My First Year of Grad School/27th Birthday

Man, I'm feeling pensive.

Carrie just finished her first year of grad school, which means I finished my first year of grad school. She actually still has four more months in the calendar year since she started and also like 4 more courses in that timespan, but sometimes eight months means one year in school.

I proofread Carrie's work, and her papers and assignments qualify for my mind-stretching material. From child psychology to learning theories to building a working alliance, the one lesson that jumps out at me every time: living in the moment.

That doesn't mean forgetting the past or ignoring the future. It means instead of blaming the smartphones, we should observe the people holding them who don't want to feel the uncomfortable emotions of being present in the "here and now" of public transit, elevators, and waiting rooms. It means having a bit more empathy for the person using a chemical to cope with the feelings bouncing around inside. Sometimes people are controlling and insecure because they don't want to feel a certain way, eg. powerless. Personally, I'm a fan of using humour as a deflector.

Part and parcel with living in the moment is processing a backlog of emotions. When we live a little too hard, we procrastinate feeling in exchange for making our appointments. Hearts need time to sit still and untangle themselves; almost like how a muscle works. I'm guilty of operating too close to my limit, so when crisis hits, I have little energy left to deal with it. Like with physical energy, our body stores excess energy in the form of fat, and we are healthier when we limit how much energy is stored and unprocessed. Similarly, we can intuitively tell who has an excess of emotions stored and unprocessed. I say this realizing just how enormous my belly has become lately.

One of the commitments I made to myself when I was nine was to not lie to myself. It can be very hard, but one's relationship with oneself is arguably the most important. It sounds bizarre, but I've called myself out for lying to me several times. That's when I can tell I'm avoiding an emotion. I'm still amazed at how sometimes we can just sit and think through some problems.

Too vague? Let's use a real example. I've recently had it with people calling me fat. I feel like I'm already too invested in a bunch of other activities, so I just kind of ignored my looks. That's also classic me. I view looking good as a waste of time because I'd rather spend my time and money on learning. I never bought clothes growing up, but I spent that money on developing the Carrie Amp. I used to look at car modifications growing up, and I wondered why you'd spend money on the looks of the car instead of making it actually move faster. However, human bodies aren't cars, and when we don't invest in our looks, people make fun of you and draw things in the dirt caked on your exterior. For some, that isn't such a problem, but it's actually quite painful when people make fun of my weight. Never mind that I'm married now, supporting Carrie in grad school, tinkering on a side project, and traveling.

So now I'm trying to do something about it. I'm tracking my meals in MyFitnessPal, weighing myself on a Withings Smart Body Scale, and using the Apple Watch to record my activity through the day. I'm reading /r/fitness, trying a keto diet, and making sure I get my macros. I'll start cooking for myself again too, and there's allegedly a gym somewhere in the TELUS building in Calgary.

Now, in an ironic twist, instead of actually dealing with the pain of all the insults about my weight, I may begin pointing out the flaws in your life if you make fun of my belly from now on.