If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that January has not been kind to me.
It started off joyously, with old friends and a feeling of satisfaction about how I spent 2014.
If the physical ailments weren’t enough, I had a pretty serious quarter-life crisis that made me reconsider everything I’ve been planning about my future for the past three years. None of my decisions were safe from my torturous confusion: my choice in college, my choice to even go to college at all, my choice in major and minor.
The school dilemma wasn’t enough either. I decided to end things with the person I was dating, and while I’m 100% glad I did it, breaking up with someone can be as rough as being broken up with.
Then classes started, which meant an additional level of stress. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this semester, but I wasn’t dreading it either–except for the workload.
Then injury struck again, this time rendering me fairly immobile. I’m on crutches, and while the X-rays of my knee came back normal, I have to see an orthopedist to find out exactly what’s going on.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m really trying to stay positive.
I’m laughing at how enormous my swollen knee is to distract myself from how much it hurts. I’m focusing on how helpful people have been, both strangers and friends (special shoutouts to my roommate Viv for being a patient roommate/caregiver/mom and my honorary roommate Matt for being a crutch/chauffeur/moral support).
I’d also tell you that sometimes it’s hard.
The pain is constant. My injured knee, of course, but also my entire upper body that has to do all the grunt work of traveling around my hilly, snowy campus on crutches. Beyond the physical exhaustion, I haven’t been sleeping through the night, since even the slightest movement can wake me up in discomfort.
I’ve been answering the question “how are you?” with something besides “good” or “fine” for a change. Now it’s “I could be better,” and often, “I could be better, but I could be worse.” Both of which are true. The latter is my own personal pep talk to remind myself that even though being injured (especially under my circumstances) is awful and inconvenient, I’m hanging in and doing what I can.
I’m not used to relying on people. I’ve always been self-sufficient, both by need and by choice. Now I find myself relying on people for basic things–taking my caddy into the shower, getting a glass of water, making mac & cheese–has been hard for me. I’ve found that I’m surprisingly much better at asking for help than I am at accepting when it’s offered. I’d much rather have an active role in getting my needs met than a passive one.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that even though January has had more downs than ups, the high points have been amazing.
My friends and I had tickets to see my favorite band, Wild Child, play at The Dock in Ithaca. It took place the day after I destroyed my knee, but I managed to snag a barstool at the venue so I could sit in between one-legged dances. We all had an incredible time, and my friends left the venue as Wild Child’s newest fans.
The other highlight of January was throwing Viv a luau-themed 20th birthday party in our dorm room, which was the perfect mixture of low-key and high-energy. The decorations (streamers, a “luau” sign, and leis for everybody) were festive, the menu (Hawaiian pizza, fruit punch, and pineapple upside-down cake) was spot on, and the games (Cards Against Humanity and that “what celebrity does the Post-It on my back say?” game) were a hit. We got really into the party planning and it inspired us to host more themed get-togethers. Viv even asked if we could have a party to celebrate George Washington’s birthday in February.
Then, as always, I’d ask what you want to discuss over coffee, hoping that you’d tell me that your January was better than mine.