My college experience had a lot of ups and downs. Most of them due to the fact that I didn’t know and had to figure out how to financially support myself. However, one of the best things about college was visiting my favorite chain sandwich spot Quizno’s. Fast forward 11 years later and I now live around the corner from one of the last Quizno’s locations. So recently I found myself down a rabbit hole trying to find out what happened any why so many restaurants have closed over the years. The story is actually pretty sad. Apparently, the first restaurant was started in Denver (used to live there too) and then it grew and became a franchise opportunity. At the time, there was a unique take on the market because the sandwiches are toasted. It was something that had not been done before. This was also combined with sandwiches that bordered more on the gourmet side. They had it on lock for a good minute. However, apparently no one has a monopoly on a toaster and once Subway started offering toasted sandwiches without an extra cost and those infamous “5 dollar footlong” commercials. The financial troubles continued with the company going into massive amounts of debts and having a slew of unhappy franchise owners who were barely able to turn a profit. Apparently, the ingredients for the sandwiches were more expensive than most and the Quizno’s parent company also had a contract with the food company so they profited from selling franchise locations the equipment and ingredients. All this came to a dreadful head when a franchise owner decided to (very tragically) take his life due to his financial situation and the fact that the company allowed another franchise to open up close to his existing store. A recipe for failure. The company continued to tank and hundreds of stores started to close because the franchise owners couldn’t become profitable. Fast forward to the present where Quiznos is hanging on by a thread and most stores have closed. They needed a different strategy and unfortunately it was too late to pivot. So the next time you eat a toasted sandwich, think of the chain that made it happen.
It’s been quite the year and when I reflect on all that happened, I think it’s been one of the more eventful years I’ve lived. I’ve visited family, gone to comedy shows in several different states, relocated across the country, started some new jobs and was a guest on several podcasts. I’ve learned more about myself and I’ve tried new foods (like alligator) that I never would have without some gentle prompting about getting outside of my comfort zone. I think one of the biggest things is that I’ve learned so much more about religious trauma and how problematic it can be to have a childhood where everything is fear based. It’s not ideal to be worried about hell or a lake of fire as a young child (understatement of the year). However, I’m glad that my journey has brought me to my current relationship where I have a partner that’s understanding and patient. There’s been ups and downs, breakthroughs and drawbacks. Overall, this has been a building year as well as one of transition. I’m looking forward to becoming more disciplined, learning about the world, and growing both personally and professionally. May we all take the next 365 days to intentionally grow into better versions of ourselves. Happy (Almost) New Year!
Recently (well a few weeks ago), I watched the Netflix series From Scratch. So first and foremost I need to acknowledge that it’s been out for a while but I finally had some time to watch. For those who haven’t watched it yet, this post will include some spoilers so you can stop here if you haven’t had the opportunity quite yet. A few things. First, the scenery and setting was beautiful. I found myself reminiscing on my trips to Italy and wishing that I had another one booked. It’s a beautiful and unique country and the food is amazing. I loved the fact that the story was true to life and I’ve heard that it was actually based on a true story. Family is important and the fact that the main character took the time to learn Italian and connect with her in-laws despite their resistance led to them embracing her and including her in their will. It was a beautiful love story of a couple who made it work even when faced with so many challenges. Family members flew in from around the country in order to provide support and everyone came together in a way that was beautiful and personified what it means to have a true family unit. They had their differences but at the end of the day they were united by their love of their daughter, sister, and granddaughter. It was a such a tear jerker and I found myself being glad that I didn’t have anything else scheduled for the day because my eyes were red and puffy. It’s an emotional roller coaster–which life is at times. I particularly loved the ending where the main character had to think about her daughter and create a new normal that included honoring the memory of her spouse. She demonstrated so much resiliency even in the midst of the most tragic event. Overall, I think that main message of the movies was about the resiliency of the human spirit and the ability we have to find some beauty in the midst of unspeakable tragedy.
I used to be a serial vacation goer. Every few weeks I would make it a point to go somewhere or anywhere new. A lot of money was spent in those endeavors. I’m not independently wealthy but I always saw the value in getting away and having a change of scenery for a bit. This past week was a flashback of my previous life when I had the opportunity to get away for a bit. The get away part was further compounded by being locked out of my work email so it ended up being a forced break of sorts. But I wasn’t too upset—although I’m dreading the make up work that awaits me when I get back. Getting away makes you think about your life differently and I can honestly say that I don’t think vacations are bad things. I’m currently tasked with a new challenge of balancing a lot of different priorities in the new year and this reset of sorts has definitely been needed. When you’re so busy living, it’s easy to forget about the importance of making a life. For me, vacationing is a missing piece of the equation. You may wonder if you can afford it but sometimes you can’t afford not to go. The amount of creativity and ingenuity that emerges from a new environment is unparalleled. It’s also worth it to have something to look forward to. So in these last few brief moments before the chaos rears it’s ugly head again, I’m taking a moment to breathe in the peace and tranquility that comes from taking an intentional break and I’m setting the intention of doing this again sometime mid-next year. Or maybe sooner.
