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Day 28 - Recovery

Level 10

mental-health-recovery.jpg

During the time of which I speak it was hard to turn the other cheek

To the blows of insecurity

Feeding the cancer of my intellect the blood of love soon neglected

Lay dying in the strength of its impurity

Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together

They've all gone and left each other in search of fairer weather

And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast

To the slim chance of love's recovery

I spent a decade in an ill-advised relationship with a college boyfriend, one utterly destined for failure. The kind of pursuit that – some years removed – makes you wonder what on earth you were thinking. Of course, as with so many ventures in one’s 20s, sheer willpower seems to rule the day, and it did in this instance as well.

Many friends got married right after college, and that fact, together with an over-reliance on more traditional models of courtship, seemed to mean that I needed to make this pairing work, despite countless red flags. “DANGER, DANGER,” was the theme of that time, but once you’ve committed that far, you sometimes feel like you have to earn your way out.

There I am in younger days, star gazing

Painting picture perfect maps of how my life and love would be

Not counting the unmarked paths of misdirection

My compass, faith in love's perfection

I missed ten million miles of road I should have seen

Meanwhile our friends we thought were so together

Left each other one by one along the road of fairer weather

And we sit here in our storm and drink a toast

To the slim chance of love's recovery

Only about half of the couples from that era survived intact. Divorces abounded, separations were frequent, and for a still fairly traditional gal like myself, my view of love and romance was positively shattered. I could not imagine how I’d gotten it so very wrong.

I had a core group of college friends who’d managed to stay in touch since graduation. And not just in touch, like we’d see each other once a year, but really in touch, like we emailed [this was in the years before group texts] each other every day, all day, for years. Jokes, griping about work, dumb stuff we’d done the night before, whatever you can think of.

We’d scattered across the country, but thanks to the miracle of Hotmail, we were bound together through all the challenges of post-grad young adulthood. We counseled each other on relationship fumblings, we encouraged each other to take new jobs, we gave backup for hard choices, and we got each other through a lot of tough times.

That same group had heard my complaints so often, they were exhausted by me, as much as they were still my friends. They talked to each other without me on separate threads about the abuse, my poor choices, and what they should say to me – what would even make sense or break through. They watched me shrink away into a person they didn’t recognize much anymore.

I didn’t recognize myself much, either.

 

Rain soaked and voice choked like silent screaming in a dream

I search for our absolute distinction

Not content to bow and bend

To the whims of culture that swoop like vultures

Eating us away, eating us away

Eating us away to our extinction

It took learning I was going to be a mother to change course. At the time, I couldn’t comprehend a better life for myself, but I knew I wanted a better life for my child. I moved home, rebooted my career, became a Mom, and thought, OK, this will be my path. I consigned myself to focusing on mommyhood and work, and letting all that hard work of trying to build a life with someone just go.

As my favorite oceanography professor once advised me, you have to fall in love with yourself first. So, I worked on that – and on the considerably easier business of falling in love with my newborn daughter. My friends remarked that the me of college seemed to return, finally. I relaxed. I laughed more. I wasn’t the frenetic, hand-wringing, tear-stained mess I’d been for so many years.

And as it turned out, one of our close-knit group and I fell in love. We were already great friends. We already knew all the things about each other that test newer relationships. We’d each hit our bumpy roads with those college loves, and we’d both learned a huge amount from our failures. And each of our life partners happened to be right under each of our noses for a decade. For me, it felt quite like a romcom, where the leads – friends for ages, constant sounding boards for failed romance after failed romance – finally look at each other… differently.

Oh. There you are.

Our individual tribulations and ultimate recovery from those foolish years had taught each of us an awful lot about life and love. Expectation and reality. Failure and true achievement. Frankly, life had beat all the nonsense out of us, and shaped each of us to be use to ourselves and to each other.

Once I abandoned any preconceived notions of how my life would go, I allowed that recovery to get underway, and my life began to unfold in a great many wondrous ways.

