Snow is falling over our poor broken state as I type this, so my thoughts and prayers are still with the many New Jerseyans and New Yorkers without heat or homes today. The fact that we are besieged by another storm so soon is just unfathomable, but predictions for this Nor’easter are much better than those surrounding Sandy, so I have faith this will pass with relatively little disruption.
While I’m still shaken and saddened for my state, I can’t help but be so happy for my country this morning.
I needed this, and I feel so relieved. We believe in you, President Obama! Here’s to showing us what you can really do in the next four years!
I went back to work yesterday and I’m back at my regular office today. It’s the first time in a long time that I’ve been really happy to be there. It was incredible to hear that everyone in our department and their immediate families were unharmed and most had only minimal storm damage. Everyone seems to know someone who was intensely effected, but I’m counting my blessings that my friends, family and coworkers are alive and well.
I also voted yesterday! I can’t really remember where I was four years ago. I mean, I was in college at Rutgers, and I voted in the morning before heading to my internship, but I can’t remember my mental state. I know I was crazy excited to vote in my first presidential election, and I’m sure I was a lot less frazzled than I was yesterday, but I was happy because I know I could not have handled any of this four years ago. I would have been a nervous, anxious wreck, and I would have been essentially alone.
Four years ago, I had a loser boyfriend and the flakiest of friends. They likely would have only contributed to my stress over the storm if they bothered to check in at all. Mentally, I was just less able to cope. I let every little thing weigh on me like an elephant on my chest. I lost sleep and weight and hair over anything I couldn’t control, and panicked constantly over the future whether it be tomorrow or ten years down the road.
Since then, I’ve grown so much. I’ve realized that I have a lot to offer and have shaken off the people who dragged me down and surrounded myself with only the most amazing people who support and inspire me. I’ve learned how to deal with the big stressors and (mostly) ignore the little ones. I definitely lost some sleep in the past week, but I never felt totally out of control, and I always felt like there were great people I could lean on throughout the whole ordeal.
Elections feel like New Year’s Eve on a grand scale. They’re a chance to reflect on how far we’ve all come and a perfect opportunity to take our national pulse and decide what we want the future to look like going forward. I’m so proud of the decision we as a people made last night, and I have so much optimism moving forward.
Personally, rather than stressing over them, I find myself so thankful for the little things (like going to work, casting a vote, turning on the lights) these days, and that’s a great place to be. I can’t wait to see where we’ll all be in four more years!
*** Just to lighten the mood a little bit, an anecdote from my mom: She took my 12 year old sister, Molly, to the voting booth with her yesterday. She explained to her what they were doing and why. She let her push the buttons and forced her to stay up and watch the returns, all while explaining democracy and the electoral college as best you can to a 12 year old. Having school the next day, my mom put my sister to bed before the results were in. This morning, as my sister groggily walks into the kitchen, my mom says, “Guess who won.” Molly says, “Won what?” Oh Molly.***