Friday, September 5, 2014

Look Who's Talking...about birth control

I recently made a pretty big decision in my life.

After 16 years, I've decided to get off birth control.

Now, before anyone gets any wise ideas... I am not trying to have a baby, not yet anyway. 

Since the age of 14 I've been on some form of hormone-altering birth control. My mom put my on at a young age to help with my "acne". I did have problem skin, but something tells me that after raising 5 children before me, my mother was more inclined to make sure I was properly protected for whenever it was I became sexually active and just masked it with the clear skin bit. Although, my family is pretty vain and it did clear up my skin so, I may never know the true reasoning behind my mother's choices. Regardless, I have spent the last 16 years letting something other than my own body impact my hormones and body chemistry.

I never put much thought into it really, it was just a simple "I don't want to get pregnant, so I'll stay on birth control" thought.  Even when I would switch different kinds/brands and when I experienced significant side effects, I rarely ever thought about how it was really impacting my body (and my mind!).

One birth control pill I was on gave me such severe mood swings I actually had to tell the guy I was dating at the time that he was not allowed to call me for a week because I was so frightened of my own lashing out and anger right before starting my period (and the previous months were a good indication of what I was apparently capable of). That should have been HUGE red flag (some pun intended there) that something wasn't right about what I was doing.

Even when I was on another form that caused me to gain 33lb, it didn't seem to sink in that the answer may not be "switch to a different kind". That was my reaction each time. "Well, this kind doesn't seem to work well with me, so lets try a different one". Being in a scientific field, I guess I felt the need to examine and test multiple solutions? Or maybe there was something else fueling my decisions?

My best friend for years has preached about the implications of being on a hormonal birth control and has encouraged me to stop taking it. I never gave her words too much thought because I just assumed it was working "well enough" for me.

It was only in the last year or so that I started  to acknowledge what was happening to my body, gave her words some weight and really start to analyze the cost/benefits of my choice. I researched different methods and had multiple discussions with my boyfriend (now fiance), my best friend, and other women friends. I spent almost a year weighing the possibility of getting off of hormonal birth control, what it would mean for me, my body, and my relationship.

I initially felt guilty for "making" my fiance switch to another form, such as condoms. Then I started to really think about why that guilt should rest only on me? Either I feed hormones into my body, make my partner unhappy, or get pregnant? How is that a fair burden for a woman to carry?
I think this guilt is why it took me a year to make the decision to get off of birth control. 

Ultimately, I had to make the decision that was right for me, and although my fiance is part of this relationship,I had to realize that he does not dictate decisions about my body, I do and he was supportive of my decision.

It's too soon to tell how my decision will change my mind and body. I need to give it time to balance itself and get back on track. It was frightening to go through the grueling process of making this kind of a decision, but I feel empowered and if that is the only change I really notice, I think that is alright with me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bowl full of emotions with a side of sappy

Today my best friend gave birth for the 3rd time, to her first son.
It's hard to be 700 miles away when it happened.
I witnessed her give birth to her two daughters, 10 years ago and 7 years ago.
I was able to be in the room and be a part of the experience. Those two are the only live births I've ever seen, and it was absolutely amazing to be able to watch my goddaughters coming into this world and taking their first breath. Even as a 20 year old, watching that first child be born I knew it was a special experience to be a part of, regardless of almost fainting ( I handled the 2nd one MUCH better and even got to be the photographer).
It breaks my heart a little that I wasn't able to do the same for this special little man as he entered the world this morning. I even looked into flights when she texted me yesterday that her water broke, but I knew I didn't have the money (and definitely not for $500 round trip for a flight that, on a good day can cost only about $140). I know she understands. I know that little boy won't know the difference and will never hold it against me for not being there... although I wasn't there for my nephew's birth and he always brings it up (but he is doing so more to make fun of me since I wasn't there because I "ran away" from home that night...being the unruly teenager that I was).
This monumental event on the same day that so many little ones (my niece and nephews included) started school today. I didn't even know one of my nephews was starting kindergarten, and now I feel like a terrible aunt. I know that I wouldn't actually be there in the morning to send each one off to school, but if I weren't so far away I don't think it would hurt this much. Those 1st day of school photos signify that they're another year older and it's another year I'm missing out on (and so disconnected not to know my own nephew is starting kindergarten!). If I were closer, I'd know these things, I'd see them more than a few times a year. I'm envious of everyone who gets to see these rascals growing up and experience memories with them on a weekly basis. I blame my family for being so incredibly close that when you're away it feels like everyone got asked to the dance but you and you got assigned to pass out the punch. Why do all my examples refer to high school situations? I'm starting to think I'm one of those people, who never let go of high school... but those people are supposed to be the ones who never made anything of themselves, right? Oy! OR I just use high school examples because they're so easy to relate to for everyone, yeah let's go with that.
Well I'm just a pile of sappy right now.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Here's to self-care...and sanity.

