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.
I’ve always lived fairly health conscious. I’m familiar with many fruits and vegetables and I was raised as a vegetarian/vegan. However, recently due to a change in my workout regimen and weightlifting routine I’ve had to start eating meat as a means of increasing protein and helping me recover in between workouts. It’s been a challenge so far because I have no idea how to cook meat and the texture of it is way too chewy for my liking. One thing that I can appreciate is the fact that I’m cooking more and getting a chance to become more familiar with the layout of my kitchen because traditionally I’m not a fan of cooking for one. So far salmon and crab are my favorites and I like the challenge of experimenting and figuring out what recipes taste good. I’m seeing favorable results so I’ll continue to stick with the meat thing. I feel better overall and I have more energy. I have more endurance when working out and I’m seeing changes with the way my clothes fit. I just wish chicken tasted as good as tofu.
I recently realized how much my circle has changed. I’m not in close contact with many of the people I grew up with and over the years I’ve also grown apart from some friends I met during my college years. One thing I like about my current circle is the fact that everyone wants to do better. There’s intentionality around improving personally and professionally. One great quality of a good friendship is that you feel accepted as a person. You aren’t judged or made to feel like your friend is trying to change you. However, I’ve come to realize that the mark of a good friend is one that challenges you to grow—even if it’s an uncomfortable process. They aren’t trying to change you but they also realize opportunities for growth that you may not see so they challenge you to be better. Constructive criticism feels different when it comes from someone you know who genuinely has the best intentions for you. Instead of becoming more defensive, it’s easier to internalize what they’re saying. This type of a friend is rare to have and if you find one be grateful and keep them around.
I’ve typically been pretty bad at celebrating my birthday. The last four years or so I’ve worked on my birthday and then took myself out to dinner afterwards. This year I wanted to something different. Originally I booked a cruise but then realized that I wanted something on a smaller scale. I went and booked a 4 day getaway at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic that was off the beaten path. It was good to get out the country but also good to know that DR makes the 8th country I’ve visited this year. Which isn’t too bad since I decided to scale back my travels a bit. I had an amazing time except for the small fact that people who travel solo are often “invisible” so you have to hunt down the wait staff for EVERYTHING. I sat by the pool and the beach and had some amazing naps with just the sounds of the waves and an unlimited number of drinks. It was truly worth the money and the experience. Next years birthday vacation is booked already.
I ran across an article that was in response to a tweet that went viral. You can read the article here. Basically the author talks another the fact that most marital relationships aren’t truly 50-50. Women complete the bulk of household duties. This is absolutely true. I did a dissertation on it. However, women who want men who are providers or more specially black women who want men who are providers are labeled as gold diggers. The interesting thing that the author points out is that black women tend to out earn black men in many instances so then they also carry the financial responsibility of the household. From this aspect, a 50-50 split is an upgrade. I’ve met a lot of guys who aren’t comfortable with solely providing financially for a household while their wife works part time jobs or stays at home with the kids. Their mindset is if they have to go to work 40 hours a week, their wife should too. I’ll admit that I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to this but I’m also trying to be realistic. I would love to have a husband who considers it his primary responsibility to provide for the household. But I also don’t want to be in a situation where he exerts all control over finances because he earns it. I just hate the idea of being in a relationship where I have to keep tabs on whose turn it is to pay. I don’t want to worry about that because there’s the understanding that he will. Not to say that I’ll never do it, but I want it to be an option instead of an obligatory split. Is this even possible these days? I’m doubtful.
I’m wholeheartedly convinced that most people don’t understand the blood, sweat and tears that goes into getting a PhD. For some it’s an easy process and for others it’s long and exhaustive. I first started at the tender age of 22 and I am nearing the finish line 5 years later. It’s been a series of rejections one one after the other. I once went back and counted and for just one phase of my dissertation I submitted revisions 39 times. It was crazy. I even had to change my topic which set me back as well. But I feel motivated to push forward and to remember why I started. I’m ready to transition into something different and possibly more fulfilling. I want to be free and I want something that allows me the flexibility to live wherever I want. Life goals.
Today was an important day for the nation and involved numerous emotions. While I didn’t watch the inauguration, I did see many of the posts on social media. I’ve never been super optimistic and while it’s a nice idea to give this new administration a chance, the reality is that I think we’re in for a huge awakening. The people (or rather the electoral college) have spoken. It’s a done deal. My goal for this year is “Do better” and despite all the chaos in this world (that I can’t control), I am committed to improving myself and trying to make a difference in some way. While I don’t like the “play it by ear” life, it sure beats the traditional 9-5 with no end in sight. The truth is that we all need to be on the same page and commit to being an advocate to vulnerable populations who may not have access to the same resources. Knowledge is everything and I think that we have a duty to speak on behalf of those who don’t have a seat at the table. While I wish it was an easy process, the truth is that it isn’t. We’ve just moved back decades as far as progress and it’ll take a lot to get to where we need to be. Let’s all do better people.
