I’ve been so unbelievably swamped in work the past couple days! It’s hard to believe the semester just started when I’m always on the go, reading this, writing that, or lab’n it up. This week we started collecting certain breeds of flies for genetics lab – we have to perform a bunch of crosses to determine the mutations in our unknown flies. I lucked out and got a super-organized (and nice!) lab partner, which in this class I think is going to make all the difference.
But something better than genetics happened! My dad, grandpa, grandma, uncle and cousin came up to visit yesterday and are staying through today. They usually come up in September for a Football alumni weekend – my grandpa and uncle both played quarterback for Cornell and my dad was a runningback. Yes – I come from a long line of Cornellians. I think I’m a triple legacy or something like that. What’s really cool is that my grandpa graduated in ’61, so my graduation in 2011 falls on his 50th reunion!! Pretty sweet how things turn out like that.
We went out to dinner at an amazing italian restaurant called Zaza’s. We’re a pretty italian family, so I figured this recommendation would be widely acceptable. BUT I also picked it because they have homemade pumpkin ravioli. Yes – pumpkin. I know I’ve said it quite a few times but I absolutely love fall and everything pumpkin is one of the reasons why. Needless to say, the ravioli were simply amazing. When I go out to dinner, I normally try to assess what I really want ahead of time. Normally if I go into a restaurant with no preparation, I end up just going with the “safest” choice and so to avoid that disordered behavior it’s best to get over the anxiety by picking something out that I know I want and I know fits with my meal plan (at least to some degree). I do allow myself some spontaneity, but find this strategy works well and I can go out without the same anxious reaction I used to have.
All in all it was a great night. I adore my grandfather and I’m a “daddy’s girl” so it’s always refreshing to have them visit. My grandpa is a story teller, and I love hearing about his Cornell days. We enjoyed a glass of wine (I got carded – being twenty-one certainly has its perks) and chatted about my plans after graduation, my cousin’s college search, Cornell in the 50s, Cornell in the 80s (Dad is class of ’84) and Cornell in the 90s (my uncle’s graduation was sometime in there). After dinner, I split from the fam and went out with a bunch of swimmers to the fraternity house where the swimmer guys live, then we went and danced the night away at the bars! In the interest of total disclosure, I’m not the biggest “going out” girl. I really like my sleep and would rather spend a night in with a couple close friends (with or without a glass of wine), but going out every so often is a good time.
But I wanted to write about something completely unrelated today. From a recovery standpoint, something that has always been imperative to me is keeping perspective. What I mean by that is taking all those ED thoughts and putting them in there proper place! It’s so easy for me to get caught up in negative thought patterns and thinking I’m a “failure” because I have restrictive thoughts still, or because I haven’t gotten my period back, or because I didn’t get an A, or because I didn’t have enough endurance to really kill a tough swimming set. Since I can’t completely avoid those negative thoughts yet I put a lot of effort into remembering what is really important in life.
I’m writing about this today specifically because it’s the ninth anniversary of September 11th. Like most people, I remember exactly where I was when I found out. I was in seventh grade and in “library class” (make of that what you will – Catholic schools are weird). Our librarian told our class about it, and I remember not really thinking it was that big of a deal. I didn’t really understand until I got home and saw the footage of the plane crashing into the second Tower, and learning how many people had needlessly died. We live 70 miles north of New York City, so we know some people who commute in. Luckily all of them were okay. But I will never forget the utter feeling of helplessness we all had that night as we watched the news and prayed for all the people and rescue workers at Ground Zero.
Living close to the City gave us a unique perspective on the attacks because we were so close that our area was under “high watch” for another terrorist attack. This is mainly because water from the reservoirs in our area becomes NYC water. There is also nuclear power plant near us that the government said Al-Qaeda could be planning to attack because they had blueprints for the plant.
Needless to say, it was a scary few months. But when I think back, what still amazes me is the feeling of unity that came to the country. Everyone flew US flags, sang patriotic songs and overall came together. It’s so easy to go about your everyday business and forget that everyone around you is human and goes through ups and downs and in-betweens throughout the course of life. We all have so much to give and learn from each other if we just allow it to happen.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is that the tragic events of September 11, 2001 gave our country as a whole some perspective. Everyone slowed down, smelled the roses, leaned on each other, prayed more, sang more, danced more…all in response to this event. People remembered that life is more than a career, salary, car, or weight.
This is why perspective is such an important tool for me in my recovery. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the daily grind and forget that life is more than swim practice, weight, food, my ED, homework, and grades. I try to remember on a daily basis that when I feel best is when I’m spending quality time with the people I love – laughing, sharing, and just living. What makes life great isn’t written on a transcript. What makes life great is connecting on a basic human level with people we love. My thoughts and prayers today go out to the victims of the attacks from nine years ago.