Reflecting on Two Decades

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This post may be triggering. Mentions depression and suicide. Please read at your discretion.

In a month and a half, we enter a new decade. Once upon a time, 2020 sounded like a thing of the future where cars probably drove themselves, possibly flying cars? and robots checking people out at grocery stores.

I wanted to take a little bit of time and look back at how life has gone for me in the past couple of decades. It’s been quite the ride, to say the least. I am so incredibly blessed with the life I have, and the opportunities that I’ve had. Were there things I wish I could’ve done differently or could’ve gone differently? Absolutely. I have to keep telling myself that nobody leads a perfect life, hearts break, jobs are lost, people get sick, but it’s natural to react and feel all the emotions that come with each situation. It’s healthy to feel.

Something I want to be better at starting in 2020 (Actually I’m planning on starting right now because why wait?) I want to start practicing and showing my gratitude. I want to write it down and be able to look at it when I’m feeling grumpy and ungrateful. I want to be more mindful and patient with myself and others. I know these goals are attainable, I just have to be persistent.

Here we go:-

2000s

  • I was 4 years old when this decade started. LOL. I honestly don’t remember much from the year 2000 other than being in kindergarten lol.
  • I started playing the violin at age 5. My love for music grew even bigger after picking up the gorgeous instrument.
  • Picked up a sport that has taken me on so many rides, opened many doors but has also broken my heart.
  • Late 2005, I experienced something incredibly traumatic that I buried for a very long time. In all honesty, it’s still buried. I can count on one hand the people that know what happened. I am starting to process and heal from what happened but I know I still have a long way to go.
  • In October 2006, we moved across the world, back “home.” It may be my parent’s home, and the country that’s stated on my passport but the country we left was all I ever knew and this transition was incredibly overwhelming and hard.

2010s

  • I started High School. At this time I’ve spent a little over 2 years in this new country and have made a few friends.
  • Sports becomes my best friend and a go-to place to get away from the tough moments.
  • For the first time, I experience what I now know as depression. I hid it well and knew that I had to put on a front because I had “nothing to be depressed about.” I picked up horrible coping skills.
  • I played in my first professional tournament (as an amateur) It was one of the best experiences of my life. I will forever be thankful for this. Even though I experienced extreme anxiety moving forward (try going back to junior and amateur tournaments with all the media and eyes on you.) Every move I made was being watched and when nobody prepares you for that, it’s overwhelming.
  • I went through a time where I didn’t think I was going to make it for awhile. I felt so alone and sad but nobody understood how I could possibly be feeling that way. I was a walking, empty, numb shell.
  • I graduated from High School.
  • Started University as a student-athlete, 9550 miles away from home. This new beginning allowed me to come out of my shell and try again. I wasn’t “(insert label) girl” anymore. I wasn’t the “local girl with the foreign accent” anymore. I could be me.

So as I sit here and really think about how much I needed university and to get away from my new home, I can’t stop sobbing. I was 100% sure I wouldn’t make it to my 21st birthday. 

  • I loved the moments I got with my team and the tournaments I managed to play in. Playing on a team and for the team when you’re used to playing as an individual was so intriguing.
  • 3 surgeries definitely did it for me as a collegiate athlete but it taught me many life lessons and really showed me who my true friends are.
  • I graduated from college with so many wonderful memories. I also gained a new family that took me in as their own when they didn’t have to.
  • (April 2019) We suffered a painful and shocking blow as a family. Dad had a stroke. We are still so thankful he’s okay and recovering.
  • (August) I made the choice to defer my Masters to next year so I can be around for my parents.
  • (November) Accepted to a couple other programs but having to decide which path I want to follow is proving to be difficult.

So this is where I am currently at in life. I am alive. I still get depressed. But I am learning to work through the motions. Sure it doesn’t last forever, but it sure as hell hasn’t completely gone away. (Not to sound negative and demotivating. It’s the truth.)

Making decisions isn’t easy for me because I want my loved ones to be happy too, but sometimes I need to choose what’s best for me and my future. The perfectionist in me is never happy no matter how good I try and be at something. I know regardless of what I choose to do as far as post-grad goes my parents will be supportive, I have to put my mind and heart into it and make a decision.

I am grateful for the hardship, the lessons, the opportunities, the hills and valleys that have presented in my life. I am thankful for the places I’ve seen and people I’ve met, I am thankful for the sacrifices that were made to give me the best chances.

Accepting the big move we made is STILL hard. 13 years later. I still believe we could’ve done some things differently because it would’ve most likely lead to different outcomes today. But just because one door has closed doesn’t mean another one won’t open.

All I can say is – keep knocking and the doors will open.

Onwards and Upwards

Trying to plan for the future is harder than you’d think. I managed to create a calendar/spreadsheet looking thing on Pages. (remind me again how I should buy Microsoft Office… but also don’t want to because I know I can get it while at school) I am pleased with how it turned out but there are so many blanks and that itself gives me hella anxiety. I mean when you don’t know which country you’re going to end up in, what school you’re going to, when to book flights/accommodations, etc. It’s HARD to plan when you simply don’t know for sure.