It’s the release that brings forward the recovery that has been a lesson I learn, and relearn, continually in life.

Oh how I wish I were a trinity, so if I lost a part of me

I'd still have two of the same to live

But nobody gets a lifetime rehearsal, as specks of dust we're universal

To let this love survive would be the greatest gift that we could give

Tell all the friends who think they're so together

That these are ghosts and mirages, all these thoughts of fairer weather

Though it's storming out I feel safe within the arms of love's discovery

How - and what - have you recovered in life? What lessons of recovery can you share with others?

Lyrics: “Love’s Recovery” Written by Amy Elizabeth Ray, Emily Ann Saliers • Copyright © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

Image credit: Mental Health Ireland

39 Comments
halaszj
Level 9

desr
Level 12

You can just about recover from anything if you give it time

miseri_cheat_
Level 11

Thanks for sharing your story jennebarbour​. Vulnerability in writing is attractive; I, as a reader, am mostly attracted to personal stories especially if it is one that makes me feel connected to the writer as if they were close to me.

To recover takes much effort especially when the norm is comfortable or one sees no hope of a better future ahead. It takes much faith and courage to recover from something one is used to. Before recovery, the lessons learned are tools to aid you in understanding why there was a reason for that experience in the first place.

mprobus
Level 13

Out of context of the article, as an IT professional, I have made a living recovering various things (files, systems, etc.)

As this time, I am trying to recover files from a bad hard drive.  Unsuccessful as of now and trying to decide if I want to spend the money to have someone with better tools try as I can't decide if there is anything of value on the drive.

tallyrich
Level 15

When the word recovery is used it inevitably turns to something bad - recovering from abuse, recovering from an addiction, recovering from failure. But I think differently - years ago I was introduced to a program called Celebrate Recovery. It is unlike other programs in that it helps anyone recover from what they call Hurts, Habits and Hang ups. We all have areas of hurts, habits and hang ups from which recovery would benefit us. Hurts can be recovered from before they become full out pain. Habits can be recovered from before they become disruptive. Hang ups can be recovered from before they block our progress and growth.

Being proactive about hour health, in all areas, can help us to prevent needing deeper recovery and keep up on the path of productivity and purpose.

jeremymayfield
Level 15

Recovery is often something heard when someone over comes an addiction, or in our line of work in IT, helping get back what is lost in some cases.   Getting back what is lost, part of you is sometimes the hardest.   Hate the sin not the sinner, which is hard advice if you have been sinned against.   Getting back anything once its truly lost requires a great sacrifice.   In the case of a bad HDD, it can cost lots of money, in the case of a broken heart, a huge leap of faith.  In the case of confidence, sometimes you have to rebuild yourself a new, in to something better than before.   Sometimes you have to wipe the slate clean as recovery is not an option.   As people we can always pull ourselves out of the dark, we can recover from anything if we want to, but once something is truly lost, you simply have to start over and rebuild.  

tinmann0715
Level 16

But not if time runs out... our time on earth is not infinite.

opeoluwa_cheat_
Level 9

with backup and recovery, losing my files can be less frustrating.

shuth
Level 14

Thank you for sharing.

As others have mentioned, recovery commonly refers to coming back from something negative. My own personal story is that I was unhappy with work for a long time but I kept pushing the negative thoughts aside, trying to focus on positives and believed if I kept going and pushed through then it would all be OK. It wasn't. I was becoming more unhappy and it began to negatively impact on my non-work life. In the end, I quit my job and have been working on myself, my relationship, and what I wanted to do. Thankfully I had the support of friends and a few opportunities also arose to keep me going. I sometimes regret not taking action sooner but I can't change that so I try not to let it bother me too much.

prowessa
Level 12

My Data Recovery Plans have spiraled to a very high value.

