Saturday, 5 March 2016

Round 3, Day 171: Sad news and tough choices, old cravings kicking in

It's been a challenging few weeks here. I did a bunch of interviews--some online, some in person--and had great hopes for starting a new academic program that would incorporate my academic interests and my values. I travelled to some far-flung places. I liked the people I met and chatted with, and enjoyed some fun department visits. But the truth is, there isn't anywhere that's turned up as a great fit for me. This week I found out that I wasn't accepted at the one place for which I'd had high hopes. I'm wait-listed, which means it's still a small possibility that I'll get accepted. But even there, I see that it's not a great fit for me in some important ways. Even if they were to offer me a place, I don't think it would be the right hing for me to take up. There are two other possibilities, but I really don't see them working out either. I had such hopes in all this, and it's been so much work. I feel pretty sad about it.

There are several reasons for things not working, I see now. All these programs involve my husband and I moving to a different country--that big one slightly to the south of Canada, specifically! Immigration laws and restrictions are proving more of a challenge than I'd thought. If we were to go, I would be living on a stipend, but he may not be allowed to work. I know people find their way past this kind of thing, but I am at something of a loss as to how we might do that. I'm not all that great at bureaucracy. We are not wealthy, so not working for a stretch of time seems tricky, and I worry about what he would do with himself. (He has been willing to give it a go, but we both are seeing that he can't just do nothing, and we can't figure what he could do that fits within the restrictions.). And neither of us is a genius with finances, so making a pittance go a long way for a span of several years is something I'm not sure we can do. I know people say you can do anything you set your mind to. But I have been desperately poor in my life, and I'm afraid of living like that again. I'm even more reluctant about asking my husband to do so, and maybe for several years.

I'm also pretty nervous about the different political climate in the nearby country, and the lack of socialized medicine. When my husband had his accident last year, we had the best health care available in Canada, including a stay on a specialized trauma ward for almost 2 weeks, and it didn't cost us a penny. If we hadn't, I'm not sure my husband would have recovered as well as he has. So I'm genuinely nervous about giving this up, and I don't know how much health care we could afford on my pittance, even if I were to be accepted at any of the programs. I know some people work it out. But some go bankrupt. And I'm afraid of that happening.

I guess my disappointment has two parts. One is the sadness of not finding a place to do the kind of work that interests me, which means I still have to figure out how to craft the next section of my education, and find a place where it makes sense to do that. The second is just the letdown of putting in all that effort and then not having a shiny, happy prize at the end. That one's less mature, I know, but it's there just the same.

The decisions aren't all in yet, but what I see is that we aren't going anywhere this year. That's not all sad. I love where we live--the apartment the city, the geography, my husband's family living nearby, etc. And I do have some good support at my university to help me try to figure out how to do what I want. (Sorry to be vague on the specifics, but explaining my interests would blow my privacy and bore my readers all in one go. Not necessary, I think!)

This whole process has been more stressful than I expected. It's been time-consuming and expensive, and it's also involved putting myself in the way of rejection more seriously than can possibly be comfortable for anyone. This past week I've been a bit of a wreck, checking email every few minutes (I knew I'd hear from one program this week). I've been so tense that I didn't even know what my own feelings were with regards to the different places I applied. I really don't like when I become as alienated from myself as all that. I've been thinking about something Jackie at Sober, Sassy Life was writing recently about the pleasure of being an adult and making adult decisions. I know she's right, and I feel like I'm doing a little but of that now. That's what this all feels like yesterday and today, and there is some pleasure in making sensible decisions. But just the same, it's been a big letdown.

And right there with all the stress and then the letdown has been a burning desire to drink. Holy mother of god, for about three days this week, I very much wanted to drink! It was awful. I saw a guy on the bus carrying a BC Liquor Store bag with what was obviously two bottles of wine inside, and I felt so jealous that he could have wine while I couldn't. At times I just about had to sit on my hands, I so much wanted to get up and walk out and buy wine, and then come home and crawl into the merciful oblivion it offers. I cried, and I complained, and I was miserable. But I didn't drink. I mostly knew I wouldn't. Still, it was tough.

Last night I used the amazing Living Sober website to say how tough it's been, and I was cheered to get instant support from the wonderful people there. I didn't realize how much I needed that until I read people's kind comments and started to cry. I've been through long sober spells and periods of intensely wanting to drink before, but I always forget how much a little solidarity helps me though it. We sure do need to help each other.

Anyway, that's what's up here. A whole lot of effort and not much to show in the short term, just me, being an adult and coping with disappointment the way adults can, not by crawling into oblivion, but instead by feeling awful for a few days and reaching out to people and finding a way through. It's not a shiny new plan, but it's what I've got for now.

If you're still here, thanks for reading. Your support keeps me going. Peace and joy to you.


  1. Wow. Big hug.
    As a fellow Canadian I would be pretty reluctant to move south with Donald trump as a potential president.
    Health care is a huge issue. Immigration is a real problem, and your husband would, in my vague understanding gained a few years ago when I considered working in the states, not be able to work.

