Day 5 of being back in Seattle. Day 2 of being able to make it through the day without a nap. Day 0 of not waking up at 5:30 in the effing morning and being able to go back to sleep. Day 2 of extreme boredom. Day 2 of being back in class.
My top three activities have been laying/sleeping in my bed, and the other two I can’t tell you about. Mentally, it has been an interesting process. The only ‘culture shock’ that I have had is remembering how to drive. I sat at a 4-way the other day for about 2 minutes, waiting for the bus driver to go… only this time I was the driver. Internally, I didn’t realize how much my perspective has been altered while I was still in Ireland, but it becomes more apparent daily now that I’m back. Not a shift in the direction of better or worse… just different than before. Which tends to happen with any relatively impactful event in life, as well as the not-so-impactful ones I suppose. Of course all self-awareness building is always positive :)
I have a renewed respect and appreciation for the northwest, and am happier to be back than I thought I would be. Letting go of the need/desire to get my Ph.D. right away has lifted a huge weight off of me that I didn’t realize I was carrying. Making this decision while in a foreign place enabled me to really be present in my situation, though I didn’t realize it until I returned to Seattle. I am much more able to be present, and be aware of my being present, than I ever have been in my life. I’m one of those people that is always thinking about the next step. Always looking to the future and making decisions now that are only going to have a positive impact on it. Always looking at the next degree program, planning my next trip, researching, researching, researching. Of course things don’t always pan out the way you visualize them, almost never in fact. But having the intense belief that everything happens for a reason and that there is a plan for us all makes the surprises in life that much more exhilarating. Back to the point… always looking ahead makes it really hard to be present sometimes. While I live with total gratitude and have more appreciation for life and the beauty in it than I could possibly explain… I sometimes feel guilty when I realize that I’m thinking too much about the future and not appreciating the moment that I’m in. In a moment of personal euphoria on Wednesday, I was driving down 405 to Bellevue for a massage therapy appointment, the sun was shining, the sky was bright clear blue, and I was blasting the new DMB album that I haven’t been able to really listen to all summer. Those that know me know that it doesn’t take much for me to bust a tear sometimes… but I did. All of my really intense emotions come out in the form of tears, including happiness. In this moment, I was truly present. I wasn’t thinking about tomorrow, or next week, or next year. I was in complete and utter bliss simply driving my car, being in the sun, and listening to my favorite band on earth.
Since this, and a bit building up to it after some reflection, I have been able to maintain a state of presence for nearly the whole day. Hence my insane boredom today waiting for my doc appointment. Like so bored I was antsy and pacing around the house desperately trying to think of something to do that I hadn’t already done from the time I had been up at 5-effing-30. So I ended up making a sandwich and driving my car to the doc and parking in the shade and reading for an hour before my appointment, when usually I’m rushing to and fro and eating while driving to save time. Roommate says Relax. And enjoy the down time. Emily says How can I be productive, I’m wasting time. But as was crammed into our undergraduate brains…”Self-Care”. Roommate is right, once again. I have been getting better at this in the last few years, trust me. But it is hard to feel like I’m wasting time when I could be making progress, helping someone, saving the world, etc. And I know. You can’t take care of others unless you take care of yourself. I tell people all the time. But I’m calming. Really.
I’ve been keeping a fabulous view of the scenery, and I think I’m finally ready to sit down and really take it in for awhile.