I pulled into the driveway, put the car in park, yanked up the the e-brake and sighed. A former boss once told me quite matter of factly that I must drive potential boyfriends crazy with all my sighing. Is all that sighing really necessary Courtney, he half asked, half stated. It was none of his business, of course, a fact he clearly overlooked. Nonetheless, I politely explained to him that my sighs are not typically out of frustration or restlessness. I sigh to fulfill that very innate craving for a simple little thing called air. A craving that extends beyond my lungs, through my abdomen, all the way down to my toes. But tonight's sigh was different. Tonight's was of the exasperated kind, that kind that was unnecessarily loud and dramatic, yet completely warranted in my mind. I was, as I'm often told I do, catastrophizing. It's December 20th, I haven't purchased a single Christmas present, penned a single Christmas card, or baked a single Christmas cookie. If it weren't for my roommate, our cozy, little two bedroom apartment wouldn't have a single Christmas decoration. So I sighed for my complete and utter disrespect for my absolute favorite holiday. In my defense, November was hands down a pretty shitty month if I may be so blunt, so I did have a rather difficult time finding any semblance of my normal over the top festive spirit. So, I thought, I'll all but skip Christmas this year. But my sigh didn't stop there. I peered out the window into the darkness that crept up so quickly around me and saw that the rain had no intention of tapering off anytime soon. Clearly I was not aware of Mother Nature's agenda this morning when I selectively picked out my "sunny day" only boots that are not meant for any type of precipitation unless I have some irrational desire to ruin them. Get over it Courtney, my mind was quick to pipe up, as I harshly reminded myself that they're nothing more than a pair of completely replaceable shoes.
Pathetically, my sigh was far from over though, as I reflected on the past few weeks. A co-worker recently told me in passing, "you know Courtney, you don't really make small life decisions. When you have your heart set on something, you go after it, and your passion couldn't be more obvious." I joked back that my motto has apparently become "go big, or go home." I recently decided to turn in my CPA license. It won't expire, it just won't remain active, which essentially means I am handing over the keys for a career that I once felt I was supposed to have. Technically I've already done this, when I quit my job two years ago. But this time, I feel like there's no turning back. And what an indescribable feeling that is. I've submitted my resignation at the hospital and am now running full speed into the vast unknown that is my future. So I sighed for the unanswered questions that lay before me. The truth is, I feel liberated, overwhelmed, and nervous all at the same time. Hello, emotion overload! Words cannot express the excitement that is practically radiating from me with the
thought of finally obtaining a second degree in nursing. I'm ecstatic to go back to school, if for no other reason than I actually like to learn. I get bored easily; my mind needs constant TLC, so I gravitate toward learning new things. But holy moly, talk about doing a 180. I've gone from studying tax laws to genetic code. And it seems that's all.I.ever.do. Work. Study. Sleep. Repeat. No wonder I've all but forgotten about Christmas. So I sighed for the huge leap of faith I am about to take once again. Actually, who am I kidding. This isn't some prissy little leap. This is a holy sh*t, jump off the cliff and hope that my parachute wants to work leap of faith. As my overly dramatic sigh drowned out the melody of the radio blaring from my speakers, I only continued with my woe is me catastrophizing. I thought about all of the college applications I need to start, finish, and submit ASA-freaking-P; the hassle of dealing with FAFSA once again; the fact that it looks like I dropped a bomb in the middle of my bedroom and literally woke up with with a cut on the bottom of my toe yesterday because of a dangly earring that somehow landed in my bed rather than in my jewelry box; that I'll soon need to find a new roommate that hopefully isn't a craigslist killer, and that another one of my beloved elderly volunteers recently passed away and I have to face another depressing funeral service. With too much on my mind and too much to do, I figured it would be in my best interest to start making moves.
I calmly opened the car door and stepped out into the rain, my anxiety slowly beginning to fade as I inhaled a breath of fresh air underneath the midnight sky. As I trudged up the steps leading to my apartment, I saw a small package laying on the doormat. A spark of hope ran through my veins as I wondered who it was for. I bent down to pick up the fedex, closing my eyes and selfishly praying that it was for me and not my roommate (I love you Kait, but let's face it, I rarely get mail!). Bringing it closer to my face in the darkness, I peered at the address label and saw my name scrawled in a handwriting so familiar that I didn't even need to look at the return label to see who it was from. I practically paraded up the stairwell, tossed aside my purse and sunk into the armchair. Trying my best to not act like a child on Christmas morning, I patiently attempted to not tear the card in half as I pulled it from its envelope. Casting aside the little patience I had left, I tore open the carefully wrapped gift to unveil a book entitled "The Describer's Dictionary." A book chock full of literary quotations and descriptions to have at my fingertips whenever I write. As I paged through my newly acquired treasure, I sunk back further into the cushioned chair and sighed a sigh of sheer
delight and relief. Little did he know, my dear friend Aaron had sent me something so meaningful and heartfelt, I could practically watch my worries and fears dissipate into thin air. How ironic that something as simple as a book from a best friend could bring me back to reality and replace my sighs of frustration with sighs of comfort...happiness...air.
Christmas, whether I am ready or not, will come along on December 25, just like it does every year. I will navigate through the tangled maze of prerequisite courses, college apps, and student loan apps one way or another. I have made huge leaps of faith before, and with the support of friends and family I have continued to find my way in this crazy little thing called life.
And when I find myself sighing for anything but a deep breath of air or intoxicating gulps of happiness, I'll think of my friend Aaron, whose genuine kindness and selfless friendship brings me back to reality time and time again.
PS. Happy Birthday, Aaron :)