As my father’s 60th birthday approaches, I can’t help but think about celebration and grief.

I would love to call my Dad on the phone and remind him that he’s another year older and that his hairline has disappeared. I would probably call him the ol’ Onceler and we’d talk about our days and the grandkids and all things good and bad. He would reminisce on a full life and we would laugh. He’d probably answer “Yello…..” and he’d inevitably throw in a “quitcherbitchin” when I started to rant about any nonsensical thing.

Celebration

Maybe a surprise party; balloons, cake, and presents. We would discuss my dissertation and all of the studying he did in college when I was a kid. He would share all of the wit and the troubles. He would also remind me that he made more money than I probably ever will,

-because he did not finish college,

-life was not fair,

-and I should not stand for that type of treatment.

This was his gentle, and obvious way, of ribbing me into a competition to push beyond the limits he envisioned that I had set for myself. I also would never do the types of manual, dangerous work he did, so there is that too.

He would tell the very best “dad jokes” and about how my driving always scared him. “She always said the lines on the road were a suggestion…..” Or, he’d do that weird egg crack trick on top of my head, because no matter how successful or old, making your child’s stomach turn is somehow hilarious. And when he did, I would gently remind him of how when I was little I removed the fish from their meticoulsly pristine home, dried them off, and put them back! *That’s one of those stories you tell your parents later in life because you’d get in major trouble when you were six*

No matter how exciting or mundane, I would love to see these pop up again.

Time to go fishing
Always fall back on what you know of sports ❤ (I totally passed stats and I’ve taken more)
🙂
My graduation moved to Spring
December 2020 ❤ I’m going to walk the stage this time

Grief

This isn’t the first time, and I hope it is not the last time I have written about grief. You are welcome to see Like A Stone for more about losing my father. There is no going back to whatever I pictured an ideal existence to be before. This is my new normal.

There is nothing exceptional to any part of the story other than it is my own. Maybe there is someone that needs to know that a new normal is possible. Maybe someone needs to know that coupling grief and depression is not crippling, but it is ok if sometimes it needs to be. For 24 years, he knew what life was like without me, but I did not learn how to exist without him for 31. This is year 4, and I am ok.

I was so damn angry when it happened. Then I was relieved. Today it is fine. I cannot tell you what comes next. Through death I learned that nothing I care about and intend to protect can be bought. Time is a far more valuable currency.

I learned that letting go is an option. There is nothing I need to inject where the universe is perfectly qualified. The integrity that I so fearfully wanted to protect was not going to be sustained through any venegful or foolish acts. I learned that people can be gentle and loving and people can be selfish and hurtful, and when the strings are pulled tight the spirit that they feed will not hide for long. I learned that no one gets to define my intentions but me and I learned to live with the words that convey misunderstanding. I learned to accept the apology that I was never given. And I learned to forgive myself for being human; weaknesses and all.

I learned that the example that I set will only be positive if I let go of fear. I appreciate all of the times when my heart was hurting and I was simply told, “you don’t have to put up with that”. So, I changed my response instead of controlling the situation. I learned that I am too small to carry the weight of everything. I learned to appreciate travelling places where I am reminded that I am small.

Have you ever watched animations of the universe? They tend to start at Earth and pull back through systems and galaxies until we are all but unrecognizable, but an integral piece. Makes me cry, every-dang-time.

Next….

I have spent time educating children and adults about safety. Here may be just the spot to interject some of that transferrable advice. If you, or someone that you care about, is struggling with addiction, depression, or other mental/physical health concerns, take time to identify the people in your life that you can go to for help. Whether directly affected or an observer, it is ok to reach out for help. You are not a burden.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

img_0423
Advertisements

As you continue to read, imagine we are talking. I will be me and you be you. It is perfectly fine as you digest what you have taken in and begin to give it meaning that you change roles. Maybe you are me, maybe you are still you thinking about a time that you have talked to a me in your life. Maybe this makes no sense to you and you are still reading because dammit, you are intrigued.

“How about that weather?” 

-“Weather” never ceases to exist, and at some point in the past, whether it be recent or not, you and I both have experienced it before. What about the jet stream? Or climate change? What about clear skies and starry nights?

“Whew, long day huh?”