So…… I recently turned the ripe old age of 33 and also celebrated 3 years with my significant other. Now, if you’ve read any of my previous posts you’ve read about how I was chronically single for the longest. But the tides of luck have changed and this year represented 3 years of successful partnership. I’ve lived so many lives and this time of year lends itself to more reflection. I will say that the one biggest change that stands out to me (second to leaving organized religion of course) has been abandoning vegetarian life. This is not to be outdone by the emotional effort it takes to maintain a healthy secure attachment. Not to mention in this year alone, I’ve moved across the country, grown a business, taken on new responsibilities and continued to be consistent with a (brutal) workout regimen. It’s been a wild ride and I’m reminded of all the many chapters of my life that have led up to the current one. 33 represents…..something significant in numerology and while I’m too lazy to look it up right now, I will admit that I see things differently. It’s funny how insanely fast your 20s are. I remember the birthday dinner I had in college and greeting my 20th birthday at the crack of dawn by a statue in the middle of the college campus. Fast forward to 29 turning 30 where I was on a cruise sailing to Puerto Rico. Alabama to Colorado, Georgia, California, Georgia, California, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, to Georgia, to Maryland, and finally to Texas. It’s been a lot. I’m grateful for everything and while it’s not been easy, it’s been worth it. Here’s to more years and more memories and honestly more shrimp, lobster and sushi.
Someone randomly reached out to me the other day to get my perspective on the next step to take in their career. My first thought was that this was definitely a question that deserved an in-depth response or a consultation session. However, given my time constraints I decided on the quickest option. I’m not a philosopher but I’ve read a lot and sometimes it’s great to be able to recall information and share some of the things I’ve learned after over a decade in my field. My advice to the individual was to consider the values of freedom, flexibility, and peace and determine which one deserved the driver’s seat for their current moment. Are you willing to make less money in order to travel extensively and be less tied down? Do you need a schedule where you have the flexibility to start work and end work when you want? Or, do you want to feel peaceful at the end of the day? So much of society today glorifies the grind culture but there’s also the problematic inverse of not doing anything because all jobs have a certain level of stress. The majority of people depends on jobs to make money and fulfill their financial obligations. Deciding what deserves your time work-wise is an important choice and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s worth it to consider your options and look for ways to leverage your education and experience. Know your worth but increase your competence at the same time.
I’m no stranger to relocation. My career has taken me to various states where I had to live out a suitcase for 13 weeks at a time. That being said, moving out a two bedroom apartment is different than packing up some suitcases. It takes a minute for a new place to become familiar again and even though I’ve done it 5 times, it doesn’t get easier. Maybe getting older means that the familiar feels more safe than usual. The eternal optimism starts to fade with the adrenaline. It’ll be interesting to see how an upcoming move out of state will be both challenging and changing. It may also be time to re-evaluate other areas of my life since it’s already a season of change. Life comes at you fast.
Today makes 10 years since I finished my graduate school education. I remember how excited and optimistic I was for the future. I had gone straight from college into graduate school and even though my program was only a year long, it represented a major change. For the first time in my life I lived in a place where I didn’t know anyone and I couldn’t drive to my parents house on a whim. I had to adjust to living alone and creating my own community. The experience set the tone for my professional specialties of relationship therapy, religious trauma and career planning. I knew even then that I wanted to keep on learning and grow as a therapist. Ten years later I can say that I’m a lot more comfortable talking to clients and providing them with some value for their time and resources. I still enjoy helping people and finding solutions. Regardless of where my career goes next, I know I have a good foundation and a better sense of who I am—both personally and professionally.
Life comes with so many transitions and changes. I’ve been in a continual growth process and it’s been interesting to reflect back on how things have changed. Living in multiple states, changing jobs, and trying to navigate different professional goals has been challenging. My partner and I have been contemplating moving out of state for the past year, but now we finally have a timeline and a moving date. After settling in and getting used to having all my favorite stores and restaurants within a 15 to 20 minute drive, it’s time for another environment. I remember when I was always looking for something new and exciting and plotting the next place I would live. The feeling of contentment has been a foreign but welcome change of pace. Time for (another) new thing.
It’s rare these days that I watch a movie in one sitting and this one was no exception. I found myself watching it over the period of a few days in between my other work obligations. I was a teenager when I read Redeeming Love the book and it was a lot to sit with. I remember thinking that the parental/adult themes warning was legitimate even though it was a sold as a Christian book. Watching the movie reminded me of the whole idea of purity culture and the lack of options many women experienced during the early pioneer/Gold Rush days. The movie was an adaptation of the book which was a more modern day adaptation of a bible story about a man who was told by God to marry a woman of the night. Of course in the movie the “street” was a brothel but you get the general idea. In theory the idea was that the girl was rescued from a life of abuse and given a home in the country with a loving husband. However, she didn’t want to be there and wasn’t interested in any type of romantic relationship. The story had a “happy” ending with her realizing that she loved him and that he had never moved on from losing her. All in all, I can see understand the intended story of redemption but it came across in the movies as extremely manipulative. There was a lack of choice that was appalling because the main character of the story didn’t want to be a wife. She had no interest in the man but he still “bought” her and took her away from all she had ever known. Change can happen but you can’t “save” someone who doesn’t want to be saved and has no interest in what you’re offering.