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I’m not letting the unknown stop me from getting organized and trying to get my life together. Besides working on my statement for my last grad school application, I applied for a few jobs today.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about brushing up on my Swedish. I am so comfortable reading and listening to other people speak but I need to brush up on my writing and speaking. (with each passing year it’s gotten harder to form sentences quickly) so allow me to end this blog post in Swedish and also possibly lookout for future blogs in Swedish!  If I have any Swedish readers, followers or speakers, feel free to correct me if you see any mistakes!

Det känns bra att börja skriva på Svenska igen. Jag hoppas att jag kan tala och skriva flytande Svenska på två månader.

Plan D

 

battle black and white board game challenge
Always stay two steps ahead

For those of you that have been following me through my grad school application journey, I’m pleased to say that I am 2 down and 1 to go. Deadline = Nov 15th, but I plan on finishing my final statement and submitting my completed application by this weekend. It’s been a taxing week with dad’s follow up appointment yesterday – we are staying surgery-free for now!!!! Hallelujah! In the meantime, dad needs to keep up with his daily walks, meds, speech therapy at home and OT, ST at the hospital. He is so eager to get back to driving so they are starting him on some classes at the hospital. I hope that he gets a good therapist so he’s enthusiastic to go for his sessions.  In the meantime, I gave myself a break from academic writing today so I could help mom around the house with the chores and prep for the festival of lights in a couple weeks. It’s my first time celebrating at home with the fam in 5 years, although I’m not pumped about any festival, special occasion these days, it’s just nice to be home with the old folks.

Now back to grad school, I’ve decided to plan ahead and brace for the unexpected. Although, this is going to be a little pricey and time consuming, at the end of the day it’s worth it to have something to fall back on. I don’t want to be in limbo again and know that applying for the Spring intake can be risky. So once again, I am going to expand my options and start applying to a few more schools for Fall 2020. If I end up not getting in this Spring, I need to look for a job too and I want to have my grad applications almost completed or completed by then so I am not stressing when deadlines roll in. Man, I swear it feels like everyone else just applies and gets their admission letter 4 weeks later but its just been brick wall after brick wall in my case. I woke up this morning and the first thing I thought was – holy heck if I start grad school in the Fall, I won’t graduate until I’m 25/26 (in my head I’m thinking that’s old.) But now as I type this, I realize that is SO freaking young. I have so much life left to live and experience.

Right, I am off to go create a calendar/timeline for the next 2 years of my life. If you have any good apps or suggestions on downloadable templates, please comment down below so I can check them out! I’d really appreciate it 🙂 Talk later, friends!

 

 

Writing is hard sometimes

 

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Anyone else have about 50 drafts saved? Ugh. It’s 9:45am on a Sunday morning and I’ve just had a nourishing breakfast. I’m nestled into the little corner I usually sit in and have my cup of joe next to me. “I need to finish these statements,” I think to myself. “Right… you’ve said this every day for the past month.” To drown out the internal self-talk I play an instrumental music playlist and turn it up hoping it stops.

I have an idea of what needs to be said in my personal statement but it has been so hard to put it into a meaningful essay. I have multiple drafts written and have revised a couple that I like. I’ve been trying to figure out why it has been so hard to write, why I’ve had no motivation, why I keep procrastinating? I think it’s been harder because I am changing fields for graduate school. I enjoy this new field and believe it will open up many more opportunities and possibly in different countries. If you know me, you know I love to travel and this field + skills that I’ll learn will allow me to do that. I am nervous about not having any experience in the field but I can’t allow that to stop me from trying. Nothing in life is going to be handed to me, I have worked hard for everything in my life and it’s not going to stop now. I know for a fact that I will regret it if I don’t at least try. This is my second chance, a new open door and I am hoping God continues to guide me on this path.

Pulling my big girl pants on and making myself a second cup of joe (Yes, in the time it has taken me to finish this post, I’ve downed my first cup) Drinking water from my reusable cup so I don’t dehydrate myself with just coffee. I am off to go write these statements and to pay the app fees. Wish me luck, fam

Life feels like a roller coaster ride

Currently feel like I’m on a roller coaster with 100ft drops and unable to get off. Slowly but surely, the safety bar is coming undone and I am holding on for dear life. That is my life at this very moment. I have so much to do, and so many decisions to make that WILL affect my future. Ask me how much motivation I have? Absolutely zero. Nada. Noll.. nothing. All I want to do is crawl into bed and stay there until I disappear. I’m playing a dangerous game of snakes and ladders with myself and its starting to go South, fast. My coping mechanisms (journaling, meditation, music, crying, etc) are not working and I so desperately want to fall back to old habits for the sake of some relief. All the stress has triggered a noticeable amount of weight gain and I’m left fighting my brain to not give in to the disordered eating habits, again. It would be so much easier to just stop fighting it but that is exactly what I CANNOT do. I’ve received some very unkind comments and judgements about said weight gain and it is making me so sad.

