Looking at the date since I last blogged and noticing the gap between then and today, it almost feels like I "skipped" a month of time. That's kind of cool to me in an odd way. Actually I would kind of like to skip over these days of minus 30 below or freezing rain. Yep, it can be either one in the space of a week. I've had to clear off the heavy snow and ice dams from my roof. (Well, that is, I had to hire someone...no way am I getting on the roof.) Of course, I only noticed the urgency of this when my ceiling started to leak. Sigh.
Can't we just fast forward to summer? Maybe I should just change the date or the background on my blog. Presto! Abracadabra! A la peanut butter sandwiches! (to borrow from the Count on Sesame Street)
Ahhh. Perfect. Just look at that sun glinting off the water...
Sometimes we need a lovely mental vacation when, in reality, things happen in winter that seem like fate trying to tell you something with little signs....like the roof leaking or when the windshield wipers break by not clearing the ice off the car. Yeah, really. That didn't help. But, on the bright side, at least I had a ride for my 45 mile commute to college because there is no way I would be going to school if I had to drive in a Minnesota winter!
Still, things like this make it very tempting to wish a few months away to get to this lovely day. I'm starting to think I need to make a list of "good things" to cheer me up.
Two weeks or so later...
I had a bit of difficulty with my "list of good things." I don't think my list swimming in cliches was turning out particulary optimistic: What have I got? "Bad things come in threes" or Murphy's Law; what can go wrong will go wrong, or "waiting for the other shoe to drop." It doesn't look good because the other shoe had just dropped, this being my ride to college disappearing when my friend who drove decided to drop most of his classes.
I almost decided to follow his lead and drop out myself. Almost. I rationalized that this was too much. Winter had me down. What if I didn't go to college this semester? The thought did enter my mind, but the larger fear of paying back school loans saved me from doing anything hasty. It was close though. I almost dropped a class but had a wonderful professor give me the time and attention to stick with it. In not exactly the same words, he helped me remember that permanent decisions should never be made for temporary problems. (The harder part is finding the perspective to believe problems really are temporary.)
Now, of course there's two sides to this story. It's not just me, although it does seem like it. The "other side" is my friend's side of the story of his own trials and tribulations to make a decision to throw in the towel on a big life plan. And for the past year, we both had this similar plan of going back to college. (Back to me again, if you didn't notice.) It seemed like we were linked in support, like two hikers climbing a mountain. But if one us wasn't going to keep going, then what did it mean for the other?
This situation brought to mind the difficulty in how to make a person (as in my friend who dropped classes) not only feel better, but to be that rock of optimism that actually stops them from making hasty decisions. I did see the slope my friend started to slip down and I tried to talk him out of giving up. But I got tangled in the problem too or perhaps, more accurately, I couldn't untangle my own situation from the problem. It's similar to an episode of Grey's Anatomy, where Derek is about to throw his career away and, one by one, each of his colleagues come out to his trailer to talk him out of his depression. Remember what happens? Each friend starts to tell a "if you think that was bad, listen to this"story. As you can guess, the rescuing friend gets depressed. Then another friend realizes the rescuer is missing in action and the pattern repeats.
I'm not so sure I believe that misery loves company, but I do believe it's contagious. I also think it's tempting to transfer someone else's doubts to ourselves, especially if we're investing our energy into similar goals. The same may be true for writing relationships. Perhaps it's a stretch of the imagination to tie this post into writing, but not such a large leap. We all deal in real life with our fragile inner critic as well as outside criticism and other struggles to make our dreams a reality. Sometimes it's hard to do these things on our own, and sometimes we realize it's just as hard or harder to to them together.
I really had to buckle down to take each challenge one at a time, and hold on to that image of the lake as visual proof things will get better. But sometimes you can't force a "good things list" and you can't make anyone else see that.
The good news is I have been driving myself to school without any breakdowns -- physical or nervous. :) For good or bad, time flies.