I admit that I struggle with the general idea that one has to “qualify” in order to get married. There’s this list of things that single women are given and expected to accomplish before they are ready to get married. We tell our girls that boys will always be there and to get their education first. You’re expected to work on yourself, do fun things, finish school, pay off debt, and get a decent job among other things before you qualify for marriage. Now granted, my story is different in that while I’ve always wanted to get married, I had a feeling that I would be on the road less traveled for a long time. I just didn’t anticipate how long it would be. I was hoping for 25 but now I’m pushing 30 without any actual potential mate on the horizon. I find it frustrating when I’m told that there’s something that I’m doing wrong or just haven’t done yet that makes me unqualified to be married. I see people all day, I’m a good listener, I can hold an emotionally safe place and challenge the perspectives of others in a way that is non-threatening and supportive. I’m the sole provider of my household of one and while I’m not rich, bills do get paid and I travel once in a while. I recently completed the highest educational level one can achieve (PhD) and yet the Universe still apparently sees me as unqualified for a mate. I’m all about doing the work but shit, being alone gets old after a while. I’ve learned how to self soothe and what to do to calm myself down but there are times that I’d sell my soul for a hug and the knowledge that someone has my back. Yes, I’m approached by guys but so far they aren’t ready for anything serious or want me to finance their lives and take care of them. Neither is an option I want to live with. It sounds corny but I want to matter to someone. Really matter. I haven’t found that yet and the older I get the less optimistic I am. It’s just exhausting and tiring doing it alone all the time and while I’ll always do what I have to do, I wish things were different.
Earlier this week I had the chance to chat with a friend (I’m using this term loosely) that I catch up with about once a year. We usually meet up in person but schedules wouldn’t allow it so we had to settle for a video chat. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and there were SO many things left unsaid that the conversation just felt heavy? It was like that. I was cool and kept it as surface and general as possible without getting into anything too personal. Annual conversations aren’t the best outlet to bare your soul. But as I talked to him I remembered the memories we’ve had over the years. I remember a moment when we were hanging out and I felt both incredibly happy and incredibly sad at the same time. It was a bittersweet moment in exponential proportions. It’s interesting how conversations with someone can bring back so many memories. I realized that I haven’t met anyone lately who even remotely compares to him education wise and also in ambition. While it’s not a bad thing, it does make dating just a little bit harder. The point is that there are some people in your life who you love but you really should only speak to once a year.
I’ve loved seeing all the typical resolutions that have been flying around social media around this time of year. Everyone wants to be better, nicer, kinder, and thinner. It’s almost 10 days into the new year and I don’t have a nice organized list of all the things I want to accomplish. I am very aware that my lack of planning might end in a disaster and I don’t believe in planning as I go so something has to change. I’m still getting my bearings in the new location and making decisions regarding what I feel is the best use of my time. One thing that has been nice is the downtime I’ve had–which really hasn’t occurred at any point in my professional career. However, it’s time to evaluate again and make some decisions and put it on paper (or rather on my iPhone) so I can actually land among the stars while shooting for the moon.
