Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Waxing Pensive

Today was one year from the "maximum improvement status" on my wrist, which meant a check-up phone call from worker's comp. It is really amazing to me that something so small has caused so much life change. Forgive me for writing my thoughts out on here. I think we're all friends. 

The BYU worker's comp lady wanted so badly for me to give her good news that I didn't correct her when she said I probably had more function than I thought I would. The truth is more that I've gotten used to it. I remember when I first got the cast off, my wrist felt like some alien appendage, and I would act like at any point it might jump up and strangle me (like Wormtail's silver hand. Harry Potter? Anyone? Anyone?). Maybe I don't have more function, but I've figured out ways to still do things with my life. Can't snowboard? Well, I'll just go Cross-Country skiing. If I strap on an ugly wrist brace, I can actually do a lot of things. I've learned to lift with my forearms, which is not quite as handy (haha, I'm so puny), but means I can still move things. It still hurts to type though and with the weather comes annoying aching. In fact, it hurts every day. But again, this is not as devastating as it seemed at first. 

I have to be more careful and I have learned to expect pain or discomfort, but that is definitely endurable. Weirdly, this whole experience has actually done a number on me with how I feel. I honestly went through the first 22 years of my life thinking that I could do anything. Suddenly I found myself with an injury that would affect me for the rest of my life and I wasn't ready for something like that yet. It's made me stronger, but in a very subtle way. In some aspects, I am more afraid and cautious than I used to be (you won't see me doing handstands any time soon), but in others I am fearless. Yeah, I had to give up some of my dreams, my grad school admission, my career choice, and a lot of activities. Am I ok? Yeah. Can I still do so much with my life? Of course. I have found myself pretty much at the low of lows and I survived. It's probably what helped me brush off my recent Oregon school experience with little more than a hearty chuckle. Do I know where I am going right now? No. But I like it. It doesn't scare me anymore. I have felt and experienced what it is like to have everything turned upside down and I know you get through it. 

Initially I could not understand why something like this had happened to me. I'm a relatively nice person. I pay my tithing. It seemed so horribly, bitterly unfair. But now I know I can handle anything. Instead of destroying my confidence and leaving it in pieces, this experience broke it down and slowly made it into something better. I know who I am and I know what I can do. I'm not saying I would wish for it again, or even that I'm to the point where I can feel grateful for it. I just have come to terms with it, and can acknowledge the changes it has made. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How to Always be Happy

In life, devastating events can occur and we find ourselves facing nearly insurmountable odds. When we've climbed all the mountains we can, and find ourselves at the end of our emotional rope, there's really not anything we can do. Except crawl into a corner. And die.

That's not what this post is about. Don't ever allow yourself to be melodramatically depressive for more than 15 minutes if you're by yourself or for more than 30 if your with a group of empathizing friends. Maintain your happiness! This is crucial. Below are my tips for sustaining a balanced positivity in day to day life. This is not to be confused with Beating the Winter Blues, those suggestions are for last minute happiness boosters and should only be used in emergencies, and thus sparingly. You should try these on a nearly daily basis.

1. Eat Carrots

Not only are these golden finger-like gifts of the gods absolutely delicious, they're also packed full of vitamin A. And fiber. Once you've trained yourself to stress-eat carrots, you can cut out a good portion of your chocolate consumption. Meaning that now only 67% of your daily caloric intake is derived from Nestle or Hershey. Trust me, you can go through an entire bag of this delectable vegetable a day.

2. Watch Evita
First of all, this is the best movie ever made. Second, it has Antonio Banderas. The more you watch it, the better it gets. After a mere 15 viewings, you will know all the lyrics to all the songs. Which is bound to make you very popular with those of the opposite gender. All you have to do is saunter up to your intended target, croon out the lyrics to I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You, look at them seductively, and they're yours.

3. Drive up Provo Canyon

If you don't live in Provo or Utah County, just drive somewhere with trees or mountains. Or if you live in the midwest, drive to an Arby's. I'm not even kidding you that driving up that canyon brings more joy into my life than almost anything else. My favorite part is heading back towards Provo from the reservoir. There's one point in the drive right before you pass Sundance, where the angle of the mountains is just incredible. Really, you should try driving up there. Or maybe have someone else drive you up there so you don't go off the road after becoming entranced by this glorious view I just told you about.

4. Listen to Tom Jones

Ok, or really just It's Not Unusual. I first came to love this song when seeing it on Mars Attacks! in my youth and this love has stayed with me as I have grown. In fact, I find myself happily bouncing down the street, swinging my arms to the beat and beaming at everyone I walk past for nearly the entire 2.5 minute duration of the song. I have even found myself happily bounding along to this song as I've been trudging through snow.

