Life is rude

When I was 16, I was a cashier for a family owned sporting goods store. Almost all of my coworkers were burly surly men with hearts of gold. Being 16, I became quite attached. I remember one day someone let it slide that one of the burly surlies was leaving. I burst into tears. “You know he’s not mad at anyone or got fired, right? He’s just leaving,” I remember my boss explaining with a bemused expression on his face. “I’m just going to miss him!” I sobbed. I remember thinking that worklife was inconceivable without this man. I was convinced the next time I drove into work, I would find the building in a heap of rubble.

Lo and behold, the building stood firm. The next week work was fine, maybe even fun. And I was so sad about that. It didn’t seem right that customers kept coming, camo pants kept selling, and I kept ringing people up with my signature charm. The store should have stuttered. It wasn’t right that someone who was such a big figure in that store could just suddenly be gone and nothing skippped a beat.

I have since recovered from my first work-departure trauma, but this same idea still holds true. This year has been majorly suck -o. We’ve lost a kind caring Grandpa, two dogs that we practically considered our children, and a nephew with a sweet purity and strength that my heart is eternally seared. Each loss was so heavy. And of course we had some sweet friends and family who expressed sympathy, but after a few weeks everyone moved on. Including me, in some sense. I still get up in the morning, I still get very stressed about work, and I still get excited when one of my favorite tv shows drops a new season. I guess I should be grateful that I’m not in a dysfunctional depressive state, but I almost want to be. I don’t want the universe to think it can get away with that sort of crap and it not change anything. It doesn’t seem right that people or doggies that I loved that much can just vanish and I keep functioning like they were random bugs that splattered on the windshield.

Whatever happens, life will go on. And I think that’s incredibly rude.

The death of a dream

WARNING: If you can’t tell by the title, I’m in a melodramatic mood.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m an absolute nutto about my career. I’ve known for many years that I don’t want to be a professor, but now the reality of cutting the uni apron strings is really setting in. Tying to map out my “next steps” has not been a delight. It has been more of a drudgery. It has brought out all sorts of feels – anxiety, sorrow, guilt. Eeks.

The anxiety I understand. I expected some anxiety about changing careers, especially since I spent 10 of my 30 zesty years in the same field. The sorrow and guilt, though.. they have taken me by surprise. Where did this devilish duo come from?

Well, one factor is a somewhat absurd but persistent idea of mine that I’m letting down little Gallo du ancienne- the spunky optimist who set her sights on curing Alzheimer’s disease when she was a delicate 16 years. I can imagine her being disgusted with Gallo du présent for quitting her dream. “You’re there! Why stop now?” she would demand. Similarly, I also feel like I’m letting my Grandpa and Grandma down. Grandpa had Alzheimer’s disease, and a prevention or treatment would have changed his and my grandma’s life. They would have been so excited to know that my research was in Alzheimer’s disease, and maybe a bit disappointed that I’m choosing to leave it.

On top of that, there is the jadedness (jadosity? Jadociousness?!) of academic research. Yes, I’ve completed experiments. Yes, I’ve analyzed data and wrote up manuscripts that were published in peer-reviewed academic journals. Do I think my research has significantly advanced the field of Alzheimer’s disease? Not particularly. My entire academic career was way less impactful and dynamic than I hoped it would be.

That is my summary of gloom, my friends.  I bring all of this up because I think it’s worth noting that there is actually a degree of real grief involved in burying a dream. Especially when that dream was tied to specific people that you love(d). And – it’s difficult to create a new dream (or goal, for you less romantic types) when you don’t have the advantage of boundless optimism, time,  and naive willingness to be poor for several years as you work your way from the ground up that you have when you were a youth.

Nevertheless, she perspired. Wait, that’s not right. She.. resisted.. the man! No, she insisted on having her own way!! She desisted.. the pity party?! There you go. Okay leave encouraging comments! Thanks! ❤

 

7 things you should never say to a friend getting over a break-up

People go through break-ups. Some break-ups are dramatic, others are just kind of awkward, but they all suck. Sometimes the suckiness is assuaged by the bright company and uplifting words of a friend. Sometimes the suckiness is exacerbated by the oppressive company and joy-sucking words of a … friend?

Yes! Many times well-meaning friends are the ones that make the getting-over-them process all the more torturous.

Here are seven things you may find yourself saying to friends after a break-up that are guaranteed to pick at their heart sores and help the bad feels fester.

