My goal is to write for an hour a day (at least)- especially in the summer. Yesterday I finished reading the entire book by Juliana Buhring about her bike ride around the world. Here is her website: http://julianabuhring.com/. My husband asked me, "When do you start school again?" when I told him about my plan to bike ride around the world. He told me I should start riding to work first. He has a point, I guess.
Today has been extremely serendipitous so far which is making me extremely happy. I still feel that nervous part of my stomach which wants to take over (anxiety, depression, the space where you stare into space and tell yourself- my life is good, I'm ok- I'll be ok." My new medication might be starting to work? I hope so! I was supposed to wait a week before taking one whole pill twice a day. I couldn't wait because I felt just doing 1/2 a pill twice a day might make me wallow in depression for too much longer. Today is the official day I should have been taking the whole pill twice a day- so I'm a week ahead of schedule. I'm sorry, but whatever it takes!
I have just arrived at a new coffee shop at 601 Baronne Street in the CBD called Rouler. I'm listening to Fresh Air- Yeah Terry Gross! I'm looking up information about the amazing Juliana Buhring and writing off and on. What was so serendipitous you ask? I woke up with Mario (my husband) with an hour to go before we needed to drop the kids off at zoo camp (9AM). If you are a parent, you know how challenging this is- to get the kids ready in an hour. We successfully got lunches packed (they packed them up themselves with a little help), water bottles, change of clothes, sunscreen, teeth brushed (maybe), hair even brushed (even Eli)! I had my running outfit on, and I had already decided the day before. Those of you who battle depression/anxiety know how important it is to make your decisions ahead of time! If you manage to do that, it's much easier. Then you can cross these things off the list as you do them.
So Mario dropped us off. I got the kids to their zoo classes which they love. Then I ran through Audubon Park while listening to "The Mental Illness Happy Hour", a podcast that is good and about Mental Illness. It was a bit too dark for me today. I felt like I have a handle on things and I want to have a fulfilling, positive life no matter what the challenges. Therefore, after running through the park, I found The West Wing podcast. I immediately started smiling while listening to it.
I was running on St. Charles on my way back home when I ran into one of my friends who works at Tulane. She's been doing research in Hong Kong, so I turned around and walked with her to her office so we could catch up. What a treat! There was also a great water fountain and bathroom for me to freshen up and keep running. I would never be able to do all of that on a regular school day, so I was super happy to run into her. I tried to practice mindfulness and be in the moment with her, too. I told myself, "You are so lucky to run into a friend like that and walk to her office." I sometimes put pressure on myself to be that person who sees her friends more, makes new friends, is in the moment, etc. I tried to just appreciate what happened today and be happy for today in today!
My friend who I ran into does not struggle with mental illness, so I look to her like a model of how I could be socially. She's amazing. She had lunch/dinner with people in Hong Kong that she met through other contacts. She stayed in an air BNB. She took a dumpling making class while in Hong Kong. I slightly compare this to myself when I went to NYC last year. I did go to my classes, then to my room to lay down to get it together. Then I forced myself to go out with other teachers and do things with them. I didn't necessarily enjoy all of it, but I did it. I did enjoy some of it. I didn't just stay in my room by myself like I did when I went to DC for EQUIP.
I left Jana's office after drinking copious amount of water from the excellent water fountain right outside of her office. If you have ever been running in New Orleans in temperatures as high as 90-100 degrees, you will understand the beauty of a good water fountain.
I walked to St Charles Avenue and started running as soon as I got to the same place I had stopped previously when I ran into my friend. I ran for a few blocks and saw my husband pulled over on St. Charles. By this point, I had run far enough to get the endorphins flowing which meant that I could stop and jump in the car with Mario. His 10:00 AM appointment was cancelled, so he took me to a new coffee shop to get some coffee and a treat. We ran into some students from my writing class from last week. This is our second time running into them. Again, I stopped and mentally thanked God and the universe for this. It was wonderful to run into Mario, enjoy a few moments with him, and to see two colleagues from last week's class. That makes four people I ran into today without plans. It is a beautiful day. Thank you, thank you!
Now I am at the new coffee shop where I ran into a fifth person, one of my students' parents where I actually originally found out about this coffee shop. I am also down the street from my husband's office. He may come by later if he has some time. For all of this, I am thankful. I think of myself like one of the characters in Walker Percy's The MovieGoer. I am a little fragile. I need help from around my city, from across the universe. Here I get it. It is so common to run into someone in New Orleans and have a nice conversation with them. We stop, we talk, we engage in each others lives for a moment. It reminds me of my time in The Republic of Congo. When you would run into someone, you stop, you talk to them, you have a 20 minute conversation. The conversations here are a little shorter than the ones in Congo, but much better than other places in the United States.
One of my colleagues might meet me here in an hour. Then I pick up the kids an hour after that. I drop them off with the folks, then I go home and straighten up. Then I go out and visit a friend who is in walking distance from the house. He will be at a restaurant and bar down the street doing a meet up. All is well.