I work in healthcare admin. Everyday, I speak to patients over the phone. Everyday, there’s at least one person who ruins my mood in that they blame me, or one of my other coworkers, for things that are not in our control. Everyday, I help patients process their referrals for things such as a hysterectomy, prostate biopsy and a follow up to a miscarriage. You can say I’ve adapted to often forget that these procedures, medical terms, life-threatening health concerns – there’s so many ways to describe them – are being lived by a real human. It’s easy to forget when you feel like you get the blame – when you feel like you yourself are helpless in trying to help.
My outlook on life changed a little these past few weeks. A close aunt, my second mom, had a hysterectomy. This was a shock to our family as it happened so fast. Last week, my uncle went to see a doctor due to chest pains. Well, a few hours after that appointment, he had to undergo an emergency triple bypass surgery. Even a bigger shock. Everything that’s happened to my family lately has really gotten me to show more empathy towards people. It’s also made me think more about taking chances in life.
I was speaking to an older gentleman this morning. He got transferred to our department after receiving a letter in the mail for his wife to see a Gynecologist. As I sat in my cubicle, I took a sip of my coffee to prepare for the worst:
“I told you guys already she does not need to be seen.” “Why is it taking this long for my wife to see a doctor?” “How would you feel if you were bleeding in pain and you had to wait a long time to see a medical professional!”
Before the gentleman had a chance to communicate, one large detail I noticed was bolded in red in his wife’s medical profile: Deceased.
“I just wanted to call to see how I can get it changed in your system that my wife has passed on – she died a few months ago.”
I offered my condolences, apologized about the letter and explained some changes we’re making to our management systems. He thanked me for the clarification and we ended up having a very eye opening conversation. Well, eye opening for me that is. His words were honestly like music to my ears. He spoke of how he met his wife, how she was the most beautiful woman on earth and how she had the most kind heart. I felt my eyes water as he professed the love he still held for her and how much he missed her. He sort of lectured me about “young people who take don’t chances.” He spoke of how his wife opened him up to be… vulnerable. Something that’s terrifying to many human beings today.
Imagine walking through the halls at your workplace, roaming through the aisles in a grocery store, or even as you wait for a professor to begin lecture in a college classroom. I’m sure you’ll notice one thing – people no longer are conversing, but rather have their heads pointed down to their mobile screen, all while quickly deciding which emoji to send to their chosen recipient. A lot of the time, we are vulnerable enough to communicate our feelings of love, anger and happiness through a little mobile device. A lot of the time, we easily express our hopes and dreams on social media. A lot of the time, what we express in our little mobile devices, rarely make it into our reality.
It’s interesting how much society has changed in that we’re comfortable, maybe even vulnerable, with expressing our feelings and emotions, behind a cellphone or computer. It’s interesting how it’s the complete opposite when you’re in the position of conversing with someone in the flesh – face to face. Will you be able to tell that person your feelings or express your emotion when you’re not guarded by a virtual device? I’ll tell you this, I still have a hard time doing so.
In Webster’s Dictionary, this term is simply defined in 2 ways:
- Easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally
- Open to attack, harm, or damage
I interpret it as taking risks without knowing what’ll happen. Knowing that in the end you might risk disappointment, hurt or hey on a more positive note, happiness.
In my previous blog post, I wrote about how I’m constantly being challenged by my family’s expectations. Well, I’m also being challenged by my lack of being vulnerable. Like many people, I’m terrified of not knowing what’ll happen; of failure. I’m terrified of not being in control – maybe that’s why I refuse to learn how to swim.
I thrive in looking at past experiences: “These statistics from last year showed to get to here, you need to do this.” Like many people, I do still think about my past; failures are the reason why I have my guard way up in opening up to people. I’m friendly, I’m outgoing, I’m nice; but I’m terrified when it comes to letting someone know everything about me – my childhood, past, failures, etc. – I’m scared to take that risk of being judged. Of being vulnerable in letting someone see me at my worst. But that’s what life is all about, right?
Speaking to this gentleman today made me revaluate vulnerability. In laymen’s terms, if one wants something, one must act on it. If you are miserable with your job, change it. Start looking for a new job. If you want to travel, travel. If you love someone, tell them. Life is way too short to be left in the dark – to be asking yourself, “what if?” When I get older, in my death bed, I’d hate to feel like I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to do in life. To not feel whole and have a sense of peace with my relationships.
These past few weeks have made me think about where I am in life. Like mentioned before, I’m not were I want to be in my career, but I’m working hard everyday to get to where I want to be. Now, sometimes I am so set on achieving my goals, that I forget to take care of myself. I accept any task family and friends ask of me because it’s a challenge. Challenges keep me busy. But in the end, I rarely feel accomplished because while I complete these tasks with the goodness of my heart, I never feel complete because I gave happiness to someone else, but forgot to give myself some – it makes no sense I know. What I’m working on now is to take more risks in hopefully receiving some sort of happiness in the end. And if not happiness, at least the feeling of knowing I tried – but for myself. Ironically, I call things that bring happiness to my life, distractions.
Getting off topic a little, but I promise it relates to the subject. With the help of my friends, I recently started opening up to dating. Wait, I lie, it’s been a few months. But for those who know me best, I’m pretty content with being single. Now, I’ve gone on a few dates – there was one I actually started developing feelings for, but he ended up being a lying douche. Shortly after, I convinced myself that dating and getting involved again is just another distraction. I told myself to focus back to getting to where I want in my career. After this experience, my guard was put up again, but not as much as before. I’m open to dating, but after what I experienced with this guy, I’m not going to fully invest my time in the first guy who sparks my interest again. I know my worth, and if a man does not value my time, I won’t go chasing after his attention. Oh man, I sound conceited – lol. I really am not. I think being “picky” is not so bad. But that’s a discuss for another blog post.
Looking back at it now, while I hated how it ended, the feelings I had, those weird butterflies in my stomach, were feelings that made me appreciate the time I spent with him. For those few weeks (I know not long at all), I was happy. I think it was because this happiness didn’t come after accomplishing something someone else asked me to do. It was something that formed naturally. I felt so… not in control. It was terrifying, yet satisfying at the same time. I was really taking a risk in the hopes of love. Something that felt like there is a little bit of magic in life. Something I hadn’t felt in so long.
I have no idea how I just wrote an entire paragraph about my love life – moving on.
My point of this entire subject? Taking risks, not for anyone else, but yourself is crucial. Being vulnerable is terrifying, but it’s better to know than to have never tried. If you’re miserable about something or someone, change it. If you like someone, show it. If you want to improve yourself, take chances in what is your biggest phobia. Life is too short – don’t sit around waiting for something good to happen. Invest in vulnerability and be open to it, because tomorrow may never come.
PS – I’ve drank a few glasses of wine before writing this so I apologize for all of the spelling/grammar mistakes. 🙂