7 Things Sunday

I’ve been home for a little over a month now. I don’t really know how to describe what the transition back feels like.

It’s not bad.

In fact, it feels really normal and fine in a lot of ways. I love being around my friends and family again. I love the hot sun and driving through rural gorgeousness. I love muggy nights on back porches with twinkle lights and brews. I love the sound of cicadas as I fall asleep. But I’ll get hit with a pang of shock and sadness at any given moment.

Because I miss cobblestone streets and secondhand smoke. I miss dancing in the terrible dance bars. I miss the weird things that happen on public transportation and walking by a freaking castle on a daily basis. I miss my friends and kirk and Steampunk crew. I miss chips, cheese and curry. I miss being offered a cup of tea all the time. I miss walking everywhere. I miss every little bit of it except for the wind and lack of Vitamin D.

I know from my own experiences and from watching various friends and aquaintances go through the “coming back home” from wherever you were for however long…that it can be really, really rough. People get stuck. They get depressed. They isolate. The job doesn’t come as quickly as they want. The friends aren’t around. You feel different. You feel lost. It’s not what you expected. You get anxious about waiting. Nothing goes right. It feels like this whole part of your life was just a weird dream. Oh, transition. Patience is truly a virtue.

I have been determined to not let myself slip into this place. Do people slip into it? Is it a choice? Or does it just happen? I don’t know. Maybe it’s not that dualistic. It’s probably a little of both. Either way, I have felt my foot slipping a lot in the last week or two, but I know I can also make choices to avoid just flat out falling.

So, here is what I have found to be beneficial in making the transition as smooth as possible. Hopefully, if you are/have been/will be in the same boat, there’s something helpful in the list.

One. Change your perspective. Rather than being bored and lonely and focusing on everything I don’t have right now (i.e. a job, my own place, my own car, a vibrant social life, routine, etc.) I want to choose to see this as a time where I’m free to do a lot of things. In a matter of weeks or months I will likely be back in the daily grind and will wish more than anything that I had all the time I do right now. Why waste it?!

Two. Do what you love and do a lot of it. I love creating. This last year I missed that so much. Grad school required me to flex my left brain a lot. The right is a little rusty, which makes me nervous but you have to start somewhere. Like now. I started knitting a new scarf. I’m teaching myself how to embroider. I’ve been sketching more. I just painted over an old canvas to begin something new. I’ve been cooking awesome meals because I have the time to. I’ve surprised myself with how diligent I’ve been at morning prayer and meditation. I pulled out my kickboxing gloves from Farrell’s. Keeping your head and hands busy is crucial. 

Three. Say YES to everything. Normally this gets me in trouble and I work relatively hard not to say yes to everything. But in this season, it’s been a good thing. Right now in this little window of time, I have freedom to say yes to everything. How awesome is that?! Want to come over and watch a movie? Yes. Want to go on a road trip? Yes. Want to come to my potluck? Yes. Want to teach this art class? Yes. Want to volunteer here? Yes. Want to housesit? Yes. Do you want to come stay with me after surgery? Yes. Do you want to go on a bike ride? Yes.

Four. Have fun. Today I painted outside and then I came in and moved the furniture so I could do cartwheels and dance around like a lunatic. By myself. And it was really. freaking. fun. After that, I made myself a gin and tonic and jumped on my bed. And then I took a bubble bath. I mean…it beats watching TV. Or at least I think it does.

But seriously. You should do cartwheels and dance to this, too.

Five. People, people, people. Re-connect. Make the effort even if/when people aren’t making it with you. And with the right friends, be open about how you’re dealing with everything. You might be surprised by people’s insight. You also might be surprised at how good it feels to be social when you force yourself out of the woe is me/sulky/I’m cool doing this all on my own headspace. And if you can stay in touch with the people you love oh so much in your ‘other home’ doooooo it.

Six. Try to balance. I completely acknowledge that it is important and normal to let yourself fully feel and wrestle with all the complicated, frustrating, weird, messy, transitional shit, too. Don’t get me wrong. I know you can’t just switch it off and be a busy, social, happy bee until life’s pieces fall together. Reflecting is good. Bumming out okay. But no one has to stay there.