I need the Recovery to be effective ASAP.

mtgilmore1
Level 13

File recovery, Server recovery, Disaster recovery all things that are preventable with good recovery plans and procedures. 

zackm
Level 15

thanks for sharing jennebarbour

Once I abandoned any preconceived notions of how my life would go, I allowed that recovery to get underway, and my life began to unfold in a great many wondrous ways.

That's really the key isn't it? Through all of the hubris of our misspent youth, at some point we, most of us, just let go of the "plan". Planning isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I think we get tunnel vision and it can really create some dire situations for us all.

I have a friend who's eldest is about to leave for college. Or so he thought. Over a decade of planning for going to university, and he was rejected to the only 2 schools he applied for. He didn't focus much on his studies and ultimately wasn't competitive for the top tier schools he had always "known" he would attend.

Luckily, he has some great parents who have lived through some hard times to coach him. Now he will be doing a 2yr community college program focused in IT, and potentially university afterwards. We all know you don't need a BA/BS to get into this field though, so he's open to possibilities now.

At first he was shattered, and now through the guidance of his support network, he has recovered from his fall and is on, what some might consider, a better path.

sparda963
Level 12

Recovery. Something we (should) all practice and be proficient in, but hope that we never have to use in IT. Anything from recovering a lost file, to recovering an entire site that burst into flames, washed away in a flood, or blew away in a hurricane/tornado. Natural disasters from mother nature to man made disasters can result in us having to recover data from backups.

tinmann0715
Level 16

Beautifully written...

     My core group of friends I have known since kindergarten and it's grown some during high school. We've been in each others weddings, celebrated the birth of our children, and there for funerals of our parents and other loved ones. Each of us made our mistakes, mostly in our 20's. Fortunately, none of these mistakes were too catastrophic that we were not able to recover from them. Or at least this is what we tell ourselves.

     I am a Certified Business Continuity Professional, aka Disaster Recovery. My professional life is preparing for the worst and figuring out how my company would recover. As in life the easiest and quickest path to recovery is preparedness and minimizing the impact of the disaster. The business world has the advantage of usually not having emotions entangled in with it. So it is usually easier to follow the mantra of "...preparedness and minimizing..." So I shall end it with my favorite quote from the Business Continuity Planners world:

          "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth."  - Mike Tyson

   Recovery time from something as disruptive as that requires more than what is available at that given moment.

jennebarbour
Level 10

I find that the universe is constantly endeavoring to teach me the lesson of release. For a control freak like myself, this is an ongoing, each-moment action. LET GO. Allow for possibility. It seems to come so easily to others, but for me, the passive must become active.

My husband is desperate for me to apply this to the clutter in our garage, our closets, the attic...

byrona
Level 21

Thanks for sharing such a personal story!

I think we are always in some form of Recovery as it's part of growth.  To make something stronger you tear it apart and let it recover, when it does it recovers stronger than it was before.  This is a continuous process throughout our lives.

goffd
Level 9

I've had the misfortune to have to recover a couple of servers that had decided to kick it. Long nights, cranky mornings.

bobmarley
Level 15

Recovery, the appropriate Word of the Day for January 1st 

Followed by Resolutions...

jamison.jennings
Level 12

I had shoulder surgery yesterday and I'm in recovery.

jennebarbour
Level 10

Get well soon, jamison.jennings​!

tk1271
Level 10

I'm gonna have a hard time recovering from the holidays, but we've got a 3 day weekend and I'm using it to rest and recover. I stopped staying up til midnight a while back

jokerfest
Level 12

I created a facebook messenger group of close friends that have moved and grown apart through marriage, kids, life, etc.

It's a recovery of that opportunity for shared experiences.

It is great to feel connected. Very casual, no expectations of a response like a text message.

A simple share of a funny meme or story.

Chatting while we are all watching the same football game.

Finding an old picture and all having a good laugh.

I'm really glad we have that.

ecklerwr1
Level 19

This is the exact reason I've never married jennebarbour​.  I almost did once and like you looking back am really really glad I didn't.  Ironically I have recovered from these past relationships and on a good note I'm still in contact which each partner I spent years with and we're still friends today.

