Finding TLC in Somerset County

It Was a Week Unlike Any Other (and thank God for that!)

A rough start by calm seas**

Last Sunday I went to a wake. It was "down the shore" so I took the rare opportunity to visit the Atlantic Ocean. I felt so alone. Normally I feel at peace near any substantial body of water, but this time my demons haunted me and stayed. Maybe that's what happens when you go to a wake? I've never been a big fan and am eternally grateful that wakes aren't my family's way of saying good-bye. It was so ironic: a gorgeous Sunday, unseasonably warm, calm ocean. New boardwalk and I wallowed in self-doubt and unhappiness.

Office jitters abound at Halloween-time (but not because of any goblins)

Everyone in my office started the workweek knowing about 200 people had lost their jobs and Halloween was the final day. So it seemed that my Atlantic demons followed me to the office and spread their wings. 
Real-life drama at every turn. A colleague's brother was diagnosed with very nasty cancer in the abdomen. Another colleague needed consoling as she faced an uncertain future as "unemployed". Another colleague got scary medical news. Finally a colleague who had been living with her boyfriend for a long time "got dumped" and all the "look at the bright side" rhetoric I could muster fell on very deaf ears.

On Friday I learned that I will report to a different supervisor. I like him, but not like I loved my now-ex boss. One less ally in the workplace... and the politics that go with it leave me wondering.

A friend in need 

Demons found their way outside of my work world, too. A friend e-mailed in a panic - should she stay with her kids or fly across the country to see her mom for possibly the last time (I counseled her to go). Another friend had lots of issues with her family - her Aunt died recently and there were unresolved "issues" - so I listened, as she has listened to me countless times. In addition, I heard that another friend has lost her Mom, so I'm heading to another wake tomorrow. We shared stories and then I had to go - people were crying near my cubicle...

Weekend: project rejuvenation

My brilliant colleague saw my overwhelmed state. She pulled me aside to remind me that it isn't my role to take on all the world's problems. Mentioning one specific issue listed above she said, "Focus on your own life. Don't try to fix hers!" She's right, of course. 

Step one: focus on me

So this weekend I "actively" took care of myself. Friday night I took out yarn that I'd been saving for something special and started a project for me. 

The view from the parking lot
That's what I've done. Taken care of me. Besides knitting, I spent yesterday shopping - bought myself a pair of much-needed shoes AND boots (How decadent). Then my DH and I took the dog for a long walk at the gem of a county park - Sourlands preserve.  I'm sure I've blogged about them before, including here (which was exactly three years ago).  There were fewer people than the busy parking lot would have indicated, and we hiked for nearly two hours. We even wondered if we would get out alive - it was getting dark and at one point we were unsure where we were.  

Today began my day a bit earlier than expected. A friend had posted on facebook that she was up early to see a solar eclipse. That woke me right up (I turned on my cell to check the time). After a while I exercised at Strength and Honor Fitness where for 40 minutes I gave it my all. This helped so much! Exercising two days in a row may actually be the best medicine against anxiety.

Step two: a little luck

When I left the gym, I went into the Desert Plate for some coffee. There I met a very interesting woman named Melanie Davis. Ms. Davis is the author of A Look Within. She writes about sexual health and self-awareness. I found her to be very interesting and so I bought her book, which is actually a kind of reflective journal.

I need to reflect on my life and find what makes me most happy and focus on that. This will give me a good start.

So I will start a new week rejuvenated and ready to take on the stressful work environment. 


** This was written 11/3/2013, published 11/10. 

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