I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?
…I think you can in Europe.
Last week was a string of overwhelming moments. The tension resultant of the various pressures and stresses of life was having a crippling effect on me. Crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head until June was sounding like a very attractive avoidance tactic. Alas, I collected my wits, my strength and pressed on. The past few months have been saturated with experiences that remind me of my powerlessness and inability to control various circumstances in my life. I like to think that I remain poised and strong through such times, but it can be exhausting.
While Ben is away at OCS, my steadfast support and #1 cheerleader is temporarily unavailable. Thankfully, after a long week, I came home on Friday to find a letter from Ben in my mailbox. I held the letter in my hands, settled in to a chair and lifted the seal, all with a big smile on my face. I laughed and cried as I read the pages – I could hear Ben’s voice in the words. He sounds miserable and exhausted (which is to be expected…), but also resilient and determined. Tears came to my eyes as I read the paragraphs that described what he thought of me and how he missed me – my strong, ultra-masculine man is not one to be sentimental often. I found myself comforted in a way, reminded that we’re both struggling through this experience in our own way, each persevering, and each torn apart at the thought of not being able to communicate, encourage and affirm each other as we would like. I read the letter at least five times throughout the course of the weekend. It has been a great source of encouragement to me, and it arrived at the perfect time. The words help me to feel close to him, and they will carry me through until I am at last reunited with my love.
I spent Saturday enjoying the gorgeous weather, balancing productivity with relaxation. I marveled at how I spent the day in a variety of public places, yet remained in a state of solitude. My most meaningful conversation of the day was with Roberto at the car dealership while I was getting Brady (the Jetta) serviced. I spent the afternoon running errands – finding an adorable dress in the process – and cozied up with a new book at Barnes & Noble. It was delightful. I watched some basketball later in the evening, loving the competitiveness of the games and dumbfounded at some of the results. My bracket is in shambles, as are those of many others. The tournament is living up to the name this year…it’s maddening.
The sun was brilliant again on Sunday, another perfect day for an adventure. I spent the afternoon in Shadyside, one of my favorite neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, with some co-workers of mine. We went to a cooking demonstration at Williams-Sonoma, wandered through some of the lovely shops, and had lunch at the always-wonderful Walnut Grille. We were going to end our trip with a foray to Vanilla, a pastry studio/bakery in East Liberty, but sadly we arrived at the door to see they had closed an hour earlier. So sad. We consoled ourselves at Oh Yeah! with some custom-swirled ice cream. I had irish cream ice cream blended with dark chocolate chips – think Bailey’s in the form of ice cream with dark chocolate. Never before have I had ice cream that you had to be 21 or older to partake…it was delicious.
And so another week begins. Back to the routine of work-exercise-eat-sleep. I’m hoping to feel encouraged with my half-marathon training this week…because I’ve been discouraged lately due to my battle with shin splints. The race is less than 6 weeks away…eek. Who let me sign up for this thing?!? I should have entered a 5K. That would have been much more realistic. Here goes nothin’…