My dad had a Cerebral Angiogram done a few days ago and although the procedure went as smooth as can be, the results were rather average and not what we hoped for. The clot in his carotid artery has caused further multiple tiny strokes in his brain but they’re all over the place and it’s hard for the doctors to say immediately what they need to do for him. For the next few weeks, they want him to continue taking his medications until the follow up in Mid October. Then they’ll decide whether they want us to keep going down a non-invasive path or go ahead with surgery. I don’t know if this even makes sense but I truly feel like I’m grieving and going through the 5 stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.) I feel like I’m going back and forth between anger and depression. I just miss my dad, my normal, healthy dad. I wish we could have a conversation, I wish he could give me some advice on my future and these decisions I have to make. I wish we could go to the driving range so I can practice again, it’s been 7 months without golf, dad. It was our thing and I miss it more than you’ll ever know.

 

Setbacks and Defeat

The last time I wrote a post, I was still preparing to embark on my grad school journey. Is this the part where you go “I told you so” or when they say “don’t celebrate too early” If you haven’t read my last post, click here. You see, plans change, life hits you like a brick wall and you’re basically left broken, bruised and trying to catch your breath.

We were hit with the motherload of bad luck in the first week of August. “He has a massive clot in his carotid artery, he needs an MRI and an Angiogram ASAP and then we’re looking at possible treatment options, surgery, more thinners, a stent.” I could hear my heart beating in my ears, yet the voice of the ultrasound tech was muffled and I couldn’t quite make out what she was saying. I think to myself “Breathe, or you’re going to faint.” As I come out of the tunnel vision I realize right then and there, I had to make a choice. Was I going to stay home or leave for grad school (that’s about a month away at that point.) What about all the plans I’d made, the money I’d already spent and people I’d already told I was leaving? Well, a week ago, I submitted a request to defer my studies to next year. Family comes first. I know my dad would want me to be here despite the disappointment he feels now. I don’t feel disappointed to not be going, I just feel defeated because I want to make it better so we can all breathe even just for a bit. It pains me to be so useless in this scenario.

I feel like I’ve been dropped into the ocean with a couple hundred bricks tied around my waist and asked to stay afloat. I don’t have anyone that I can talk to about how I’m feeling, it’s such a complicated, grey area. Not many people can relate and it’s so hard to explain. How am I allowed to feel like shit when my dad is going through worse? I have to be strong for him and my mom. My tears have dried up and I just feel numb these days. I go about my day with a mask on and when I crawl into bed at night, I take it off with a sigh of relief, yet another day goes by where I walk away unscathed and let the weight of my blanket comfort my aching soul.

Tonight, I am quietly asking Him to hear my pleas and cries. I don’t want to go down this path again, I am scared of what is to come. The uncertainty is unbearable and the changes that we’ve had to face are exhausting and overwhelming, to say the least. I am scared that we may not make it through this trial in one piece.

 

Don’t Settle

2019 has been extremely trying and I’ve let it step all over me. Today, I stumbled across a video on Youtube on Spirit’s message and “What YOU Need to Hear Right Now” the message was spot on and had me bawling almost instantly because I felt like somebody FINALLY understood how I felt and proceeded to show me answers to questions I’ve been asking and ruminating over daily.

You see, 3 months ago in early April, I was admitted to a university in Sweden for grad school. If you know me, this is something I’ve wanted to do for the longest time and I was over the moon to finally have the opportunity to experience it. I started looking into the process of preparing for my move, but a little over a week later, my dad suffered a stroke. Life would never be the same. Albeit on the minor scale, a stroke is a stroke and the permanent damage has already been done. Appointments, various therapies, and neuro-rehab is now our daily routine and we started to see progress until a month in when he suffered a second stroke that sent us right back to square one.

As we sit in the middle of July, his efforts are minimal and frustration is at an all-time high. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, do I settle and just say this is my life now, I’ve gotta take care of my folks or do I support them from a distance? Am I being a bad child for leaving at a time like this? Will I regret this? Why am I never enough? Is this really what I want? How am I going to do this alone?

The plan was for my mom to come with me to help me move in and get settled down but now with this situation, I am forced to go alone and figure it out. I am angry, frustrated and devastated at a situation I cannot control. It is taking away my happiness and I am allowing it to. Now to go back to the video I just watched, Spirit reminds me to not settle, to sit tight because this is exactly where I need to be. I deserve more and am worth more than I think and believe. This is a bad bout of luck and it feels like the world is out to get me but my luck is about to change.

I feel lost and directionless right now but I believe things will change and destiny will change. I came across that video for a reason. I deserve genuine happiness and peace, just like any other being.