Morbidity and Mortality, or M & M’s, is a practice where doctors discuss the events surrounding the death of a patient and how they may either prevent futures deaths of that nature or how to perform a better job in general when faced with such events. It sounds sick and twisted, but I get how it can be a useful practice. If we did a post-mortem on all our mistakes in life, we’d be the better for it.

So I’m managing a contract on behalf the school. Lot’s of undergrads, young students, kids really, some of them girls. Thankfully, I have a pretty even-keeled bunch. My cohorts, however, have a much different group of students. And that is where the problem lies. I’m 36, I have years of experience managing companies and people, my fellow managers are 23 without such experience.

There is a young girl, recently turned 21, who is on another team and is going through some “stuff”. My fellow managers have not yet noticed only to say that she is behind on work and may need replacing. They don’t know what to say, what to do, and they are going to turn it over to school faculty to deal with. Clearly, this is something I don’t need to be involving myself with. I am busy with school, busy with life, and no time to be dealing with the turmoils of a 21 year old girl.

But said 21 year old girl is in a class with me and when she got out of her seat the other day, we happened to lock eyes and then I saw it: she’s ready to break. And by break, I mean, utterly ready to lose her shit…mind…shit, whatever…

So I invited her out for a drink, forced her really. I heard her story: break up with her first serious boyfriend, ending an unhealthy friendship, moving out on her own, a sick parent…basically everything that throws you into a tail-spin. She tried to justify it by saying she was just stressed. I told her it was deeper than that and that she was a mess. She admitted she was and began to cry.

I don’t have time for crying. I don’t have time for this girl’s problems. I’m so swamped with school and life at any given time that I can barely keep my head above water. I don’t have time for this girl and her tears.

But she got to me.

She did, she got to me. I know what it’s like to have your world fall down around your ears while trying to deny to yourself that your world isn’t falling down around your ears. I know what it’s like to be cut-off, to not have anyone to talk to. I know what it’s like to be so overwhelmed by the coming weeks that you can’t see your way through the next 24 hours. She got to me.

Mostly though, I know what it is like to be surrounded by women, older women, women with experience, who have been there…and frankly, these women, they could give a damn that you’re there now, in the trenches. They make you dig your own trench, even if that trench is being dug in the wrong direction. Because they are busy with their own lives, or they feel there is something to be learned by digging a trench alone, which truth be told, teaches you nothing. Digging a trench may make you stronger, endure more, but it doesn’t make you smarter, doesn’t prevent you from making the same mistakes that required the trench digging in the first place.

And while I hate those women, I also want to be them. I don’t have time for this. This 21 year old girl and her problems. My own problems are much bigger. But she got to me.

So I heard her out, she received a talking to, and then we made a plan. We planned how she was going to get through the next 24 hours. Then the next 48. Then the weekend. Come Sunday night, the planning starts anew.

She has my number with strict instructions to call if she needs to melt down. Another thing I don’t have time for and I fervently hope she keeps it together and doesn’t call. But if she does calls, I know I’m sucker enough to answer.

By nature, I’m not a particularly good or even nice person. I try, but I usually fail. But Sailor is a nice person, the nicest I know, and I am surrounded by so many nice and good people I wonder why I can’t be the same. My instinct is to take care of myself, my needs, and be selfish with my time. Sure, the girl got to me, but the instinct to pull away remains the same. To not be a nice person. I’m willing to admit that this now, what I’m doing with this girl, is abnormal behavior.

But I’m in it now. I’m hoping for the best. I hope she can pull it around. I know she will because I will make her. I’ve gone out on a limb, now I expect acorns. I’m hoping my involvement remains minimal. I’m hoping this won’t be a massive time suck. I’m hoping there are no more tears.

Because while I want to be a better person, I don’t have the time for it.

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