Today marks the last day of my 3rd practicum in graduate school.
It is so strange to devote your time/sanity/effort into something for what feels like forever, and then to reach the point where you walk out, and just never return.
I felt a lot more attached to the residents there than I have with previous clients. I think given the setting, and the type of work we were doing it makes it that much more difficult to end the relationships. Therapy is such a funny profession too, because you're basically not allowed to have contact with any of them once you leave, its like you just have to disappear.
I know I won't just disappear, I know that I've made an impact on some of those women that will not be forgotten, and I feel similar about the roles they have played in my training.
It's just a strange feeling I'm sitting with right now.
I left, took the same route home I always do, let the dog out, and am sitting on my couch as I do most days after work. But I won't be going back next week, running my groups, meeting with residents, having supervision. It all just ended... and yet nothing feels different, except that it does.
There don't seem to be words to explain the feeling.
I had a moment on the drive home where I felt guilty for leaving. I chose my "end date" for this practicum. I started there in August, and really could have stayed on a while longer because I already started my new practicum in April, so I've been doing double time and I've been surviving. That is just it though, I've been surviving. I've been feeling overworked, stressed, at times miserable, and completely zapped of energy. I feel guilty though leaving those women when I really didn't have to, but chose to because it was beneficial for me to end when I did, for my own sanity. Self-Care they call it in my field.
I thought I'd have more to say about this day, but as I sit here I just feel brain-dead and zoned out.
I still have my other practicum tomorrow but J and I are going camping this weekend. I am pretty excited to get out of the city and be able to see the stars.
Not to mention, I am excited to have the time and energy to cook again. I've been repeating the same few meals over and over (which include spaghetti and tacos) for the past month or so just as a way to get by, but I miss being able to be creative and try new recipes. I just haven't been able to lately. I have just been skating by trying to make it through each week.
Here's to self-care....and sanity :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The BIG 3-0

I've been meaning to write about my birthday and the monumental event that took place at my party, but since we returned from our trip I've been working both practicums and feeling totally overwhelmed and overworked.
I thought it would be interesting to look back to an old journal and see what I had to see about turning 20 (and compare that to my thoughts now) but low and behold, my 20 year old brain didn't think too much about it and barely even mentioned it. I guess for my 20th birthday, I worked in the morning at the coffee shop, then had dinner with some family at Who Songs (where we did pretty much every birthday for a good 5 years, at least). I did mention that "old birthdays suck".... because apparently 20 was an "old birthday" according to me.
I have a feeling if 30 year old me met 20 year old me...I'd think she was pretty damn ridiculous. I know for a fact that if I met 16 year old me I'd have trouble keeping a straight face even having to try and take her seriously.

