A couple of weeks ago, while recounting that morning’s drive-through shenanigans, I told one of my students that I needed to find out whether barista-I-am-crushing-on is Jewish before asking him out. She laughed, shaking her head. “Why does it matter?” Something about my face must’ve been very serious because, as if on cue, the entire room fell silent. “I want a Jewish home, ” I said quietly, “so I hope to date and later marry another Jew.” A couple of students nodded; we have previously spoken about the pressure they face to find a mate of their same culture even though they are now in the US. Yet not everybody was convinced, and a dejected voice asked, “So you only date Jews?” Followed by my favorite smart-ass smirking at me and adding, “Isn’t that kind of racist?”
Suddenly very uncomfortable, I
blurted out the truth made a joke out about it. “Well, I don’t date anyone, really. I’m single like a Pringle.”
For my entire life, I have thought that the mid-life crisis is bullshit. What responsible adult doesn’t know what they want to do? How do you just decide to change your life and who you are after such a long time of being that person?
And then I became an adult, and the mid-life crisis became much easier to understand. And, well. Then I realized my 25th birthday was approaching and I was experiencing something very akin to what I have heard about mid-life crises.
That’s right, y’all–I am having a quarter-life crisis.
Exactly a week ago today, I got a link from my dear friend Sarah on which she wanted my opinion. “I was just wondering if this was an accurate description of these sorts of things.” The link in question was to the Spoon Theory, a way that author Christine Miserandino developed to explain life with illness and/or disability. The entire post is worth a read, but the gist is that people who live with illness and/or disability only have a certain amount of “spoons” every day, the number of which varies, and every action that they undertake costs “spoons.”
The idea floored me. It is such a simple and powerful way of explaining what it is like to live with an illness that dictates how you can live your life. I was thinking about that all of last weekend, even in the middle of our revelry through Mall of America, and I actually ended up telling Megan and Crystal about the way life is with “spoons”–especially on rough days.
More to come later, but here’s a quickie: Crystal and I jumped in her car and drove 7+ hours to surprise our beloved Megan for her birthday. The results were absolutely worth every minute of the drive, every little white lie on the way, every day of anticipation.
Many many thanks to Miss Thia Rose, without whom this would not have happened so smoothly!
With zero fanfare, I celebrated my five-year anniversary as a sorority woman this past January 18th, sleeping in on the actual day and remembering halfway through with a sigh. While I continue loving the ideals of my sisterhood, the truth is that my illness and my excuses have driven a wedge between myself and many of my sisters, and the memories are now bittersweet. But as I dusted off pink and purple memorabilia at 11:48:52PM, the exact time the five years clocked in, I remembered something I learned from a sister during my education process:
Excuses are tools of the incompetent used to build monuments of nothing. Those who dwell on them will seldom succeed.
In the years after my initiation, I have searched for the author to that quote–and found that it exists in many different forms, and most likely comes from something Thomas J. Smith said. But that specific wording of it always sticks out in my head because I clung to it that year as I struggled to balance depression, school, and Greek life… and I have since found myself pushing it out of my head because I just couldn’t face how many excuses I have been making recently.