It's been so long since I've posted here that I feel like I have to do one of those journal entries where you catch up on the last decade of your life. When you were 12 those journal entries looked something like, "One thing led to another and I graduated from 6th grade..." Rather than give you all the lengthy details of the past year of our lives, I'm going to adopt my twelve-year-old writing style and say "one thing led to another" and my husband ended up going to medical school at St. George's University in the Caribbean. And that pretty much sums it up.
If any of you are like me, you know that this journey is full of wonderful highs and depressing lows. I recently stumbled upon a few pieces of wisdom that have helped me cope with this adventure. Hopefully they may be of some use to you.
I'm not entirely sure why, but recently I've woken up feeling a little depressed. It may have something to do with not going into an office every day and feeling validated by hard work. It may be the fact that I'm a country away from family and friends. It may be that this is just something new and my soul is being stretched. Whatever the case may be, I heard a psychologist answering some questions during an interview recently about depression. She said something interesting about mild cases of sadness and depression. She said the cure is purpose. Even if you wake up sad and disinterested in life, if you have a purpose you can't possible stay in the rut. Your purpose won't let you. By purpose I don't mean a deeper philosophical purpose of knowing that God has a plan for your life (this is helpful, but I'm talking about something more tangible). Your purpose can be going to work and doing a good job. Your purpose can be cleaning your house, planning a fun activity for your kids, or visiting a friend. Your purpose can be volunteering in your community and helping someone less fortunate than yourself. The point is if you can't wake up in the morning and know what your purpose is today, then you're setting yourself up for failure. First piece of advice - figure out your purpose on a daily basis.
After having a day of wallowing in my self pity, I took one of the youth from our church home from an activity at the church. As we pulled up to his little dirt road, I asked him some questions about his family. I never in a million years would have guessed his responses to my questions. This 17 year old boy is clean cut, happy, funny, smart and energetic. So you can imagine my shock when I found out that this boy's mother is in a mental hospital on the other side of the island, that he lives in a house by himself without electricity. He does his homework by the light of a flashlight and works hard so he can someday go to college. He lives alone in his house, without family by his side or food in his cupboards. He travels to his grandmother's house once a day to get a meal. But the rest of the time he is alone without light, food, or someone to say goodnight before he lays down to sleep.
I cried the whole way home after dropping him off. God in his infinite mercy humbled my selfish heart that night and reminded me that I'm pretty damn lucky. That boy hasn't been given a sliver of the opportunities and comforts that I have and yet he finds the strength to be positive, happy, and work toward a worthy goal. Sometimes getting through life as a med student wife is about perspective.
The last thing that is helping me cope with this gig is being flirty. I know, you all think I'm nuts. You're probably right, but here's the deal. It's easy to complain about this boring plight of never seeing our husbands and devoting a decade of our lives to being their personal cheerleaders. It's also easy to get frumpy, grumpy, and ugly (trust me - I've gone weeks without looking pretty sometimes). This inevitably leads to self loathing, orneriness, and a complete lack of sex drive. You don't want to be intimate with your husband because you feel ugly inside and out.
My advice is to find a purpose, take a step back to breathe in a good dose of perspective, and start flirting with that handsome man you married. Kiss his neck and tell him how handsome he is. Pull him close and tell him your glad you have such a strong man to take care of you. He needs to hear how much you love him and you need to say it more than you know. He'll feel confident, you'll feel better about yourself, and your shameless flirting will bring more love into your home...and possibly unexpected pregnancies, but that's a topic for another day.
If you're still reading this you're a real trooper. None of us know each other that well, but I want you all to know that I love you. Thanks for being a support for me. Hang in there and enjoy this journey. We're all gonna be rich someday!!! (We all know that's a lie, but just keep telling yourself that.)