The February Blues are a common problem for people for many reasons. There is Valentine’s Day or as many bitter people like to say, “Single Awareness Day”, that evokes a lot of emotional issues and justified high-calorie consumption. There is this absurd and sarcastic Chicago weather that likes to further toy with our emotions by being 6o degrees and sunny one day and snowing and icy the next. The school quarter has hit the point of no return as finals near and class content becomes stale. Commuting to work has become like receiving a flu shot. It’s election time. Etcetera.
Lately I’ve been in a low point; both in my work and my personal life. We all know that one tends to influence the other or at least one side will keep you sane enough to make it through the problems the other one presents. However when both are in the gutter, life can seem like an eternal spiral to the bottom of the lake. Conveniently jumping into Lake Michigan to solve my problems was not an option because of the ice.
When you have problems, everyone wants to put in their two cents. Well I for one am not a piggy bank. My life happens to be full of great advice that I never take.
I’ve received advice on how to move forward from my boss, my roommate, my friends and my mom. I’ve also received advice from my favorite local iHop waitress, people at the Sheridan red line stop, the Starbucks barista at Barnes & Nobles, and random people that think I look sad and decide that trying to solve my life problems will be their “good deed” for the day.
Whether you are in a rut like myself or you are just sick of the cold weather, I am going to give you three pieces of advice that I have received throughout the past four days. Take it or leave it. Sometimes you just have to learn from your mistakes and move forward without other people telling you how to solve your problems. Advice is subjective.
Johanna—the roommate—Laughter is the best medicine.
This is more of experiential learning advice. When the world comes crashing down and the bad news builds up, sometimes the best release is laughter. You know those circumstances that are so horrible and ridiculous that all you can do is laugh? It’s because you need something to take away the tension. Sometimes the only thing that can fix a situation is a case of the giggles. And hot chips.
Jackie—the boss—Look for the positives in change.
Career wise this advice is something to commit to memory. When our Marketing and Communications team at the Chicago Red Cross lost half of our staff, we had to take a second to consider the consequences. Jackie taught me that if you can analyze the situation and figure out the positive potential outcomes, not only will you more than likely be able to implement those changes but you will also get to be in charge. Our team saw a chance to restructure. How would an ideal work day for Martha and Jackie operate? Once they figured that out, they were able to restructure the two new job descriptions to ensure maximum work efficiency. Look for the positives even in the worst of a situation and then you can forge your own change.
Random Man on the Sheridan Red Line Stop—Give yourself a break.
A guy in a dark navy blue hoodie and grey skinny jeans came up to me this morning and, I kid you not, smacked me on the back of the head with a rolled up Red Eye paper. Rude. He then proceeded to tell me that I needed to stop crying and tell him what was wrong because I was “too pretty to have mascara stains at 9:30 in the morning.” He asked for it…and after a long-winded rant and a large range of emotions to the point where I was literally using more curse words than nouns, he stopped me. “Give yourself a break. You are too young to even start thinking about how your ten year career plan is going down the drain. Anyone who doesn’t want to be with you is an idiot or just actually needs time. You need time. For yourself. You’re moving a million miles an hour. Stop. Got it?”
Best advice I have ever received and I didn’t even know the guy.