EBeach
Level 11

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cloudkyler
Level 8

The growth I've experienced while in recovery from the toughest things in my life is most responsible for shaping the more successful portions of my personality and value system.

network_defender
Level 14

Thank you for sharing.  What a wonderful story of life.  I have my own story of recovery from a bad marriage and divorce.  All I can say is I am now married to a wonderfully honest and straight forward woman, and she is my world.

doberhol
Level 9

How many steps are there in this recovery program? Are there reboots involved and what downtime can we expect?

rschroeder
Level 21

Your initial boyfriend story--"What was I thinking?"  reminded me of Christine Lavin's song of the same name:

What Was I Thinking? - YouTube

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First I think of definition #1 above--personal health regained after a sickness or a stressful situation.

But immediately after that I think of "recovering a down system", since my life focuses on Networks.

Network Configuration Manager has provided swift, efficient, and pain-free recoveries for my team members many times.  So many, that I recommend EVERY network switch or router or firewall installation be accompanied by an immediate backup of startup & running configurations to NCM--BEFORE users begin to rely on the new hardware & paths.

If you've got NCM, congratulations.  If you use NCM for more than just easy backups and recoveries, even bigger congratulations!

Here's a partial of the Daily tasks that NCM lifts from my shoulders, making recoveries easy--or even unnecessary:

  • Daily backups of running-config files
  • Regular backups of startup-config files
  • Scheduled automatic "write memory" for all devices (we've seen cases where Network Analysts have made changes and forgotten to save them--and when the switch or router experiences a power failure, the old startup-config is installed over the newer running-config, and all sorts of problems can occur).
  • Solarwinds database maintenance
  • Configuration Archive updates & purges
  • Daily Configuration Change Reports (if you get these but don't inspect them line-by-line, and look at the backup dates of each session, you're not doing right by your organization's security needs, and you don't know what others are doing with your gear's configurations.
  • Daily Inventory discovery for all network equipment.  If anything in this task fails, it's an easy guess that credentials have changed, either in Solarwinds or on the devices themselves--or in their AAA setups (authentication and authorization and access).

And as Ron Popeil said frequently: "But wait!  That's not all!"

Network Configuration Manager ALSO makes recoveries unnecessary or fast by providing these features to me:

  • Lists of conflicts between Startup and Running configuration files--"gotchas" waiting to get you after the next power failure!
  • The ability to quickly search NCM for any phrase, any address
  • Compliance Policy reporting that lets me use industry standard checks on configurations, and that lets me build my own custom checks
  • Automatic problem remediation--NCM not only checks for something you want or don't want to be present; it can also add or remove or change configurations for you as soon as it sees the problems and requirements you've defined.  Talk about sweet and easy!
  • Canned and custom-built reports, running on schedules my organization defines.  All automatic--no work on my part to see that monthly availability or bandwidth utilization reports are created and e-mailed to the right people
  • Hands-free generation of lists showing devices that are out of support, or approaching end of life
  • And though I list it last, NCM's automated Firmware Upgrades ensure I don't lose sleep by having to upgrade IOS images at 3 a.m. on Sunday.  Replace IOS on a hundred routers, or two hundreds switches overnight?  That's no problem.  I let NCM do the work while I dream about fishing & snowmobiling & waterskiing & canoeing & camping . . .

"Recovery" is an EASY word-of-the-day for me to deal with.

tomiannelli
Level 13

The first big recovery for me was the failure of my first marriage. It was hard enough for me to date during high school and then in college I met someone younger than me at work. We dated for 2 years and she became part of our really big group of friends. We too were part of the really big group that got married within year of graduation. Although for us that meant moving her from NJ to OH. That was just one of several things that were issues for her in the end. I will skip details but in the end I could not ride that emotional rollercoaster anymore and found myself getting a divorce. It was emotionally devastating and friends were shocked I didn't turn alcohol or other addictions. Definitely not something I planned on in my dreams. It took 2 years to finally end that episode of my life.

