Monday, March 16, 2015

The breakup post with Mr. 40

Dear Mr. 40:

Funny how so many people are intimidated and scared by you. I guess maybe it's because you represent a big milestone for most (middle age! partners! children! success!), but for me you were a great companion. I did have some expectations that things were going to happen; like maybe my biological clock would finally go off and I'd really search for a husband and/or have a kid; that suddenly I'd make some strange life-changing decision about career, or love and regret it--but honestly, you were great to be around.

Forty felt like I was finally becoming comfortable in my own skin; settling into my new career, still searching for a partner, enjoying life and everything around me. Maybe the biggest change was switching jobs and I'm now running and managing my own pharmacy away from the craziness of the corporate chains. It was a shock to be cold-called; it was a shock to be told I already had a good reputation; and it was a shock to be told that I was very good at what I was doing and to be wanted for doing so. I'm amazed that it's gone over so well with very few hiccups. There is a lot of hard work ahead, but I am definitely looking forward to it.

And along the way, I've met some really great guys, which have become good friends, even though I have been wanting more. The more I've put myself out there, I've met better and better guys; guys who've helped me figure out what I want in a relationship, and guys who've pointed out that I really am a good guy and deserve someone to complement me. It is frustrating, Mr. 40, that I seem to come so close to meeting someone, only to see my dreams dashed. But the bitterness that follows has become briefer and briefer, and each guy seems to be better and better. (And Mr. Biggest Fan, if you're reading this, you still have a big place in my heart. I'm not letting you go that easily.)

It's nice to know that I'm no longer dreading when each year leaves me to introduce me to another; it feels like the years are getting better and better. I know what I want, I'm ready to keep working at it, and disappointment and joy often come hand-in-hand.

Is this really what it's like to get older? To be more comfortable, to see happiness wherever I go, to acknowledge sadness for what it is? That life is meant to be appreciated no matter what happens? That the people who come into my life have really been placed for a reason?

Mr. 40, thanks for teaching me life lessons. I think Mr. 41 will be just as exciting, challenging and maybe scary as you were. But I'm realizing I'm no longer scared. I'm ready to see what happens, and excited for the opportunity.

I'm also realizing that it's kinda pointless to ask for wishes and things--it's up to me to make the opportunities to make things happen. Maybe that's the biggest thing I've learned so far.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The breakup post with 2014

Dear Mr. 2014:

I honestly thought that you'd be one of the more boring years I've had recently. Granted, I did turn 40 this year, but honestly I think you'd be all about stability. I entered the year with a relatively stable job, no big plans or goals happening, just trudging along with no expectations.

I should've remembered that when I have no expectations of anything happening, everything happens. Along the way, I keep relearning things, remembering things, and I feel a greater sense of gratitude.

You surprised me the most on the career front. Towards the end of the year, I ended up getting recruited from a very stable (but extremely stressful) retail chain pharmacy job to an independent pharmacy where I'm running the show and pharmacist-in-charge (hence the last post). It's only been about 3 weeks, but I absolutely love it. I love the freedom, the regular workdays, the responsibility, and even the crazy challenges by pretty much going solo and being trusted by my boss to get the job done. I also started doing a side job doing drug info and being a clinical pharmacist editor/writer/consultant here. Combining the two things that I love most about being a pharmacist has been pretty awesome. It also helps that I became volunteer clinical faculty at two universities too (here and here). Not shabby for being a pharmacist for barely two years!

You also reminded me of the importance of friends and family. My old work schedule made it impossible to hang out with anyone; I'm now re-connecting with old friends and family, and I'm making new friends. It forces me out of my comfort zone, to be a normal human being, and to just be me--one of the hardest things to be sometimes!

To that end, you also forced me to look at what I wanted to change about my life and make myself happier. I took myself back to the gym, and I'm much happier working out again, and getting rid of that stress. And thanks for reminding me what muscle fatigue is. Oy....

You've also reinforced that time doesn't stand still. While I'm going through a stable part of my life right now, you've reminded me to help people who aren't doing so well; to lend an ear, to donate, to provide support. Maybe that's why life is so satisfying right now, that I'm finally able to give back to the communities that have really supported me for so long.