-Each and every day is a measurement of time, which is finite. This day is the same in length as other days. Are you tired? Overworked? Underwhelmed? It’s not a long day. Maybe you need a hug, or a nap.

Well, it IS Monday!”

– Yes, every week. Monday continuously happens. I believe Garfield also hated Mondays. Whatever stuggle is being tied to “Monday” is likely unconnected. Commiting a robery? Well, it’s Monday! Thursday and you would’ve been in a real pickle. Stub your toe? Wreck your car? No, you did not succumb to an interruption of situational awareness. It’s Monday!

“The rain! The heat! The wind! The ultraviolet rays! It’s cold! I’m melting! Are my elbows sweating?”

I simply cannot. No, I can. Because like some social psychopath I have studied the ways of the people in an attempt to appear normal when I’m approached with small talk. If you’re at all familiar with my background and think I should have a better, more professional, and possibly concise way of describing that feeling, I do not.

I crave connection. Meaningful connection. A long conversation about the weather, or current projects, or about what joys and troubles the time reminds us of, I can do that. Too often, “How are you?” is uttered in such a rush that it becomes something to say instead of an invitation to empathy. I feel the same way about “I’m sorry.” You can read about that too: I Stopped Saying I’m Sorry

I like “Hello’s”. If the purpose of sharing a phrase is to acknowledge another person, that does just the trick. If you ask me (or someone like me) a follow up question, then a stream of thoughts, feelings, memories, and connections start that I am unable to stop. A little obsessive? Maybe. I would love to share with you a funny anecdote or a great article I read. I could be tired, and maybe in that moment what I need is for someone to simply let me know that whatever struggle is present will pass. There could be no negative, it could be a really great day and what I would love to share is hope. I can have a really great conversation about any number of things.

The interaction is so mechanical. Let’s talk about research and your interests. Ten or one thousand small, meaningless interactions make me tired. Repeated stimulation with no resolve, makes me tired. So that I can avoid being a bother, I shut off.

In my limited time, I have learned a few ways to combat the way small talk makes me feel.

  • Make eye contact. Acknowledge that someone exists. If you’re shy (and I mean that in a way that someone is shy and experiences a real fear when interacting with people) maybe try it once. Let it happen and see how it works. 
  •  If you’re going to engage in small talk, see it through. Don’t say something for the sake of making noise.
  •  (THIS ONE IS ME!) If silence makes you uncomfortable, practice. I’ve worried myself countless times wondering if the silence wasn’t filled would somebody spot that I am a person that lives with depression or anxiety or due dates or I haven’t folded the laundry that I washed 3 whole days ago. I engage in public speaking more than I would have told you I was willing to 10 years ago. It has taken a long time to learn how to just hush instead of using fillers like “like” and “ummmmmm”. Pause is ok.
  • You love small talk. Don’t get irritated when you say something and the recipient wants to engage. Otherwise, pause.
  • I am inspired by people that make other people feel important. The key ingredient is time. Giving someone your time is a gift that cannot be replaced.

How do you feel about small talk? Any additional tips or thoughts?

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

img_0423

3) Boundaries. Set them...

You are not available 24 hours a day. Look back at the bubbles. Outside of that centralized area where you take care of yourself and then the people closest to you, boundary.

We are not available, exhaustible resources.

One night, when I could not sleep, I checked my email. At roughly 4 AM, I had inadvertently engaged in conversation with a student. (If said student happens to read this..It’s all good, I’m just making a point.) I have made an effort to stop engaging in everything at all hours of the day. There are times I need to focus on work, and I am paid to do so. There are other times where I need to be present for myself and my family. The reward outweighs the paycheck. Other times, I am a student. This is important to me and deserves my mostly undivided attention from time to time ( a lot of time).

But, time is finite, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Prioritize- and be firm-

2) Shut off…

I share a lot. I do not share everything. There is value in sharing feelings and experiences, but you do not get all of it.

How amazing is it that at any hour of any day all over the world we can be connected to people and news and events and opinions and criticisms and nonsense and so on? Stop it from time to time and connect with reality.

