Two great things happened in the last seven days, and they sandwich the end (hopefully) of my adjustment to grad school depression that’s been lingering since I started school.
After a week of questioning all my life choices, crying in my professor’s office and wondering if I could ever be successful as a writer, I decided to give myself a break for the weekend and be as social as possible. One of those social events was heading to Del Mar to watch the Longines FEI World Cup and meet
my instant SoCal best horsey friends amazing bloggers Carey and L Williams. L and I have been talking for years about things that die and relationships that dissolve and grief and TOTAL SADNESS ponies and I instantly felt comfortable around her… even if I did disappoint with my lack of Texas drawl or southern accent (I did wear pearls though!). Carey is just as funny and kind as she can be, and I enjoyed talking listening quietly while we ate lunch I feed my hangover (see: social as possible) with cheese and carbs. In truth, I’m glad I’m going to see these two lovely ladies again in the near future because I did not feel at my best on Saturday. I was trying to be light hearted and fun, but instead felt somber (see: hangover) and like I was trying to push my way out of a dense fog.
Which brings me to the meat of this sandwich – the existential crisis. I am still trying to claw my way back to normalcy, but the short version is that the first month of grad school has been difficult. It’s not the classes or the fellow students or the professors or the work load. I am able to complete all my homework and reading with no problem, but I’m having a hard time coming to terms with a few things.
I still have a lot of anxiety around work and money after quitting my cushy marketing job. That combined with the fact that I have no idea what I’ll do for employment after I graduate (or even this summer!) has given me some really deep rooted anxiety about money. It’s way too early for panic, because without giving away my financial details I can assure you that I am fine but for some reason I’ve had a hard time shaking this negative thought cycle about finances.
On top of that, I miss my friends. I miss Texas. I miss my barn. I miss my house with my huge backyard and master suite. I didn’t think you could feel homesick in your thirties, but it turns out that this is possible. The Friday before I met L & Carey, I made margaritas and TexMex and invited as many people as can fit into my tiny apartment (4). I wanted to create a little Austin in Riverside.
Because of these things, doing creative work in the past month has been difficult for me. This is not the scene for me to belabor my writing process, but I wrote about it in greater detail for The MFA Years which should publish tomorrow.
With this funk that I’ve been in, it made getting Simon to California both more pressing and more scary. I called the shipper a few weeks ago to arrange for his transport in early November, only to find out that they had a truck coming a full week and a half earlier than I expected. So I scrambled and his leasee, my trainer in Texas and my new barn owner were all extremely accommodating to the schedule change.
He loaded up on Monday afternoon in Texas, and jumped down the ramp (literally… like on top of the poor hauler) in California 26 hours later.
Simon’s never been on a big rig before, and I’ve never had a horse shipped long distances. I prepared myself for him to look awful coming off, but he looked amazing. He’s probably dropped a little weight on the trip but he was well hydrated coming off, had no swollen lumps or bumps and was not stressed or even sweaty. I used Kaiser to ship and couldn’t praise them enough. They took excellent care of my best buddy.
Now he’s been in California for two nights, and so far is adjusting well. The first morning I went out to hand walk him around the property and turn him out for an hour. I’m pretty sure he thinks he’s at a horse show, and wants to know why we aren’t competing yet. The automatic waterers are a mystery to him still, and he’s not convinced this “turnout” I put him in has any value. Pretty sure he’s still waiting for a nice man to turn him out overnight on the grassy pasture… even though he didn’t see a single grassy pasture on the property.
Today I plan to ride him, and will keep going out there daily until I can believe that he really is settling okay. It’s a big burden on my time right now with school, but having some purpose other than contemplating my failures as a writer feels really good right now.
It’s as if Simon getting here has finally made me believe that I’m not living in two places. I’ve moved to California, at least for two years. I miss my life in Texas, but it’s a part of my well loved past. Maybe now I can feel a little more sure of the soil here, and keep looking forward.