Today I was surprised by a call from my former lab manager from a language lab I worked in as an undergrad. She had originally called me to follow through with sharing tips on getting a nose piercing, which I was seriously considering at the time I first contacted her. Our conversation ended up going on many tangents and covered updates from our respective lives, with my lab manager offering me support and advice with tips of solving my apartment ant problem and sending me electronic resources for managing my anxiety.
I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from my lab manager. We’ve messaged each other occasionally on text or Skype, but I had missed experiencing her talkativeness, quirkiness, and nerdiness in actual conversation. I told her how I saw her as my mentor, referring to the times that she had advised me when I questioned what I wanted to study and do professionally. She corrected me in calling her a mentor, and said that we are now colleagues, even friends. She referenced the time when she had told all of us research assistants that she was not our boss, and that we were not below her. We both laughed at the memory when I told her we were her Minions, as in the Disney movie Up.
The past week or so has been especially difficult for me as I’ve been fighting a strong bout of anxiety and loneliness resulting from other pent up emotions and thoughts. I’ve been fortunate in facing opportunities that have reminded me of the people I have to reach out to during this time. The best have been the unexpected interactions, like the phone call today. Each conversation has been building me up and reminding me that just because someone isn’t constantly in your life anymore does not rule them out a sources of support and encouragement. I have been grateful for realizing this concept.