A bit of honesty here. It’s been a strange thing to get used to, this doing nothing. This doing….nothing. Especially coming from utter chaos which was: two years of nursing school, taking the NCLEX to get my RN, straight on to graduate school for a year and a half, volunteering at a clinic, working at WIC, working weekends at the hospice, planning a wedding, maintaining a cross-border relationship, and enjoying an amazingly full social life in between, *GASP FOR AIR*….I needed a break, that’s for sure.

A break was welcome. In fact, who wouldn’t be thrilled at such a prospect after such a recently-packed schedule? However, there are breaks and there are BREAKS. This has been a break with a capital B. This is like going from living in a studio apartment with 10 people for three years to having an entire mansion to myself.  The waaaaambulance part is that I’m alone most of the day and night; my wonderful huz works about 14-hour days and I didn’t know a soul coming here.  Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem for me, I’m a pretty outgoing type and haven’t had problems making friends in the past, especially after moving to 2 new cities in the last 5 years where I didn’t know anybody. But there has been no community, a language barrier, and until recently, nowhere for me to plug in and meet people. It’s been hard, and very, very lonely.

I know it sounds sickeningly whiny to those out there working their butts off who would die to be in my position. It’s also the complainings of a privileged life. I get that. I also get that a vast majority of my friends and classmates would have already started an NGO here saving indigenous babies from malnutrition and whatnot (You know who you are).  I’m just being honest here, people. My normal strategy would be to get out there as fast as I could and volunteer, or get a job if I wasn’t satisfied with having all this “time off.” That’s what I would tell me if I were on the outside reading this blog. But I hit so many roadblocks in the beginning, and everything about my situation was so new and foreign, that I guess I just paralyzed myself.

There was a good chunk of months that I was really down on myself. The more time I spent alone, the less I wanted to go out and interact with society, even though it would be the obvious cure for my loneliness.  It got to the point where I wanted to punch out anyone that said things like, “oh, you’re a nurse? there must be MILLIONS of opportunities for you there!” or, “newlyweds? awwww….you must be in utter bliss! This is the happiest time of your life!” Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband to death and I regret not for a second bringing our lives together, but this has not been the happiest time in my life. It’s been very challenging, and for a while there, having “nothing” to do was bringing me down to a point of bringing him down too. Not good.

But, it gets better. Things have started to turn around. And it hasn’t been in the filling up on friends and activities (my normal strategy), that has made the difference. (Although slowly but surely that is changing too- my friend count is now up to….3! Yes!!!)  It has been in learning to accept the art of doing nothing. “Nothing” is of course “something”- what I mean to say is, I have no real responsibilities- no job, no kids, no social life, etc. (except keeping one eye constantly on my puppy so she doesn’t turn my shoe collection into a lunch buffet).  So, I made the decision to either:  a) embrace this time for what it is, or b) get the heck of my keister and get to work.

Of course faith and an attitude adjustment were in order, too. Once I put more energy into both of those means,  what do you know! Things started to turn around. I have finally accepted this time for what it is and stopped focusing on how lonely I am or frustrated not to be working. That alone took effort, and energy. Every day was a choice- on what to see positively about my life, how to appreciate the situation I was in, how to choose something over nothing. And positive efforts were contagious- once I started trying harder, so did Alex- and we’ve been having a much happier time, in fact a grand old time, being married and sharing the day to day.

Knowing that it will only be for a short while longer (uh, the situation, not the marriage), I’m almost giddy at the prospect of waking up and spending entire mornings drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Taking the pup for long walks in the park. Sitting on the balcony watching the world go by. Starting a blog. Reading friend’s blogs. Watching internet TV (although this has to be rationed- I once watched 2 seasons of gossip girl in 2 weeks and felt as bad about myself as if I had started a heroine habit). Cooking to my heart’s content (despite aforementioned hazards). Taking pictures. Exploring the city now that I know how to get around it alone without getting killed.   Or reading any gosh-darned thing I want (check out what on goodreads) all day long because I spent 3 1/2 years reading about body parts and evidence-based practice.

I guess the point, if there is one, is that I had to learn how to just be. Maybe some of you might think this is ridiculous, but others know what I’m talking about. These activities have been solitary, for the most part. I would much rather be gallivanting around Mexico City in my free time sharing it with people I love. But I had to learn how to find joy in being alone for long periods of time. God helped me out too, let’s not minimize that. I’m not of the opinion that I alone changed things, but I had to make the effort see what I was being offered.  Every day is a choice. And every day is getting better.

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