What keeps you up at night?

Or do you go to sleep at a reasonable, regular time. And can you do so without feeling guilt or regret or like you’re wasting your time by sleeping.

Some people need sleep to function. I don’t really. It’s not healthy, but I never have followed a regular sleep schedule. Probably an ok thing I guess, since the job I’m going into will entail night shifts and irregular hours and unexpected overtime depending on individual patients’ well-beings, nursing staffing numbers, etc.

But I mean it – what keeps you up at night?

What makes you go? What is the one thing, or few things, or many things that push(es) you up out of bed each morning, and makes it hard to slow down and stop to rest at night…

I’ll go first.

  • I want to write a book. Not sure about what yet. Probably something to do with nursing or healthcare at first, since that’s what I know most about right now.
  • I want to travel, and I want to travel everywhere.
  • I want to understand the healthcare system in America better, and I want to make the appropriate access to it easier for everyone – especially with a focus on primary care for aging/older adults (Business Insider article).

I have a few secondary, back-burner goals too.

  • I want to improve public education. I grew up moving every couple years as part of a military family, and the differences in public schools across different states were remarkable, and not always beneficially so.
  • I want to work with animals and animal shelters.
  • I want to work with young kids – show them everything they can be, what’s out there, what they can do / options they have after 12 years of school, improve their confidence and improve their balance in life (less screen time, more books, and a more well-rounded education source, not just lectures and powerpoints and old textbooks…).
  • I want people to recycle more. And by that I mean I want us to be able to recycle the resources we have now on Earth. We’ve made a mess of things now but educating the public and pursuing cleaner energy sources and creating environmentally conscious laws can help to clean things up.

My goals are vaguely stated. I know that. But at least I have an idea of what they are.

I think that everyone has passions but some of us ignore them. Whatever age you are, wherever you are, and however well off you are, I encourage you to chase your passions. I don’t know that we really live in a world where you can work as whatever you want and make enough money off of that to support yourself. I wouldn’t say that the “American Dream” is a real possibility for everyone. I think it’s more about who you know, and how well you started off in life. After those factors, then how hard you’re willing to work will determine your success.

This is just a reminder to everyone that your life is valuable, and that your unique, individual passions, when pursued, have the power to change the world. Even when it’s tiring, depressing, or boring to think of the work you have ahead of  you, it’s worth it to try.

On relationships

The prequel:

  • You need to know yourself before you know anyone else. You have to know what you like before you can let someone get close to you, and before you get close to them (note: these are 2 different concepts. not simultaneous occurrences by default). If you don’t know yourself, you’ll lose yourself in that other person. You’ll just be enveloped into their world and their personality and you may actually become them, and throw away everything you once knew about yourself.

The beginning:

  • I forgot what it feels like to like someone. “Like like” them, to refer to the language of my 6th grade self. Maybe it’s because it’s a little different with each time I start to feel that way about a new person, or maybe it’s because the last person I felt this way for it ended up poorly, so I blocked out that intensity and gush of feeling that came on at first. But it’s a definite feeling.

The middle, the second guessing:

  • Are you going to keep hesitating or are you going to try things in my life and have the ability to learn and reflect on them after, rather than wonder what it would have been like? You stand to gain a lot more with the second option, even if that second option initially causes huge losses (i.e. a loss in confidence after failed attempts).

“If we listened to our intellect we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go in business because we’d be cynical: ‘It’s gonna go wrong.’ Or ‘She’s going to hurt me.’ Or,’I’ve had a couple of bad love affairs, so therefore . . .’ Well, that’s nonsense. You’re going to miss life. You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.”                                – Ray Bradbury

  • So, make the move. Don’t wait for it to come to you, nicely packaged and wrapped. (See here, 20 seconds of courage ).
  • The thing is, people are going to think what they want no matter what you do. So just do you. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, and as long as you’re happy safe and healthy – just do you.