5. Spend an Inordinate amount on time on Facebook

This is my best suggestion for maintaining a happy life. Get on Facebook. A lot. Not only does this make you feel like you're actually interacting with friends, you can do all sorts of things. Like, stalk your ex-boyfriend's roommate's sister's best friend's cousin's wedding pictures. Or go through liking everything that comes up on your news feed. Or looking for ways to make a cuss word on Words with Friends. Possibilities with Facebook are endless.

Well, friends. Stay positive, and do these things as often as you can for a happy and fulfilling life.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Life Modifications

Whoa boy, sometimes changes are the hardest things to take. I like to think I'm good at it, but I'm really not. I still have and mostly use the same yahoo! email account from 2002, and I resist every time they try to update it to the new version. I still hate my new facebook timeline. Whenever I have to switch to a new cell phone (sadly a somewhat common occurrence), I feel like a little part of me has died. At the same time, I have never lived in the same apartment for more than a year, I switch out shampoo brands every couple months or so, and I (fully intend to) donate a piece of clothes for every new one I buy. Because even though it hurts me, I know, deep down, change is good for me. Just ask Tupac.

Right now, I am switching rooms, but staying in the same apartment. I found myself looking at the bathroom my roommate and I currently share with an emotional pang this morning. After Friday, I will never again use that shower. But, this will be a good experience. I am moving to a much bigger room, and going through my stuff once again will probably result in a much needed purging of extraneous things (like that one ugly sweater I only wore one time in 2008).

The saddest part is that my other 3 roommates are moving on to bigger and better things in a house for the summer. Now that they are packing up their things and preparing to leave, I am realizing that this is a big change that will initially be very difficult. Last year I did not live in this apartment, but in an apartment literally 2 feet away. I am going to miss being a porch step or closer away. I am going to even miss my roommate's weird penchant for poached eggs, pickles, baby lotion, gnomes, and country music. I actually just got a little chocked up typing that.

Personally, I chose to stay, because I have grown happily accustomed to the ward I am in now. However, I know this has to be my last summer here. No, things will never be the same, but maybe they'll be better? Stagnation is always bad. There's a reason you're more likely to get Giardia in a lake than a running stream. Every new experience and change can make us into (hopefully) better people. As Barney said, make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold. I don't even want to think about what it will be like to leave Provo for good at the end of the Summer. Good thing I'm not an emotional being who occasionally cries over battery commercials.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Best Worst News I've Ever Received

Well friends, I might as well admit it. I did not get into grad school this time. As sad as I thought I would be at this news, I had a rather fortunate method which informed me of my declining (well, technically I'm on the waiting list... but it won't happen). I thought I may share this with you, so it may bring you to an understanding of why I really am ok with it.

I'll take you to last Friday afternoon. I hadn't heard back yet from this school and I was somewhat curious as to my admission status (ok, I was going bonkers waiting to find out). So, I went ahead and called the school. Being tired of waiting, I left a polite, yet succinct voice mail. Five minutes later I got a call back. Apparently there had been some mailing error, and two of the letters came back with "return to sender". The individual on the phone then informed me of my placement on the waiting list. Way back on the waiting list. Before I can say a word, I am then subjected to a 26 minute onslaught of crazy. During the deluge of weird metaphors and explanations (I was compared to a pile of m&m's and blobs of clay) I had a personal epiphany. There was no way in heck I was going to this school. Yes, I was told how my "energy was not in sync with their program" and how I needed to "continue my spiritual journey to new depths". I was told they do not chose students off of merit, but who they think they feel has the best spiritual connection to their program. They just didn't like my incorporeal energy and my m&m color. Tender Mercies.

While I stayed composed on the phone (it wasn't too hard, I only had to say 4 words in 26 minutes) I thought I would feel the rush of sad when I hung up. Nope. Just overwhelming relief. If I hadn't been exposed to almost a straight half-hour of insanity, I probably would have been very, very disappointed. This was right though. Yeah, I really didn't mesh well with their program. I want to go somewhere where what I have accomplished is respected and where that respect could be mutually shown. It shouldn't require me to defend my (too normal) personality or to be judged because of the religious implications of the school I attended.

So, where does my "spiritual journey" go now? I had put off taking the GRE for too long to make the deadlines for other schools last year. Oh well, the GRE is done now. There is next year. As for where I live, I'll do whatever. Tuscon? San Antonio? West Virginia? I'll be good where ever is just around the river bend. I just need to consult with Grandmother Willow and see where my energies are most in sync.

(I'm really not disappointed)