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The past year has been a bit of a struggle. Every time I seem to be gaining traction, something happens to remind me how far I am away from my goals. I am 25 hours into my doctoral program, but the looming presence of a dissertation never ceases to be daunting. This school year has been difficult. The students have been fine, but I have found myself butting heads with new administrators due to philosophical differences. I have no qualms about being told what to teach, but I bristle at being told how to teach. I do not like being stripped of my autonomy. I am being moved out of social studies and into the writing department for next year, a move that I neither expected nor requested. While I am excited to have the same group of students for another year, I have reservations about leaving my favorite subject.
For two years, I had been involved in a complicated long distance thing with a woman in Pennsylvania. I don't know that we had ever even classified it as a relationship until she classified it as such after the fact. I honestly loved (well, still love) her more than I have loved anyone, but I was content to let her settle her baggage before we progressed further. Last June, almost randomly, she decided that our paths were incongruous and that she needed to extricate me from her life completely. Over the following weeks, she began to erase her footprint completely (phone number change, username changes, etc.) other than the occasional log-on to Skype. Because she was my best friend and my biggest supporter in addition to whatever it was that we were, it has left an unmistakeable void in my life.
A few weeks ago, my sister suffered a miscarriage. Shortly thereafter, my brother-in-law was involved in a 20 car pileup just outside of D.C. While I feel blessed that both are still alive, the emotion of the past year has been weighing heavily on me. I know I shouldn't feel so discontent all the time, but I do.
Sorry for the wall of text, but thanks for reading to any of you who did. Enough about me, though. How are you?
Let NOTHING stand in your way.
I feel that feeling too... the years have been heavier and heavier. Despite that, I have personally grown. But I feel lost too.
I'm flattered you find my posts cultured (or is it just really obvious that I'm trying really hard? Sometimes these things are one in the same.)
I've been meaning to write about this for myself for some time now because I think I'm in a much better place to talk about it, but I may as well begin by sharing it here.
The short of it is, I've been doing better. After a number of incidents over the past couple of years that have seen me either separating from groups of friends, reprioritizing time I spend with people, or being flat out reprioritized/rejected by others, I took a long, long time to reevaluate what my own values are and what it means to be in a relationship with another person. And not just in a romantic sense, but what it really means to be friends with someone, what it means to dedicate time to that kind of relationship, etc.
There's that saying that if you go around life thinking everyone around you is an a******, you're the a******. I don't know if I 100% agree with that, but it has been part of my thought process. I spent a long time questioning how it was and how I do treat the people around me, and I've been doing my best to make an earnest effort to improve in that department.
Two years ago I think I was in the midst of the deepest part of feeling like I'd really messed things up with a lot of the people that I spent the most time with. I never really recovered with one of those groups, though I am still individually friends with many of them. I recognize better that I'm more on the periphery of one of the other groups, and respect and enjoy the time I have with them but know that it comes and goes. But I now have other groups of friends that I do interact with much more often. And that's how my relationships have evolved. I've done my best to attribute these changes to not only how I view relationships but also how my friends and friend groups view relationships, and have tried to internalize the process as improving myself for the sake of improving myself, rather than trying to win anyone back, because I know that's largely an exercise in futility.
If I were to use a metaphor for it, there was a point where I was in the deepest part of a dark cave, and climbing out of it at times felt like an insurmountable task. Every once in awhile, I find myself slipping back into it, but two years later I can safely say I am more usually out of the cave than in.
I listen to a lot more podcasts than music these days, and I realized about a month ago that I probably do it because it's really stimulating to listen to conversations, and I was having both issues with friends and issues with coworkers which led me to not having many conversations of my own in the first place. I still listen to podcasts though and enjoy them a lot more, and they're great for my commute.
I started a new job in February after a management change in my old job slowly started to drive me crazy and I started to see the cracks in the organization. A part of me felt guilty leaving so many students behind that I'd spent so much time building relationships with, but I know they'll be taken care of and I still check in with them from time to time. Like yesterday, I saw a lot of them at the same time and they all said hello (and then asked me if I was playing the new God of War). It felt really good to see them. The new job has long hours and weekend hours but is OT eligible and pays me fairly, which eases a lot of burden. I like my coworkers a lot and they've helped me a lot here too.
I have a group I play board games and card games with and we've been playing pretty consistently over the last nine months or so. Our favorite game right now is Smash Up, a card game where you vie for territory and domination over various bases for points. We get pretty competitive.
I appreciate the check in. Turning 30 has been heavy but there are also parts of it that feel more liberating. I'll bet 13 year old Kylo Force never thought he'd be posting that on PMS.
"Sa taong walang takot, walang mataas na bakod."
"To those without fear, there is no such thing as a tall fence." - Filipino Proverb
I'm glad you're here posting it and that you're doing better. Friendship is hard! But you're a great friend to us all here.
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