So here I am, 30 year old me. Strange. I don't feel 30. I don't know what 30 is supposed to feel like though.
Well, more importantly I suppose I should mention my 30th birthday. It was a 1984 themed 80's party. There was lots of food, drinks, dancing, good friends, family and FUN! The most memorable part, however, was getting proposed to. Think Wedding Singer, airplane scene at the end of the movie. after an intro from Billy Idol, Adam Sandler begins to seranade Drew Barrymore with a ballad "I wanna Grow Old With You".....In comes J, guitar, blue blazer and all. He totally surprised me and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Here I am crying like a baby (keep in mind, this was a 1984 themed party...I was dressed as the chick from Footloose..the original).
Now, J and I had been discussing eventually getting engaged, but no set plans for least that I knew of. We had looked at rings, gone to try them on, looked online, etc. trying to decide what was right. I wanted more antique/vintage and wasn't sold on the idea of a center diamond because well, I just never really saw myself as that kind of gal. Thank goodness J listens to me and doesn't just go for what he thinks because I ended up with a gorgeous ring and a proposal with my friends and family present (also something I had said was important).
Center stone: Sapphire, diamonds, Palladium...all hand picked and designed by J :)
So apparently 30 brings BIG changes into my life. I'm pretty excited to see what the rest of 30 has to offer.
I asked my family and friends to write me something about when they were 30, as a way to sort of see where everyone was at during the same part of their life as me. Because of everything that happened with internship this past year, the disappointment, etc I was almost hoping it would shed some light on where people were at and where they are now... also, I thought it would be awesome to have sort of a snapshot about where everyone was at the age of 30 and to include myself in that.
Just thinking about my snapshot:
  • I am living in Oakland, CA
  • I am in my 4th year of graduate school
  • I have my M.S. in clinical psych (on my way to that Ph.D.)
  • I am engaged (I have a fiancĂ©!)
  • I own a dog
  • I drive a mid 90's Ford wagon
  • I've got a VA practicum 
I am hoping to add to that list over the next 11 months to include getting an internship...which will also include moving to a new place/state. 

30...I just might be ready for you.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

News on the practicum front. GOOD news!

I've been so busy jumping through hoops to get into the new system at my new practicum, I forgot to even mention the good news:
I got a supplemental practicum at the San Francisco VA!
In order to get into the VA system, you have to fill out form after form, refill out forms that have the incorrect date format or 1 or 2 words that don't sit right with someone. Complete the online trainings and wait for certain people to get back to regarding something or another. Then go into the VA a number of times for meetings and appointments that take about 10 to 20 minutes (after that hour commute to get there) then go back 2 days later for another 10 minute appointment. Needless to say, I'm still not in the system and I got approved on April 7th.

So this is apparently what Plan D looks like. I've now got a supplemental practicum and I'm starting earlier than others who will likely start practicums in August or September. Not only do I have a spot at a well regarded VA, I will get the opportunity to do assessments! Basically, the feedback I received from those I interviewed for internship was that I could use more assessments and VA experience...and viola! Look what I snagged! It is pretty much the most perfect thing I could have done for this extra year. Now, would I have preferred to have just matched this year and be off to internship in the fall, even if it meant Alaska? HELL YES....but since that did not work out, this is a pretty wonderful outcome for this forced extra year (and did I mention...a forced extra $50,000 in loans for this surprise year?)

I will get to experience the VA in all its glory, get to work with veterans, conduct assessments, and count all this time towards my hours for internships and apply this fall with a much better CV than last year. I managed to make a big difference, in a small amount of time. Now, I mean part of all this is just luck and chance, because you never know what people are looking for when you apply, but I managed to snag this one just over the phone (ironic since both my VA internship interviews were also via phone) and they did not even meet me face to face until a few days ago. The next 2 months are going to be a little hectic, since I'll be doubling up and doing 2 practicums until the end of June, which is when I've decided to end my current practicum. So double duty will be a little stressful. I did it last year for a month, and it really took it's toll on me, but I survived and it really helped my hours to be doing both.

And...somehow, I need to find the time (and more importantly, the motivation!) to get my IRB for my dissertation turned in. I've been majorly slacking, and I have no excuse at all. I could have already collected all my data by now if I just finished that stupid thing and got it turned in already. In fact, I should probably being working on that right now.


Monday, March 24, 2014

We regret to inform you...

Despite that "Plan C" being in place, the abrupt crumbling of Plan B when I got the news this morning:
"We regret to inform you that you did not match"... still hit me like a hulk-powered punch to the gut.

This means I'm in CA for another year, have to go through the entire process again, including the outrageous application costs. What's worse, is having to go through that process feeling completely discouraged, disheartened, beat up, and tossed around like a tattered, one-eyed teddy bear getting shuffled around the toy bin while the other shiny new toys get chosen.

In reality, I likely needed this time since I've been completely slacking on my dissertation, although I only put it on the back burner because I was so determined to get an internship. I could have just focused this time on my dissertation in the first place and saved myself a ton of money, time, energy, and could have approached internship applications with at least a bit more confidence than I am currently feeling. Not to mention, feeling this way is giving me zero motivation to work on said dissertation, despite the importance of it.

