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.
If there’s one thing I’ve heard a lot recently, it’s the fact that it is getting increasingly hard to date. People are getting frustrated with the lack of responses and running into people who have different expectations of communication and relationship. As someone who met my (4 years and counting) current partner through an app, I wanted to contribute to the solution instead of the problem and I wrote an ebook about it. While it’s geared towards people who identify as female, I think I may also do one to help people who identify as male. Writing is something that doesn’t exactly come easy but it’s a rewarding discipline that I’m hoping to be more consistent with this year. Hopefully, this is the first of many literary adventures to come. Maybe I’ll try my hand in creating some fiction based around my very non-traditional childhood. But I digress. Check out my ebook here and let me know what you think!
It’s officially been two years since I started working out consistently and I finally see a difference. It’s been a journey of ups and downs and while the journey continues, I’ve finally established a habit. Working out every day and lifting weights has made me so much more mindful of what I eat. I’ve started to read more labels and identify the foods that give me the best results. Prioritizing sleep and being more balanced has helped a lot. I’m looking forward to more success in the future. It’s almost time to do some shopping for a new wardrobe.
I feel like days like this deserve a post and some recognition. It’s been six weeks and some change into the new year and with it have come some new developments. I’m still working through my list of quarterly goals and there has been some movement. Staying consistent is always a challenge but I choose things that made sense and could also be broken into smaller pieces. I see a lot of opportunities but I want to make sure that it’s the right fit for me. The organized and disorganized chaos of life can make the big picture foggy. Here’s to a successful quarter.
I’ve set an intention (as I typically do) to write more frequently. While I see the upcoming new year as a start, I thought that it would be good to try to get a head start on creating the habit. Over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading and research on religious trauma which translated in to presenting at several conferences, writing an article, and creating a mini-course. Religion is one of those things that can bring value and meaning to life. It influences the way that people see themselves and see the world. However, it can also be used as a weapon and inflict emotional wounds that are difficult to move past from. I think that there’s a need for more conversations around how to successfully navigate and integrate the values from that you were taught with the knowledge gained through experiences. Oftentimes, those two things aren’t congruent and are perceived as clashing; but in reality, our past experiences shape who we become in one way or another.