And finally, thanks for introducing me to some great guys who've helped me accept myself truly; not just the smart brainy part, but all the other parts I choose to forget. You've introduced me to some guys who actually like bigger Asian guys, and you've reminded me that I am a person deserving of friendship, intimacy, sex, and (dare I say it?) love.

I have to say, Mr. 2014, thanks for introducing me to one of my biggest fans (rolling eyes). I have to thank his persistence, and for you for opening my eyes to notice his charm, his good looks, his smile, his jokes, his sweet personality, and for opening my heart to this new possibility. We'll see where this goes, but I'm looking forward to this ride...

So Mr. 2014, thanks for being the year that I wasn't expecting, and for providing me with not what I really wanted, but what I really needed. A dose of reality, and rewards and karma for everything that has happened. I hope Mr. 2015 will be just as sweet and wonderful as you are (I just have to try to stay humble, grounded and focused!).


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The breakup post with Professional Job 1

Dear Mr. Professional Job 1:

So I submitted my final, official, final resignation letter to you a few weeks after being asked to reconsider in October. Not that there was much to be gained if I were to stay-as being asked to become manager of where I'm currently working didn't exactly gain enough points for me to seriously consider changing my mind.

It's been a very interesting ride these past 15-odd months since I graduated from pharmacy school and you came to open the door for my first job right out of school. I thought, oh- working 40 hours a week now, that'll give me time to do all the things that I didn't have time to do during school.

And then it didn't happen. What was an average of 40 hours per week ended up with me working 56 hours one week and 24 the next, and being so utterly exhausted and done with people after working 10 out of 11 days that I was a hermit for those 3 day weekends. That didn't exactly do wonders for my social life or dating life which was primarily nonexistent until a couple of weeks ago...but that's another post.

I have learned to become a pharmacist. A damn good pharmacist. And apparently I also become a very good manager when I got thrown into the role 3 weeks after landing a position as a staff pharmacist...

Which led to my meeting Professional Job 2 which will start next week. While I have felt appreciated, I do understand now why community pharmacists can burn out so quickly--faced with never-ending tasks that never get done, dealing with out-of-control patients, dealing with constantly broken-down or sometimes even lack of utter resources, it made me wonder very quickly what it all led to.

And it led to a call from Professional Job 2--the appeal of many things that can't be matched with Job 1 (no weekends! bankers hours! professional freedom! higher pay!). I feel like I can finally do what I was trained to do, care for patients' needs, instead of constantly staring down an abyss of unfilled, untyped, unverified prescriptions, unreasonable expectations from someone who doesn't understand the unique challenges of where I work, and sometimes just plain utter exhaustion from having to juggle so many things all at once.

I know that I've been prepared very well to begin Professional Job 2, and I'm willing to see where this leads. It also helps that the boss is a very good looking otter-type straight boy, but that's another post.

Thanks for preparing me for this craziness, PJ1. I have a better understanding of what my career is and where I want it to lead. It is incredibly frightening at the same time because I am being thrust into this role so quickly after school--the difference between when similar circumstances happened to me 10 years ago to who I am now, I am much better prepared to take on a relative position of authority, an opportunity that was denied and forgotten (thankfully) years ago.

I do hope Mr. PJ2 that this will really be a good growing opportunity for me. And it also does really help that while this new boss is really easy on the eyes, I do have someone wanting me, even if he is very, very far away at the moment....

Friday, November 07, 2014

Thinking about where I am now...

Funny how sometimes you read something, and it just sticks with you.

In a few weeks, I'll be leaving my current job and starting my second job as a pharmacist, and as things are starting to wind down for me, I'm forcing myself to take a breather and think about what's happened these past few years.

I remember that point nearly 10 years ago, when I was at a crossroads in my life, and thinking about where my life was headed. At the time, I remember thinking, "Okay, nothing else has worked. Let's see what happens with this."

Now, I see what was really happening. I had run out of options. All my idealism in my 20s, the thoughts that I would change the world, change society, run and win a revolution suddenly smacked me as I was thrown into my 30s. The revolution wasn't going to happen. I wasn't going to be the scholar combining the activism of Asian American studies and the pragmatism of American sociology and become the new sexy scholar touting intersectionality. I wasn't going to be the nonprofit star who stared down a failing agency in the face and brought it out of its ashes. I wasn't going to be the big queer Asian activist that brought respect to all my communities. Being thrown into the limelight was not my cup of tea. I had failed in all these attempts, miserably. I had lost that desire to do any of these things. The life that I had known, the identities that I had claimed so fervently, none of that made sense to me anymore.

