2016 was one of the most challenging years. As usual, I didn’t get to travel as much as I wanted but I had two epic all inclusive vacations that were both a week long. While some of my year (7 months) was spent in a cubicle in a job I hated answering phones and sitting in an hour of traffic each way, it didn’t last forever. I made the decision to make a change and I put my stuff in storage and moved across the country to start a new job. I got dumped by a boyfriend and loved and lost several times. I conducted several couples therapy intensives and helped people to have better marriages. I had a beach day in Miami and several places in Mexico. I had my own apartment with cable and DVR for the first time. There were many ups and downs but I’m grateful to see the end of the year. I learned a lot about myself and others and I’m looking forward to being better and doing better in 2017.
1. Just like the Jazmine Sullivan song, “forever doesn’t last always.” You can’t control the choices of others but you can decide your reaction 2. Online dating is hard and doesn’t always yield the results you want. Assume everyone is lying until proven otherwise and it’ll be ok.
3. It’s ok to live outside the box for a while. A normal 9-5 doesn’t and won’t fit everyone.
4. Appreciate the small things and don’t sweat the big stuff. Take it all in a stride.
5. Don’t take people who care about you for granted. Life is short.
I was really into the holidays when I was younger. Christmas meant carols,driving around to look at lights, and presents. It’s a time to be appreciative of what you have and remember that it can always be worse. I ran across an article this week that reminded me of my days working in hospice. You can read it here. Like the author, I have also had conversations with people who are terminally ill. Family has always been the number one topic. People don’t care about their houses or cars. They want to know that their families will be ok after they’re gone. It’s so important to appreciate the people around you who have made a positive contribution to your life. But also equally important to reach out to those who struggle during the season. While it’s a happy time for some, it’s also a living hell for others. Life can be unpredictable and messy but also beautiful. Happy Holidays
This past week I had a chance to do one of my favorite things in the world–vacation. I honestly don’t know how people live life without taking a break from everything and recharging. There’s nothing like it in the world and as someone who tends to internalize everything, it’s good to take a break. For the first time in my life I took a cruise and it was amazing. There’s absolutely nothing that compares to sleeping to the rocking of the ship and the sounds of the waves from your open balcony. From the unlimited drinks to the cute guy I met, to swimming with dolphins, to snorkeling for the first time, the trip was a raging success. I’ll definitely be cruising somewhere again soon. I don’t usually post pictures but I’ll make an exception. Best trip of 2016!
I ran into this article and found the title eye catching. You can read the article here. The term “mentally strong people” isn’t something that I’ve heard commonly used in any circles. The article had some great points and I liked number two the best, “They don’t give away their power.” Power is something that a lot of people have but never realize it or use it. Thus, they give their power away without knowing it. There’s books you can read about it (i.e. 48 Laws of Power). One way that I’ve seen people give up their power is by losing their cool in a situation that they don’t like. Stressful situations are never enjoyable but they get worse when people totally flip out over something that they can’t change in the moment. It’s at that point that you’ve lost control and it’s in those situations that people sometimes have to intervene and make choices for you. Coming from a background in mental health, that choice often meant putting someone in the hospital involuntarily. Needless to say, the article has some great points and I think that they all are true. But by the same token, it’s ok to not be mentally strong all the time and to seek assistance when you need it. Ignoring something doesn’t mean it goes away. Even if you are “mentally strong.”
I’m not quite sure why I’m sharing this story but I learned a lot so here goes. At the beginning of the year (mid-January) I got dumped. I’ll have to tell that story one day. After I got dumped I decided that I needed to actually start dating for the first time in my life. A great idea in theory. So I signed up for some online dating sites and the games began. Literally. In my search I met a guy who it appeared I was pretty compatible with. On paper he had a lot of things that I would want in a potential mate. Grew up in a stable two parent home, masters degree, decent job, active in the community, etc. He was also nice-looking and could dress (added bonus). I don’t know why, but I just felt drawn to him. We had similar values and interests and lived within a reasonable distance of each other. We had some conversations and found out that we had a lot in common. Being the communicative person that I am, I made it clear from the beginning what I wanted out of a relationship that was absolutely non-negotiable. Time and attention. We texted every day but whenever the conversation meandered to spending some actual time together (i.e. a date) he would dodge and tell me about how busy he was. It got annoying and then it felt like I was nagging and I didn’t want to be that person. So I stopped and he never initiated anything. I waited a few weeks and then told him that it appeared we both wanted different things and that I was taking a step back. He never bothered to reply. The sad thing was that I think we had great potential. But I can’t make anyone decide to spend time with me and I want it to be entirely their decision. I don’t know what it was but I felt inexplicably drawn to him and wanted to be one of the things in his life that brought him happiness. He was intriguing and complex and was unlike anyone I’d ever known. I would have loved to get to know him better but he never gave me that chance. I had to make the hard decision to cut my losses and walk away because I wasn’t getting what I needed and he flat out refused to even schedule any time with me. Wish there had been a different outcome.
One thing that has been nice about relocating across the country and starting something new is that I’ve had the chance to do more work in direct practice. A lot of this year was spent being a desk in my cubicle and while my work had an impact on a lot of people, I wasn’t working directly with clients. One thing that I’ve had a chance to see up close is the fragility of life and how quickly things can change–especially working in a hospital. Instead of being in the background I’m on the front lines answering questions, de-escalating situations, talking to concerned family members, and a list of other things that don’t full under the “medical” category. Each day is unpredictable and there are multiple interruptions and interventions that have to be made in addition to all the daily duties. There are multiple impromptu therapy sessions where I process varying emotions with clients that almost always consist of frustration, anger, and helplessness in some regard. There are constant adjustments to make and people to call or talk to in order to coordinate resources. But it’s made me more grateful for the things that are typically taken for granted, like the use of my limbs or the ability to move around without an assistive device. All that being said, carrying the emotional weight of people who are going through major life changes and have to adjust to a new way of living along with their families can be draining (to say the least). It’s definitely made me become more aware of the need for all social workers (including myself) to do something for self-care. I’ve had to pull some things out of my own toolbox to ensure that I’m able to be emotionally present for my clients. In a profession where burnout happens frequently, it’s imperative to take care of yourself so that you can competently and compassionately take care of others. You owe it to you.
PixabayTo the girl who won’t move on, because she’s afraid that there would be no one else, I beg of you, let go. Stop chasing after a boy who just can’t see your worth. He may have said all these beautiful things to you and maybe, at some point, there was little truth in what…
Absolutely loved this article. Very timely words and they are very true. I think that sometimes it can be so hard to put yourself first because you would rather be with someone than alone. But sometimes you have to respect the choices of others and move on–no matter how hard it is.