I mean, there is no sense in playing the "what if" game with myself. I am stuck where I'm stuck and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Except put on a smile and pretend I'm not feeling completely worthless so that no one else has to feel awkward or uncomfortable around me and blurt out how "everything will be ok" and how "it will all work out"... as though I actually think the earth will swallow me up in this moment and my life would end.

I also know I'm not alone. I think the stats said there are about 360 of us that were not matched in Phase II. I'm not sure that helps anything, knowing that the system is set up to make a portion of us to fail, and that I happen to just fall in that section. Leaves me feeling rather hopeless actually. I'd prefer it was something I did, or did not do so that I could improve. Instead, I just have to wait and play the game once more where the odds are not in my favor and chance that I could again, be a part of those unfortunate statistics through no fault of my own. 

We are driving up north this week. Sort of an impromptu trip we decided a couple weeks ago for a long weekend. Part of me thinks this is exactly what I need in this moment; to be with family, to be home. That other, louder part of my mind, thinks it is just going to be a painful reminder of what I am missing out on for even longer because of this frustrating internship shortage problem.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Plan A, B, and C

Here I sit... and I wait.
Rankings have been turned in and now I just sit and wait for my fate to be decided for me.
At least we only have to wait 1 week this time. Phase I we had to wait for what felt like forever (in real time about 2 weeks).

Since Plan A (Phase I) did not work out, and Plan B (Phase II) is not looking too bright either, I needed to come up with a Plan C. Unfortunately, Plan C involves staying here in CA another year, and putting my life on hold for one more year which... sucks. Needless to say, Plan C needed some glitter and gold in order to make it not seem so bleak. Besides staying here, getting some sort of practicum something or other (even though practicum apps were already due last I would need to get creative), I would be able to finish my dissertation and possibly even defend before I finally left for internship. While that is all well and good (except, it sucks) it was lacking any excitement and was merely practical. Enter the Golden Goose. It was J's idea actually. He said that if I didn't get an internship this year, we should do a road trip. Not just any road trip, but an all over the map type of trip including Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, etc. We'd be able to visit loved ones along the way and get to see amazing sites like the Grand Canyon. I mean, there will be no glitz or glam on this trip. We're a broke couple with a dog, and will likely spend most night sleeping in the truck, but it will be an adventure.
The more I think about it, I am realizing it will not be the end of the world if I don't get an internship. It will feel like it for awhile, but I know rationally, that it will not be the end of me. 10 years from now, I will look back and think "see, if I left for internship (fill in the blank) would never have happened". The thing is though, right now, I cannot look back with 10 years of reflection, I do not have the hindsight to appreciate this moment and sitting in this moment right now I feel terrible. I feel like a failure, idiot, imposter who has finally be found out. I feel like I am not good enough. I shouldn't feel this way, the system is what is broken, not me. They've got 4,000 students applying for 3,000 positions. It is set up for failure (for some) and I just happen to be one.

I guess what is getting to me, is that I have been in school now for...11 years. Granted, in those 11 years I've managed to earn an AA, BA, and an MS... but man, 11 YEARS already? If I have to wait another year, that will mean it will take me 13 years to earn my Ph.D. (well, 6 since it took me 6 to get my BA), but damn. I take the term "professional student" to a whole other level. The kicker here, is that there are people in my program who are going to have their Ph.D. and be the same age I was when I started my Ph.D. program. Really a lot of this boils down to being a female, approaching 30 and still in school. There are biological clocks and societal mantras blaring like tsunami warnings in my brain every waking hour and I am supposed to just "wait another year". That is really the bottom of all this disappointment.

I'm not even sure where I am going with this post anymore. (well, besides crazy, HA!)

Monday, March 10, 2014

I'll learn to be positive, even if it kills me.

Here I am, in Phase II feeling like I've been here before with only one interview (and we know how well that turned out!). Everything riding on this one interview that has a snowball's chance in hell of working out.

I got some feedback today from the site I interviewed at during Phase I. They were very kind, knowing that I am dealing with Phase II now and said some wonderful things about me. They said I was a strong candidate, they saw nothing in my application or interview that was of concern, that they ranked me highly but that the slots were filled before they got to my name.

