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.
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 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.
As I’ve mentioned numerous times, travel has been a significant part of my life for the past 7 years or so. Due to circumstances, my travels have been limited lately but they’ve been more meaningful. However, the great thing is that there’s plenty of places to see and hopefully I’ll get an international trip on the books in the next six to eight months. Needless to say, Texas is like another country. I love the vibe, dislike the highways, and appreciate the weather. It was fun seeing new things and enjoying a comedy show.
It’s been crazy how fast the year has gone and like many, I’ve realized that it hasn’t gone completely according to plan. My international trips have once again been curtailed but I’ve seen more of the countryside and traveled to some of the local spots near me. I’ve confirmed I officially like sushi and I now low key regret spending 28 years being a vegetarian. However, it gave me a great foundation for healthy eating and I’m glad for that. This year I’ve also developed more discipline in taking care of myself and taking both fitness and business seriously. It’s been eye opening to discover new ways of thinking and to hear the perspectives of others. There’s so much going on in the world today that seems incredibly polarizing and I’ve seen how fragile human relationships can be when there is seemingly a conflict of values. Time flies when you’re having fun, but also when you’re just working a lot.
Making a lifestyle change is hard and there can be so many barriers and challenges with remaining consistent. Last summer I was challenged to change my mindset and lose the weight I had been procrastinating on addressing. Everyone has different levels of comfort with their body image and their weight but I knew that it was time for things to change. While you can be happy, self accepting, have high self esteem and be overweight, I knew that it wasn’t working for me. I was tired of taking long airplane rides to other countries and being unable to comfortably fit into the seat while being ashamed to ask for a seat belt extender. It just wasn’t what I wanted. I was over my clothes not fitting right and only being able to wear certain select items in my closet because I had “outgrown” the majority of what I had available but didn’t want to spend more money to buy more clothes. I believe in radical self acceptance but I also believe in changing your lifestyle and being healthy if that’s a goal you have for yourself. It was a long, long road that still continues but I’ve made progress. I started with a personal trainer (aka my boyfriend), made the decision to no longer be vegetarian, I got off medication (after consulting with a doctor), started weight training, and changed my diet drastically. It wasn’t an overnight change and it didn’t happen as soon as I would have liked but I lost 45lbs and I’m still working towards my goal. Last week was the first time I could pick things from my closet to wear that I haven’t been able to fit in over 5 years. It was an amazing feeling and having a supportive partner has been great. I still have some progress to make but it’s nice to finally comfortably sit in an airplane seat without being black and blue from the armrest digging into my thigh. I’m determined to remain consistent and to continue to make progress. After all, it’s a marathon and not a sprint.
I was having a conversation the other day with a woman who was at a crossroads in her life. She had focused on her career and had finally come to the realization that she wanted to have a husband and children. The challenge is that the made the decision in her 50s. Now, I know the whole cliche about how you get wiser as you age and the fact that age isn’t anything but a number. However, the rules are different when trying to find a significant other after a certain age. Chances are that a younger woman has a better chance of getting married and having a family than someone who is middle aged. It’s not necessarily fair but it’s reality. I remember the decision I made to focus on my career and while I didn’t regret it, I also realized that it wasn’t what I wanted to focus on long term. The relationship that I’m in right now is the result of a conscious decision to grow personally so that I could be my best self in a relationship. I’m glad that my focus has shifted because it’s been valuable in defining what’s important to me and how I want my life to be moving forward. A lot of changes have occurred and I’m looking forward to what is next.
This week has been a long one for a lot of people. There’s panic, uncertainty, increased stress and a lot of people worried. There’s countless lives around the globe that have been impacted in some way. Some see this as an opportunity to take a break from a crazy schedules while others are feeling overwhelmed as they are tasked with finding childcare and entertaining their children in the middle of the school year. There’s isn’t an easy answer or solution to anything. The only thing that has been constant has been the rapid changes that have happened with the passing of each day. People are having to make adjustments in ways that they never planned to before. It’s a great time to be compassionate and show some kindness.
I’ve always had an interesting relationship with my birthday. It comes once a year and usually I feel unprepared. Last year and this year I decided to get away and take a trip. This year has had a lot of ups and downs. I moved, traveled, taught, and adulted through a lot. I’ve made some new friends and let some others go. I’ve reconnected with people and had an opportunity to take on some new responsibilities professionally. Lately I’ve reflected on the last decade of my life and it’s crazy how much can happen in ten years. Here I am four degree and several cross country moves later. It’s been an interesting ride but I’m looking forward to more personal and professional growth and new experiences. Maybe staying home for a change and putting down some roots for real.