One Day at a Time

One Day at a TimeFor the first time in almost three months I am sitting down at my computer with the intention to write. I took a break to regroup, refocus, and really, to just breath. I was certain I would come back in a week and pick up where I left off, it seemed as I got more encouragement and praise that I had more to say, until I had nothing to say.

I’ve thought about writing a lot, thought about jumping on my computer and telling more of my story and each time I thought about it, I felt weighed down by the idea. My day to day life was too heavy and I couldn’t comprehend using my brain for anything other than binging on Netflix.

Being a caregiver of someone recovering from a bone marrow transplant is so much different than I had anticipated. I assumed it would be similar to being the caregiver of someone going through chemotherapy or radiation: difficult, frustrating, scary, but ultimately, bearable. A bone marrow transplant is, quite literally, a whole different beast. My can-do attitude and desire to take care of everything were irrelevant and those exact things sent me deeper into a space I didn’t know how to navigate.

Anxiety, depression, trauma, grief, catastrophizing, anger, loneliness, guilt: all of the words that have been brought up in my sessions with my therapist since Justin has come home. I had the hardest time understanding that I was grieving, mostly for the life that we had once considered “normal”. There was a new, unpredictable, normal that I couldn’t get a grasp on and it threw me for a loop.

I wish I could describe it to you, I wish I had words of wisdom for you, I wish there was something I could do to keep anyone else from ever feeling the way that I have over the last five months, but as I am learning, I have no control. At all. How disappointing.

I spent many days wondering how I would start writing again. How would I come back? Do I take a deep dive into my experiences over the last few months? Do I just skip over it and talk about all of the things that have gotten me through? Do I just pretend the three months never happened at all? What is the best way to try and regain some of your “normal”? I was apprehensive and insecure. So, here I am, unpolished, raw, and still trying to figure it all out. I suppose that’s all I can ask for at this point.

My world was flipped upside down and I’m still trying to get everything off of the ceiling. It will take some time, and every once and a while something will float back up, but progress is being made on both fronts: Justin’s health and my mental health. For now, we’re just taking it one day at a time.

Sabbatical

It’s funny how a stressful time can also bring clarity. I started out this year with dreams of contentment, progress, and moving forward. In my head that meant an ever-growing blog following, crazy social media stats, a blooming creative business, and finally, a light at the end of the tunnel on the last year of our lives.

I was talking to my mom recently, explaining to her how spending five weeks inside of a hospital room can make you realize just how unnecessary some things are in your daily life. The stress and the pause that forced on your life can create a vacuum where you have the ability to evaluate your time, your hobbies, your relationships, and the things that are important to you.

My entire outlook on life has changed in the last five weeks. Things that I once thought I was destined to do no longer seem of value. The petty, the dramatic, the time-suckers – they no longer deserve a place in my life. Life is short, and you’re, most certainly, not guaranteed anything beyond the here and now.

You see, I tend to go into things at one of two speeds: full throttle or half-assed. I thrive on the initial excitement that comes with a new idea or project, but as my enthusiasm begins to wane I lose sight of my founding inspiration, and then ultimately my desire to keep moving forward. I went at this year for The Corner Office full throttle. I was going to make my dream come true of writing for a living, and I was going to do it by growing this blog, creating social media pages, and interacting with the other bloggers in this community. In my quest to do this, I lost sight of my original passion: writing.

I’ve spent endless hours in a hospital room trying to go about my daily life – writing, posting, creating graphics, engaging on social media, keeping up with everything, and at some point, I just became so irritated with trying to keep up that I stopped. I took some time to pause. I reflected on what I wanted out of this space and this community – was it to create my own business? Was it to be some amazing, sought after, creative entrepreneur, photographer, graphic designer…the list is endless? No. I wanted to create a space to write, share my story, and, hopefully, inspire other people. I was disappointed with how distracted by the hustle I had become. I was going through life thinking about how I was going to document it for the masses instead of actually living my life. Which, let’s face it, is a huge problem in our society now – we live to share it on social media, not to actually experience it.

As I was packing my overnight back on one of my trips home I picked up my PowerSheets, a couple of markers, and a notebook. I wanted to take some time and search for clarity on how I see my life in the next year – it’s only March. There is so much time left in 2017 to get back to me. The next afternoon I spent a few hours, while Justin slept, looking out the window, sipping on coffee, and listening to…well…myself.

