At the beginning of the summer, I cried over aioli.
Well, technically I cried over not having any aioli.
When I say "cried" I don't mean quiet, gentle tears graciously rolling down my cheeks. When I say "cried" I mean I ugly cried.
All that I wanted was to eat my perfect breakfast biscuit sandwich on my second day off of work after an exhausting and overwhelming end of the year, that also left me ugly crying just a day and a half before this moment.
It was all going to work out perfectly--we called our order in to pick up just in time to catch the next ferry in 15 minutes to maximize our Sunday afternoon exploring some new places together, a necessary mental and physical break for me since home and work life always overlap.
I literally live at work.
And it did work out perfectly. We picked up our food and got in line at the ferry terminal just in time.
Just in time for there to be a back up and have to wait an additional 45 minutes before the next ferry came through.
On the drive over, I pulled out my breakfast sandwich, eagerly unwrapping it knowing that with each second longer it took to start eating it, my stomach may disappear from it eating itself.
But as I picked it up, something looked different.
I tentatively lifted up the top of my biscuit sandwich to see...nothing. Nothing but plain ol' biscuit. No sauce. And to make it worse, they put it on TJ's sandwich instead.
I got so angry.
Is it so difficult to have one thing go right?
My life revolves around paying attention to other people and all I need right now is to be selfish and ask one person to do something for me this time around--to make me a breakfast sandwich with aioli.
"Linds, do you want me to go back? We can get on the next ferry?"
I'm adamant. Adamant like a 5 year old refusing to eat their vegetables.
"I'm just not going to eat it."
Because that makes sense when you're so hungry.
"Are you sure? We can go back. I don't mind."
Easy for you to say, as you eat your perfectly made breakfast sandwich that has my aioli on it.
AND if we go back our perfect plan will be officially ruined. First aioli and then wait for the next ferry? NOPE.
Then we get in line for the ferry...that is running behind...with the line backed up.
"UGHHHHHH!!! We could've gone back to get aioli and still would have made the ferry."
Cue: ugly crying.
I'm angry. And I've lost it.
I cry harder.
In one of the classes we teach for our Resident Advisors, that is an extension of RA training, we talk about self-care; how to care for ourselves well, in order to better care for the people around us. There is a really good analogy that we share around the dashboard of a car.
When a light goes on the dashboard of a car, you know something is wrong and something needs to change. For those of us in Residence Life, knowing what our "check engine light" is, helps us to be held accountable to make space to do the work (and it absolutely is work) to care for ourselves.
One of my friends I work with talks about how when he isn't doing well, you can find him drinking Mountain Dew in Gwinn, our campus cafeteria. Just the other day he told me he switched to Sprite last year after telling that story because so many RAs were calling him out or asking him if he needed to care for himself when they would see him with Mountain Dew...which was more often than he wanted them to be aware.
Another friend of mine I work with will grab a huge stack of cookies at Gwinn. Our students have noticed that as well, and they hold him accountable.
They hold us all accountable.
Here's the thing, I thought I was doing a good job of taking care of myself.
I do this thing I've entitled "dating myself". I will literally take myself on a date. I choose to do anything and everything I like with no excuses made, or having to think about other people, and just do what I love (while also having to force myself to make decisions, one of the never-ending thorns in my flesh).
And then summer finally rolled around and work finally ended and I didn't get aioli...
...and then I knew. I wasn't quite well.
It was time for a shift. It was time to make an adjustment. Even the smallest change could have a significant impact.
I joined TJ in California for 2 weeks while he was on a work trip. With the exception of time with family, I spent no time with people.
We got back to Seattle and I tried to relax. I didn't make any plans ahead of time. I tried to not obligate myself to anyone or anything, since I know this is the very thing that is the barrier of me being okay. I let myself just be, even if I didn't do it very well, I tried.
Then TJ and I headed to Hawaii for 2 weeks, camping, hiking, exploring, and adventuring in Kauai for one week followed by spending some time with one of my students and surfing and playing in Oahu for another week.
Work started halfway through August and already I find myself tired on a soul level and sensing a possible aioli ugly cry moment at any time. So far I've only cried unexpectedly about a song I'd never heard, but I never know when it will sneak up on me; and for me, that is a sure sign of a change needing to come.
Here is what I know: There is no way that I can do good work, love students and friends and family and TJ and others well, without paying attention to myself--my heart, my soul, my well-being.
And as I celebrate my 33rd birthday a few days early, in a place that allows me to stop and to rest and to laugh and to cry and to be, I think I am getting it in a whole new way.
I've got to grow up a little more in this next year in ways that I haven't for awhile.
It is time for rituals and rhythms that breathe life into my bones, that open up my heart in new and beautiful ways to the story that is unfolding.
I never would have thought that not having aioli on my breakfast sandwich would have been the light on my dashboard, but it was, and I am trying to pay attention. For myself, absolutely, but for you as well.
Why? Because I love you. And you matter. And you deserve my best.
As do I.
I deserve my best, and 33 must be the continued messy, crazy, unpredictable, beautiful journey that God desires to co-create with me as I lean in.