I can't remember the last time I felt this good.
I'm busy. The lab is going full throttle. I'm serving as a teaching assistant and have class again. My students are back and working hard already (in fact, some of them came back early and spent unpaid hours in the lab for zero course credit. If there were an NSF fund for most dedicated students, we would get it). I have two new students in the lab and everyone is learning new techniques which is a lot of work but will result in a maelstrom of research the likes of which our lab has not seen for many years.
I'm taking care of my body. I've been seeing two physical therapists from the same practice for about two months now; one primarily for help with strengthening and one for foot dynamics. I've been pretty good about my exercises and even wear sneakers to work (ahem sometimes) so that I can use my orthotics. I'm eating enough and working out regularly and as a result my body actually feels good instead of achy and stiff all day. I know I have an old soul but that doesn't mean my body needs to feel like it and finally that's true.
I have things to look forward to. I'm not sure if it's my new-found confidence, sense of peace, or having proved myself worthy to be in my program, but I'm finally starting to look forward to presentations and leadership activities more than dread them. I asked my boss if I could give a lecture in his class to practice my presentation skills, and he was more then delighted to say yes (mostly because that means he won't have to lecture that day lol). He also asked me to do a short presentation on my research to accompany a lecture he was invited to do for a colleague's class, which is an honor because essentially it's saying that he trusts me to not embarrass him in front of one of his peers. And my stint in Germany, which I've been talking about with my adviser and dreading for years, now seems pretty freakin cool, even if I can't speak a lick of German despite a dozen classes and two hours of crappy CDs borrowed from the library. I'm even starting to consider teaching as a career, which I had never even considered before, because I'm enjoying it a lot more and it would be a heck of a lot less lonely than working for the government, stashed away with a bunch of other narrowly-focused nerds in a remote facility.
I'm empty. Almost ever since I can remember, i have been obsessed with something. A show, a movie, a book or, in my adult life, a relationship/boy. I'm not saying that I was a stalker or an evangelist or anything, but there was always that topic, in the back of my mind, ready to be taken out and stroked if I needed reassuring or to fixate on if things seemed too good to be true and my happiness needed to be taken down a notch. During this winter break, I had taken it upon myself to make sure that an ex was in good condition after a medical procedure. I was unable to fully release his fate from my hands and acknowledge it as anyone's responsibility but my own. In the following twisted turn of resulting events, I was presented with an extremely disrespectful attitude and words. And as I alluded to in a previous entry, where I had previously grown silent in the belief that it would show maturity, this time I fought back and made a clear stand against such treatment. The next day, I felt as free as I ever have. This was the first time in years that I had thrown away civilities and countered an ex's words with the cold, hurtful truth. It was wonderful. It had nothing to do with winning or losing, whichever I did. It has everything to do with releasing myself from the tyranny of the question, "What if I do something I regret?" That's what all of these constant worries and treasure-hoarding of good memories was about. mentally fixating on someone I did not want to lose on the chance that I would not find someone better or that this person would change and turn out to be the ultimate prize himself. Silliness.
I can't remember the last time I didn't have some persistent worry or have to safeguard some undeserving prized memory. I'm able to live fully in the moment, with oh so many few expectations and emotional dedications. Since I started dating, in college, I don't think I've ever come across this peace of mind; each relationship overlapped with the vivid memory (and usually the hurt) of the last. Now I look to no one for reassurance that this time will not be like the last, I stand tall and don't look back and see any mistakes. I am pleasantly detached from those who have hurt me; though I may still pray for them and have pity, I do not instate myself as the only one who can help. I can get along without them, and they can get along without me.