So, my dearest sweetest most lovely Bear has been gone for exactly three weeks now.
And after sitting here for three whole minutes after writing that first sentence, still the best response I can come up with is …
Long distance relationships can be hard. Long distance, inter-cultural, inter-religious, parents hating relationships can be even harder. Doing all that with the prospect of being laid off in two months looming over your head is horrifying. Add to the mix credit card debt, low unemployment payments and the high cost of living in southern California…well, you have yourself a bona-fide reason to perhaps *pout* a little bit.
Or maybe pout is too strong a word. To be genuinely concerned? Worried? Troubled? Commit hari-kari by eating too much kichari in one setting? You get the idea. It’s not a fun prospect.
With regards to the credit and rent issue, I’ve been running around like mad trying to “fill the sand bags and batten down the hatches”. This is mainly comprised of getting loans refinanced for longer periods on the already almost paid off amounts. Talking to credit card companies and asking for a decrease in the interest or to be enrolled in a payment assistance plan. Friday, I have every intention of speaking to my landlord and explaining that when my lease comes up, I want to stay but can’t afford to if they jack up the rent rates like they did six months ago….and every three months before that. I’m already paying far too much for where I live and now with the economy hitting us hard in southern Cali, the crime rate has also increased exponentially. And 50% of it seems to be happening in our little apartment complex. We used to be a quiet, gated, family oriented complex. Around the New Year, the rental company found themselves with an abundance of empty apartments, so rates were lowered, specials offered (that we living there for years never got to partake in) and now we have a lovely new set of people living there who are younger, who enjoy using and abusing drugs and love it when their friends come over to party at 3am on a Thursday night. We also are experiencing a rash of break-ins and robberies. Joy. (Update: Spoke with the Landlords and <bless them> they are giving us a break on rent and not increasing it this year)
And here I sit, facing all of that, and just being exceptionally happy to speak to Bear for 1 hour a day. With the time difference and us both working, it’s become a logistical nightmare scheduling time to talk.
He has taken to staying up late to talk to me at 11:45am (my lunch time – kinda) which translates to 12:15am his time. Then he is getting up at 6:30am to talk a little before going to practice. Then we talk for another 20 minutes once he returns from practice but before he has to leave for the office. Weekends are better but only marginally so. Oddly enough, I am so happy to even have (and be able to afford) that time, that it only strikes me rarely that it might be 6 months before we meet again. But it never fails to leave me that my Bear is not here. After spending one year with someone constantly by your side, cooking, playing, walking….well you tend to notice when they aren’t there anymore. I find that at times I feel like I can’t get enough air and I have the weirdest feeling that perhaps I forgot something. Stove off? Check. Doors locked? Windows? Check and check. Guinea pig have water???? Check.
THEN WHAT THE HECK AM I FORGETTING???
And then I realize that it is Bear. Not that I am forgetting him, but that I am missing him. Something doesn’t feel right to me, because it’s NOT right. He is not here. And spending time with some of our mutual friends is not always helpful as my Hindi is still poor and without Bear there to help me along, I feel left out…lonely amongst friends who are just trying to keep me from being alone while he is gone. Essentially, I’ve gone from being a self sufficient, do it alone, I like my free time type of girl….to one who’s life just doesn’t work right without Bear around.
So, what to do?
Well, first, have a good cry. Come on man, you totally deserve it. Everybody needs to have a good cry every so often. It cleans the toxins out of your system. Makes you feel like you finally got that release you needed. Also, have you ever taken a nap after a good cry? You’ll sleep like a baby. Believe me, if your Insomnia is getting as bad as mine is….getting a good nap can be a blessing. It’s our own personal, free “visit to the doctor”. A poor man’s cure. That’s what sleep is. I highly recommend it.
But do NOT sleep in. Or for long. Sleep is good, too much sleep is not. It can make you even more depressed for one and it can actually cause you physical pain. No kidding, I’m sure you know all about this. I got sick once and slept for almost 24 hours and when I woke up, I could barely move, my whole body was stiff and sore.
So, what have I been doing to pass the time and keep from allowing myself to throw the biggest and bestest pity party this town has ever seen?
Well, I’m still gainfully employed so that is taking up a good portion of my possible pity party time.
Also, I continue talking to and being grateful for the time I have with Bear. Not everything in this life is going to be fair or exactly how you want it. But that doesn’t give you the right to take anything for granted either. Enjoy the time you DO have because believe me, that could just as easily disappear too.
Get out of the HOUSE! Do whatever you want to do. Visit, friends, go for a walk, go to the beach, the mall, the bathroom in a public place. Who cares??? Just get out of your freaking house right now! Yes, get out of your PJ’s, take a shower (no reason to subject us all to stinkiness) throw on something comfy and get out.
When I was “right-sized” with a previous company, I realized that I was falling into a pit of despair with being un-employed. So, I started volunteering with a local dog rescue. I groomed, cleaned, trained, fed and educated the dogs (and sometimes the humans too). And all of the sudden I felt better…like what I did was making a difference. That I had worth and self-value and I could see it now. Plus, I was outside, running around with some seriously big and happy dogs, getting all kinds of good exercise and excellent education myself. I learned from those big, lovable, goofy dogs, that sometimes you just gotta stop and smell the roses (or the tree where the last dog took a potty break). You get what I’m saying. I was happier.
Now that I know there is a chance I will be laid off in about three months, I am already contemplating volunteer work again.
I’m also taking this time to learn Hindi. Impossibly hard? Nahi. Difficult, but totally doable. I already have the Rosetta Stone Hindi CD (Deluxe Version) and am using that to “learn me up some” (as they say down in the deep hollows of the south). Get the Rosetta Stone Hindi course here.
I’m also increasing my skills in cooking Indian food as well as searching for a new temple to attend. (I had a Guru but he moved back to the east coast….Munish!!! I miss you!!!)
Then there is my photography work. I’m getting involved in that again. I am learning the things that I had forgotten over the course of this past year. It’s amazing the amount of things that I had forgotten. A little scary too. I found that I still have the “eye” but have lost the ability to judge what ISO to use or what AV. AGH! Horror!! Photographer hell!! Anyway, I’m back on track and learning my “hobby” all over again. And…I’m learning from one of my own students. I had trained him once a long time ago. Now he is the one who is giving me the refresher. And I couldn’t ask for a better teacher. He’s explaining my beloved photography in a way I never got before. So maybe this time, I’ll be BETTER than I was before.
I also do research on any little thing that I find interesting…because that is just my nature. I’m happiest when I’m researching something, learning it, discussing it and then either writing about it or training someone else on it. So, I’m returning to some projects that I never finished from a year ago. A blog I started (never posted) about the JonBenet Ramsey murder (come on, my major at University was Criminal Psychology) and also a research paper on the increase of internet crime and the main age/genre category that this occurs in. Fun stuff na?
And I’m spending some quality time reading books, watching movies, and browsing the net looking for new and fascinating blogs to add to my blog-roll. I listen to the news on NPR, mainly because they depress me less by offering up “feel-good” stories along with the “The Economy will take 3 years to come back” stories. I play with my Guinea Pig Daisy and let her chatter at me as much as she wants. I go to the grocery store and try to find new foods to feed both her and myself.
Essentially…I am living each day. That’s all we can do.