Initially I felt really great about this feedback. "Good news! You did NOTHING wrong! You're awesome" ...GREAT! But then I thought, well do I improve? How do I make myself better than I am, when there's nothing really wrong with me? It would be one thing if the said "you need to work on X" or "you should talk more about Y" in your interviews...but hearing I was that close to having a placement, for it to just not work out because there was just 1 too many people better than me for whatever reason, is really frustrating.

I had my one and only interview today. It was only 20 minutes, informal discussion about the program and I was only asked one question: Why this site? 
It's difficult enough to make yourself memorable over the phone (which I apparently did for my last interview) when you have an hour and they're asking you multiple questions.
But 20 minutes? and one question? How on earth do I do anything with that? I did what I could, I think it went alright but I also know that I am competing against a LOT of people for this internship so outlook not so good say my magic eight ball.

I started thinking last night, about positive affirmations. I am such a negative person, although I prefer to call myself a realist, most would label me a "pessimist". Optimism and I are just not friends. I hate the idea of getting my hopes up, only to have them come crashing down on me. Granted, this whole realist sham I have going does not actually shield me from all pain of disappointment, I still feel it often and still deal with heartbreak, frustration, and anger about things...BUT I have a feeling it would be much worse if I filled my head with unrealistic expectations.
I also have to realize, as a psychologist in training, the power of negative self-talk and what it does to a person's self worth. (nothing good, that's for sure). What I also have to realize is the power of positive self-talk and what it does to a person's self worth.
Additionally, despite being an intellectual, I am also somewhat (ok, very) superstitious and a believer in the universe, fate, whatever it is that rules us playing into things.
That being said, on the eve of my one and only interview in Phase II I began looking into positive affirmations. It took awhile to find any I could actually say aloud without feeling like a total phony. I decided, after a number of rounds of talking to myself that I'd write them out on post-its and place them in various spots around my house.
There were as follows:

"I accept that there will be challenges when pursing my goals. I have the knowledge and ability to overcome anything in my path."

"I have just as much brightness to offer the world as the next person." 

"I matter and what I have to offer the world matters too."

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Rejection tastes like shit.

After a few days of internet-free time to clear my head, here I am.
Friday came and brought with it disappointment, rejection, a lot of tears, and wine to follow.
I did not get matched which means no internship for me.
As I said before, there is a Phase II (with horrible odds) so all is not lost just yet.

What is so god damn frustrating though is that now I sit here, continuing to wait.
Waiting. I have to go through the application process all over again, building a site list, updating essays, writing cover letters, applying, waiting, hoping for interviews, followed by more waiting. It honestly feels like I just cannot catch a freaking break (really wanted to drop an F bomb there). It is just so frustrating, watching SO many of my classmates going through the same motions as me with success each and every time. I'm sure they've experienced rejection along the way somewhere (I mean, they're human so it must happen some times) but from where I sit, I see them getting placements year after year and these being their top choices meanwhile I'm getting rejections, second rounds, more rejections over and over. It is incredibly difficult not to compare yourself either. These people have been along side you for 4 years now, taking the same classes as you, applying for the same positions as you, and succeeding where you fail. It's gut wrenching.
What hurts worse is when they're announcing to the world (yes, FB is "the world") about how they got an internship they say things like "hard work pays off, I got the internship!" and I'm sitting here thinking "but what about my hard work? it doesn't seem to be paying off at all" as if to say I haven't worked just as hard as all the others out there. Obviously, they are being ego-centric and not thinking of me when they say that (and I suppose I too am being ego-centric taking their statement that is clearly meant for themselves and applying it to myself) but it still hurts.

There's a song out on the radio, I'm not sure who sings it because I am not up-to-date on that sort of thing but the chorus rings out "How and I gunna be an optimist about this?" and that is exactly the question I'm asking myself right now. This persistent "realist" also known as a pessimist was actually optimistic for once about this internship thing, and I feel like it blew up in my pretty little face. How am I going to be optimistic about this? How can I look these odds in the face after such a disheartening blow to the ego/soul/heart and move forward with my head up and my mind clear?