Seven. Pep talk to yourself on the regs. Oh man. For as positive and optimistic and proactive as all this ^ makes me sound. I am full of doubt and worry and anxiety. I have to tell myself truths all the time to counteract everything else in my head that is much louder and more obnoxious. These pep talks usually happen in the bathroom mirror and in the car when I’m driving. But they work. I know when I start pep talking myself it means that I’ve been paying attention to my thoughts. It’s like I’m catching them and holding them up to the light in order to examine whether or not they’re legitimate or if I need some rewiring. My best friend has this notecard on his door where he wrote “Remember the upsides”. If you suck at catching your own thoughts, put reminders to stay positive in places you will see them. It’s simple.

Love,

Taylor

7 Things Sunday

One. I really wanted to go to the Isle of Skye but it is best to go there with a car, which is something I don’t have. So, I posted in a Couch Surfer discussion group for Edinburgh to see if anyone else wanted to go that could possibly drive and Voila! We became a group of four headed for the magical island in a tiny but efficient Yaris. It was a fierce and incredible trip. The first night we got there I remember lying down to sleep and being startled by the stillness. Absolute silence. I could not hear a thing. I’ve been to remote places before but this was a whole other level of quiet. It’s strange how unsettling silence can be when you aren’t used to it. The next morning I woke up before everyone else (story of my life), made some coffee, went on a walk and talked to the sheep and lambs. I saw more of them than I did people…as if I needed more of a reason to fall in love with the place. We spent all of the days hiking: The Quiraing, Old Man Storr, a couple of places around Egol, and The Fairy Pools (we may have climbed to The Lord of the Rings soundtrack a few times because it felt that epic) and the evenings were for stretching our legs, drinking wine, and getting toasty by the fire. The landscapes there are unreal and breathtaking. The pictures don’t even do it justice. Overall, Skye was exhilarating and good for my soul. One side note: I needed to get some gloves before we left and ended up having to buy ones from the children’s section. Tiny hands. Baby chilly fingers.

Two. (Most of) Flat 3-4 celebrated Clare’s birthday last week! We made a delish fajita dinner together. Then we went out for karaoke. It was hilarious to see which songs everyone picked. Everything from Alien Ant Farm to Taiwanese band called SHE to R. Kelly was sang. I surprised myself by keeping up with Andre 3000 and totally dominating ‘Ms. Jackson’. I’m now trying to cope with the fact that I may be pursuing the wrong career entirely. IMG_8748

I feel very lucky that I ended up with these babes for flatmates this year. We’re from six different countries, speak three different languages, and all have very different personalities…which sounds like it could be a disaster but hey, not only have we survived- we’ve thrived. I will miss everyone’s endearing quirks, late night kitchen conversations, movie nights, scouring the ‘reduced to clear’ section of the grocery store, taking out the bin bags together, going on walks, and generally anything Arnie says or does. We’re having a flat ‘Last Supper’ on Monday before we all take off in different directions. Nooooo 😦

Three. I said goodbye to my campus room yesterday and moved into a new flat for the two months I have left in Edinburgh. It’s a cheery, sunny place and my bedroom has a view of the sea! I’m sharing it with two other girls who work full time. They’ve been absolutely lovely and welcoming. They helped me move in and had a sweet bouquet of roses in my room. D’awwww. But as I was unpacking everything last night I was internally moaning about the constant transition. Always going. Always changing. Never settled. Never knowing what comes next. Sometimes I love it or I at least wouldn’t know how to function without it…but I. am. so. tired. I don’t want to keep adjusting to a new thing when I’m just getting used to the previous new thing. And yet I can’t imagine how long I’d be content with staying in one place or doing one thing. Maybe it’s just the age/life stage. “My heart wants roots, my mind wants wings, and I cannot bear their bickering.” No truer words have ever been spoken. For real. IMG_9108 IMG_20150304_163054703_HDR IMG_20150304_163505201_HDR Processed with VSCOcam with kk2 preset Four. At the moment I tend to put more effort into my breakfasts than I do into writing my dissertation. Whoops. IMG_8742 Five. When you’re at the station and have to pee sooo bad that you’re willing to pay for it and then… IMG_9091Six. My Dad and Wendy are coming to visit in TWO DAYS! I’m so excited I might cry. And my mom is coming to visit the first week of July! We will get to celebrate both of our birthdays while she’s here and we’re spending a few days in The Netherlands seeing our ancestral stomping grounds. She can geek out about genealogy and I can geek out about art museums. Holllllaaaa(nd).

Seven. This is the best thing I’ve tasted since I moved here: originalLove, Taylor