The next year

As this year of my life starts to come to a close I realize that there’s a lot that I want to do. While I have definitely had some milestones this year that included finishing my PhD, I’m not satisfied yet. Working in a hospital again has reminded me of how short life really is. I’ve had numerous patients who have passed away without any warning. I’ve had a lot of major changes that were unexpected but I also got hired on to my dream job (at least past time). So far I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel a little bit and I’ve visited 8 countries. I’m hoping to develop a good work life balance in the coming year and maybe flex my entrepreneurial muscles just a bit. The whole dating thing has absolutely been a bust so far so I figure I’ll just set goals around what I can control. Here’s to bigger and better things.

Qualifying

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.

Success for a price

“Nothing in life is free. There’s a price to be paid for everything and the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be.” I remember watching a children’s video when I was little where this mantra was repeated several times. But the older I get, the more I think that the saying is true. Nothing that’s worth getting comes easily. Running a business requires hard work, getting the perfect body requires good eating choices and gym time. One thing that I frequently hear myself talking to clients about is creating the life that you want for yourself. While I’ve never been an expert at taking my own advice, there’s something to be said about putting effort into getting what you want. A huge part of success involves actually defining what you want. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day life and lose track of the bigger picture. Be specific, write a plan, or get a vision board. Be willing to pay the price for success because the time will pass by anyway.

The end of things

Unsplash/ John Schnobrich1. You got your hopes up. This almost lover of yours seemed like a dreamboat at one point — they were kind, thoughtful, adorable, and funny. You couldn’t help but hope they’d stick around and stay in your life for a long time. Inevitable devastation set in when your hopes were smashed. 2.…

via 14 Heartbreaking Things That Happen When Your Almost Relationship Ends — Thought Catalog

Each and every one of these 14 things is accurate. As a therapist, I frequently process the breakups of romantic relationships with my clients and we discuss some of the feelings that come along with a dissolution of a relationship–or an almost relationship. The culture that we live in seems to be nonchalant and you aren’t ever supposed to act like you’re hurt or show vulnerability so that you don’t appear “needy” to the other person. The end of an almost relationship can hurt as much as a real one because you’re also mourning the loss of possibilities. It can be a really uncomfortable time. As someone who has had this experience countless times, I can say that it doesn’t get easier but time helps in moving past it and achieving some closure.

Fall cleaning 

As I do every year, I’m preparing to do a purge of my contacts and delete the hundreds of random messages I don’t have any use for. My strategy is that if a number isn’t saved the message is deleted. Not too long ago I had an interesting exchange with a young man who happened to have one of the numbers in my phone that were never saved. He indicated that he wanted to meet me in person and said he was interested in me. Mind you, he popped up every few weeks or so and texted me regular small talk stuff. Nothing substancial or notable enough for me to save his number because it was obvious he only texted me when I got bored. Then he asked for a picture. Side note, what is it with guys always asking for a picture? You haven’t done anything to deserve a favorable answer to your inquiry and I don’t acquiesce to random demands from strangers. Needless to say, the answer is almost always no. But I digress. I ended up telling him what needed to happen in order for me to take him seriously and I may have also mentioned that I didn’t know his name and that his number had never been saved because he never earned that right. My point is that sometimes you have to clear your life of people who are just taking up space. They don’t have a vested interest in your success and don’t care about who you are as a person. Clearing can also involve deleting messages and contacts because you don’t have the time to entertain nonsense. It’s a necessary part of moving forward because you’re making room for something better. 

Nap Time

When I was a little kid, the time of day that I absolutely hated was nap time. It was between the hours of 11 and 12noon. I quickly realized that nap time was more for my mother’s benefit than anything else because she was trying to get us all on a schedule and she was the primary caregiver for 4 kids under the age of 6 with the youngest being a newborn. I remember complaining bitterly about why I should be allowed to stay up to no avail. I was admonished time after time that one day I would wish I could take a nap but wouldn’t be able to. I adamantly insisted that would never be my story. Naps were for people who didn’t have a good book to read or were tired all the time and I had no use for them. Fast forward a few years later to the rigors of high school–the homeschooled version. I quickly discovered the power of a quick nap due to being a night owl. Also, it was a break from the self paced work which was mind numbingly boring most of the time. The practice of afternoon naps continued through college where I took ten minute power naps in between classes. This was especially helpful to my sanity the year I took 19 credit hours, worked two jobs, and went to bed at 2am or later 5 nights per week. Fast forward to last year where I was working in a job from hell. Well, not LITERALLY hell but pretty close to what I would imagine it to be with traditional work hours. While it was meaningful and in my field I missed having flexibility. A typical job where you worked 8 hours straight without a lunch break was not my cup of tea. I didn’t have the luxury of afternoon naps and I missed it. I’ve come to have a very healthy appreciation for naps due to my newfound inability to sleep more than five hours at a time. There’s nothing like the mental clarity that occurs after you’ve gotten a quick moment to sleep and recharge.  I admit I think that people would be a lot happier if they were allowed to take a quick nap during the workday. We already know that most people don’t get nearly the amount of sleep that’s typically recommended. How nice would it be to have a mandatory nap time built into the work day? I for one would be all for it. 

Poor at 35

I ran across this article recently and the title of it caught my attention. The main assertion is that you deserve to be poor if you have reached the age of 35 still being poor. In a world where there are so many inequalities and everyone does not have the same opportunities, I think that such proclamations have to be taken with a grain of salt. However, the fact remains that we all have the opportunity of time. The 24 hours a day that we spend doing our daily habits is no different than the 24 hours that a billionaire is afforded. It’s all in how you spend it. My favorite sentence of the article: “You’re poor because you have no ambition.” This doesn’t necessarily always mean education in the traditional sense. We judge people who drop out of school without recognizing that school isn’t something that’s necessary to succeed. The fact of the matter is that by age 35 a lot of people have become set in their own ways. Their childhood dreams have given way to the harsh reality of adulthood and they are in the middle of making payments on their car, their house, and their student loans. A lot are married and/or raising children and just trying to survive. This makes it hard to think about retirement and all the places they’ve always resolved to travel but haven’t yet. I heard someone say that it’s a sin to die poor and while I don’t agree, I think that dying poor is something that many people would never choose to do. We have to remember the bigger picture while living day to day. It’s essential. Don’t let your dreams collect dust.