I’ve said a few times but it really is funny how quickly time goes by. I recently celebrated another year of life and I reflected on how much had changed since my last birthday. I brought in last year on a Caribbean cruise. I chilled on the beach in St. Maarten and took an excursion on St. John. This year was different. It was much more low key and consisted of great conversation, food and quality time with my boyfriend. I’m healthier than I was last year and overall I feel like I’m more balanced. My professional goals are still present but they are also better aligned with my personal goals and plan to improve my work life balance. This past year I traveled a little bit but most of my time was spent in the gym. I did a quick trip to Spain, continued doing some contract work and ultimately decided that I didn’t like the idea of a perpetual 40 hour work week. There’s been ups and downs but through it all I’m grateful for another year.
I saw the picture below recently and I have to say how accurate it is with the recent events of all the protests and the focus on police brutality. Many organizations and companies have pledged to financial support various initiatives related to supporting Black people but I can’t help but wonder how many dollars will actually impact them directly instead of being eaten up in “administrative costs.” Showing solidarity and support is suddenly the cool thing to do and while it’s nice I wonder if there will be any lasting and impactful change made. Honestly, I doubt it.
This past week I had the chance to relax but also define some goals for next year. I learned a lot about myself and also managed to have some fun. Cruising remains one of my favorite means of travel.
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.
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.
Like many people, I have to say that this presidential race isn’t anything like it was in 2012. I’ve never been very involved in politics but over the past year I’ve learned a little more about political systems and the importance of being aware and involved in what’s going on on a local level. That being said, this upcoming election is one that is especially impactful and has the possibility of some long term ramifications. Apart from all the rumors going around, I haven’t taken the time to read about the platform of each individual candidate. In a perfect world I would pick the candidate whose platform is in congruence with my values and perspective. There’s been some discussion around voting and if it really counts. And if you know anything about the electoral college, you know that there’s an additional step that allows a select few to actually chose a leader. Needless to say, so far I’m not a huge fan of either candidate. I’ve identified one whose views seem most contrary to my own but haven’t done my own research on all the details. It’s easy to have an opinion when you don’t have all the information; and I need my choice to be informed by facts and not just what has been put out there by the media because everyone has an agenda. I don’t know if there’s a such thing as “unbiased” when it comes to pushing your own perspective forward. I think that this election would qualify as a defining moment for the country. It would be nice if progress could actually happen instead of a bunch of empty promises and the perpetuation of discrimination and racism that has been alive and well for centuries. But I’m not going to hold my breath.
These past few weeks have been unusually stressful for me. I feel like everyone has a certain level of stress that they manage and cope with on a daily basis. It’s like a “regular load” of sorts. And then there are the things that can’t really be helped. It’s like Murphy’s Law gone haywire. The past two weeks have been exactly like that. From my job doubling my caseload, to car troubles, to making a decision to separate myself from someone who didn’t have my best interest in mind–it’s been exhausting. I was talking to someone the other day and I said that I felt like building a fort in my house out of blankets and chairs, crawling in and never coming out. Very unreasonable I know. The theme of my life sometimes seems to be this song “You Can’t Win.” But one thing that I’ve learned is the importance of being flexible and resourceful when necessary. I have to admit that times like this make me miss the presence of a significant other in my life. I’m not complaining but it would be nice to have someone as an actual support who had a vested interest in my life and was there because they wanted to be. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and would do anything for them but it would so clutch to not go to bed alone every night. I’ve never been one to flaunt my single status or to complain about it but there’s something to be said about the power of “we” versus “me.” Normally I would take this time to launch into some Pollyanna-like declaration that everything will be fine. Someone will come into my life who genuinely want to be in it and I’ll experience some degree of happiness in the future. But I’m just not feeling it right now. Yes, I’ll be fine. I’ve been living this way up to this point and a change isn’t anywhere on the horizon. I’ll continue to adapt and make adjustments as necessary but it honestly does just plain suck at times. But that’s my life. At least for now.
I must admit that this article made me especially happy. It confirmed my personal beliefs about the effectiveness of positive thinking. Plus, it’s written by a psychology professor. Anyway, the basic premise the article is that positive thinking may not be as good as people once thought. Positive thinking needs to be informed with something that we affectionately call reality. It’s great to look at the silver lining but you need to also consider hard truths. People who imagined their goals while thinking about both achieving them and also the challenges that they would face had a better change of realizing their goals.
So lately it seems as if everyone around me is getting married, engaged, having a child, or accomplishing something. Me? I just do the work and school thing. I’m at a time in my life where the cliche phases no longer make any sense. I’m tired of being asked if I’ve been “found” yet, how I can be such an awesome person and not have a significant other. And my personal favorite “your time will come”. All of these phrases and questions do not serve any real purpose. While I can respect the fact that these sentiments come from a good place, they just don’t make sense. Granted, looking back I probably should have tried harder to get wifed up in college but the fact that I was paying for it (all of it) really made me more focused on graduating on time and getting good grades. Plus the homeschooled social skills weren’t the greatest. I say all this to say that I now know what not to say to younger people. However, I’m also not going to plan my life around an ideal or a plan that may never be my reality. I’m all for optimism but you have to have a plan B. It doesn’t work otherwise. As much as a significant change in my relationship status could positively affect my quality of life, I can also recognize the importance on not basing my happiness on the presence of someone else in my life. Not an easy pill to swallow. But it’s better in the long run.