1. “Just saw [exes name] at Applebee’s.”

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No one needs their riveting documentary on organic kumquat farming* interrupted by a text from you telling them about an ex sighting. Did the ex look good? That will make your friend feel foolish for still having residual sadness. Did the ex look bad? That will make your friend feel guilty and consider reaching out, which we all know would be disastrous. There’s just no purpose in it. Put down your phone and stop creepin!

2. “I’m surprised you stayed with them for as long as you did.”

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This sort of statement just tells your friend you think they were a desperate loser. Your friend is already mourning the time lost on romanticals with their ex, and you’re just rubbing salt on the wound.

3. Have you thought about taking a break from dating?”

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If your friend is one of those people who plunged into their first long term relationship in 3rd grade and still hasn’t come up for air, maybe this would be a legit question. Keep in mind that for many people,  being in a relationship is the exception to the single-as-a-dollar-bill  rule. So suggesting they take an official break from something they just timidly forayed into is silly and unwarranted.

4. “I never thought they were good for you.”

This is like telling your friend “I knew you would be hurt all along. I know better than you. Told ya so!” Too little too late!

5.  “You are probably sad because you guys were a great fit.”

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Thanks, Captain Obvs! Does your friend need to remember all the reasons they are missing the ex boo? They are now going to sob themselves to sleep thinking about how they’ll never find someone else with so much life-mate potential.

6. “Have you considered online dating?”

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If your friend was born after 1958, chances are they have considered online dating. But that’s not really the point anyway. A grieving friend does not need your pedanticism or problem solving, they need someone to listen for a while, give them a hug and say “that sucks, I’m sorry,” and then hand them a puppy.

7. “If you think this is bad, just wait until you experience a break up after 30!”

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What’s worse than complain-bragging?  Grief bragging! Which is in actuality grief dismissal. As I told someone once, “Knowing there’s a broken leg out there doesn’t make my stubbed toe hurt less.”

 

Which friend are you – an uplifting bright sunbeam or oppressive joy-sucking drizzle ? Study these seven, examine yourself, repent, and walk toward the light! 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*everyone grieves differently!

 

Grieve androgynously

~If you are offended by gross generalizations of sex differences, then this post will be a burr in your buttocks.~

I will make this little advisement on grief.. brief! Teehee

En generale, I’ve noticed that when womenfolk are upset about something, they 1) surround themselves with social support, 2) talk about it incessantly, and 3) indulge in passive sedentarism (e.g. skip the gym for Netflix and chocolate). 

On the flippity side, I’ve noticed that when menfolk are upset about something, they 1) isolate themselves, 2) refuse to talk about it, and 3) throw themselves into some fairly mindless but physically intense activity (e.g. go beast mode at the gym for 3 hrs).

It is my expert opinion that the best of both worlds would be to combo womenfolk grieving tendencies #1 with menfolk grieving tendency #3 (and find a nice balance between women and menfolk grieving tendency #2). Men honestly scare me sometimes with their inability / refusal to acknowledge their hurts and work them out with people who love and affirm them in healthy ways,* and I think they would do themselves a solid to at least have a few buds that they can be honest with and express how much they are hurting. But, I think women could take a cue from men to pause the 4 hr pity-party coffee dates with their gal pals and learn to channel their intense feelings into ferocious glute clenches! Moving around can make us feel better, but even if it doesn’t – might as well be sad with an excellent tush than sad with a saggy tush, amiright?** And when the sad feelings fade, you will feel better AND be a sleek tigress.

 

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Even better: work out with a friend!!!!

 

Alright, great! Here’s to healthy grief!  

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*It’s not healthy to only talk to people who will tell you that everything you do is perfect and anyone who ever disagreed with you is mentally defective / evil.  But at the end of the day, you want to talk to someone who wants to see you flourish like a dazzling daffodil!

**I am.

Here are some great articles that talk about healthy ways to get up and over romantic relationships specifically —

eHarmony – 12 basic tips for getting over the ex

Boundless – 5 Tipes for healing from a break up 

 

the 6 stages of post-break-up grief, in gifs

#1 – Nothing but pure, unadulterated despair

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#2 – when you realize it’s really over and most of the great men in the world got married when they were 19

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#3 – you let all the positive affirmations from friends and family sink in.. maybe goes to your head

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#4 – you decide you hate men and resign yourself to be a cat lady forevs

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#5 – but then your hormones make a strong case for staying in the game

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#6 – hope for the future

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