I was adopted when I was six weeks old, and I have never met those responsible for my biological birth. It’s funny how now, in my adult life, I always seem to be on the lookout for those who look like me. A few times I’ve had this funny Deja vu sense, and I find myself oscillating between real curiosity and this strange internal rage. I have not quite figured out how to be level-headed when these sensations roll through me. I have finally accepted that EQ is my life-long developmental focus.
I was only four months old when I was diagnosed with a genetic disorder. I required hospitalization and a great deal of medical care, a special diet, and expensive medication. At the time, my parents did not have insurance. I know it was rough for them and all these years later, I am still so attached to the little plastic pillbox with different cubbies for the day of the week and time of the day. I find myself living my life around those little tiny squares. Some might even call me a pill popper.
I will never be free of the drugs or the dietary restrictions, but I always feel gratitude for the sacrifices made to keep me healthy. Everyone has their ‘thing’. Some struggle with allergies, infections, others obesity, and many more with unhealthy eating disorders. I have lost track of the friends who complain of joint issues. Life is full of ailments - mine is my liver, and it’s something I’ve learned to live with. It does not define me.
I don’t have siblings, and I find this actually does define me. I have never had to share toys, beds, or lose privacy to someone who was constantly in my space. This is probably why emotional-evenness is something I’ve not quite mastered. I find myself feeling a little tense when I’m in crowds or when my routine is disrupted. Being with others is a constant joy and a constant source of anxiety. Perhaps my mental health and my liver are tied together. I wish this organ somewhere in the middle of me that is supposed to remove toxins from my blood could also remove the lingering toxins in other places of my life that cause poor choices.
Having said all this, let me tell you how this year has actually been the best year of my life. It’s a strange thing to admit, and I know everyone is feeling low levels of depression and worry. I sense it everywhere and from everyone. No one is happy right now, and there is always an accompanying four-letter adjective resembling excrement when 2020 is mentioned. For me, though, it’s been a complete game-changer.
I used to enjoy my independence, but my introverted tendencies left me choosing past-times that were not appropriate or wise. I’ll spare you the details, but having too much time left me digging emotional holes that I could never fill. I actually believed I was a private digger and thought for so long no one knew what I was doing or how I was spending my time. I was a fool to believe this - the people around me always knew. They.always.knew!
I could hear my family and friends talking about me when they thought I was not in ear-shot. The word ‘intervention’ still makes me shiver - there is something so sinister about this utterance. Each syllable has an angry sound, and all I hear in my head is no, no, no, no. Let me just say, prior to this $%&* year, I spent way too much time alone doing alone time things I should not do.
Now, things are different. I have found a way to be alone while never losing companionship. I rarely have the house to myself, but when I do, I will literally roll around in the serenity of this sweet pleasure of me-time. What once caused pain is now a luxury that has made me realize how I can be still and feel love without worry. Every single one of us is wired for connection, and we can tell ourselves lies all day long denying that we are needy. I am beginning to accept all my needs and feels, and instead of the unhealthy hole-digging, I now choose to curl up with someone and let my heart-rate calibrate with theirs. I have never felt this much peace. Thank you, 2020 - you have changed my life.
- Blog post provided by Moose (The Arnold Family Black Labrador Retriever)
Carrie Arnold, PhD, MCC, BCC
In no particular order: Author | Dog mom to Moose | Speaker | Reader Mom to human offspring Wife | Lover of Learning Leadership coach & consultant, The Willow Group | Fellow, Institute for Social Innovation | Program Director for Evidence-Based Coaching at Fielding Graduate University