How do you measure a year?

28 years. I turned 28 years old yesterday. Unlike most people my age, I don’t mind being one step closer to 30. It definitely got me thinking though.

A lot has happened this year. Professionally, I began heading up the Unit-Based Council for our ER. I also joined our hospital-wide Shared Governance Committee and the Clinical Informatics Council. It’s allowed me to explore my other interests in nursing (contributing to policy formation and informatics). Now I’m pretty set on the direction I want to go for grad school…at this point, it’s all figuring out which school has a good program that I can afford. It’s also somewhat strange to me that I’ve become one of the people at work that people see as a resource. In my head, I’m still a newer nurse, but in reality (especially compared to all of the new grads we’ve got), I’m one of the more seasoned ones. Especially when it comes to triage; I do the best I can to manage myself up there when we’re busy, and apparently, it’s good enough that others have taken notice and have made me the final check off for triage. All in all, work is going well for me.

On the personal front, I’ve become a pet parent. For the longest time, I’ve valued my independence and not being tied down to things (ironic since I’m also the type to lay down roots as soon as I feel safe). And all of a sudden, I became the pet parent for my two dogs, Hunter and Chico. It hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies (RIP to the many foods, socks and pens I’ve lost along the way), but it’s been a good experience. It is kind of nice to have someone excited for you to come home and someone who is content simply with your love and affection. It’s required a major lifestyle change and it’s limited my freedom a bit — which I do miss — but I would definitely say it’s worth it.

I checked a big thing off of my bucket list: going to Italy (I swear, at some point soon, I’m going to finish that series of posts). We went on a 10-day pilgrimage throughout various cities in Italy, ending in Rome. Then we stayed a few days past the end of the pilgrimage to explore Rome and the surrounding areas. We got to walk through more than a few Holy Doors, and my brother, Marissa, and I all got to “meet” our Confirmation saints. My brother’s was St. Francis in Assisi, St. Maria Goretti in Nettuno for Marissa, and St. Ignatius of Loyola in Rome for me. Hands down, it was my favorite trip I’ve ever taken, and it helped renewed my love for my Catholic faith. Coincidentally enough, the Year of Mercy ended yesterday which shut all of the Holy Doors worldwide.

Relationship front: No change, still militantly single. Moving on.

Just kidding. I’m still single by choice, but I’ve become more comfortable with my decision for celibacy and not wanting a partner. I’ve come to realize the value of my time, and I want to spend my time doing what I want to do and cultivating my existing relationships. I enjoy coming home to the (relative) quiet and recharging. I’m friendly, but introverted at heart and would rather be alone at home without pants on than out on the town partying (a drink and cuddling with dogs is WAY better than going out and dealing with drunks, cheaper too). But I digress. I find myself socially drained at work that when I get time off, I need a lot of me time to recover. While I do enjoy time with friends, at the end of the day, we all go home to our respective residences. Having that extra commitment taking up the extra time out of my day seems a daunting amount of energy to be spent, and that’s not effort I’m willing to put in at this time. But now, I’m better at verbalizing it.

The most emotionally-draining aspect of my life from this year though has been my friendships. I swear by this philosophy from Madea. Throughout the last year, I’ve definitely had breaches of trust in various ways that have helped me get rid of some “leaves.” But there have also been some situations where some “branches” have also displayed some questionable behavior. I used to have a pretty black-and-white view of that until it started hitting close to home and I started identifying with Sonny’s character. It’s definitely led to some internal conflict with how to proceed in addressing (or not addressing) the situation. I guess that’s adulthood though; learning that nothing is ever black-and-white and most things are some shade of gray.

In any case, I’m incredibly thankful for another year on this earth, the roof over my head, the food on my table, and the people (and pets) that I love and love me. Here’s to another year; may I love a lot, laugh often, and learn much on the path to 29.

 

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Where there is darkness, light…

So I swear, I’m going to pull my notes off my computer and finally finish my Italy series at some point. I’m terrible at actually keeping up with this blogging thing. But there was something else that prompted me to post something: this election.

I’ve stayed pretty quiet during this whole election process because politics is something so polarizing to discuss, and I’m not about to invite additional drama and headache into my time off. At this point, I could give two shits who got president. I’ve got friends that are die-hard “I’m With Her” Clinton fans. I’ve got friends and family that have hopped on the “Make America Great Again” bandwagon early and dug their heels in support of Trump. I’ve also got people that decided that they would vote their conscience and align themselves with a 3rd party. The political affiliations themselves are irrelevant. I knew I wasn’t going to like the outcome regardless. I’ve already braced myself that one way or another, I’m going to have to deal with some negative effects. I mean let’s be real, I’m homosexual and darker than khaki. This ain’t gonna be a walk in the park for me. But the thing fueling the fear, hurt, and anger in my deepest core is not what any one person or party can or will do to us; it’s what we’re doing to ourselves.

Over the last few weeks and months (and especially over the last 24 hours), I have watched “friends” and families turn on each other and tear each other down. And I get it. Some people feel extremely threatened by the potential policies of this new regime. This whole situation is triggering a nation-wide fight-or-flight response. And I can understand the reaction. The LGBTQ community, Muslims, Mexicans, women, etc. are all up in arms because they believe that this could turn back the clock on all of their progress. It’s a threat against them, against their families, against their friends, against their children, so they’re going to defend what they have. I get it. But at this point, we’ve got what we’ve got.

Infighting will solve nothing. Now is the time to unite. Trump may not have political experience and it’ll probably be a rough four years, but we have the choice not to make it more rough for ourselves. Instead family members and former friends are at each others’ throats trying to further push their ideologies on each other with force. Blame is being hurled every direction. Ad hominem attacks abound. The intolerance on my Minifeed and Twitter from both sides are ridiculous. I mean, hell, any given Black Friday is probably much less chaotic than the social media mess we’re in right now. At least there, once you get through the checkout line, the fists stop flying.

My point is, I’m severely disappointed in pretty much everyone’s behavior. I don’t care how you voted. You have your reasons that are valid at least to you, I’m sure, as do I. I initially was more wary of Trump’s character. But now it’s looking like I should’ve been worried about the people around me. And that’s what scares me more than the prospect of a loose cannon with nuclear launch codes.

With that, I’ll leave y’all with the Prayer of Serenity. Peace be with you.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.