Keep Climbing and Don’t Look Up

This was not how I envisioned this going.

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If we’re being honest, I hadn’t expected this year to be such an uphill battle. I figured that, by now, life would have gone back to normal and I’d be working for a company I love, in Finland. Hell, if we’re going to talk about my crazy and incredibly naive notion on how this year would go, we’d be discussing how I had planned on still being in Helsinki and working for a company that was able to hire me on full-time, planning to go back to Michigan any day now.

But that’s not how life works.

Life is messy- I’m pretty sure I’ve said that phrase about a million times on this blog, but it’s still true. After spending the last year and change in an international relationship, you’d think I’d understand how nothing is easy and just seeing each other is the world’s biggest headache, but I’m still not fully grasping the severity of it all. Let me give you guys the low-down on what’s going on:

I am currently working for a start-up company in Helsinki, from Michigan. This company is amazing and I want to be a part of this team like you wouldn’t believe. There is an opportunity for becoming a partner at this company after my initial position has come to its close. So you’d think that would mean I could get a residence permit, right? Nope. So even though I’m an educated and hardworking individual with a job that you’d think would allow me to mosey my way on over, I can’t. Here’s why: because this company is a start-up and we are not making real salaries, in terms of like over a 1000 euros a month, I cannot get a residence permit, so I can’t move to Finland in order to work there, like, you know, full-time. Plus, although I would be in a situation where I don’t have normal expenses like rent and utilities, it’s not a good enough reason to not need to meet their income requirements.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t even be looking into this company or moving to Finland if it wasn’t for my super cool boyfriend who I’d like to actually get to spend time with… preferably without the use of a computer and the internet. So we’ve talked about it, the big M-word, and it’s been a difficult conversation. This wasn’t how we had planned on doing it. Rushing it was never in the cards, but living apart for another year and a half isn’t either. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment and I’m stuck somewhere in the limbo of planning a courthouse wedding and looking for full-time jobs in Michigan for when my contract with the Helsinki based company ends. As the “planner” type, this has been horrible. I’ve broken out with hives every day for the last week and I keep pretending it’s not because of some underlying stressor, even though it is.

I know there’s already been a lot of climbing this year; my arms are a bit tired and my footing is a bit loose, but there’s nothing else we can do but climb and not look up at the rest of the massive mountain in front of us.

-LP

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Learn Your Limits

It’s difficult to offer support to someone when you need it yourself.

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I remember my nursing instructor telling us the age old saying “you cannot pour from an empty cup” and while I definitely felt it applied to my nursing career and studies, I’ve had a hard time applying it to my life in general. I’ve spent many days feeling overworked and at my breaking point; my cup has been running low and now, well… it’s empty. I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. I watched my cup’s contents slowly dwindle down to a few spare droplets until one day there was nothing left and I was left dumbfounded when I tried to pour over and over to no avail.

Life is difficult. It’s filled with trials and tribulations that leave us battered and with wounds that require licking. When you’re in a relationship, their worries and trials become your own and you want nothing more than to make their difficult days better. You feel a bit of responsibility with regards to how their lives are going, and if not a responsibility then at least a innate desire to make their days brighter. So if you’re focused on making their days brighter while yours feel oddly dim, how can you handle it? How can you make them smile when you feel drained?

Offering support to each other is essential, but remember that while offering support, accept that you may need some too. Learning your limits and knowing when to recognize a quickly emptying cup is essential in taking responsibility for your own self-care. Sure, you love your partner and you want their life to be filled with unending joy, but when you’re feeling unable to handle your own day-to-day, the best thing you can do is admit and accept that.

Some phases of life are more difficult than others and it’s not easy to accept that you’re not always able to keep your cup full without some extensive self-care. Taking a break and refilling your tank will allow you to make it through those phases; so take breaks. Care for yourself and remember that self-care is not always about bubble baths and pedicures; sometimes it requires looking at yourself critically and accepting that there are parts of you that desperately need to change. Change how you handle situations. Change how you allow any emotion to flood freely and without control. Change how you are more prone to give up and walk away than to push through the hard phases.

Sure, take the bubble baths, long walks, and pet your cat too, but don’t forget that caring for and about yourself requires more. Sometimes it requires you to look at your life from an outside viewpoint and give yourself the harsh truth; you can’t handle it all on your own and you cannot always take the burden of another person’s troubles either, no matter how incredibly important he or she is in your life. In order to have anything to pour into their cup, you’ve gotta keep yours full. So, take a moment to fill it before it runs dry.

-LP

How Did I Get Here?

Honestly, I’d like to know.

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I just can’t believe that my life has gotten to this point; a point in which my heart is just so full. I truly lucked into this life. You know how people always talk about that one pivotal moment in their lives when everything changes? Yeah, I’m having that. Well I had it, but it’s still in the process of changing. It’s just crazy.

It’s crazy to think about where I was almost a month ago. What I was doing, who I was with, how I was feeling, where life was taking me. Honestly, I wish my old self knew what amazingness was coming my way. It’s mind boggling thinking about all the days I felt lonelier and less happy than I should have felt. Had I known what was coming my way, I would have squashed those damn thoughts like a big ugly spider. And I’m afraid of spiders, so that’s some serious shit.

