Solo Date

To finish off a week of “staycation” this past week, I decided to treat myself to a Solo Date today.  It was nothing extravagant, but it was relaxing and enjoyable, nonetheless.  I had initially planned to get various tasks done over my week off work. Instead, I dealt with a feverish 3-year-old for the whole week (including a visit to urgent care), interspersed with the Mommy Duties I don’t usually get to do: walk to the bus stop, lunch at McDonald’s, cooking dinner, watching Paw Patrol…

I fantasized about going for a pedicure all week.  Each glace down at my feet revealed the almost-grown-out orange nail polish from my last pedicure back in October.  The guilt of not spending all my time off with the kids, as well as the feverish toddler, and more “responsible” tasks (like renewing my vehicle registration and taking my sick kid in for assessment) managed to almost completely obliterate the opportunity for my favourite guilty pleasure.  Today, however, I decided to go for it!

There is nothing more relaxing, in my opinion, than sitting in a massage chair while having my calves and feet massaged.  It was so easy for me to just sit back and take it all in – and I did it!  I splurged a little and got the gel polish to ensure my treat lasts, and I just relished the ability to sit peacefully and undisturbed for an hour and recharge myself. I am also a huge sushi lover, but I rarely go because I know very few people who eat sushi, and it is kind of expensive.  All week, however, I have been longing for the deliciously fresh indulgence of sushi.  I tried all week to convince a friend to join me for lunch, but it just never worked out… so I took myself on a post-pedicure solo sushi date.

Again, it was a wonderful feeling to sit, alone at the table, and really experience the taste of my food.  My calves were still a little tingly from the spa pedicure cream that was used for my leg massage and I sat back and sipped on my authentic Japanese green tea.   A few times I did feel myself falling prey to the guilty thoughts of my kids at home with the Nanny, waiting for me to walk through the door; especially my oldest son A, who knew that I was off work again today and assumed that I would be home when he got off the school bus.  I worked diligently, though, to remind myself that it’s okay to take a few hours for myself every once in a while to just take care of me.

My kids didn’t totally lose out, though: Before heading home I popped into Walmart to get them a little treat.  I also bought an inexpensive Chess board because I have been eager to start teaching A how to play Chess.  After watching the end of a movie with them and tucking little E away for his afternoon nap, I sat down with A and started teaching him a simplified version of Chess.  Am I ever looking forward to this kid learning the whole game!

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Distressing Dreams

The past has been coming back to haunt me.

Over the past few weeks I have been having a series of distressing and upsetting dreams about people and events from the past.  I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to process and accept the misfortunes that serve as the basis for these dreams, but clearly, they are still stirring around in my subconscious, waiting to haunt me at the least opportune times.

It is coming up on that time of year again: the residency matching saga where medical students scramble to apply to, interview, and eventually get offered (hopefully) a residency position where they want.  If you followed my old blog, you will know how distressing of a time this is for me.  If you are new to my blog, I’m sorry that this post will make less sense to you – I will try to find a way to explain the terror that this time of year was for me when I went through it a few years back (perhaps in another blog post).

Intertwined in the match saga is the surge and then eventual demise of my relationship with my old friend and mentor, Kay.

Unfortunately the dreams that have been occurring lately have all involved Kay or other people that elicit the painful and undesirable memories that this time of year holds for me.  I know that my current levels of dissatisfaction and confusion about my career choices makes these memories and events even more difficult to tolerate.  After all, if I was very happy in my current situation it would be easy to say that “this was the best thing that could have happened to me.”  But, I can’t say that.  So, my subconscious continues to dwell on the “what if” and “if only” byproducts of my past misfortunes.

One dream that is recurrent, but seems to be more prominent now, involves the resurgence and reconnection of my friendship with Kay.  It plays out exactly how I wish it would have long ago.  It is a beautiful dream filled with honesty, forgiveness, understanding, and starting anew.  However, too much time has passed now and having this dream only causes pain because I know it will never come to be.  I end up asking myself why I still dream of having her back in my life as a valued friend, after everything that’s happened.  I want to believe that she is a good person who either did what she needed to do at the time, or realized she made a mistake with how she treated me.  Unfortunately, as more time passes, I come to believe more and more that she feels that she made the right decision by removing me from her life.

I have “recollection dreams” about how important Kay was at this time in my life, those few years ago.  I recall her supportive words and her sympathy and empathy over the catastrophic events.  I re-experience all the good and wonderful times we had in our friendship and I wake up to the sorrow of knowing that something so wonderful no longer exists.  And to make it worse, that sorrow is filled with feelings of guilt and anger towards myself – reminding me that I am at fault for the absence of this beauty in my life.

Last night my sleep was riddled with variations of the same dream: This one involved interactions and observations of the people who didn’t experience my same misfortunes.  These people are, in essence, living the career life that I had imagined for myself… The life that was shattered for me with little explanation, but that was given to them as they expected.  I watched them as they expressed satisfaction and happiness with where their lives are going, all while I am lost in the confusion and distress of my own life.  The variations involved them coming into my world, and me going into their world, and regardless of where we were, I felt resentment and anger towards them and the system that allowed this to happen.

It is not helpful for me to experience these types of dreams while I am in the midst of trying to overcome negativity in my day to day life.  It is difficult for me to get out of bed after a night of distressing dreams and say to myself, “today is going to be a great day!”  It is next to impossible to keep looking forward and push through my day -to-day challenges when my subconscious continues to drag my back into the past I am trying to overcome.  I can’t control what I think about when I sleep, and I have no solution to overcome this problem.

This Winter is Better Than The Last

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.”

~Anne Bradstreet

From The Old Blog, November 4, 2014:

An observation that I make every fall is that people are always complaining how cold the weather is becoming.  I am guilty of this as well.  However, I quickly remind myself that if we had these same temperatures in March or April, we would be over the moon with excitement and some of us would already be breaking out the capri pants and sandals.  While I am not “crazy” enough to still wear sandals in this chilly fall weather, the different perspectives based on the time of the seasons are not lost on me.

The seasonal metaphor is quite amenable to the normal ups and downs of life.  After reading my post from last year, I realize that I am not nearly as low or as cold as I was at this point last year.  I am however, feeling lower than I have at other points in this year.  I can tell you why though: I am tired and exhausted from my work schedule, and I’m not at all happy with my work-life balance.  I find it stressful that I don’t have control over these aspects of my life right now.  I am tired and exhausted from being pregnant and some days I still wonder why I thought this was a good idea.  I’m hoping when the spring comes (conveniently when this baby is due, as well), I will have the right answer to this question.

As a sufferer of Seasonal Affective Disorder, it should come as no surprise that the winter months are harder for me than the spring and summer.  However, it is definitely these lows that make the highs better.  I am relieved to realize that (at least so far), this winter is not nearly as cold and drought filled as last winter, and that makes me feel so much better!  I wonder if it’s a coincidence that they are predicting a milder winter for this part of the world this year, too…