Some things are just unavoidable: going to the DMV, taking exams, and for some people, getting your wisdom teeth out. I got mine removed a few weeks ago, and surprisingly it was kind of an existential journey. These are some of the things we can all learn from going through something so distressing.
1. Try to make the best out of situations.
I was dreading my surgery all week. I had gotten surgery in my mouth about a month before, and I wasn’t looking forward to having a swollen and bruised face, not being able to eat pizza, and having to get shots in my mouth again. (Their numbing gel isn’t quite strong enough.) But when I got there, I thought instead of being miserable, I’d try to make the best of the situation. I made jokes with my dentist, even when my face was fat and swollen and I couldn’t close my mouth all the way, and I even took a picture of my swollen, horrified face. My mom’s ex-boyfriend was the hygienist assisting my dentist and instead of being awkward and biter towards him, we made the best of the situation. When I went to work on Monday, instead of being miserable and complaining, I made jokes about it. My face was still puffy and bruised, and I had a lot of face-time with our guests, but I wasn’t embarrassed; I embraced it. And when I was drowsy because of the painkillers I was on, I tried my hardest and ended up getting all of my work done and studying for the exam I was having the next day.
If you think about it, making the best out of bad, lame, or uncomfortable situations can really make life more enjoyable. I know what you’re thinking — “Thanks for nothing, Captain Obvious, but if this was such a common piece of wisdom, how come so many people complain and moan and groan?” It may not be as common as you think. As my coworker says, not all sense is common. I just wish it wasn’t getting my wisdom teeth removed that made me truly and genuinely realize this.
2. Be careful about all the things you may do on Vicodin (or painkillers in general).
Painkillers can help alleviate even the most painful irritations, but their side effects may be the craziest freaking things you ever experience. While on Vicodin, I did a number of things I wouldn’t normally do (maybe). I was drowsy and loopy. I couldn’t stay awake. I temporarily lost my mind. I made my boss laugh so hard she had to excuse herself. I told my crush I liked him. I accidentally used the men’s’ restroom. I confessed my weirdest fetishes to a totally hottie. I talked and argued with myself, loudly and in public. While at a meeting last week, my boss explained to us that the next couple of weeks were going to be hard and busy, so she told us to make sure we get plenty of rest. “So we don’t end up like Julia on Vicodin,” is how she ended her motivational speech. Painkillers can be a blessing, but they can also cause you to do completely outrageous things, so beware.
3. Don’t let the pain make you cranky.
I know I’m contradicting myself when I say the pain made me cranky, but at one point, I was incredibly irritable. When my partner at work noticed, he pounced and spent a good while poking fun, and I kept getting crankier and crankier. I was in a great deal of pain; my mouth hurt, my head hurt, I really wanted a slice of pizza, so I overreacted to everything. I’m not saying you should hide your feelings, though. There’s this thing called surface acting, where people display false emotions rather than what they’re actually feeling because the setting seems like an inappropriate place to show how they feel, but this usually makes you feel worse. What I’m trying to say is, sometimes crankiness and irritability are misplaced. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and a deep breath and reevaluate our anger.
4. Enjoy the ice cream indulgence while it lasts.
You won’t always have an excuse.
5. Don’t take things for granted, especially time.
Like pizza, sleep, popcorn, not having nasty holes in your mouth. There are so many things we take advantage of in our everyday lives and it’s not until there’s been a change or disturbance, something’s missing that we realize it. For me, I really missed eating pizza. But then I thought, when was the last time I went hiking? Why am I not ice skating right now? There are so many things I should be writing right now. I have all this time to study, but I’m not utilizing it. Didn’t I say I’d learn that song on the piano? Or the guitar? I should be finished with that book by now. I have a whole list of things I want to do, to accomplish, but sometimes I waste so much time. Granted, relaxation is great, but it wasn’t until I was on Vicodin and I couldn’t stay awake long enough to do something as simple as watch The Office, that it hit me that my time is limited. There are only so many hours in a day. I saw a quote the other day that said, “Beyonce has only 24 hours in a day as well.” And I think their point was anybody could be Sasha Fierce, but not everybody will.
I know some of these things may have been known already. I wasn’t completely oblivious to these ever-pressing facts, but I didn’t take them to heart. Even if they’re something you’ve been taught time and time again, something that was introduced to you when you were young, something that is just flat out obvious, are you taking them to heart? Do you consider them when you’re making plans for the day? For the week? How about for the year? I think I may go join a club at school or do something out of the ordinary for me like dye my hair or wear something I normally wouldn’t. And maybe I’m glad I accidentally spilled the beans to my crush. Life’s too short to keep things bottled up and to the stay the same anyway. So go eat pizza, do some of the things you may do on Vicodin sober, confess your feelings to that one cutie you’ve been crushing on, be less angry, make the best out of every situation, and most importantly, just enjoy life.