I’m not afraid anymore. I’m not anxious like I used to be. I don’t feel depressed or like this unimaginable weight is crushing my chest. I feel free. I feel loved. I feel at peace. I’m not saying that I don’t still have moments of “oh shit what’s happening,” because I do. But I love those moments because they lead me to you.

One day these days will be a distant memory. One day we’ll tell our grandkids about the whirlwind love we found ourselves wrapped up in. We’ll tell them to trust the feeling, that the proof is in the pudding. We’ll tell them to just dive into a love when you know it’s pure and true. One day, when we’re old and gray, you’ll be rocking beside me; you’ll look to me and say “24m” and it’ll happen all over again.

-LP

You’ve Got This

Isn’t it great with things just fall into place?
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I have been slightly freaking out the past few days. Just ask the boyf, I’m sure he’d agree. I was worried things wouldn’t work out in my life. I was wrong. And so are you. Things will work out for you, I promise. It might not be the way you’re hoping for or even a way you’d expect, but they will work out.

I had been waiting for a call about a new job which is desperately needed to allow me to afford to head over to Finland next year. I got it and now I have a sense of security in knowing that I’ll be there soon. That “one day” isn’t as far away as it really seems. This opportunity just locked down my future with him. How silly is it that I needed this to make me feel like it was doable? It’s ridiculous, I know that; but when you’re in the thick of it, you’re not thinking clearly.

I know you might be thinking that it’s easy for me to say this now that things have officially worked out, but they haven’t for you, not yet. I get it. When people tell me to just have faith that it will all be okay, I get slightly irritated. No one knows what the future will hold. No one.

But it’s better to stay positive and just hope for the best. Cross your fingers, wish on 11:11, wish on your eyelashes, on the first star you see each night, do whatever it takes to try to put your mind at ease. Meditate. Pray. Listen to music. Write. Go for a run. Do anything! Just try to put your worries to rest and know that no matter the outcome, you’ll make it through.

It’s easy for me to say now, but about two hours ago I wasn’t feeling so confident. So I suppose this post is meant for myself in the future; this is for when I’m nervous to fly across the Atlantic. This is for when I’m nervous about my first day. For when I’ve got to go to court. For when class is hard and I don’t feel like studying. This is for when I’m scared or worried or feeling alone. And this is for you.

If you’re ever feeling less than 100% confident, know that it’s normal. Know that it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to have moments of weakness; those moments do not define us. It’s how we handle them. It’s what we learn from them; that’s what defines us. You might have some hard life lessons ahead of you; you might have just learned one today, two days ago, last year, whatever. You might be struggling. You might be scared. If you are, know that you’re not alone. We all feel that way. We’re all afraid at some point.

You’ll be okay. It might take some time, but you will be. Anything worth having is at least slightly scary, so don’t let that stop you from following your dreams. Dream big. Take risks. Know that not everything will work out exactly how you expected, but it’s worth the experience. It’s worth knowing that you tried.

-LP

Take a Load Off

You Deserve Peace.

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If you’re fighting through something or you are facing adversity, you are not alone. Know that and let that sink in. There are millions of us feeling the same way as you. I know how easy it is to feel alone when you feel like the bad guy, or if you feel like you deserve to feel like crap. You don’t. I promise you, you don’t.

I came across this poem by Najwa Zebian that is honestly just fitting my life right now and I think you folks will enjoy.

these mountains that you are

carrying,

you were only supposed to

climb.

How beautiful is that? I mean truly. We all have some sort of burden that we carry with us and sometimes it’s insanely hard to escape the reality that we need to let it go. Sometimes we feel as though it’s our job, it’s our cross to bear, but that’s not always true.

We are not Atlas. We don’t need to carry the world upon our shoulders. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed; if you’re feeling like you’ve got too much to handle, maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the situation from another point of view. Maybe you were only meant to face these problems, not carry the burden of them with you. You deserve peace. You deserve joy. You deserve to feel happy and free. Regardless of where you are in life or of what you’ve done; you do not deserve to spend your life unhappy.

If you’ve made the hard decisions; you are brave. If you made the easy ones; you are human. If you’re facing hard times; you’ll become stronger. If you’re feeling alone, please know that you’re not. If there are consequences to deal with, deal with them. The repercussions may be great, but that doesn’t mean you cannot handle them. You can handle this. Have faith.

Take some time and forgive yourself, because if you don’t you won’t find peace. Sometimes it’s better to hurt someone than to keep living a lie. Sometimes it’s better to let go than it is to hold on. It might not seem like it at first, but give yourself some time and the truth will be revealed. Sometimes the hard decisions are the ones that need to be made. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but a necessary one nonetheless.

Darling, just love yourself. Love others. Love life. Just Love.

-LP

P.S. If you’re interested in reading more poems by Najwa Zebian and supporting a starving blogger, like myself, click the link below and check out The Nectar of Pain.