I have been married to my 2nd wife for 26 years this month and the step-children and nieces have made my life very interesting and it feels like a wonderful recovery. As a side, my second wife and I were friends for a year, during which time she was trying to introduce me to women she was in school with. We laugh now because when we decided to move beyond friends we said let's take this one day at a time. It has been a lot of days since then.

The second recovery was from being fired from my first job ever. That was professionally devastating. I have been working since middle school. Sure I have not been a perfect employee for all of my bosses, but I was very accoustomed to getting high praise with minor corrections. Certainly not terminated less than 90 days on the job. Especially after moving my family over 200 miles to take the position. This was harder to recover from than the divorce. It shook me to the core and can introduce a level of doubt in one's self that I had never experienced.

I have been at this job for 10 years this coming May. The longest I have been at any one position. My wife wants so badly to be in Minnesota nearer to her family. So I am job hunting. I realize now that those doubts introduced by that firing have not gone away completely. It doesn't matter that I know I was just one of a group fired by the owner that day. Or that there was actually a small support group for others who were treated similarly by that company. You can't help but internalize something so shocking when you can't confront the other parties. All you can do is speculate. I know for me being an MVP and participating in this year's Thwackcamp in Austin was truly a healing moment. I thank every for their openness and kindness during the events of that week. It went a long way in helping me recover.

jennebarbour
Level 10

There are many reasons I'm glad Facebook didn't exist back in my day, but this would be a pretty great reason for it to have. I never tallied up how many emails our group sent to one another, but it was easily in the five digits.

Sidebar, when we got married, our matron of honor started her toast by thanking Al Gore. As conservative as my family is, you could have heard a pin drop as she paused. And then she went on to thank him for inventing the Internet ["it's a series of tubes"] for bringing us together.

jennebarbour
Level 10

tomiannelli​ - too funny. I also tried to fix up my [future] husband with other friends, convinced his type was short and golden-haired [and I am most decidedly neither]. After my last attempt, my friend said, "what on earth are you doing? Can't you see he likes you?"

You're so right about losing a job. I was laidoff once, after surviving several rounds. When it was finally my turn, it was still oddly surprising and shaking. Even when it's just business, it cause you to question yourself so deeply.

I'm so glad you and so many other MVPs were able to join us in October for THWACKcamp! It was a great experience for us, as well.

esther
Level 12

Thanks for sharing. Recovery only starts with you knowing the whys.

liquidcypher
Level 9

Recovery, as the definition states, is the returning to normal. The issue for me is normal is when everything is broken. In IT we fix one issue, the reward is another problem. After 15 years, I'm starting to think recovery -eq retirement. We need a 12 step program for recovering sysadmins.

My name is Nick and today I saw someone double clicking with a 2 second pause and I didn't correct them {CLICK, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, CLICK}.

cpotridge
Level 9

Wow. Recovery for me is "One day at a time."

kforr74
Level 10

Recovery to me is a chance to redeem yourself when you make a mistake.

tomiannelli
Level 13

The other thing you mentioned I found familiar was the comments friends made after the divorce. The most interesting one was from a bunch of older women we both had worked with. They told me it was fairly obvious to them that I really loved my first wife, but she was only in love with the fact that I loved her. She didn't love me. I asked why they had not said anything, they said I wasn't ready to hear it. Which was probably true as I had another very close woman friend at the time try to talk me out of marrying and I had a counter point for each reason as I recall. Sometimes the listener isn't ready to receive the information and has to go thru the recovery phase to come out wiser.

unclehooch
Level 10

recovery.jfif

jokerfest
Level 12

That's a great wedding story

petergwilson
Level 14

After Christmas and New Year (10 days off work - happy me) I'm back at work to allow my liver to recover.  Does that count.