My apologies for being MIA on the blog. I was busy surviving a five month long cyclone. I survived hurricane season 2018! Both the literal hurricane season and the figurative one that defined my life last fall.
Between August and December 2018 I worked full time, pursued a doctorate degree, completed residency hours, studied for a certification exam, trained an intern…. oh yeah, and taught a class for graduate students! Even when I list out such things now, my shoulders hike up!
When people would ask me how I was over the past six months, I would just respond what category of hurricane I was living through that day. I lived in Cat 3, but also hit Cat 5 a few times over the course of the semester.
Every time I became overwhelmed by my tasks, I had to remember that I did this to myself. No one forced me to go back to school, or teach, or take on extra tasks or skills. I chose this life. I chose this hurricane… so let’s do it! Let’s face the wind with grit and grace. Let’s know when to hunker down for safety. Let’s know when to share my supplies and rations and when to seek help from my neighbors for a metaphorical downed tree.
And , man, did I have lovely neighbors this semester. My students were encouraging, kind, motivated, and delightful. My intern kept me sane and did so much more to help me straddle professoring and therapying than she was required to. My friends checked on me regularly and reminded me often that my words of the year for 2018, Grit and Grace, were well chosen and would lead me through. My family celebrated every small victory and every step completed with me and reminded me that it was worth the struggle.
I still think the hurricane analogy was apt because I spent a ton of time inside (weather wasn’t inviting), ate weird pre-packed foods (since I didn’t have time to cook!), slept poorly (since I had too much to do), and needed a hearty clean up effort when the wind settled. But it was also such an encouraging “storm.” I was stretched and challenged. I was windblown, yes, but also thrilled! I even chose a hurricane as my ornament to summarize 2018.
As I look back on hurricane season, with just a bit of time and perspective between me and it now, I remind myself of the collateral beauty of doing something scary. I celebrate success and the thrill of surviving and thriving in new ways. I am stronger for having been through the storm. And I remind myself not to do it again! 🙂