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The conclusion: I need to take a break and spend some time focusing on the real world and the things that are happening right in front of me. I need to be present. And being present means letting go of some things, at least for now.

I won’t lie to you, I contemplated contemplating deleting The Corner Office Blog. Walking away and getting back to focusing on just the writing was sounding really appealing. I asked a friend how crazy I was to even contemplate deleting TCO. She simply responded: You are not deleting your blog. I asked why and she said “I like it” – so there you have it. TCO will stick around, but, the constant pressure I put on myself to post, share, and promote will be going out the window.
I am taking a sabbatical. I’m not sure when I will post again – it could be tomorrow, next week, two months from now, or in a year. I am taking time to start planning my life out again and really listening to myself. Instead of letting the hustle take over, I am going to enjoy, I am going to learn, I am going to engage, and I am going to be present.

Relationships Lessons from the Universe

relationshiplessons-from-the-universeThe people of our lives can often times be seasonal – swiftly floating into our lives, to again swiftly leave for a new season to take its place. I bet, if you thought about it, you could identify the specific relationships that have had an impact on the person you are today. Whether they are a friend, family member, colleague, or simply an acquaintance – your seasonal relationships came in with a purpose, sometimes their season lasts a lifetime and sometimes, thankfully, their season is short lived.

The older I get, the more confident I am in my ability to identify the influence of the universe in my life, specifically in my relationships with others. I am able to see the invisible connections that have drawn me to individuals, and that awareness makes me so much more appreciative of the lessons I learn, the support I receive, and the positivity that the right people bring out in me.

See, everyone’s got something. Something they have to carry with them day in and day out – you have two choices: you either accept it and move forward, or you let it completely consume your life and relationships. I know, without a doubt, that one of my favorite people was put into my life to remind me that my experiences, no matter how dramatic, are a small part of this universe. She has taught me how to care for others, and to think beyond my little place in this world. We were brought together to care for each other, to support each other, laugh together, roll our eyes together, and to remind each other to get our shit together.

Last week, she sent me a blog post to read. She had been posting about spoons (yes, spoons), and I finally asked what the metaphor meant. She texted me a link, I looked at it and quickly took in the overall concept, but kept going. After a few more posts about her spoons, I decided that I need to better understand – my friend was speaking a different language and while that isn’t quite out of the ordinary, I needed a translator. I read the post and immediately started crying. For the first time, I understood what she was going through, at least I felt like I understood. I’ll never fully understand, you can’t unless you live it. And that concept, I “get”, more than anything.

The gist —> Someone with an “invisible” illness starts each day with a handful of spoons. Each spoon represents one task, one action, one responsibility as they make their way through life. Need to get out of bed? One spoon down. Need to get dressed? Toss another one. Have a meeting at 9am? That’s at least two. Eventually, the little things in life that we take for granted are EVERYTHING. Once you’re out of spoons, that’s it, you’re spent for the day. Some days you have twelve spoons, some days you have three. But the point isn’t how many spoons you have, it’s that you have to think about the spoons at all, things that you’ve never paid attention to before are now more important than ever. Read the entire story here.

I sent off a text to my friend, apologizing for not reading the entire post the first time, for not understanding what she was going through, and really, to offer her all of my spoons. All I wanted to do was help her keep her spoons. She became my motivation to push harder and think beyond my current circumstances. Lesson learned universe, lesson learned.

While I know that she is not going to be a “seasonal” person that is whisked out of my life just as quickly as she came into it, something brought us together and I will forever be grateful for her presence in my life.

CONVERSATION CIRCLE_PINK.pngMoral of the story? Be mindful of your relationships, thinking beyond just your place in the world. What lesson did the universe intend for you to learn? Be grateful for the lessons, for the support, and for the seasonal people that stick around for a lifetime.

Mondays are for HOPE!

Even in the midst of the worst weeks, you can always muster up a enough energy to be grateful and hopeful! Mondays are full of hope and opportunity. It’s a fresh start and a new bundle of days to make your dreams come true!

