Sunday, July 24, 2016

Back to Work

I've taken a lot of vacation already this summer.  In May, it was Egypt/Greece/Jordan with my (now ex-) girlfriend.  In June, it was Chicago with my family.  This month, I spent a weekend in New York City for a wedding and then took a week off at home so that I could go to our local theatre festival, which is pretty much my favourite thing in the world.  Unfortunately, today was the last day of the festival, and tomorrow I go back to work.

There is actually a small part of me that is looking forward to going back.  Despite my Facebook posts to the contrary*, I mostly enjoy my job, and I am happy to have a bit more routine in my life again.  The past month and a half has felt very unsettled, and I'm hoping that being back at work will help me to feel more grounded.  More like myself again.

As I prepare to go back for a long stretch with no vacation in sight**, I have been thinking a lot about happiness - specifically, about things that I can do to be happier in both the short and the long term.  Find a new girlfriend seems to be the one that pops into my head most readily, but I'm well aware that I'm not yet in a place where I should start dating again, so I will just try my best to ignore that thought for at least a few more months.  Beyond that, there isn't one single thing that comes to mind; rather, there's a long list of small things that might help to make my life easier and better.  So...I'm back to trying to make some small habit changes

At the moment, there are three things that I'm trying to work on, which I will discuss very briefly, because it is suddenly late, and I have to set an alarm clock for the first time in 11 days.

Stop drinking pop: 

I know that I need to make healthier food choices, and I also know that sudden radical changes inevitably lead to failure, so I'm going to start small.  I gave up pop for the month of April, and I was really surprised by how little I missed it.  At the beginning of the month, I though about drinking it periodically, but the cravings for it always passed quickly, and by the end of the month I didn't even think about it.  I was actually a few days into May before I realized that I could start drinking pop again.  Which I wish I hadn't. 

Put my keys, wallet, and cell phone in the same place when I come home:

I am ashamed to admit that I spend a lot of time searching for my keys, wallet, and cell phone.  I frequently switch them between my purse, my work bag, and an assortment of backpacks that I use when I'm out at festivals or other events, and I can never seem to find them when I need them.  Not to mention the fact that my cell phone is rarely charged, which is inconvenient given that I recently gave up my land line.  A few days ago, I moved a storage unit into my front hallway and put a wicker basket on top of it, and I am trying very hard to put my things into it whenever I get home.  Except for the cell phone, which is getting attached to the charger.

Review my schedule on a weekly basis:

I'm pretty good about entering events into my calendar, but I'm not the best at subsequently looking at the calendar and remembering what I need to do.  So far I haven't missed any major appointments (in recent history, at least), but this leaves me with a bit of an unsettled feeling all the time.  My plan is to spend a bit of time every Sunday reviewing my schedule for the week (work and home) and to make a few work/personal goals for the week.  I will never come anywhere near sarah (SHU) in my organizational skills, but I am hoping to slowly improve them.

And that's it.  Three small habits that will not radically change my life but that will hopefully make things a bit better.  And once I've adopted these habits, there can always be more! 

*My Mom freaked out when I recently posted on Facebook that I preferred being at the theatre festival to being at work.  What would your patients think if they saw that?  Um...that I'm a normal human being who sometimes likes vacation more than being at work.

**Any ideas of fun things for single people to do on vacation?  The thought of booking a holiday without my (now ex-) girlfriend makes me want to vomit in my mouth a little, but I know that I will eventually need to go somewhere without her.  Or just work all the time.  Also an option.


  1. Re: vacations, what is something you love doing that you couldn't do with partners you've had? Since you love theater . . . book a vacation to Ashland, Oregon, to check out the Shakespeare Festival. It is so, so amazing. If you can get a ticket for a show at the outdoor theatre on the last night of it's run (or maybe the last night of the season in the outdoor theatre), they do a neat song thing at the end to close down the theatre. I just happened to be there for that one October.

    Or do you love museums? Favorite artist? Or favorite regional foods? Do something purely centered around your enjoyment.

    You could also do a vacation where you sign on to a retreat, like a yoga retreat or a bird watching trip or whatever your jam is. You'd socialize more then if you're worried about taking a trip alone.

    Good luck!

  2. Do a mini backpacking trip through Europe. Stay in hostels (I'm in my 30s and LOVED stayed in hostels. The nicer ones will have older people read: not as many 23 year olds). I did this last summer and had a blast. Met amazing people.

  3. or just stay in hotels. I say hostels because you can choose to be more social. I'm an introvert and I really enjoyed this.

  4. Re: The keys, etc. I lose everything! Having a hook that I hang my keys on when I walk in the door has made all the difference in my life. Times when I put my keys somewhere else almost always results in my day going totally sideways when I'm struggling to get out the door. I feel your pain.

    Re: Vacation. I loved backpacking by myself. My very first overseas travel was to Gothenburg, Geneva, Paris, London, and Milan, many parts of it entirely alone, and I loved it. More recently, I backpacked back and forth across almost the entirety of Greece, again, many parts of it alone (a few friends popped in, mostly to Athens, during the month or so I was there, and I would meet up with them for a day or two at a time). I stayed in hostels, hotels, basically wherever. I am pretty extraverted, but I enjoy my alone time and didn't really make many friends or connections while I travelled...but I liked it that way.

  5. Are you still going to the gym?

    Honestly SD, if you didn't feel at least a little crappy from your recent breakup, you wouldn't be human. Ditto about preferring vacation to your job in some ways. Your mom's comment made me laugh. People say crap like that to me all the time.

    Every time I'm involved with a liver transplant in the OR these days I think of this blog a little bit. I know you like your job. :-)