Stress and Exhaustion — March 24, 2016

Stress and Exhaustion

Two things I’ve always struggled with are asking for help and knowing when I’m doing too much. In my family they are common problems, but despite that I still haven’t figured out how to handle them.

Over the past two weeks I worked 12/14 days and pulled in a lot of overtime. On my two days off I ran errands and did chores and didn’t really end up feeling rested. At the end of my workdays I really just want to go to bed, but I’ve been making myself take care of other things. As a result, I’m tired and emotionally worn out from the past few weeks.

In addition to work-stress, I have the stress of taxes (just this past week I got the tax information from one of the jobs I had last summer-almost two full months and fifty phone calls after I was supposed to receive it), concern for my cat (she’s not eating as much as usual and is 17 years old), the stress of trying to figure out if I’m going to get a roommate or stay in my current apartment, and some other day-to-day stresses that I won’t get into right now since I want to keep this post under 5000 words.

Unfortunately, none of this is the kind of stress that I can just ask for help with to make it go away. This is the kind of stress that I just need to deal with and try to keep under control by having some quiet alone time during which I don’t have to think.

Normally on Thursday nights I go to a yoga class at my gym, but I don’t think being around other people will help me right now. So tonight I’m going to curl up with my cat, put on season 3 of the fantastic show “Legend of Korra,” and eat a few cookies. I’ll go to bed early and (hopefully) wake up feeling a little more in control and relaxed.

If that doesn’t happen, maybe I’ll try screaming into a pillow for a while.

 

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Alligators & Attraction — March 3, 2016

Alligators & Attraction

One of the best parts of life, in my opinion, is that people are constantly changing and evolving and discovering more about themselves. No one has to stay the same person they’ve always been- just because you once liked or didn’t like something doesn’t mean you have to keep that opinion forever. You never stop learning about yourself, and I definitely learned something new about myself this past week.

I get crushes on people when I see them working with/training an alligator.

croc hunter
I do not have a crush on Steve Irwin, maybe because it’s a crocodile?

At the start of the week I was positive I had a crush on a specific zookeeper at my job who does the twice-weekly alligator talk and training. I figured it was because he was nice and kind of cute and would always say “hi” when he saw me.

And then he was late to do the alligator show yesterday and one of the other zookeepers stepped in to do the show in his place. Suddenly this other zookeeper, who I’ve been getting to know during my outdoor shifts at the feeding corral, became a lot more attractive.

In a mild state of confused panic, I texted one of my friends asking if she thought I had some kind of alligator kink (I then gave her the context of this question- I really need to start giving context first before asking the weird questions). Her response of maybe I like these guys “because alligators are supposed to be dangerous but they are able to work with them well?” was very reassuring that I have not in fact lost my mind or gone into some weird territory of attraction.

In short, this week I discovered that I like people who are able to confidently work with potentially dangerous animals. So I guess it’s a good thing I literally work at a zoo.

Putting Down Roots — February 20, 2016

Putting Down Roots

In my mind there are four main things that can make someone connected to (and happy in) a place. They are: family, friends, a job, and hobbies/activities.

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My very poorly drawn “Happiness Tree”

I’ve been here for about two months now, and I have slowly but surely begun to tentatively put down roots for each of those four things. I still have a long way to go on a few of them, but I am making progress.

Family- my parents retired down here, and I basically just followed them, so I definitely have the family root.

Job- I am working at a zoo/animal sanctuary and it honestly is one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Today I spent the whole day down at the feeding corral with goats, sheep, deer, llamas, a turkey, a kangaroo, and an alligator (no you don’t feed those last three animals) and spent my time chatting with guests and walking around checking on the animals. It was amazing.

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Our alligator is one of my favorite zoo residents

Hobbies/activities- Last weekend I went to a local farmers’ market, which I will definitely be going to again. This week I also signed up for a gym membership and have begun taking yoga classes again. I’ve been to an open mic night at a local bar/coffee shop (side note: who thought to put together a coffee shop and a bar? Weird, but okay), and plan to go to a poetry open mic night at a different bar/coffee shop sometime soon.

Friends- This one is the most difficult for me. I’ve met up with a few people, and certainly have coworkers who I’d like to hang out with outside of work, but I don’t really feel like I have actual friends here yet. I know this comes with time, but it’s tough to be in a new city and feel like the only people you have around are your parents.

But hey, after only being here for two months, 3/4 roots isn’t all that bad.