It’s funny how quickly time can pass when you’re having fun–or even not having fun. Time passes even when it seems to be standing still. In a short period of time I’ll officially be a year older and hopefully a bit wiser. It’s usually around this time every year that I get somewhat nostalgic and ask myself yet again, “what am I doing with my life?” The answer never seems to be what I want. However, this past year was a game changer of sorts. I posted a lot about change and making hard decisions all throughout this year and some hard decisions were definitely made. I traveled a fair amount that included trips to France, Mexico, and Greece. I started a job that I realized wasn’t a great fit. I started working nights and stuck it out for a while. One of the biggest lessons learned this year was the importance of being clear about what I want and going after it. I met some pretty big goals simply because of planning and being willing to step outside the box to make it happen. I had a huge disappointment that made me reconsider the direction of my life–as most disappointments do. Ups and downs are a part of life and this year was no exception. However, I’ve learned a lot and matured as a result of being willing to challenge myself and some beliefs that I previously held. I did a overhaul of my life and relocated across the country just to start from the ground up and begin building again. Definitely not something for the faint of heart but I think it’ll work out
I honestly can’t believe that the year has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday it was January and I was writing down some of the things that I wanted to accomplish in the next 12 month period. From that time to now, some things on the list have become more of a priority than others. Around this time last year I got my professional license after completing 3,360 hours of work and meeting a few other requirements. This year has been one of some pretty big changes with quite a few more scheduled to happen. I remember reading something the other day about how a lot of people are terrified of the idea of starting over. They stay in the same job, the same relationship, the same environment because they’re scared and they don’t want the hassle of starting from the ground up. It’s almost like they would rather complain about what’s wrong with their life instead of venturing out of comfort to actually change what is making them upset. While I think that there are some huge benefits of putting down roots and staying in the same place for a long period of time, there’s also value in experiencing something different and “starting over.” One thing I’ve learned this year from some of the successful people and entrepreneurs that I’ve met is that the ability to start over and/or do something different is what separates the dreamers from the doers. There’s still a lot to do before the year is over and a fear of the unknown is something that has to be faced head on. How else will I retire early and live on a beach? 🙂
A million years ago when I was in college I had the opportunity to read a play that a fellow classmate wrote. She was (and still is) a super talented article and the play was somewhat biographical in nature. The story was centered around a guy and girl who were friends but the girl found herself catching feelings while realizing that the feeling wasn’t mutual. If I remember correctly, at the end of the story her guy friend ended up getting a girlfriend and the girl was left alone. The last words of the script were: “The right person at the wrong time is still the wrong person.” As I’ve grown older I’ve realized how true those words are. Like I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I’m a big fan of timing. I think that there are circumstances where people meet and they are very compatible with each other. They have similar interests and get along well and quickly discover that it’s easy to tolerate each other. However, despite all the ways that these two people are compatible, there is some glaring reason why something romantic and long term won’t work. It could be distance, family conflict, financial turmoil or something of the like that dictates the decisions made. The timing is all off and there’s nothing that either person can do about it. I think that situations such as those happen fairly frequently and while people can be right for each other, it may just not be the time. It’s almost like life plays a joke on you and you have no choice but to make the necessary adjustments. If there is chemistry but the timing is off, then ultimately it won’t work out. Not because someone is necessarily at fault or because of some glaring red flag but because the right person at the wrong time is (still) the wrong person.
Over the past few years I’ve been to numerous job interviews. There’s something to be said about the excitement you feel when you get the email or the phone call that you’ve been selected out of the many applicants for an interview. It means that you have a chance to get the job. They’ve reviewed what you wrote and sent and deem you worthy of further communication about your worthiness for the position. I remember one of my coworkers telling me that one should always be telling their current employer “thank you” while simultaneously searching for a new opportunity. While I don’t necessarily agree with that, I do think that there’s something to be said about being aware of what’s going on in your field and how that translates to the current job market and the positions that are available. It’s just a good practice in my opinion. Needless to say in my years of job searching I think I’ve been to at least 30 or more interviews for various jobs in the area. Due to a very large amount of people in my field, it’s actually a success to even get an interview. People are clamoring for jobs and only the most qualified get call backs. The one’s who aren’t so lucky don’t usually have the luxury of being told they weren’t selected–they just don’t hear back. Job interviews are basically the same. You try to get there early to put your best foot forward but many times you don’t know exactly where you’re going. You give your name to the receptionist and either fill out an additional applications or try to amuse yourself with the boring reading material in the lobby while drinking a sip of the bottled water you brought along so you won’t sound hoarse. Then some random person comes out of a hidden door and greets you shaking your hand. This is usually followed by some offer of water or coffee. You follow them to their office or the nearest conference room. I remember once I had an interview in the company kitchen. The interview is usually panel or one on one. Personally, I’ve always preferred panel interviews because it always makes the dynamic in the room more interesting. You’re asked questions from a group of people and have the opportunity to sell yourself. They inevitably ask the same questions in different ways. In fact, I’m convinced that there is some giant “interviewing questions” book somewhere they every picks their questions from. You talk about yourself and your background. Look around the room and use humor to put everyone at ease while remaining professional and on task. You remember not to stutter, talk calmly and use as many key words as possible that relate to the description of the job. This usually involves some type of case scenario questions and then some question about how you handle conflict with others. I’ve noticed that most interviewers don’t ask a lot about your education because they want to know that you’ve had on the job experience and have demonstrated a significant level of competence while doing so. You know that you only have a small period of time to make a big impression and in order to do this you have to be “remember-able.” This wasn’t really a hard thing to do in my experience with interviews because I was often the only minority applying so that work was already done for me through a miraculous thing called genes. The interview finishes and you shake everyone’s hand before you leave. I think the hardest part is waiting. I personally prefer not being called back so that I can just assume I didn’t get the job instead of being personally told that I wasn’t selected. I remember standing in line to graduate for my masters degree when I got the call saying that I had not been chosen for a job I had recently applied for and it was a small let down. Needless to say, I think that the interview process could be so much more efficient but it is what it is.