I really had nowhere else to go.

All of my failed dreams, my attempts to make something of myself, were staring at me. The only path that laid open was the one that I didn't want to go through, to become a pharmacist--because it would prove I was wrong, and my family was right. Looking back, that was an incredibly stupid reason to have such a fear. But all I had at that point was pride, and pride wasn't enough to keep me where I was. I had to take a step. I knew damned well I didn't want to be stuck at that confusion, and that's what scared me the most.

Little did I know that as I trudged down that road with that first awkward step back into my postbac in August 2005 I had to let go of everything that I had held onto in order to chase that dream.

When my mom passed in 2003, a slow but definite purge of friends I had met when I was first came out in the mid-1990s had become a hemorrhage once I dove headlong into postbac for prepharm and pharmacy school. People who saw me as merely the life of the party, the clown, suddenly stayed away and stopped talking to me because I had serious concerns about where my life was headed. And I was okay with that. I suddenly had nothing in common with these friends. I was better able to identify and cut off toxic friendships. I maintained minimal contact with most of my family, partly because of the still-ongoing weird estrangement of my sister from the rest of my family. I realized that if I were to really go for this crazy bizarre dream, I had to cut off all the bullshit that was surrounding me so I could better focus my energy on achieving that dream.

At the same time that happened, a whisper that I had tried to ignore for years suddenly became a statement and a scream too loud to ignore. I had to end my relationship with my now-ex. It wasn't that he himself was necessarily holding me back; for me, the current relationship represented a security blanket of emotions that held me back. The security blanket was now working against me, and I had to break free from it. While the breakup was completely fine with him, the emotions attached to it were another story.

Pharmacy school itself ended up being a finishing fire for me. I had to gain confidence in myself, to defend my choices, to be able to compromise, admit defeat if I was wrong. I became thick skinned; but sometimes to the point where I had to hide my emotions. Towards the last few weeks of school, I would find myself crying, partly because of the stress and figuring out what I was going to do next. But it was extremely cathartic. It was the last bits of my old self being washed away in tears of frustration. I had become tantalizingly close to finally achieving that dream, and also naively thinking that it was an end of a journey. Perhaps it was also because I was dealing with men that I shouldn't have been involved with, and that was the last part that I needed to grow up from.

My first job, the one that's ending soon, was good; is good. But it's left me exhausted sometimes, unable to have a social life; unable to look for good guys to date. This new job that starts soon, more than anything, it represents a chance to have my life back--and just as that happens, I meet somebody who wants to take things slow, to get to know me and not jump into a relationship. That when I wasn't looking, he happened to show up out of nowhere--even though he had actually been waiting for me for months. And I was finally able to meet him halfway.

So maybe this is a sign that there is never an end to this journey until there really is the end. Pharmacy school was the last big life goal I wanted to finish, but it feels like that I now am discovering and looking for all the little and medium life goals that I have yet to discover and complete.

Friday, October 31, 2014

One post in 2014?

So someone has asked me why I haven't written in this blog for a long time.

It gave me pause. That's a very good question, and one I couldn't figure out the answer to for the longest time.

Then it hit me suddenly the past few days while on a trip to NYC. During the time that I was writing a lot for the blog, a lot of things were happening, a lot of it I had posted here.

But there were other things that I didn't want to talk about on the blog; or on other social media for that matter. My now-ex and I were going through a long and involved (but friendly) breakup that consumed a lot of my time. I was obviously trying to apply, got accepted to, and was trying to finish pharmacy school. The more that I tried to think about it, the more that writing a blog didn't make sense to me. There's an obviously exhibitionist streak in people who write about their personal lives on blogs, and it felt like more often than not, I didn't want to remember the minutiae of the day, or the seemingly constant failures and struggles that were happening in my life. Other social media didn't seem to fit either; Twitter and Facebook, while fun, are a little too out there for me. Tumblr, well, it's tumblr.

