Monday, September 29, 2014

it isn't the same anymore...

I think I am only now starting to realize why the last episode of How I Met Your Mother (from here on in referred to as HIMYM) struck a real chord with me. I was emotional when my all-time fave series, "Friends" ended, but I have been ruminating over the "Last Forever" episode of HIMYM stuck with me even months later. And I didn't know why. Initially, I chalked it up to the network airing it during a turbulent period of my depression. Or that I think that whole Ted and Robin ending sucks (it does, but the alternate ending solved all of that hoopla).

I think it's more than that. The characters are roughly close in age to where I am at now. Having gone through a divorce, it was hard to see one of my favorite couples go through what I sounds so silly, but I remember the folks in my life not getting why I was opting for a divorce, or the ones that did understand not really understanding how it feels. Now, as we all get older, more and more peers are starting to "get it" firsthand, unfortunately - it's something I don't wish on anyone. I learned a lot, but that experience left me jaded and scarred and I think only now am I letting myself be vulnerable to that.

I think the friendship stuff got to me the most. Watching the HIMYM gang drift. The girls of Sex & the City managed to make it work. So did the gang at Central Perk. But that wasn't real. The way things unfolded in the HIMYM finale was alarmingly true to life. I talk with Mike a lot about how easy it was to form lasting and deep friendships in high school and college. It was even easy to sustain friendships in those first couple of years after school because a lot of our friends live relatively nearby.

But then people get married. Divorced. Pregnant. Fired. Sick, Jaded. Lost. You name it. Life happens. And it comes at you fast and hard. And those formerly easily-maintained bonds fall by the wayside and it's no one's fault. Sometimes it is, but for the most past we drift naturally. No more bonding over shared academic interests and favorite pubs. No more experiencing the common feeling of living in a residence hall - an experience that I somehow had the emotional fortitude to endure throughout all of my undergrad years - and as an RA!

The drift makes sense and it's a fact of life, but it doesn't stop stinging. And when you're like me and depression and anxiety waves wash over you...and it takes effort to brush your hair and work and even get out of bed, it's hard to gain a realistic perspective or insight. It's also hard to know when not to blame your own mental illness and instead blame someone else for just being plain negligent.

Depression makes you loathe yourself, Guilt washes over you along with the sadness and loneliness. You see the worst case scenario all of the time because you live in a tunnel with all roads out leading to negative outcomes. It's the illness and it's not real, but it feels like it is. Same thing with the evolution of relationships as we grow older. It's nothing personal, but when you feel the loss it doesn't hurt any less.

Growing up is hard. I think all my work in higher education delayed my journey out into true adulthood on some levels...Very emotional these past couple of days. Trying to see the light instead of the dark at the end of the tunnel. Trying to remember that I'm so much farther along in the tunnel than I was in the spring. It''s just hard when your best friends don't live across the street or down the hall of your college dorm. I miss those school bus rides. Or the movie nights in the college rec room. The campus events that I got to attend instead of work at. The late-night shared pizza orders and trips to the crappy basement-esque bar. Half-priced appetizers after work. Always feeling loved, like I was the piece of a larger, really great puzzle. I am thankful for all of my current "puzzles" but miss fitting into more of them in a natural and organic way.

I took those sweet days of my early 20s for granted and while I wouldn't go back to that way of life for good (I enjoy grown-up paychecks, thank you very much) , a day or two would be quite the vacation from all of the intentionality and responsibility.

Dreaming of it right now....


Sunday, September 21, 2014

It's been awhile

...Yes I am aware of the reference to the well-known Staind song in my post title and it was totally intentional, as Aaron Lewis has one of the best voices I've ever heard in my life. But it has been. I was working today (ironically, I write for a living) and realized I hadn't written for myself in a long time. A lot has happened and things have been a whirlwind.

Mike and I are moving to a townhouse at the end of next month. So we have roughly five weeks to finish packing and to purchase the additional things we need to make the house a home. I say this because we are gaining 200 square foot in additional living space. It's a sweet little rental community, close to shopping and highways, but in a small town (well, as "small" as it gets in the Philadelphian urban sprawl). So best of both worlds...10 minutes further from my family, but it's not a permanent thing and not a long addition to travel time in the grand scheme.

We are excited to live in a two-story dwelling - we both grew up in houses with multiple floors and miss the boundaries that can be created from that (e.g. I finally get my office, Mike can watch loud TV when he comes home and not wake me, the dog and cat can coexist peacefully, the cat has a comfortable second-story view from her window sills)...we are also REALLY excited to have our own personal washer/dryer, big windows, warmly painted walls, an extra half-bath and a low-key pet-friendly community. On a personal note, I am excited that the community has a comfy clubhouse with free WiFi, so I can either work from my office or from there. I want so badly some days to have an alternative to our living room sofa (our current "office" is too tiny to serve as a work space), but socially the places in Quakertown are just too crowded and they're like that all of the time - think the large public library, Starbucks...not exactly calming and intimate. Plus, we have a free fitness center on premises so I ca finally avoid making excuses for my sedentary lifestyle and exercise to increase those endorphin levels just in time for the holidays.

I am still socially anxious. And I am depressed. But it's feeling less hopeless and it's getting easier to pinpoint things that exacerbate the condition. And living in a warm, happy, homey space that really feels like "home" will do so much for not only me, but for our family. Mike and I have been miserable living in a poorly maintained apartment complex and even our cat has had what we believe to be anxiety episodes this year. Now, she gets her second story refuge and we get our first real "home" as a family - we've lived in college apartments and cheap rentals for too long. Very thankful for Mike's promotion and my steady stream of business. We finally feel as though we have some good karma going. It's not always peaches, but it's better than it was. Thank God for all of it.