The finale:

  • If it ends, it ends. I date people with the vision of potentially marrying them and being with them forever. That’s always my end game. I’m not here to fool around. My time is valuable and I’m not going to invest in you if I don’t see you/us being valuable in the long run.
  • Reflect on it. Take enough time to inwardly review what happened. Reflection is how you learn. Honestly review if faults were your own or another person’s. Time will help with the honesty of your reviews. Initially everything can easily be made to be blamed on another person. But if you don’t catch your faults or their faults, you’ll very likely fall into those same mistakes and patterns over again, and it’s frustrating to go through something twice like that.

 

to be in love

(different than, “to fall in love”)

What’s it like to be in love? I’ll tell you. You put another person’s needs totally before your own. Even your most basic, instinctual needs for survival – food, water, happiness, warmth. Any of that you would forfeit for them immediately, without thinking. It’s not a couple-y, cutesy thing where you refer to everything in the “we” tense and think of some new, morphed version of the two of you. It’s when you don’t even think of yourself first, and you might completely forget to ever think of yourself. Your mind just immediately goes to that other person. That’s what love is. And if it’s anything less than that, then you’re fooling yourself.

1 date 2 stressful

I had a date on Friday night. I spent all day getting ready for it.

And when I say that I spent “all day” on this, I really mean it. I had to plan this date. I had to pick the area, and the time, and what we were going to do and see, and account for the weather, and my date’s price range, and his food preferences and allergies and other concerns, like whether crowds or loud noises might bother him, or if he was into the bar scene or not. I had to pick out my outfit, I had to scope out parking. I had to involve my friend in all these decisions because I didn’t trust myself to make all the decisions on my own. I had to shower and shave and take a long run to try to calm myself down before this date. I got so worked up over it, and then it went by so fast, and now I have nothing left to prove that it happened other than night #4 of the linguini leftovers in the fridge.

What is the dating etiquette to follow? Somewhere between temporary ignoring or possibly permanent ghosting (what’s being done to me) and clutching (what I do to other people). I get too attached too early on. I’m very loyal and I want people to like me so I always bend over backwards to please them and usually, I am the one that gets hurt in the end.

It’s not even the individual that I get attached to so strongly at first, it’s just the idea of it all. The idea that someone out there can like me, and might one day love me. I want someone to look out for me because it’s exhausting having to always look out for myself. It’s also difficult because when a relationship ends, it is then, by default, a failure. And a failure reflects poorly on me too, because I played a part in it. I always take the blame first. I know that’s not the healthy thing or the right thing to do, but it’s just what I do. What did *I* do wrong? What could *I* have done better?

Butterfly

Thinking of my parents on this Father’s Day.

The Lesson of the Butterfly

This is

  • a lesson on the importance of working through hardships, challenges and struggle.
  • a reminder that overcoming struggle makes you into who you are.  What is your story, what is your personality, what drives you, what keeps you up at night, and all the other million small parts that you can claim as part of yourself.
  • a reminder to parents, I think, who want to do everything they can for their children. While the man in this story meant well by trying to help the butterfly out of the cocoon, he actually suppressed that butterfly’s full potential. That butterfly will always be a stunted, lesser version of itself. If parents always give what they believe are necessities and favors to their kids, their kids will never form their own identity. Instead, they will just be molded into the idea of what their parents want them to be. (There is a time and a place for parental help. I’m not saying kids should be completely left to their own devices, but certainly in early adulthood/20s, kids should not feel like they have to do everything to please their parents. It is too much guilt to feel that way, and I speak from experience. I struggle to find my own way and chase my own dreams while also “doing enough” to make my parents happy. And you can have great parents and still feel this way. I do. I just struggle with balancing between overly relying on my parents, asking for too much, not asking for things enough, trying not to step on toes, and trying to be my own person…)

Image result for butterfly cocoon story

Sorry I’ve Been A Shitty Friend: A Multiple Choice Form Letter

So good!!

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

Dear (fill in name of friend here),

How are you? It’s been way too long, I know. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of you and then said to myself, I should really (call/write/at least click like on your vacation photos) but I’m sure you know how it goes. No matter how organized I am, it seems like (life/the news/a hangover) is always getting in the way. It’s so true what they say. Time sure does have a habit of flying when you’re (procrastinating/bemoaning the state of humanity/binge watching Better Call Saul), doesn’t it?

