Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tough Times: How to deal?

What better way to start a beautiful Sunday morning than with a piping hot cup of coffee, toast with homemade apricot preserves, a cool breeze coming in through the windows, and Meet the Press?  ...  Wait ... What?  Yes, I chose to turn on Sunday morning political TV today.  Yes, that was a mistake.  I'm not going to go all partisan on you here or anything (and that's really not the main point of this post anyway), but I would venture to guess that no matter what party line you toe, you feel pretty damn frustrated/hopeless/angry/disgusted right about now?  Join the club.  No, starting off one's Sunday morning listening to Politician X talk about what their party is going to do to make our country better (when neither of those parties seems to actually ever vote with any of us in mind), is not ideal and was definitely not a good decision this morning.  But, I digress.

The point of this morning's blog is to include all of you (maybe talking politics right off the bat wasn't the best way to do that?).  I want to hear YOUR opinions, thoughts, etc. on this conundrum I've been dealing with, or not dealing with...  whatever.

So, last week, I was on a particularly grueling run, up and down the hills of Columbia, pretty much hating every step.  As I ran on, I started thinking about my mental state.  Was the way in which I was thinking about my run ("This is really freaking hard!", etc.) affecting how I felt?  And would it make my run easier to instead tell myself it was easy and I was having fun?  Then, as those thoughts usually do for me, my quandaries about running quickly turned to quandaries about life...

It would be fair to say that this transition hasn't been an easy one for me, at least not all of the time.  I went from a program where I was familiar with the people, had several close friends, was well-respected by the professors (although, if Dr. Osborne ever read one of my blog posts, I think he'd be utterly disgusted by my excessive use of parentheses...), I had written a thesis on a topic that people found interesting, etc., etc.  In short, I felt pretty darn good about myself when I walked through the halls of my old department.  And now...  I'm the newbie again.  I'm back at square one.  I don't know many people, I'm having to build new friendships (which is always a good, but slightly scary, thing), I'm having to prove myself to new professors and a new advisor (or at least that's how I feel), and I don't have a freaking clue what I want to research.

Also, I've been back and forth between Lincoln and Columbia twice in the last few weeks, trying to squeeze as much of my homework into the weeknights as I can, leaving little time for things like unpacking my boxes of books or doing something to arrange my "office," which right now looks like a junk room with piles of crap everywhere.  And, don't get me wrong, I have loved being able to go home to see everyone - especially the new baby! - but now that I know I won't be going back for a month or so, I've been getting twinges of homesickness every now and then.  (Come on, people, I'm almost 29 years old, for goodness sake.  Homesick???  I blame the baby.)  And I've been feeling sort of down about the fact that I'll be spending my birthday alone this year, for the first time ever (although, Aaron's coming down to celebrate with me next weekend). 

So, yes, I can easily say that this last month and a half or so haven't exactly been easy.  I tried soothing myself with some hot tea and a chocolate chip cookie one night this week.  It worked for a while anyway.

Which brings me back to my question.  How should one look at a situation like this?  Should I tell myself it's not so bad?  (Because, really, in the whole scheme of things, it's not awful - it just isn't great... yet.)  That it's a piece of cake to build new relationships with new people?  That I've been through difficult transitions before and I can do it again?  OR...  Do I just ACCEPT the fact that it's not easy right now?  Do I allow myself to really feel it and all of the emotions that come along with it?  Because if I trick my mind into thinking this is simple, am I robbing myself of living in the reality of the situation and, therefore, robbing future Katie of having an experience to draw from when she needs it?  Also, I don't necessarily think it is a positive thing to constantly try to trick yourself into feeling better or ignoring the not so happy feelings.  But, if I keep thinking about how un-easy this all is, will I get swamped by negative feelings and emotions, unable to see the good?  

So, back to the run...  A few blocks away from my house, as I'm seriously suffering, I come out of my cloud of thought, look up, and suddenly realize that I'm actually running downhill.  I couldn't see it before.  So, I turned on the gas, stretched out my legs, and sailed home.  And when I walked in the front door, I felt really proud of myself for making it through such a tough run, and having the guts and the energy to sprint through the finish.

What do you think?  What do YOU do when you're faced with difficult times in your life?  Do you tell yourself it's not so bad?  Or do you accept that it isn't easy and just keep pushing through until you get to the other side?  Is there a happy medium in there somewhere?

p.s.  On a VERY  positive note, it looks like Mother Nature has finally brought fall to Columbia!  Maybe it's my birthday present from her?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Break out the cigars!

It seems like my posting has been dwindling at an exponential rate lately.  I'm disappointed, but hope that once things steady out with school and the new living arrangements, I'll return to regular posting.  I've been super busy with homework, but also...  I'M AN AUNT!!!

Isn't he ADORABLE???????  I know most of you have heard all about it and seen all the pictures, but I just had to put this little cutie out there into the blog-o-sphere!  Baby Dwayne will be one week old tomorrow, and I was lucky enough to get to go home last weekend and meet him.  It's safe to say...  I'm in love.  : )  I mean, yes, he's precious, but he's also a cuddler!  He snuggles right up on your chest and sleeps away.  I could hold him all day...  But, alas, I had to put him down and come back to Missouri.

With all of the traveling over the last couple of weeks, I really have yet to settle into a routine with school, workouts, homework, etc.  Now that I'll be home (in Missouri) for a few uninterrupted weeks and weekends, things should calm down and I hope to feel more settled.

I'll check back in with you soon.