*A new location for past due news!
A conversation from my visit home last week started like this:
“Hey Fred, I hear life is treating you pretty well these days!”
“Well, it is, but it’s taking a lot of work.”
That’s the truth.
When I first moved out here Dad had to help me pay rent and I slummed around the college campuses looking for events with free food to eat. I learned that the laundromat costs a lot more than I expected, and trying to save some coins by bringing my wet clothes home to hang dry sounded like a good idea. However, living right next to a great lake just meant that the wet clothes allowed my apartment to accumulate its own layer of fresh linen dew. When I got into bed that night my covers felt like the inside of a sleeping bag while tent camping. It was cool and damp, but I guess I didn’t mind too much because it was just the rotten cherry on top of my melting sunday.
Honestly, I really didn’t like this place when I got here. There were clouds every day and the sun seemed to never shine. There was always this dense fog that hung close to the ground and after a while I let it fill my heart. The joy inside of me that, no matter what happened, could brighten my day became clouded with loneliness and homesickness. I didn’t have anyone to share the sad things with and no one to share the happy things with. So, everything, whether good or bad, seemed to magnify my solitude and made want to pack up and move back west.
Why didn’t I? I’d like to say that I persevered and overcame, but in reality, I have a yearlong contract with my job that isn’t up until September. So, whether I like it or not, Superior is my home. I have gone West a few times to visit my village, and what I’ve learned from those visits is that even though I’m not there to be a part of little league basketball games, smoked brisket dinners, bible studies, or Galentine’s Day parties, I’m still a part of their hearts and they’re still a part of mine. Just because I moved away doesn’t mean we’ve all moved on, and our relationships although different, are still strong.
Fall ended and the sun seemed to shine a little bit more, and I started to adjust to my new life. I finished my training at work and am considered to be a “status” paramedic, which mostly means that the important people above me at work think I’ve demonstrated a level of satisfactory competency. I'll take it. Being brand new made the training process a challenge and it took some deep breaths every few moments to remind myself that the field I’m in has a steep learning curve. Perhaps it’s safe to say that it's going to take a career or so to really get the hang of it.
I'll admit that work has certainly become more enjoyable and less terrifying with time. Don’t get me wrong, I still give myself mini pep-talks en route to most scenes and question just about everything I did for my patient after dropping them off at the hospital, but the doubt isn’t nearly as heavy and I'm able to let it go more quickly than I did eight months ago. I’ve even made a few friends with my colleagues, which has proved to be important for many reasons. One being that when my patient has a poor outcome, regardless of what we could’ve done for them, my colleagues are now people that can share in my sorrow. Another is that when things go well, they are quick to support me and can share in my joy! So, I’m not as alone as I once thought.
I’ve made a few, well one, friend outside of work too! She’s the gal that was always a little later to Mass than I was. I would get to Mass late and sit in the very back, but then a few minutes later she would stumble in too. I suppose we initially found community in the fact that neither of us are great at being on time. Then we figured out that we both love Jesus, eating ice cream, and have a strong affinity towards the goofier things in life. We both have a tendency to laugh a little too loud at inappropriate times and sometimes we feel like we’re a little lazier than we should be. So, we became friends. She’s been a blessing in the flesh, and I am extremely thankful.
School is also going well and I’ll be graduating in May with my Associates of Science from BSC. Being a full-time online student while working full time as a brand-new paramedic might have stretched my limits a little further than I was comfortable with, but I made it out in one piece! Now I know that taking fifteen credits is about five too many for one semester and won’t have to make that mistake again. Learning as I go, it’s all about learning as I go!
So yes, three days a week I love my job and I am still pushing through to finish my undergraduate degree. I’m making friends, however slowly that may be, and working out regularly. My plants are still alive and the fog in my heart is much less dense than it used to be. In fact, it's almost like the sun is shining and the joy that brightens my day has returned.
Life, whatever that means, is treating me pretty well these days, but it’s taking a lot of work.
I'm really hoping that most of you have gotten bored and moved on by now, but if you've read this far and wish to keep going, I'll indulge you with a tidbit of potentially exciting news. You're welcome. I have been acquainting myself with a gentleman that just so happens to be kind, handsome, and somehow patient enough to put up with me and my antics; at least for now. He's big, and gentle; and, although he won't admit it, he is uncannily similar to all the sweet bear characters in movies. His name is Jason.*
*He wasn't a fan of me introducing him as "Bear" :)