Moving In and Setting Up — January 26, 2016

Moving In and Setting Up

This past weekend I moved into my first actual apartment (meaning not on a college campus) and it has been an adventure. Between having furniture delivered and trying to get the internet set up, this has been a crazy weekend. Here’s a few things I’ve learned about getting set up somewhere new.

  • The first night or two will be difficult, so have something comforting near by. For my cat Clara, that meant sleeping on a blanket that smelled like me until she could curl up next to me at night. For me it meant pulling an old teddy bear out of a box and sleeping with it again.

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  • You don’t have to do it all in one day. It’s incredibly tempting to power through and unpack every box, run every errand, and get everything organized all in the first day, but it also is exhausting and very impractical. Spread it out over a few days. As you get more familiar with your new space you’ll have a better idea of where things should go (I moved the glasses between two cupboards three times before deciding where they go).
  • Take some time out to be with people. I had lunch on Sunday with a new friend and it was great to take a break from the stress of moving to hang out and eat ramen. Remembering that there are people outside of your apartment is a really great feeling.
  • Things will go wrong. The internet will take an extra three days to get set up or your box spring for your bed won’t arrive on time. It’s ok. Eventually everything will get figured out and you can continue on.
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Don’t let this be you on your moving day
  • Find out how loud your appliances are. I finally figured out how to run my dishwasher last night and started it right before going to bed so I could just deal with the clean dishes in the morning. Imagine my surprise when it sounded like a hurricane was happening in my kitchen while dragons shrieked from on top of the fridge. I will not be running the dishwasher at night anymore, but that would have been good to know earlier.

Luckily, everything seems to be going smoothly now. Once my box spring is delivered, I’ll be all settled in. I think I’ll like it here.

 

Life on Fast Forward — January 16, 2016

Life on Fast Forward

In the past week I got a job, met three potential friends, and found an apartment that I will be moving into next week (once all the paperwork goes through). Every other day I am basically purely running on adrenaline, which means that the other half of the days I am exhausted.

Despite that, I am getting closer to feeling happy here and feeling like I can do this “adulthood” thing.

Something I thought a lot about this week was how excited 10 year old me would be about the things happening. First of all, I’m living in the Southwestern part of the US, which is something 10 year old me desperately wanted because I thought that would automatically make me a cowgirl.

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What 10 year old me thought I’d become by moving to the South West. Spoilers: I didn’t

Second, starting next week I’ll be working at a zoo. 10 year old me is screaming in excitement. Sure, I’m not a dolphin trainer like I had always hoped as a kid, but working full-time retail at a zoo/animal sanctuary will still be pretty fun. Especially since it’s a small zoo and it’s possible I’ll be able to use some of my other skills and move up into a new job position. Also, I’ll get to eat my lunch each day outside any animal enclosure I choose. The tigers and me are going to become good friends.

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I promise not to bring the tigers home from work

Third, 10 year old me would be proud that after only about a month in a new place I’ve already begun to make friends. This weekend I’m going to dinner with one, walking dogs with another, and I have tentative plans to hang out with a third potential friend the weekend after moving into my new apartment. Yes I miss my old friends like crazy, but I know to really be happy here I need to make some new friends as well.

Life may be on moving insanely fast right now, but I think that just means the good times will be here faster. And I can live with that.

Decision Making or Questionable Life Choices — January 8, 2016

Decision Making or Questionable Life Choices

I’ve never really been a fan of having to make big choices and decisions. Deciding to move across the country after graduating college was difficult for me. I knew I wanted to get out of Minnesota, but didn’t really know where to go or what to do. I second-guessed myself a lot, and then would have full-blown moments of panic even after making my decision to move. Now as I try to decide on what I want to do as a career, short-term job, how I’ll make friends, where I’ll live, I’m getting tenser and tenser by the day.

There has to be a better way to make choices, one that will leave me feeling less tense. And then, in a wave of nostalgia and questionable reasoning, the answer came to me.

A magic 8 ball.magic 8 ball

The classic ’90s toy that answers any question you pose to it would be an excellent way to make choices and not feel tension because, hey, the universe directs the magic 8 ball, so obviously I should just follow the universe’s commands.

In related news, I will be going to grad school next year for archaeology, moving to Egypt, and awakening a long dead mummy due to a curse. Maybe I shouldn’t watch adventure movies while asking the magic 8 ball what to do.

Or maybe I should find better ways to reduce my stress about decisions. Either way, this year is bound to be interesting and eventful. Here’s to a new year of discovering myself and seeing a little more of the path to my future. If the magic 8 ball is right, it’ll be an exciting ride.