throat, too? Good, someone had that covered. Not only do I struggle with change, but I do not deal well with goodbyes. After all, they are a derivitive of change. So when I found out someone who meant a great deal to me had decided to move to another state for work, I, once again, crumbled. While things had been somewhat strained with this individual since the summer, it still came out of nowhere and made me incredibly sad. It’s just weird to know someone who I enjoyed seeing on a daily basis and who was the cause of many great times was exiting my life suddenly.
Yesterday I knew darn well it would be the last time I would see this person, and I had a lot of unfinished words that I wanted to say. You would think that me knowing I may never have the chance to say what I needed to say would motivate me to put on my big girl pants, but nope, left those at home. I mean, I cry every time I move for pete’s sake. That’s ridiculous! Yet every time I leave a residence, I have that weird moment where I break down a little and reflect on what happened there. I think it is more of an acknowledgement rather than a goodbye. Good memories, bad memories…they all mean something to me.
It’s the same with people. We all go our own ways, but knowing that the memories are suddenly stopping is a very sad thing, even if they are ridiculous ones like having lunch at Chipotle every Tuesday or watching The Big Lebowski on White Russian Wednesday. I know I said it in an earlier blog, but I’ve been really terrible with letting people know what they mean to me over the past year. It sucks when you know you can’t. The individual moving away did the impossible for me: they picked me up this past year after I suffered one of the biggest heartbreaks of my entire life. They didn’t know the impact they had on me, but they did bring me back to life and got me to laugh again, which I know wasn’t easy. As much as I would like to, it’s too late to say thank you. Some people are just better souls than others, and to all of you who are, I raise my glass to you. Did I say goodbye? Nope. I demonstrated an extreme display of maturity by running off without an acknowledgement of what was happening. I just couldn’t face the goodbye.
Here’s hoping my grandma’s health improves….that I grow up one of these days….and that we all go back to the days when we were just “a little whelmed.”
“Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So, when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will,”-Hope Floats