There should be a mandatory recovery time after a vacation that has lasted a week or longer. I use the word “vacation” loosely because the entire time I was away was not a vacation. One thing I deliberately did was to leave my computer at home during one of my two trips. The point of this was to take a break to enjoy the scenery and the experience of being in a different country. Other than the quality time spent with cousins I rarely see, the BEST part of the trip going to the beach. I’ve never been to the Pacific Ocean before and while it’s not as breathtakingly beautiful as the Mediterranean Ocean, it was still nice. I don’t know why, but for some reason sitting on a beach and thinking gives me the most clarity. I can process my thoughts and feelings and then make appropriate decisions without the distraction of familiar surroundings. It sounds weird but it works for me. That’s one of the reasons why I love the beach–I can actually think. I don’t have my laptop with me and my phone is typically turned off. No one is calling me asking for something and the sound of the waves crashing on the sand relaxes me. This time I had the opportunity to make a plan for the new year and to finalize some goals I want to accomplish this year. It was quite a productive hour or so. Definitely a reminder that I need to focus so that my efforts won’t be in vain and I won’t be working harder than I need to.
I’m the type of person who believes that one shouldn’t count their eggs before they hatch. I’ve seen too many people have to eat their words because they announced that they were doing something or that they were going to get something and it never happened. I also know individuals who continually post and write “updates” on their progress achieving their dreams and yet there are no results despite years of posting about what they are doing. Regardless of all that, I like discussing things after the fact. Not too long ago I decided that I needed to quit my job (again). For some people a decision like that is pretty hard to make. It means uncertainty and additional stress as they have to once again enter the job market. You’ll never hear me talk about how much I love being single and doing my own thing but I must say that career decisions are easier to make when you don’t have to think about how it will affect your husband and children. My decisions primarily affect me solely. That being said, I realized that I needed a job that was more in line with my personality. One thing I’ve talked about at some point is how much I hate the Monday through Friday 9-5 traditional work week. Mondays are hell on earth and at 5pm on Fridays it feels like someone gave you a new lease on life (at least for the next two days). I didn’t want to live my life like that. The last time I decided that I needed a new job I put in my notice without having any idea of what I was going to do next. While doing this is not advised, I didn’t care and I had a strong feeling that I’d just get another job and I did. The same thing happened recently when I got a new job. I say all this to say that sometimes you have to rock your own boat. So many times things happen to us that are out of our control and we forget that there are some things we CAN control–like our jobs. It can be so easy to get into a rut and not move from it. This new year, I’m making some changes. My plan again is to travel more and I’ve already made progress on that goal. School once again is going to take priority over some other stuff so I’m reorganizing and evaluating my participation and presence in things that do not contribute to that goal. It’s a simple thing to say but harder to implement.
I’m a self-described night person who has been forced to be more of a morning person due to work obligations. As a result, I’ve become more appreciative of the days where mandatory attendance in the morning is not necessary. I can understand the importance of accomplishing work early in the day, but I would also like to be fully awake. Getting up in the early morning is an example of discipline that I have had to develop despite my natural balking at someone deciding my schedule for me. Regardless, I think that this might be some form of preparation for motherhood. Taking actions despite emotions that might argue otherwise. I think that can be a good thing.