    I hope you find something that speaks to you. The Canadian economy is pretty shaky right now. I work in the oil industry and things are fairly bleak. I'm glad to live in the middle of nowhere, near the oil production. It feels more secure.

    Anyway, drinking just won't help. Won't help you make your decision. Won't help you weigh the options.

    I know you know that. How about a bubble bath and some chocolate eggs? They always help me.


  2. Thanks for commiserating, Anne. I know drinking won't help, and I won't do it. I'm just still surprised by the occasional super strong urges. The psyche is a marvellously strange thing/event/process. I'm glad you get it about the States, though.

    I love the US in so many ways, so I was surprised my my fear about the issues involved with moving there when it finally came down to it. They're real, though. Realizing I need more security than I used to know I needed is important. As far as school goes, I'll figure it out eventually. I just need to give it more time after this disappointment before I get too much into figuring things out.

    I would so much love a bubble bath! Sadly, our near-perfect tiny apartment only has a shower. Boo hoo. I had bread and butter, which is one of my big comfort foods. Now I'm off to bed with a mystery. I'll be OK. Really do appreciate the support from you xo

  3. I know it's hard to accept when it's happening, but some of this stuff means that there are better opportunities out there! My husband's business is dependent on the USA, and we are very nervous at moment - BUT it has shaken us out of our comfort zone and made us examine other possibilities and work a little harder- so everything happens for a reason, I reckon. And Anne is so right. Drinking wouldn't help. Drinking would keep me in a nervous, stuck place, instead of thinking "outside the box". And the same would happen to you. You never know, maybe the answer is in Europe. Less visa/working restrictions. xxx

    1. Thanks, Jackie. I do see that there is probably more good than not in this. If I didn't, I'd probably still be trying to wait out the wait-list option and make the immigration thing work somehow. Funny thing I had initially been more interested in schools in England but had thought that seemed impossible, and the fact that the US is closer and more people I know have attended schools there made it seem easier to me. (It's easier to imagine shipping my books there, for example!) But I have recently found that what you say is true, that student visas in European countries are less restrictive in terms of spouses working. Also, the less car-centric life in Europe has plenty of appeal. Foe now what I'm planning is to slow down (n the excellent advice of my calm and thoughtful husband) and give myself an extra semester to finish my thesis. That way I can do a better job on it and explore some other PhD options. And I know I'm lucky, as I live in a fantastic place with an amazing husband, and I have enough to eat and all that. I do appreciate your experience here. Having to examine the possibilities further can open up some interesting ones that you just didn't see before. Which is great! Still, disappointments are tough when they happen. Thanks so much for your support! xo

  4. Dear Thirsty,
    Well, I understand this! (And I love my country!)
    Health care here is expensive!
    The immigration laws would be daunting!
    Disappointments are hard. And decisions are tough at times.
    I wish something wonderful had happened for you.
    Hugs and Love!

    1. Thanks, Wendy. Really glad you understand. And wonderful things are happening all the time, right? Just, in this case, not the one I'd hoped for. But I'll be OK. Talking about acceptance is easy, but I'm finding once again that doing it is hard work! But I'm doing it anyway. Thanks for your support. xo

  5. HI Thirsty, I'm sorry things aren't turning out how you had hoped. The thought of moving to a different country are daunting. I am in Australia where we have free health care, I can't imagine having to pay for it. But if the work you need to do for your studies is there, it must be disappointing that it hasn't worked out. Hopefully something else will come up on the waiting list. I really hope things work out for you. A x

    1. Thanks, Angie. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. Setbacks always look a lot bigger at first glance. Thanks for your support! xo

  6. Health care costs are enormous here in the US, many decisions are based on how much of our total income goes to healthcare. I am glad that you are making such wise and thoughtful choices! Hoping the perfect opportunity is finding it's way to you!

    1. Hi QuietlyDone! Thanks for your support. Thinking through these things is a challenge for me, but I'm trying for a little bit of calm and wisdom. I think the perfect opportunity isn't one I know about yet, but I know there are plenty of them out there. xo

  7. Hi Thirsty

    Being an adult sucks ass sometimes. And sometimes all we want to wine. And those two things put together suck the biggest ass ever.
    Make sure you're looking after yourself. Some nice food (always my go to - reason I'm not a size 10!), some time out to watch a film or have a bath. It will be ok and something will come up. (that's what I keep telling myself anyway!) xxxxx

    1. Thanks for this, MTTS. I really am now thinking that things will work out better but in a different way than I had been planning. And yes, taking care is needed in the meantime. I so wish I had a bathtub-everyone always suggests it in times of stress, and the show just doesn't do the trick! Really appreciate your support! xo

  8. I am reading back... and want to thank you so much for sharing this. BTW, I live in the country I think you are talking about and the health care situation here is horrible.... so I think you made a very smart choice.... even though it has to suck so much to give that up. I'm really happy that you were able to make it through this without drinking.