12 blissful hours is all it took.
I've been going through the last three weeks with an attitude. A big one. And a chip on my shoulder that said, "I'M PISSED!!" And everyone had to take note of it. If you didn't, I was kind enough to point it out. The last several months, I've been in a funk. Oh, it hasn't been a continual funk. There were periods of joy. Some days I was happy. Some days I was excited. Some days I was genuinely having a good time.
But today. Today I was overjoyed. And all because I had this sense of contentment and peace. I've been reading (and am still reading) Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book. I'd heard about it, of course, because she's been on Oprah, and who can forget a title like that one? But I'd thought it was fiction.
I like fiction. I've always liked fiction. I'm the queen of novels. Have been since I could read. Once we got past the "see Jane run" nonsense, I was off and running. You know how you were supposed to read up to a certain point and stop? Or your teacher would assign a book and you had to only do one chapter each week? I always read the book in the first week, maybe even the first day if it was captivating enough. Why would I stop? So I can forget what's in the beginning? Don't you know I'm reading 4 other books right now? I can't be bothered to be on the slow reader track. And oddly enough, I liked most of the books we had to read. If the beginning moved slowly, I'd still ordinarily give a book at least 100 pages to get it together. Two books I couldn't stand: Siddhartha and Anna Karenina. I really liked "All Quiet on the Western Front" and "Don Quixote." Surprisingly. I really didn't expect to like the former. I mean, hello??? Western? No. I'm soo girly and I like it. Plus my father used to force us to watch Westerns with him when he was home (he traveled a lot when my sister and I were little).
It turns out Eat Pray Love is decidedly non-fiction. And had me thinking from the first chapter. Who gives up their life to go travel for a year? So bizarre and out of my realm of thought. Of course I was skeptical, but one of my favorite co-workers was only about halfway through and already recommending it. Hmm.... that sounds quite promising. You know how there are some books that are so well-written they make you want to write yourself? They provoke such thought in you that suddenly you can no longer keep pen from paper or your fingers from flying across the keys? That's where I am right now. Thought-provoked beyond measure. And I like it. I want to just sit here at this computer and write and write and write until I can't any longer. And then what shall I do? I guess write some more.
Last week, en route to homecoming, I missed Grey's Anatomy. I was certainly miffed about this prospect!! As was Brandi. She told me they wouldn't be able to get me from the airport because it would mean missing Grey's. Brat. (More often we use another name, same first letter.) We got Grey's recaps from everyone who'd seen it, though: Brandi's mom, her cousin, and Ashli. So many regurgitations of the show that I'd forgotten I hadn't seen it until V was talking about seeing Samantha Who. I said to myself, "Self, what is wrong with you!??! You missed Grey's and have taken almost a week to catch up?!?! Unconscionable!! Get the to the internet viewing immediately!!" So today I watched it.
It was about forgiveness.
I just stopped.
That's a real topic. It's one that has been following me around for the last couple of months. In church, bible study, books, magazines, newspaper articles, quotes from friends, conversations with my parents. When you refuse to forgive someone, the person it eats at is you. I know you've heard that before, but it's true. When you hold on to that hate, you can't grab at the love in front of you. Whether it's love of life or of other people. While you are so intent and focused, primed for hate, you negate the positive things in your realm.
So I forgave him.
I know. Bizarre, right? And so strange considering it took Grey's Anatomy to get me there. It wasn't just Grey's. It's a combination of things, but today it started with the 12 hours of sleep. There have been a plethora of sleep studies in the last few years. They tell us all sorts of things like a lack of it makes you overreact to emotional stimuli, even more than they thought you did; that it makes you irrational, and unhappy; that it can even have an impact on your physical health, make you gain weight; and doesn't allow you to recharge. It was the first part of that, the part about our reactions to emotional stimuli, that really hit home to me. When I'm sleepy, I'm a basket case. These aren't groundbreaking, necessarily, they just make sense. We all know how most people operate when sleep-deprived. Now there's concrete, evidentiary, statistical support. As if your grumpy counterparts weren't enough, right?
This morning as I was stepping out of the shower, ridiculously refreshed, and feeling nicely recovered from homecoming, it hit me. While I was there, at the place where we met and became incredibly close friends, I hadn't been angry. Or sad. I hadn't even really thought about him that much. Of course he came to my mind, but it wasn't like when I was in Norfolk back in August where nearly every waking moment was another reminder of what we had. This time, I was really, really enjoying where I was, and what I was doing, and who I was with. I was having fun. And when that came to me this morning, it was like a lightning bolt of clarity. I'm going to be okay.
And... I also feel ready to date. That made me pause. That thought popped up, also as I was climbing out of the shower. Ready? Already? How long has it been? Oh... a little over 5 months... hmmm... is that long enough? Then I thought, well, it's almost 6. In the grand scheme of things, another month isn't long at all. So maybe I wait another month. 6 months is a nice round number. I'm not saying I'm ready to dive in, but maybe it's time to stick my baby toe in the water. Maybe even the long second toe. Isn't it somehow related to survival? What I do know is that I'm ready to take on the world.