But eventually, I found the ocean.
Tonight the hubs and I went to a musical at the school he works at. I always get really excited seeing kids do something like this. It just makes me happy. All of the awkward moments, genuine talent, tech problems, hilarious personalities, and just the all-around kid energy. It’s just the best.
This evening though we were sitting on the cafeteria benches (…which if I might add… my butt is still recovering from those things… geez! Those are HARD! I thought my newlywed weight gain is supposed to provide a little extra padding back there… anyway…)
As I was sitting there I felt a twinge of sadness. The last couple of times I’ve been in a school it’s made me sad. This could have been my life. I could have been a teacher. I was on that track. But I didn’t finish.
And this topic was one that was a little more raw for me already during the last couple of days. Greg and I somehow stumbled on the topic of health insurance last night. I’ve never had health insurance. Well, I guess I did for the couple of semesters I was in college. Then the last couple of years, with all the insurance changes, I wasn’t able to afford it. And I was charged a fee for it… And I’m going to move on without going into details because I will go on a major rant that won’t be very nice…
With Greg’s new job he got in July, he also had benefits. However, their coverage wasn’t good enough for me to be added to that plan at an affordable rate. Looking at that cost just did me in. I just couldn’t deal with it for a while. (I know, I know… Awesome adult skills. Avoidance of things that are overwhelming.)
So again I was feeling the need to get this figured out. I’m 26 years old. I need to have my healthcare figured out. This was important. Especially factoring in that we might want to have kids one day. I mean having a baby isn’t cheap. So again we looked at prices. And they just seem so dang expensive. For pretty crappy coverage.
And doing what my brain does best, I starting connecting the dots to make ridiculous accusations against myself. I was making an extra weight in my marriage. If I had a “real job” I’d have benefits and this wouldn’t be a problem. I thought about how much I’d have to currently work just to pay for stupid insurance. I started to stress, reading all the terms I didn’t quite understand with deductibles and all those percentages. So again I let it go for the night and went to bed.
But my head has been swirling with thoughts. I’ve noticed I’ve been worrying about so many things lately. So many different things. Multiple aspects of finances. About how things that are supposed to be making money are actually losing us money. My family. People I love. Pieces of my future. Writing. Doing the wrong thing. Things from my past. Just a little bit of everything.
And tonight I was sitting in an elementary school cafeteria staring at a stage in the middle of all of the energetic activity. I wasn’t feeling anxious, which is a small victory. But I was watching the kids and the families and all of the people. Greg was sitting next to me holding my hand. And I felt sad. I didn’t want to feel sad. I mean that felt ridiculous. I should be caught up in the joy around me. And as the musical started I was able to let it go.
I laughed. I felt the energy of the kids. I enjoyed the night I was spending next to my husband. And the thoughts stopped, and the sadness lifted.
When I was in college I realized I didn’t want to be a full-time teacher. My first semester I was doing observations in classrooms two days a week. I was taking classes 4 days a week. I was working part time. I was making wedding cakes on top of that. And I loved it. I loved being multiple places in a day. I love that my life had so many different things in it. I knew that I couldn’t be in a classroom all day every day.
My second semester I withdrew from classes. It wasn’t for this reason. I wasn’t expecting to do that. It was only initially supposed to be a break. I was going through an intense season of depression that literally took me out of my life. And it became clear to myself, my advisor, my doctor, my counselor, my teachers, literally across the board with everyone, that I should take a break. And that was hard at first. I was a 4.0 GPA college student. I was doing well and loved it. But a break was necessary. So I did it.
And as time went by, it hasn’t felt like time to go back. I regularly ask and never feel like the time is here. Will I ever go back? I’m not sure. Is it good to finish what you start? Of course. But there’s also grace in my own story. There’s grace to live out my own life however it works out.
I love my two jobs right now. Doing kid stuff and baking pies. My job descriptions are widely different and wonderful. I do everything from organize skits to fry bacon for over an hour. I wipe snotty noses and go home with whipped cream in the most random spots on my body. I coordinate events and meet with people and peel apples and make cookie dough. My schedule is all over the place. I get up at 4am two days a week (okay, okay 4:15-4:30 after all the snoozes, sorry Gregory…) but am off at 1pm those days. I work in an office two days a week. And all the randomness in between. My schedule is flexible and varies. And I absolutely love it.
Tonight we were driving home after the musical and I was just talking about this to Greg while simultaneously driving and eating a burger. And I was talking about how I’m really good at blaming myself for things. And for worrying about getting things wrong. And I can usually figure out the truth, and realize where I’m wrong. But my emotions still betray me. They still go in a different direction even if I know in my head that it’s wrong. And I know they aren’t supposed to be in charge of my life. But I also know I’m not supposed to just turn them off and shut them down. So I’m trying to figure that out.
I looked at Greg (briefly because I’m driving, you know…) and asked him jokingly to solve my problem and just fix my life. His response was pretty awesome, actually, and it didn’t fix anything…
“Maybe you are just supposed to hang out in the kiddie pool for a little bit. You wade in the shallow waters. And then when the big waves come, you have to listen to ones you love and trust. And if they say to come in for a bit, you listen and don’t be all stubborn and stuff. And like a full grown adult hanging out in the kiddie pool sometimes it feels awkward. Especially with the little kids around you, diving and doing cannon balls. But eventually you get used to the waves. And you learn when to push back on some. And how you can’t just brace yourself on the really big ones because they’ll just knock you down…”
Then he went on about how eventually you learn how to handle the big waves. He tried to explain how it feels to bob in the water and let the wave kind of go around you. And you can even float back down and stay on your feet. The concept made sense even though I’ve never been in the ocean like that before.
And it reminded me of the first time I touched the ocean. My solo 27 hour road trip with my doggie to Maine back in 2012. My first ever epic adventure that was just wonderful. And also painful and eventful. And how I ended up stuck in the cabin for the first three days not able to leave. It was the first time I had slowed down in years and was just beginning to glimpse my struggles with depression and anxiety.
But eventually, I found the ocean. And I loved it. And it was wonderful. And I had to fight anxiety to get there each day. But it was always worth it.
So I guess this is life. And I want to fix it. But I guess there’s really nothing to fix. My thoughts get away from me sometimes. My emotions get carried away sometimes. But I also get to sit and enjoy sunsets. I get to enjoy musicals. I get to experience joy that makes me feel like I could explode. I get to experience sadness that brings a sense of peace and satisfaction with it. I am safe. I am healing. I am enduring. And it’s worth it.