I did not go on Facebook for a few days because I knew I could not handle seeing people's statuses about how they got matched or where they were going to internship next year. Instead I studied the list of sites available in Phase II, contacted my advisors, updated my essays, and began tackling my cover letters. Pushing forward is all I could do (I mean this was after lots of crying and sulking, mind you). I decided it was time to face the music today and signed on to face what was waiting on my news feed. Tons of congratulations and sentiments of joy about internships, they were unavoidable.

Last night J and I watched a new movie that we came across, Dallas Buyer's Club. It's a movie about a man with HIV in the 80's and his quest to find effective treatment (and fighting the FDA the whole way). I looked into the truth behind the story and came to find out that this movie has been one they've been trying to make for almost 20 years. Due to funding issues, the difficult subject matter, etc things kept falling through. I read somewhere that it was rejected 87 times before going into production. 87 times! That is a whole lot of rejection, and yet they continued on and made it happen. Not only did they make it happen, it was a wonderfully moving and tragically beautiful movie.
It got me thinking about how much rejection some people have to endure, and yet they figure it out, they push forward, they are eventually successful. Although with how much rejection I've already endured the thought of that much more just seems unbearable for my well being.

Rejection. How am I going to be an optimist about this?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hurry up and wait.

The waiting game.
Such a pinnacle part of graduate school, this concept of always waiting for something; approval, feedback, interviews, acceptance.
Always waiting, in hopes of acceptance and yet I'd guess 85% of it is rejection.

Currently, I am waiting for the results for internship. Match Day=February 21st at 10am EST. (not that I'm keeping track)
I have 1 shot. ONE shot at getting placed. The odds of actually  getting this placement are beyond out of left field. ONE possibility amidst about 30 other people who've applied for the same spot. That is is, my future as I know it depends on this one shot in the dark.
Sure, there's a phase II for matching. This phase is where about 1400 students complete for about 200 spots so my odds get even more miniscule in phase II. I won't even begin to think about what happens after phase II, at least not right now. I can't or else I just may go insane.
So much of grad school is trying to plan for a future that is, in the end, completely out of your control. You're a fool if you don't plan but you're almost an even bigger fool if you do because it does not matter what pretty little picture I paint, because someone is just going to come and splash my canvas with a gigantic bucket of red paint and I'll have to start all over with a new backdrop.
I can do nothing else but wait. I've been waiting since my interview on January 23rd. I knew that was my only shot, so it didn't matter that I had until February 5th to decide. I had already decided. Since then I've just been sitting here, twiddling my thumbs, waiting.
There's a slight chance I may be moving to Alaska. That is a BIG change from the sunny, breezy, and crowded cities of the bay area. I'm a planner, I love to and live to be prepared. Instead, I'm sitting here in the big grey abyss that is graduate school. The world of never knowing and ever changing.
If I don't get matched on the 21st, that means I have absolutely NO clue where in the country I may end up.
Patience. One of those things that I don't think I'll EVER obtain.
Don't worry. Don't get your hopes up. Don't think about it. Stay positive. Keep busy. All easier said than done and yet that is what you get from everyone, perhaps because they're worried too and it eases their discomfort.
By this time Friday, I'll have some answers. I know that this feeling of unknown will not last forever, but I felt like it was important to document the feeling anyway.

Monday, January 13, 2014

"This is the year you turn 30" and other horror stories

I had a realization the other day while driving.
I had just dropped the pup off at the groomers (his first time!), stopped off at Target to pick up some essentials for a sick boyfriend, and was on the freeway headed home.
I was going over various mundane things in my brain, none of which included actually paying attention to the road, when it hit me "this is the year you turn 30". I actually had to stop myself, and repeat the sentence I muttered off in such a  blasĂ© manner. "This. is. the. year. you. turn. 30."
Now I've said to myself (and others... I do talk to other people, sometimes), "my 30th birthday" and "I'll be 30 this year" but those never struck me the way that sentence did. 
"This is the year you turn 30" 

That sentence holds SO much power, it is like a brick hitting me in the gut, or rather, an entire sack of bricks. I was trying to explain later in the evening to J the impact of this sentence and what it actually means. I likened it to every year you get older, there is a door that shuts out the past, what used to be, what can never happen now. Turning 30 is not just a door, it is the enormous iron (steel? metal? whatever it is) gate of a castle that slams down and locks out anyone on the other side, regardless of their status or amount of armor. It is, quite literally, the end of an era. No longer will I be able to make the claim "I'm in my 20's". Anything that happens from that point on will be referred to as happening "in my 30's". 