Funny thing is, your name came up just the other day. Someone asked me, “Hey, how’s (fill in name of friend here)? (He’s/She’s) got to be almost (ready to move/ready to have a baby/done with school), right? And it…

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When you [ass]ume… Or, how to be a nice human

They teach you in nursing school to never walk in a room and assume how a family is put together. This is especially relevant on the obstetrics unit. In other words, do not assume who is the father or mother of the baby, and do not try to guess who is an extended family member vs. who is a friend. You’ll probably get it wrong.

I think this attitude of open-mindedness is how we should always try to approach things. Limiting your bias is a complex task and one that I continually struggle with.

For one thing, it’s easy to believe the wrong thing. There’s a lot of information out there, and filtering through it is a chore. There is social media, popular media, news reports, journals, blogs…(it’s even harder to know what to believe when such highly influential leaders claim major news sources are “fake news,” but I won’t get into that here…).

Then, there are the physical, real people who you regularly see. Whatever sources you expose yourself to will heavily influence your beliefs and your range of experiences. There is no one source or one person to listen to always. It is best to use a variety of resources and people to form your own opinions.

Based on my prior experiences, reducing bias [which I am using as a general, all-inclusive term for bigotry, prejudice, racism, sexism, etc.] is a four step process.

  1. The first step – recognize that you might be wrong.
  2. The second step – listen to the other person fully. Try to understand what they’re saying without super-imposing your own beliefs over theirs.
  3. The third step – respond. Say your piece, what you’ve known beforehand, and ask for direct clarification on these new or different points of view. Lack of communication is the cause of EVERY MISUNDERSTANDING EVER. Refer to a history textbook if you think I’m wrong.
  4. The fourth step – reflect. Either together or in private, you should compare your thoughts prior to and following these conversations, because it shows where you started and how much you might have changed afterward. You shouldn’t be wishy-washy; still maintain some of your own ideas, but do so politely, without being obnoxious or overbearing.

So much more can be learned and shared when controversial topics are approached with a gentler mentality, something that is along the lines of: “this person may not have had the same exposure to information or personal experiences that I did, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt, listen to their piece, and then share my own opinions.”

It can be easier to be on the defense, to immediately justify what you believe and to correct or put down what someone else believes. Essentially, people are creatures of habit. What we already know is safe. What we don’t know is danger. But our differences make us stronger and they should be treated as learning opportunities. The stories we tell and the wisdom we have comes from the differences that everyone has, not their same-nesses [if you have a better word here for this, let me know].

IMG_8367

I took this picture 6 months ago on a family vacation. I think it shows the interplay of two very different cultural backgrounds, and how our differences are sources of interest and opportunities to learn more. These are people native to the area (Philipsburg, St. Maarten, in the Eastern Caribbean) vs. families vacationing from the USA.

Punishing people for their differences is one of the most backwards things we can do. Someone’s ethnic or racial or gender or other identity should not be the reason they are held back or disadvantaged in a system. We should make people feel welcome and comfortable rather than isolated and fearful. It will result in stronger communities, more genuine relationships, and more lovely, kind individuals. That is the world I would like to see.

357695-Benjamin-Franklin-Quote-Justice-will-not-be-served-until-those-who

If you are like me, and you want to be more respectful but at the same time, you question your political correctness or cultural accuracy when inquiring into people’s lives, here are some things I have learned.

  • If you want to learn more, expand your friend group. Make friends with a variety of people. People who are different from what you already know. People from a variety of different backgrounds. People with other cultural, religious, gender or other identities.
  • Travel more. Either go to several places frequently or go to one place that you’re really interested in, and invest yourself in another culture entirely by going to the source directly.
  • Learn another language.
  • Rethink your common, everyday speech. For example, rather than ask, “what are you?” (see 0:18 for reference), it’s better to phrase this as “where is your family/where are you from?” I really recommend watching this Netflix series and the movie that it is based on for one particular view and a current, fresh look at black culture that it offers. Although the characters are fictional, the subject matter is very real. (Here is the link for the movie trailer.)
  • Look to other sources. Don’t limit yourself. Look everywhere. Watch documentaries, watch local movies, watch international movies and foreign films, read books, form opinions and be able to support them with valid reasons.

~end of post.