This morning I was reminded of the fact that today marks a year since I defended my dissertation. It was one of the most nerve wracking experiences of my life and it was one that I didn’t really prepare for. You heard that right. I started practicing what I would say about two hours before it happened. I did horrible on the practice tries and my voice was shaking because I was so nervous. Afterwards, I just sat with a glass of my favorite wine and waited until I saw the email that confirmed I had passed. It was an incredible feeling. I wrote around a year ago that what I wanted to have a more permanent home base and that I wanted to seriously consider settling down. I moved several times and finally settled down and started working in my field. I started three new jobs and had an entire life overhaul. I’m a bit closer to believing that finishing the degree was worth it in the long run. I would still be paying back the loans regardless of whether I finished or not. I’ve traveled to several countries and decided to work a more flexible schedule. It’s been a roller coaster with a lot of changes. I’m still writing a lot but most of it is in response to my students and the traveling bug continues to bite me. I’m curious to know what the next year will bring.
Part of the nature of my job is that I completely change places every few month but it also means that I tend to move quite frequently. Recently, I went through yet another move due to the lease ending on my apartment and it has been more of an adjustment than usual. I try not to do it, but I think that I got emotionally attached to my old place. There were so many good memories but also countless tears cried as I tried to figure out my life and navigate the ever confusing world of dating. My apartment became the place I could go when I had a long day at work and just wanted to sleep when I got home. It was the apartment I went back to after graduating with my PhD and where I celebrated getting a faculty job at my alma mater. It was also the space where I dealt with some of the stress going on in my life and started to meditate in order to sleep more deeply at night. It was the space where I got to spend some quality time with someone who meant a lot to me and where we had some amazing conversations about everything under the sun. I inwardly groaned each time that I walked up all those steps to the third floor but I was secretly glad that at least I got some cardio from merely going home. It was the place where I got a second job offer and completed a total of over six weeks of training. It was my space. And for some reason, losing it has been really challenging. So many times people talk about having something or someone that grounds them and losing my space was a big reminder that I need to be deliberate in doing that for myself. The downside of traveling all the time is that there really isn’t a space to call home and that can make it challenging to really build meaningful connections with others. It’s not impossible but definitely challenging when you’re a homebody. I love to travel and by love, I mean LOVE. But there’s something to be said about having a home to go to after you’re done with traveling. So as I type from my new temporary place, I’m reminded of the fact once again that I think I’m gonna need to settle down soon. Stability is good for the soul. I think.
For some reason I’ve met a lot of people whose retirement plan consists of winning the lottery. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a nice dream to have but the odds aren’t the greatest. I remember reading an article somewhere that talked about how millennials don’t want to spend decades doing the same job like older generations did. I personally can’t imagine doing the same job consistently for over a year as I get bored easily but also like consistency. The truth of the matter is that it’s important to challenge yourself. I’ve started to get into the habit of doing something drastically different every once in a while. It’s amazing how much you can plan and implement when you take some time off and reflect. I like learning new skills that build on my existing knowledge base. While all my jobs haven’t been fun, they’ve taught me so much about myself. I love the idea of stability but I hate when it gets confused with monotony. Life is short and should be lived accordingly. Self-reflection and planning is critical for success. Take the time to do that instead of staying in reaction mode all the time.
Growing up my siblings and I would make fairly frequent trips with our parents to my grandparent’s house up North. It was a drive usually done in the dead of night from Alabama or Georgia to Michigan. My grandparent’s house was always a welcome sight after 13 to 16 hours in a car. The great thing about the house was that it was the same one that my mother and her siblings had grown up in. It was very spacious with five bedrooms, three baths, and two kitchens. There was plenty of room for everyone and we never felt crowded. One thing that I specifically remember was the plush carpet. To this day I have never seen carpet so comfortable that you could easily fall asleep after laying on it for a few minutes. Often times these trips included my cousins. We would play outside on the playground in the summer and run around in the snow in the winter. My grandparent’s house became a second home of sorts. The great thing was that all 17 people in my extended family could stay in the same house comfortably without feeling cramped. When my grandfather died we all stayed in the house for week with additional people coming to crash for a few nights. While it was a sad occasion it was also nice having everyone in the same place for an extended period of time and since that time it hasn’t happened. I think having a family home is a great thing and as someone who likes a combination of stability and flexibility there’s a certain benefit to having someplace you can call home regardless of where you are in the world. It’s the best of both worlds without feeling confined to one geographical area.
This was an interesting article that caught my eye. There are so many definitions of a what a good woman is that honestly vary from person to person. One’s childhood, culture, and also environment also play a huge role in their personal definition of a good woman. While some of the guidelines or signs were very markedly traditional, I think that they speak to many of the societal expectations of womanhood today.
There’s this theory in the counseling world about attachment. The basic premise of this theory is that our relationships with others are a result of our first relationships with our primary caregivers. This goes all the way back to being a newborn. Babies are conditioned to cry in order to get their needs met. The process of crying and then having someone come to their aid reinforces the fact that they are safe and that someone will care for them. When a baby is ignored for long periods of time and his or her basic needs are not adequately met, either the baby becomes really clingy or the baby can stop crying and withdraw. It’s funny how you can see the same behavior in adults when they feel that their needs are not being met. What all this means is that people can find themselves in emotional distress due to not having a secure attachment with their primary caregiver when younger or even not having a secure attachment when they are adults. A secure attachment is when you are securely connected to someone (usually a significant other) who you can trust and allow yourself to be vulnerable with. The whole idea is that if you have a secure attachment you won’t be as concerned about what others think about you because you have at least one person in your life who means a lot to you and is 100% supportive of you. It took me taking an actual class about this to realize that I don’t have a secure attachment with anyone right now. Definitely not the greatest news to discover as a therapist but it wasn’t a huge surprise. And while that is something that I’d like to change, I’m not quite sure if I want it to change. I’ve mentioned the “three year rule” in a previous post and that would definitely come into play as far as me having a secure attachment. I’m not necessarily upset about that, but I’m not ok with it as well. However, that’s where I am for the time being and it’s going to take me being super deliberate in order to change that.