Last week was a little odd for me, my schedule was off, I caught a cold, multiple doctor appointments, and a huge lack of motivation resulting from the previous three things. This week will be no different, except hopefully, my cold will be gone! Another week of goofy schedules, doctor appointments, and finally, Justin’s admission to the BMT unit for his transplant. We’re excited, that after a year in the wait, that he is finally moving to the next stage in treatment. It will be the biggest fight of his life, but we’re ready.

Mondays are hopeful little things. What are you grateful for today? What’s got you excited for the week ahead? Tell me! Let me support you throughout the week!

I am excited for January's blog stats! It is my first month intentionally tracking goals and I can't wait to see this awesome month in numbers! (#nerdalert)-3.png

My Thirty-Second Year

this-lady-is-32-todayToday is my thirty-second birthday, quite honestly, throughout most of the week, I forgot. Birthdays have never been a big deal in my family, we celebrate with dinner and a couple of gifts, but otherwise it’s a typical day with some flair thrown in.

This year, I am happy to spend time at home, and with my family. Having a birthday so close to the holiday season has been a balancing act between wonderful and crappy my entire life. As a kid, it’s not great – you’re usually going back to school, it’s cold outside, family smashes your birthday and the holidays together into one celebration, and people just forget. As an adult, you are usually heading back into the real world after some time off, but the proximity to the new year is very beneficial. As I’ve been reflecting on what 2016 has been, and who I was in it, I get to start over in the new year and also in my thirty-second year. The symmetry is not lost on me.

When I was younger one of my favorite things to do was put in old home movies and watch the smaller version of myself, and my cousins running around during holiday celebrations. One video in particular is my favorite: I was one, and it was the celebration for all of the early birthdays of the year – myself, my mom, aunt, and uncle. I am in a classic 80’s peasant top strapped in my highchair with some cake in front of me. The chaos of my older cousins running around me as the adults share stories, laugh, play with the kids, and eat some cake. Seeing my family from this angle was always so entertaining to me. This is the first piece of footage on this tape, it progresses through the years – the kids get bigger, the adults get older, new children are added [HELLO, Laura!], sometimes the adults change, but the dynamic is still the same. Family celebrating each other.

It’s no surprise that I prefer to spend my birthday relaxed and with family, it’s been the standard for my entire life, and probably well before I was born. No need for a big party, or anything fancy. Gimme some good food, laughs, maybe some cake, and time to hang out with the people I love!

Happy Emily’s Birthday to you!

A Snow Day

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All week long the people of southeastern Michigan had been talking about the impending snow storm. It seemed as though it was anything anyone could talk about. Chatter of weekly plans turned into grumblings about snow. Not really the uplifting and anticipatory conversation we’re all used to.

As someone who is usually not a fan of snow, I was dreading the change in weather, that is until Sunday when it actually started snowing. We had no plans, the grocery shopping had been done, errands were checked off the to-do list on Saturday, and our plan was to enjoy a day on the couch. With six inches of snow accumulating outside there’s not much you can do but sit back, relax, and watch the world turn to white.

My entire Sunday was spent on the couch watching movies with Justin while some chicken enchilada soup simmered in the crockpot. It was relaxing and exactly what I needed. As the evening rolled in I let my hopes of a Monday snow day grow and started thinking of all the things I’d do if I was given a second day within the four walls of our house. It wasn’t long after that I got the text message from my boss, a snow day was granted. A day with no expectation and no where to go.

I let my alarm ring as usual, around 5:40 – I might have let it snooze a few extra times, but I was up early, like usual, drinking my coffee and watching Morning Joe. Justin and I spent some time outside finishing off the driveway and sidewalk from the last of the snow we got overnight – him with the snowblower, me with the shovel and salt. After spending time in the backyard with Bruno in the snow, thoroughly frozen, we came inside to thaw and to start the rest of our day. I got to work on some projects for the blog, watched some television, made some food, and again, relaxed while I could.

While I haven’t accomplished much and I’m still not, quite what you would call, a fan of snow, I was grateful for the last two days isolated from the rest of the world. It was refreshing to have two days with no expectations or agenda. I highly suggest that to anyone needing a recharge, and I won’t lie – the snow storm helps.

I hope, snow or not, that everyone had a productive (in whatever that means for you) Monday! My biggest accomplishment, other than the delicious chicken enchilada soup, was FINALLY finishing my About Me page for the blog. Head to the blog and you can check out the new format too! Have a great week!