I usually wait about a year or so before disclosing a bad date story, but I’m 100% sure this guy will never talk to me again so I’ll make an exception. Back in my days of online dating (I’m off all internet dating sites and apps indefinitely–or at least for the time being), there was an app I used that was geared toward professional millennials. I had some marginal success with it so when an anticipated relationship fell through, back to the app I went. I “met” someone relatively soon and we started chatting through the app then texting. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t super interesting. He had just finished a professional degree in the health field and had gotten a job with the government. However, he didn’t have a start date yet so he was just hanging out at home until it happened. He lived about 12 hours away on the East coast but mentioned that he would be in my area in a month. We tentatively agreed to meet up when he was in town. However, in the month or so leading up to him coming into town we didn’t talk at all. No phone calls, no texts, nothing. I forgot all about him until he texted saying that he was in the area. It wasn’t really the most convenient time because I was packing to go on a trip and trying to run some last minute errands. However, I thought it might be nice to add a face to a name. He wanted to meet up for coffee but didn’t have a car because he flew in (figures). So because I’m a nice person and because I had sorta given him my word I agreed to drive the 25 miles (one way) to meet him. I got to the hotel and saw him in person for the first time. He fit the description of the word “petite.” Nicely proportioned but I could see directly over his head and I wasn’t wearing heels. I don’t know a man who would be happy being characterized as petite, but it’s the truth. He wanted to get in my car and drive to a coffee place. I quickly vetoed that because he was only allotting me an hour of his time and it was way too much hassle. So we went to get a coffee in a little shop in the hotel lobby. I ordered my coffee first and then waited a few seconds to see if he would offer to pay. Negative. So I bought my drink and moved out the way to him to get his. Side note, in his defense he was unemployed and was probably counting pennies. But then again my drink was 3 bucks and he had invited me and I had driven 30 minutes. But whatever. Secondly, he took a long time to order. He requested 4 different samples before he finally made up his mind. The process took about ten minutes with him sipping and declaring it wasn’t what he wanted and asking for something different. The conversation we had afterwards was nothing short of boring. I tried to get him to talk a little about himself but it wasn’t really interesting (real talk). It was a conversation that required effort instead of flowing seamlessly. So as we approached the end of the allotted time I decided it was time for me to go. He proceeded to walk me to my car, give me the most awkward hug in life and then walk away. Right out of my life…. not surprised though.
I probably should preface this post by saying that it could be a trigger for people. However, it is something that has been on my mind since seeing the video and reading an article about a topic that has been under a lot of debate for years. You can read it here. First off I do want to say that I’m not a huge fan of abortion. When I was younger I was strongly pro-life due to my extremely conservative background and (I admit) a certain naiveté. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that the issue isn’t as black and white as many would like it to be. The story of this doctor in my hometown of Huntsville, Alabama struck a chord with me. The fact that every day she goes to work with protesters lining the entrance of her practice infuriates me. No one (especially in a medical position) should have to fight in order to do their job and provide a service to the patients that is requested. One thing that struck me is that the doctor herself was a single mother with two kids before she even graduated from high school. She overcame so much in order to get where she is today. The fact of the matter is that people spend so much time an energy protesting something that really doesn’t pertain to them. They are not offering to deliver the baby, clothe the baby, financially support the baby, or even contribute in a meaningful way to the life of the baby. The decision to terminate a pregnancy is not easy. I think that vast majority of women agonize over it before deciding. The reality of it is that that there are some people who are just not fit to be parents. They aren’t mentally, financially, or emotionally ready to bring a child into the world and raise it in a loving and stable environment. Adoption is an alternative but let’s face it, every child isn’t adopted and growing up in a slew of foster homes isn’t ideal. I was listening to the radio last week and a lady was telling the story of how she terminated her first pregnancy because she was going to donate a kidney to her boyfriend and she chose his life over the life of her baby as he was in acute kidney failure and wasn’t expected to live much longer without a transplant. My heart went out to her as she had to make a tough call and I don’t know what I would do if I were in a similar situation. My point is that I think that abortion is a necessary evil in the world we live in. Women deserve access to those services and providers that are licensed and able to perform the procedure safely without being harassed and demonized for their choices. I’ve worked with women who have had abortions and those that wish they had. It’s a choice that isn’t made easily. As I said before, I’m not a fan of it and I think it’s unfortunate but that’s the way it has to be.