To put words into practice, try:

  • shutting off your phone
    • disconnect your email so you can only focus on the content when you are ready (make sure you make time to be ready)
    • turn off notifications
      • check all of your media (social and otherwise) when you are ready. Disconnect from the dings, lights, and vibrations
  • stepping away from the computer
    • give an hour (or more) a day to being at the computer to deal with what needs to be dealt with there
  • turn off the TV
    • I do not watch much TV, but it does provide background noise pretty often. Still ok to turn the thing off

1) Practice Patience…

…and recharge. Set the example when you are on information overload. Outside of an absolute emergency, people can wait, and so can you. Set priorities. If you need to answer something by the end of the day, do that. If you need to check 3 times and day and provide feedback, do that. When you are “off”, be off. Do not compromise the integrity of the many positions that you hold.

Make your contributions meaningful, not half-assed.

A few extras…

I have found something that I absolutely love. My Apple Watch to the rescue when I need to focus or if I’m feeling extra anxious. The “Breathe” app has been amazing. The program includes a graphic representation of an expanding image to coincide with inhaling. The watch also pulses along with the inhale. Why is this amazing?

There is something to pull focus away from whatever is overwhelming. I used this for the first time just before a flight. Now, I use this in public, at home, or wherever I need a second to center. Nobody knows what I’m doing, because I’m just breathing, The pull away from outside stimuli whether real or perceived that triggers anxiety (BTW, thanks anxiety!) is helpful.

You are able to set the duration from 1 minute to 5 minutes of focused breathing. My favorite practice is to set it for 5 minutes, and go ahead and reset once that is over.

For the watch I own:
Apple Watch

If you are not into apple products, it looks like Fitbit has a comparable feature:
FitBit

 

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

img_0423

3) Boundaries. Set them...

You are not available 24 hours a day. Look back at the bubbles. Outside of that centralized area where you take care of yourself and then the people closest to you, boundary.

We are not available, exhaustible resources.

One night, when I could not sleep, I checked my email. At roughly 4 AM, I had inadvertently engaged in conversation with a student. (If said student happens to read this..It’s all good, I’m just making a point.) I have made an effort to stop engaging in everything at all hours of the day. There are times I need to focus on work, and I am paid to do so. There are other times where I need to be present for myself and my family. The reward outweighs the paycheck. Other times, I am a student. This is important to me and deserves my mostly undivided attention from time to time ( a lot of time).

But, time is finite, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

Prioritize- and be firm-

2) Shut off…

I share a lot. I do not share everything. There is value in sharing feelings and experiences, but you do not get all of it.

How amazing is it that at any hour of any day all over the world we can be connected to people and news and events and opinions and criticisms and nonsense and so on? Stop it from time to time and connect with reality.

To put words into practice, try:

  • shutting off your phone
    • disconnect your email so you can only focus on the content when you are ready (make sure you make time to be ready)
    • turn off notifications
      • check all of your media (social and otherwise) when you are ready. Disconnect from the dings, lights, and vibrations
  • stepping away from the computer
    • give an hour (or more) a day to being at the computer to deal with what needs to be dealt with there
  • turn off the TV
    • I do not watch much TV, but it does provide background noise pretty often. Still ok to turn the thing off

1) Practice Patience…

…and recharge. Set the example when you are on information overload. Outside of an absolute emergency, people can wait, and so can you. Set priorities. If you need to answer something by the end of the day, do that. If you need to check 3 times and day and provide feedback, do that. When you are “off”, be off. Do not compromise the integrity of the many positions that you hold.

Make your contributions meaningful, not half-assed.

A few extras…

I have found something that I absolutely love. My Apple Watch to the rescue when I need to focus or if I’m feeling extra anxious. The “Breathe” app has been amazing. The program includes a graphic representation of an expanding image to coincide with inhaling. The watch also pulses along with the inhale. Why is this amazing?

There is something to pull focus away from whatever is overwhelming. I used this for the first time just before a flight. Now, I use this in public, at home, or wherever I need a second to center. Nobody knows what I’m doing, because I’m just breathing, The pull away from outside stimuli whether real or perceived that triggers anxiety (BTW, thanks anxiety!) is helpful.

You are able to set the duration from 1 minute to 5 minutes of focused breathing. My favorite practice is to set it for 5 minutes, and go ahead and reset once that is over.

For the watch I own:
Apple Watch

If you are not into apple products, it looks like Fitbit has a comparable feature:
FitBit

 

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

img_0423