I don’t rant very often. I make an intentional effort to not do my ranting on social media because I’ve seen personally how things posted in the heat of the moment can impact your future. Lately I’ve been doing some reminiscing. I wrote yesterday about the month of May and how it always makes me think. I’ve gone on some great trips and have some good staycations in the month of May. But that’s not what my post is about. I decided to once again try my hand at online dating because if I end up old and alone and I want to at least know that I tried. I’m hoping that it will be some small consolation to me in some way. Now that I’m a little more seasoned in the game (because it is a game), I can say that my optimism is still present but skepticism still reigns supreme. It’s literally the equivalent of going through a landfill in hopes of finding something (or someone) that you can dust off, take home, and live with. With this method you’re guaranteed to find some duds or shiny tokens that look like the real thing but aren’t. It’s annoying, frustrating, and hopeless at times. I’ve posted some of my dating stories and while they are hilarious, they all actually happened. I have to say that the most frustrating thing is getting ghosted. For those who aren’t aware of the concept, it means that someone just decides to stop returning messages and calls for no apparent reason and moves on with their life without you and without warning. You meet someone and realize that you have a lot in common with them. You make plans to meet up and then they completely flake without any explanation. This current dating culture absolutely sucks. There’s really no other way to categorize it. Funny how everyone wants to be different than the last person you met but without any knowledge of what the last person did, they do the EXACT same thing. Communication is a lost art. Ugh.
There’s something about the month of May that makes me reconsider my entire life. It’s like an internal check-in to evaluate how the year has gone up to this point. It’s also my half-birthday month–which is another reminder that I only have 6 months to go until I’m a year older. Last year around this time I was living in Atlanta and working in a job I didn’t really love. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then and I’m happy to say that I’ve had the chance to travel a bit more because that was one of the things I resolved to do last May. Since then I’ve traveled to Las Vegas, Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Spain, England, France, Italy, Monaco, and Malta. In addition to that I quit my job and moved across the country to California. It’s been eventful to say the least but I’ve learned a lot and have also acquired a new skill set. Working in a busy hospital and coordinating care will definitely have you learning a lot of new medical terminology that you didn’t learn in graduate school. I also decided to try my hand at teaching and am now facilitating a class of 16 graduate students in a weekly online class. It’s been challenging but fun so far. A lot of decisions were made last May and we’ll see what happens this year.
Assume that being independent and being in a relationship have to be two mutually exclusive things.
Not too long ago I had the experience of being flown in for an interview. I have to admit that it was an experience that I’ve never had before and I enjoyed the opportunity to travel without any personal expense. The position was for a job at my alma mater. It felt so surreal and full-circle to walk the same grounds that I walked as a teenager and be there in a different capacity. All my former professors seemed happy to see me back as a potential colleague. I met with the president and vice president. And all I felt was confined. It wasn’t that the position wasn’t nice or that I felt that it was totally out of my comfort zone. It was the expectations that came along with it. While I had a good college experience, it was also very sheltered. There were multiple rules that had to be followed in order to escape expulsion. While I had a genuine desire to give back, I realized that I didn’t want to teach or enforce rules that I didn’t have any intention of keeping. I appreciate people who are genuine and I knew that I wouldn’t be my best personal self if I felt conflicted between what was expected of me and my own thoughts and opinions. I’ve learned that sometimes the best professional decisions aren’t the best for me personally. I want to be fulfilled in a position but also feel that I can be genuine about my experiences and perspectives while learning from others. You have to learn how to say no to things that won’t benefit you in the long run. Now, to only learn that lesson about men…
Not too long ago I ran across an interesting article and immediately shared it with a friend who also agreed wholeheartedly with the author. You can read it here. As a therapist I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve talked to clients about accepting themselves and not basing their happiness on the presence of another person. But let’s admit it, we all want acceptance, companionship, and validation. The author brings out a good point when she talks about a strange sort of contentment in doing your own thing 100% of the time. You don’t have to consult with anyone or let someone know where you’re going when you leave the house. It’s like settling into a homeostasis of sorts. You aren’t obligated to constantly think about the welfare of another person. If only you could order a significant other as easily as one does an Uber or Lyft. You could specify various characteristics that you wanted and then request. As promised, a companion would suddenly appear on your doorstep, the epitome of all your hopes and dreams. No heartache or second guessing because you’ve just met your soulmate and you know that you’ll live happily ever after. Let’s be real, there’s a certain amount of selfish that is perfectly acceptable being a single person that just won’t fly in a relationship. You can’t get your way and never compromise and still expect to have a successful partnership. The author brings out a good point when she discusses the constant self-analysis and diagnosis that happens when you try to make sense of a phenomenon that is supposed to occur within a certain time frame. I have to say that I agree with her conclusion.
I realized that I hadn’t posted in a while so I wanted to remedy that. After all, I’ve had this blog for the past three years or so and I’ve been pretty consistent in writing. One thing that I’ve written about multiple times is the inevitability of change. There is an unspoken guarantee that almost nothing will be consistent. I’ll be honest, I get bored easily. It bothers me to spend hours of time in mindless activity without something to hold my attention. I’m all about being aware of new opportunities because I hate the feeling of being trapped into something that could have been avoided. One thing that I’ve always said that I want to live abroad. I’ve visited several places overseas and I’ve always wanted the experience of staying for more than a few days at a time. I expressed this desire a few times to some friends of mine. A luck would have it, last week I was staring at a job offer letter to a position in Germany. It was such a surreal feeling to have what I said I wanted staring me back in the face. However, after some in-depth inquiry and some online research I came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t a great fit for me personally. As an adult, I’ve learned the importance of saying “no” to something when it doesn’t suit you. There are way too many people stuck in miserable situations because they said yes to something that ultimately wasn’t for them. It’s about keeping the big picture in mind and making small decisions that line up to that.
Recently I had a very long conversation with a friend of mine regarding a similar experience we were having. Don’t get my wrong, I’m glad that I chose my particular career path. Social work/counseling is a good fit for my personality and I genuinely enjoy helping others. However, one sees things in a totally different light when you’ve studied human interactions and behaviors from an academic point of view. When you’ve met with hundreds and talked at length about their personal challenges and relationship woes. The way you perceive the world around you changes when perfect strangers feel comfortable walking up to you and sharing details about the personal life and current problem because (apparently) you have the “trust me I’m a therapist/safe person” face. One thing my friend and I discussed was how hard (somewhat impossible) it is to separate professional knowledge from actual emotion in personal relationships. As a therapist you question everything. One’s hidden motives, past history, emotions, and body language to come to a conclusion on the best course of action to help them. I think that’s one of the reasons it’s so hard to take anything at face value in personal relationships and the tendency can be to overthink. If overthinking was a professional sport, I would be a pro. I love connecting the dots and making sense of complicated and complex information. It’s a great professional skill to have, but using a professional skill for personal use definitely has a downside. I think it comes down to taking it a day at a time and becoming okay with not knowing all the information up front. Which, by the way, can be very frustrating but also necessary to cultivate a healthy balance.