Career Change

IMG_4422It might be time to edit my website…

I’m no longer coaching college lacrosse. For the last 10 years it has been my life, my everything, my first true love. But about 2 weeks ago I met with my athletic director and it was decided that this might not be the route I should take.

I’m not upset about this. I’m excited, I’m seizing opportunities left and right, I’m ENJOYING this stress-free time. I no longer need to censor and edit myself, I can finally go out in public to places where if someone sees me acting carelessly it doesn’t reflect on some other greater entity. There’s no more perpetual worry about what my players are doing or acting, did I respond to the recruit, what events am I signed up for. I feel a tremendous amount of relief.

I’ve been applying for jobs in new career fields. I had a phone interview today with an insurance company. I’ve never really worked in finance, but I didn’t hide it and they seemed more interested in my personality than my experience. They told me to call them back if it’s a job I’m interested in pursuing. I interviewed yesterday with a non-profit. I want to learn how to grant-write and help create a better place for people to co-exist in. I have an in-person interview on Thursday. I’ve been offered a handful of writing freelance jobs. Finally using my master’s degree the way it was intended to. Finally, I am working as a group fitness instructor and really taking the time to expand my knowledge and skills by reading more and more about fitness trends, techniques, and concepts.

I am happy. I am relaxed. I am excited for this new adventure.

My cortisol levels has decreased tremendously too. I can tell because my belly is flattening out, and my skin is clearing up. Yeah, I’ve managed to lose inches since departing Huntingdon. All this sudden change has been interesting to say the least. In addition, my boyfriend is deployed so I’m by myself here in Alabama. But my support system has been coming through. I’ve been running with a running group. Going out with my kickball teammates and friends. I feel like I’m living a life that I was supposed to be doing and it made me think about the first season without George.

I believe the luster began to wear off the moment he died. That 2014 team is forever my favorite because they saved my life. They gave me a purpose. But most importantly, they inspired me to find new passions, to find meaning in all of the madness going on around me. And college coaching, for right now, is not my purpose. Maybe I’ll move back towards it at another time, but it’s time for me to figure out how to build my own nest.

Ask for a sign

I ask George for a sign and a sign I shall receive! I’m over the three year mark of being widowed, and I remember when I would meet other widows who are at the 3 year or beyond and wonder if they still think about their spouse every day.  The answer is YES!

Not a day goes by I don’t think about George. My mind still wanders to the times we had together. It drifts wondering what life would be like if he were alive. I wonder if he magically appeared if he would like this new, revamped version of his wife. I wonder if he would like the people I spend my time with. What his advice would be to me if I were to vent about my problems. I just wonder. And sometimes all that wondering manifests and the longing for him comes back and then in those moments where I feel weak, I walk outside in the cool air, gaze up at the shimmering stars and the crescent moon and ask George to give me a sign. Please let me know I’m not screwing up my life and you’re still with me.

I ask for a sign, and he delivers. Every. Single. Time. It’s uncanny, seriously.

Over the past month a few of my friends have asked me to go to the Camellia Bowl. It’s a college football game in Montgomery where two teams head to the city to compete. I’ve turned down the offer a few times, because I have little to no interest in going. Plus I’m moving on the day of the game. So the Camellia Bowl has not been on my mind whatsoever and has little impact on my daily activities. Then a work colleague mentions to me about a week ago one of the teams to play in the bowl game is practicing at Huntingdon. I asked him what team it was and he said it’ll be University of Toledo.

If my heart had a tail, it would be wagging nonstop. I’m grinning, even as I write this I’m smiling. It’s almost to the point of appearing manic, but I can’t help it, this is so bizarre! I couldn’t believe UT was going to be coming to Huntingdon. What are the odds! George’s sister went to UT and his family lives in Toledo! If it were Bowling Green I would’ve fainted. George went to Bowling Green, but you know what UT is just as good! Plus the UT mascot is the Rockets and George’s high school mascot at Bay Village was a Rocket too. I just cannot help but see this as a sign. He’s here, he’s with me, he’s watching over me to make sure I don’t crash and burn.

One thing I’ve mentioned and I tend to talk and look for George when I feel defeated. And I should look for him when greatness happens too. I need to get better at that. But for now, I can’t wait to see UT practicing out there on the stadium field, and know George has given me a little Holiday message this year.

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Going Home

I currently reside in NJ and think of it as my home, but whenever I head back to my home state of Connecticut, I’m always over the moon about returning home. After George passed away, my parents scooped me up from my Jersey City apartment and brought me back to Connecticut where I stayed through Thanksgiving break before returning to work a week later. When I remember those days immediately afterwards I’m still befuddled on how I got back to work so quickly. But I remember sitting in my office crying while balancing my team’s budget and organizing our away trips. Occasionally I’d stare at old pictures of George. I still do that from time to time, but I don’t recognize myself in the pictures. It’s troubling to see someone who is basically a stranger standing next to him.

