Yesterday, I had a valuable interaction with a colleague. She initially approached me because she wanted to share an observation regarding my expression of frustration in an team meeting earlier in the week. I appreciated her feedback, as I know that no matter where we are in our career, we always have the opportunity to learn and grow. Often, our colleagues can be the most valuable source of that lesson. It was a very good conversation and I appreciated that she had “called me out,” if you will.
In the course of discussion, I brought up one of those things that most of us at least subconsciously realize on some level but isn’t always acknowledged, which is that I had come to that meeting with a series of “bubbles” surrounding me. You know – these are the silent thoughts swirling in your head that often aren’t spoken; the ones that can affect outward behavior – or maybe they don’t. In this particular situation, my bubbles ranged from stress over looming, unrelated project deadlines to a level of disagreement around some of the concepts being discussed that I felt were out of my control to change to the always-present literal pain in my neck.
In sharing this, I reminded my colleague of this video that we are shown during New Employee Orientation. It was produced by the Cleveland Clinic; KP shows it to help illustrate the compassion we must always demonstrate for our members/patients (particularly staff who work in care delivery) and for one another. I affectionately refer to it as the “the bubble video” and think about it fairly often: when there’s that person who is tailgating me on the freeway, the person who “steals” my parking spot, or the coworker who shows up to a meeting with something other than their best self. It made an impression on me, and maybe it will on you too. Of course, it also means that I cried on my very first day of work.
I admit it. I’m the first to complain about the challenges of raising young children. The whining. The feelings of entitlement. The sweet and sour of sibling relationships. The constant demands for…well, seemingly everything. The feeling like your time is rarely your own. It can be overwhelming at times and certainly trigger thoughts about how much we’ve “sacrificed” to raise these two children, as wonderful as they are. It’s so easy to get caught up in your own reality, until you run into something that gives you a different perspective on reality and makes you appreciate what you have.
He also happens to be my dentist.
Truth is, he didn’t used to be our neighbor. Rather, he was simply more like our dentist who Jeff and I both saw for cleanings twice a year. I liked it that way. Until about three years when he echoed my dentist from D.C. in telling me that I really needed to get a gum graft. Despite recommendations from two professionals in different cities, I think it was something about mentioning the two teeth eventually falling out that finally caught my attention. So, off I went to a periodontist for oral surgery. That was fun, as you would imagine.
As if the previous week wasn’t crazy enough at work, I was (not so) lucky to jump start this week with a case of the stomach flu. First of all, this made me realize that it’s been a really long time since I’ve had the stomach flu. As in, so long that I can’t remember.
So really, there are very few occasions – if ever in recent times – where a sick day means I’m totally out of commission. Mostly it’s for the worst part of a bad cold where you find yourself on your laptop all day thinking, “I stayed at home….why?” But Tuesday, I was indeed pretty much out of commission. I spent the rest of the day (and night) mostly horizontal. Less chance of feeling light-headed and nauseous that way.
Well, it’s official. My children ruined my body. More specifically, the second child if I’m really pointing fingers. If there was ever any doubt – which, there really wasn’t – but if there ever was, it disappeared last Thursday.
To explain, I must go back for a moment to 2010 after I had Elena, was not working and was as anxious as a lightning bug caught in a jar to rid myself of any sign of two pregnancies. Enter my longtime friend Weight Watchers, and my new(er) best bud, Jillian. As in, Michaels. She and I spent many mornings together…weights, crunches, jumping jacks….more crunches, more jumping jacks… It was somewhere in there that I noticed my stomach looking a little funky. I won’t go into details but figured I clearly still had work to do. Fast forward a few months when I was at the doctor and she pronounces, “You have a hernia!” Me: “A what?” Her: “A hernia. Does it hurt?” Me: “Oh, I’ve been wondering about that…it seemed strange…no, it doesn’t hurt.” Her: “Then don’t worry about it.” So, I didn’t.