I'm not even sure why this rattled me so much. It is not that I am dreading my 30's, I've actually heard they're pretty great years; you still have some of the energy you had in your 20's for adventures but you're a little bit wiser about which adventures your partake in. So what is it about "this is the year you turn 30" that shook my core? 

I think it really gets down to, not so much what the 30's hold, but all that my 20's could have held, but did not. So many women my age have children, are married, buying houses, putting down roots, and are working (and by working I mean getting PAID!) in their career. Here I am, on the brink of the big 3-0 with no children, not married, renting, and working for free as a forever-student, far away from home. 

I guess I need to realize that all those things other women did in their 20's, I will likely be doing in my 30's. My 30's will not include being established in my career, they will be just beginning my career. My 30's will not be raising teenagers and preparing my kids for college, they will be giving birth for the first time (and hopefully 2nd and/or 3rd). My 30's will not be tending my roots, they will be planting them. 

When I really think about it, it feels like I'm so far behind everyone else. J says I'm being selfish when I view it that way and to look at everything I have done because I didn't choose the other path. The places I've lived, traveled, the things I've experienced and really, he is right. I want to have all of that, plus everything other women got to have in their 20's too and that is completely selfish. I want my cake; to have it out for show and have a bottomless bowl full of it. 

I am struggling with being grateful. With all that I've been able to accomplish... I'm focusing on the rest of it.Maybe my 30's will be a time to be grateful? To appreciate things a little more? 
This all reminds me of that Tim McGraw song... my next 30 years ;)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Years Resolution... only 4 days later

It is 2014. That is... crazy. I mean, it is not actually insane, time moves along just as it always has; although, it seems to be moving more quicker as you age... I'm sure there's some science behind that, right? ;)

2013 was BIG year for me:
  • I passed my competency exams
  • I obtained my M.S. degree
  • I traveled to Yosemite, Vegas, Reno, Disneyland, Hawaii and some other places here and there
  • I presented at APA 
  • My best friend got engaged and married and I was able to be a part of both
  • J and I became "parents" of sorts when we got a puppy
  • Completed my training at the methadone clinic
  • Began my training at a residential facility for women in recovery with children 
  • I let go of the Jetta after 11 years
  • I successfully defended my dissertation proposal
  • I applied to internships

I am sure there are things I'm forgetting, but those are the highlights for the year. So much accomplished in 1 year, I can't help but take a moment to be a little bit proud of how far I've come. So many things this year that in 2010 I began to  work toward, dread, worry, lose sleep over, and/or hope for and in 2013 they became a reality. Despite the evidence, I still feel like an imposter that will soon be "found out" that I really don't have what it takes to be in a Ph.D. program, they some how made a mistake in admissions and soon they're realize the error. I wonder how many degrees on the wall or letters after my name it'll take for that to disappear?

Hmm... I'm getting sidetracked (and negative). I am supposed to be discussing New Years and my resolutions.

My resolution last year:
My new year's resolution for 2013 is to do 5 things to benefit myself each week and document these 5 things.

I accomplished my resolution for 2013 and I have 52 posts to prove it. I must say, it was a difficult task to take on. It required constant commitment and follow up. I had to hold myself accountable 365 days. Well, isn't that the point of a resolution? It shouldn't just be something you come up with on January 1st only to forget it a month later, or revisit come July. It should be something you are constantly working toward. Otherwise, how will you ever progress? evolve?

This year, I decided that since I have always been painfully afraid of change and stuck in my ways, that I would challenge myself to do things differently.

My new year's resolution for 2014 is to try at least 1 new thing every week. 

This can be anything from trying a new recipe, or a new shade of lipstick, to trying out a new restaurant, exercise, craft, hobby, or a new approach to tackling tasks; anything that I have not tried before. Not every one of them has to be something monumental, but I have to learn to let go of "my way" of doing everything, because that may not be the best way and it certainly is not the only way.

To my fear of change, I challenge you to a year of 52 different ways of living.