This is going to be a long lead up to what is a really brief anecdote. So after finals at my university I headed back to Connecticut where I remained for roughly 5 weeks. I didn’t leave the house much because I was barely breathing and didn’t want to run into people. I quickly became reclusive. After my season was over in the Spring, again I returned home but I was still very reclusive. Your confidence and self-esteem plummets during the grieving process. When I would go out in my hometown it would be with my parents, my brother and my cousins. Rarely did I go out without a family member nearby. That unconditional love family provides had to be within yards from me. Even this summer when I became severely ill, I was tentative to go out. I just had an internal fear of running into people and having the small talk of “I heard about your husband, I’m so sorry.” Or running into someone who had heard I got married but didn’t know he had passed. I had that happen a few times, and I feel like a bug getting squished by a massive boot.

So this past weekend I headed back to Connecticut with the new guy. My parents are out of the state so I didn’t have to worry about him meeting them. That may come, but just not right now. There were two big things going on: my CCSU Lacrosse alumni game and my former HS and college teammate’s 30th birthday party. It was a widow homecoming.

A lot of my former teammates hadn’t seen me since George passed. Only a couple had seen me over the summer, but I had mentally prepared for the awkwardness of seeing them especially with having someone other than George accompanying me. I warned new guy that he might get questions about it, but he told me at the end of the day he only got one serious inquiry about if I talk about George. But like most situations, in my head they were far worse than how they played out. It was amazing seeing my old teammates, and they were so happy that I’m starting to see someone new and wanted the details of it. One commented that I look happy, and I was. I think I am for the most part. The grief comes for a day or for hours, but no longer consumes my entire livelihood like it had.

When I went to the 30th birthday party, much of my reclusive behavior is to avoid people from high school, and by going I knew I would see so many classmates. There was this weirdness with being there, especially because all of them I hadn’t seen since before married. In some cases it had been years. But it was a mixed bag. Some asked about him dying, then others just were curious what I was up to. But again, it was pleasant and a relief that I’m still an undying pessimist when it comes to social situations.

As I’ve said posts ago, it is a hard battle to learn how to love and respect yourself after losing a loved one. I refused to let the grief kill me too, but I also didn’t expect I would have to come face-to-face with letting the past remain frozen in time.

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Under Lockdown

How desperately I wish I could title this post Under Pressure and I could come up with a witty Freddie Mercury saying to accompany it, but unfortunately the pressure cooker is turned off and I’ve become ostracized in Connecticut. On Sunday evening, I become feverish and by Monday I was confined to my bed until basically Wednesday when I revisited the doctor. I’ve been feeling better since, but this morning my car keys were stripped from me- have I mentioned I’m 28 years old?- and the locks on the doors quickly fastened. I am on ailing lockdown.

I was planning on returning to New Jersey on Monday, but with the high fevers and feeble attempt at pretending everything was okay, my parents felt it was in my best interest to spend the week at home. I was 100% planning on returning to NJ this weekend once the thunderstorms passed through New England. Except this morning my phone started quacking again, and when I picked up it was my doctor. She had some bad news for me:

“This will be as much of a surprise for you as it is for me, but your blood work came back and you have mono. Not just a slight case of it, you’ll need at least 2 weeks of bed rest.”

Before I could hang the phone up, I swear I heard the locks on the doors make a thud sound, and my mom telling me, there’s no way in hell I’m going back to NJ until next weekend. I need to get better. Damnit, I put up a fight on why I needed to go home, and as I was pleading my case she took the car keys. It’s completely over the top and I know it is, and now I really feel like I’ve regressed back in time. I thought that you could only get mono once? Also, I thought at a certain age you’re no longer supposed to be susceptible to mono? I feel like whenever I come back to Connecticut I immediately turn back between the ages of 15-20. It’s insane.

So I have mono. Yet again. It’s kind of funny because last time I was single for a long period of time was in 2006. I really hadn’t been single since July of 2006 until well George died. Maybe mono is my body’s way of setting up book ends? Or it’s the universe telling me to take a break, slow it down, take care of yourself.

I know Mono is called the kissing disease, and sure I’ve made out with a few people, but I think I gave myself this one. I was doing 2 a day/ 3 a day workouts like 4-5 times a week for the last month. I was working out 10-16 days in a row, and on my “rest days” I was still cranking out either 30-45 minutes of biking or jogging. Was I burning the candle at both ends? Yeah, but it felt good. I loved that I could control my effort entirely. I also went gluten-free in the month of July, and that may have added more stress than needed as well. This whole getting severely sick came as a surprise because I felt I was doing a good job taking care of myself. It also comes at a horrible time because I’m just starting to get in some of the best shape I’ve been in, in awhile and I’m training for a triathlon in September. this is certainly going to hurt the training I’ve already laid down.

1 more week of lockdown in Connecticut, and hopefully I’ll sleep this virus out of my body. I haven’t cried a ton this month. Perhaps the grief manifested into something I could no longer ignore. I’ve heard that happens. Time to recognize.

mono can tame me

mono can tame me