Friday, December 6, 2019

The paradox of being a questioner

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I am a questioner by nature. I don't know if I align with Gretchen Rubin's definition of questioners, but it is how I live my life. It's how I make my living as a researcher. Question everything. Don't be afraid to buck the trends, to pursue paths that others deem closed. 

And yet. I hate uncertainty in my life with a passion. I prefer things to be the way I want them (ha, if you haven't figured that out by now...). I have routines, habits that I live by. Breaking them and changing them is one of the biggest challenges in my life. 

I have major issues with uncertainty in relationships. I prefer that people come out and say why they're mad at me, or what their issues are. Just be straightforward - it saves so much time! 

So... I seek stability in my daily life, yet I make my living by asking questions, by trying to subvert the dominant paradigm. 

I'm comfortable with this dichotomy, even as it continues to puzzle me. Perhaps these two halves of me balance each other out? The yin and the yang...? 

On to question for another day at work... and then to go home and fall into my comfortable afternoon and evening routine. Just another day in the life of a paradox. 

Thursday, December 5, 2019


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I'm trying to be more okay with uncertainty. With not knowing how every little thing will turn out every day. Trying, really, to be less regimented, more open to what comes. 

It's hard. It's really hard for someone who is a creature of habit, of routine. But I am still trying - I figure that counts for something, right? 

It's harder when it's uncertainty in relationships, in the bigger "life" stuff, vs. just the day to day choices that I make. I'm more okay with making those at the last minute, or changing my mind. After all, it only affects me. 

But the bigger stuff? There are others involved - not just me. And in many cases, they are the source of the uncertainty. People are so, well, unpredictable. I like predictability - certainty - knowing how people will act, what they will choose to do. 

But I also know that I cannot dictate what others do, the choices they make, even when they involve me. 

I'm trying to be okay with the idea of just knowing that there are angels, and they dance.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Do you ever realize something, have a thought or even a revelation of sorts, and then...the universe conspires to make you realize that yes, this is where you should be, this is what you should be thinking... ?

It happened to me yesterday.
I've been thinking - and writing, in my personal journal - about how who I was led to who I am. How as much as I sometimes want to go back - back to when life was, well, a bit easier, I can't.
And I actually don't want to, now that I think about it.

The past is viewed with hindsight, those lovely rose tinted glasses of nostalgia.
And yet, there were things that drove me crazy about the life I was living then.
Those things that drove me crazy put me on the path to who I am now.

Who I was is who I am... those elements of me that I miss now? They're still in me. They're not lost - they're simply serving as the building blocks for who I am now.

So, thinking all of this, and pondering about it most of the weekend, and... then I got Oprah's newsletter in my email yesterday. (Yes, I know, but really - sometimes there are good ideas or articles linked in there!)

And this was the quote - from the Buddha, no less - that was in the image at the top of the newsletter...

Synergy. You gotta love it.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Rainbows and gratitude

Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
And look what it's done so far
What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing?
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.
The Rainbow Connection (in Kermit's voice, of course)

I came across these lyrics while cleaning up the ridiculous number of open tabs in my browser (side note: when did tabs appear, and what on earth did I do before that?) and realized just how much they resonate with me these days. 

I am still trying to hold on to my dreams, despite setbacks. 
Still trying to hope that good things will happen, that they're right around the corner. 
That despite the Jonah days and the strings of failures in life and in work, eventually I will string together some wins. 

And that got me to think about what I am grateful for ... I have so much to be thankful for in my life. 

Family I love more than ever. 
Work that I love. 
Coworkers who get me and have welcomed me in with open arms. 
Being more engaged, more involved, and more invested in this place where I live and work. 
Therapy that - for the first time in my life - seems to be working, that is making me more aware of my deepest feelings and the truth at the core of me. Finally, someone who has me think beyond the superficial, and makes me dig deeper. 
And related to that, finally (I think...) knowing what I want in my life. And knowing that it won't be easy but I am strong enough to get through to the other side. 

Focusing on the rainbows today...the possibilities...the dreams...

Monday, November 25, 2019

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Image by Beth Hendrickson Logan 

I am trying to remember to smile at the rain today. 

Yesterday was a Jonah day, as my college roommate used to say. You know, some days the whale eats you and there's nothing you can do about it but, well, wait. 

It was a Sunday of Suck. Seriously. 

Just a bunch of little annoying, frustrating, and (in one case) tragic things. 

Fruit fly infestation. Stinky trash probably the culprit but my god, there were so many of them.

Research proposal not discussed. Feeling as though I'm a poser at work - despite my passion and love for research, I have not made significant progress in years. Years. So now what? 

My microwave - which I literally use all day, every day - died last night. 

The tragedy, though, overshadowed them all. A staff member where I work died suddenly over the weekend. Completely unexpected. One of those people who just did her job, did it well, and helped whenever she could. It's horrible - the week of Thanksgiving? Really? and I cannot even imagine what her family is going through. 

It reminded me that my 'problems' are small. 
That I can still smile at the rain. 
That I'll find a way through this all (dear god, I hope I find a way to get rid of the damn fruit flies sooner rather than later...). 

And that life is too short, really, to focus on this stuff. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

No response is still a response

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I sent someone important to me a long and heavy email. I asked a lot of questions in the email, and also asked for them to respond. 

That was a month ago. 

They have not yet responded. 

And this is what keeps going through my mind... that not responding is a response. And that it means a lot that this person has not prioritized this or taken the time to respond. It took a lot for me to write and send that email. There were some potentially life-changing questions in there. 

I'll be honest - the non-response is in line with how this person deals with heavy things: avoidance. And it's one of the reasons I'm thinking of seriously changing our relationship. They have found plenty of time for other activities, other interests, other people in the last month. They just haven't had time to respond thoughtfully to my email. And that hurts. 

I guess now I have my answer. Even if I get one in the next few days (which, honestly, I don't think will happen...) it's going to be colored by the fact that they took so long to respond.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ah, the best laid plans and all that

After that post last Monday, I proceeded to have one of my worst days ever.

I had the wrong date for a guest lecture.

It snowed. A lot.

My leg hurt. A lot.

I got to nothing on my to-do list.

It was a mess.

So the restart happened later last week, not Monday. But now, I am finally, finally, finally feeling more like myself. Being sick sucks. I am the worst sick person on the face of the planet. Really. I hate it.

And yet, the past three days, I've had so much more energy. I've moved more, gone back to taking the bus to work, and even started with some mini-workouts. My appetite is better, the brain fog is gone, and I feel like I can actually tackle the four-page to-do list I have.

Sometimes, I guess it just takes time. When you're impatient, as I am, and when you hate being sick, as I do, then a long illness and recovery period is one of the most frustrating things on earth.

But sometimes I also have to realize that taking the time to heal, to really come back to myself, is more beneficial than trying to fight the illness in the first place.

Lessons learned. Plans change. Life's curveballs don't take grant deadlines or other obligations into account. They just come at you. And I think I might finally be learning how to hit a curveball... finally.
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