Looking back at my very long hiatus, I had to withdraw so to speak in order to face what was happening in all these crazy sudden changes that were happening; but there's a problem with that. Withdrawing can become very lonely.

That's what hit me why I couldn't write regularly here for those 4-5 years. I had to withdraw and focus on myself, and when I wanted to write in my blog, I kept on wanting to write about my failures; these self-pitying posts that have never been published that would've annoyed me and anyone else who wrote in the blog. When I stopped writing, I felt like a failure because I had broken up with my ex; that my consolations were caught up in chemical formulas, mathematical equations and treatment algorithms. And I didn't want to be reminded of that anymore.

Obviously, that's the right-brained, logical explanation. When the answer to that question hit me, the question was asked very simply by someone who started reading and following my blog recently. And he said a sentence that caused my walls to break down.

"I wish I would've been there for you at that time. You sounded like you needed a friend."

It hit me like a ton of bricks, a blubbering crazy ton of bricks. The tears came, and they didn't stop. And this guy--this guy who wanted to know me at that time--but couldn't and didn't, just wrapped his arms around me and held me.

And that's why I couldn't write. And that's why I finally feel like I can now.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The breakup post with Mr. 38

And so continues my tradition about my breakup posts as I move from one year to another...

Dear Mr. 38:
I have spent 45 of the last 52 weeks with you stressed out, questioning my beliefs, figuring out if I'm worthy to be a pharmacist, and otherwise trying to maintain my sanity as I went through one of the toughest years of my life.

I knew that you were going to be difficult. I knew that you were going to test me, push me, make me come face-to-face to things that I've been ignoring for years. At times, I hated you. I wondered what the hell I was doing, where my life was headed, and how I was going to survive at some points. I flirted with things that I probably shouldn't have, done things that I did for the experience, and now I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

But at the same time, I am starting to appreciate what you put me through.

You see, Mr. 38, you forced me to grow up. I have had to come face to face to things that I didn't want to see; the ugliness of the mistakes that I did years ago has suddenly become exposed, and I couldn't turn away. You forced me to make decisions that I didn't want to do. I begged. I pleaded. I cried. And yet, I knew you were right.

You started the process of letting go of an identity that I've held for so long: a student. That part of me is melting away as I come face to face with the reality that in 3 short weeks, I will become what I've been wanting to be for so long: finishing pharmacy school, being able to put "Dr." in front of my name, crossing off the #1 thing on the goddamn bucket list that I've had for so long.

And now--I'm faced with a terrifying dilemma: Now what?

And this is where the growing begins. I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, of where I want to be. I know that I'll have to deal with more crazy crap this year as I start this new career path, down a road that I have no idea where it'll lead.

And as much as I hate to admit it, Mr. 38, you were the kick in the pants that I needed. I am ready to embrace the uncertainty, to be appreciative that this part of my life is coming to an end--that I am finally able to move on.

You've taught me to never give up. You've taught me that I have what it takes to survive. You've taught me to set boundaries, to express myself, to be the truest person that I can be. Honestly, the rotations haven't been as bad as all the personal growing that I've done this year.

But really, I'm glad that you're gone. I know that I have more shit to work on wherever I end up. But I know that I am ready to deal with it head on.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

A request...

So it's been a very long time since I wrote in this blog, and in about 4 weeks I'll be done with pharmacy school. One of the biggest things I wanted to do in my life, almost done.

And yet, I'm petrified.

I've never been so scared in my life. I have options right now after school, and I'm trying to listen to the calm within my heart to make a decision. I don't know why I'm afraid that I'll make a wrong decision. There is no such thing as a wrong decision.

I think my biggest unfounded fear is if I leave SF, I won't come back. I know that's not true in my head. At the same time, I don't have strong reasons for staying, except for being comfortable with my strong support network of friends. I'd have to start over in a new place, and I'm not sure why it's so terrifying for me to do so. People do it all the time. I do want to come back if I leave.

If there are people that still read this blog, please think calming, good thoughts for me. I know that the universe/God/whatever celestial beings are out there will provide and I am taking comfort in that. I just wish I could calm my mind down and stop worrying. It helps that I'm doing other things to take my mind off of it, but I am still scared and worried and petrified about everything.