March madness & military life

March has been a wildly busy month – but I think I say that about every month!

It has been a month filled with learning, new projects, stepping out of my comfort zone, lots of coffee, family visits, & goodbyes to good friends.

Graduation & goodbyes

One of the main highlights of the month was B graduating from the Air Force Institute of Technology with a Masters in Electrical Engineering this past week! He has spent the last 18 months working so hard & learning SO much. His next assignment is {luckily} at this base so we don’t have to move. We realized last week how settled into our tiny house we’ve become. Moving is going to be hard whenever we have to do it next!

The graduation of this class of students from AFIT also means that many many many of my military spouse friends are moving to their next assignments all over the country this week.

It breaks my lil heart to see them go, but I keep reminding myself that, as people say, “it’s a small Air Force” and it’s likely we will be stationed with these same friends in the future. And for the ones going to the DC area, I can visit with them when I return to Virginia to see my family!

Friends moving away is something that is still new to me, seeing as I’ve only been an Air Force spouse for, well, 18 months or so. The more “seasoned” spouses have dealt with this for years, but I can imagine that it doesn’t get much easier to say farewell.

Being a military spouse means leaning hard on the community around you, making fast friendships, and sharing a special kind of bond with those who you might never have spoken to if it wasn’t for your spouse’s career. I don’t exactly know how to explain this connection to people who haven’t experienced it before. Being a military spouse is beautiful & terrible all at the same time.

You have to open your heart fully, knowing that it’ll be broken a little bit every time the PCS orders arrive.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

In photo news…

I’ve been snapping away lately, as a few friends have asked me to take photos for them & their families this month. I’ve done head shots, a newborn session, a couple session {which I’m currently editing}, & countless test shots around the house with a new lens.

The newborn session was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone, as I had never done anything quite like it. I’m so grateful to my sweet friend for trusting me to take photos of her little one! & happy two week birthday, Ember!

My friend Elisa needed some head shots for her professional portfolio – she’s getting her PhD in English and is a professor! – and asked me to help out. We went “on location” to a coffee shop that has some good backgrounds – lots of brick & colorfully painted walls. Of course, the weather was rude to us and decided to be barely above freezing, but Elisa was an amazing sport and braved the cold!

For the love of books

Life update: I think I want to be a librarian. I don’t know what kind yet {school, children’s, YA?} but since taking this job at my local library, it feels like a pretty great career for me.

I’m working in the Youth Services department as an associate, which means I help the actual librarians in the department prep events, I do teacher collections, & random tasks like bulletin boards.

But it also means that I work the desk in the Children’s department, and answer patron questions all day long! It feels like the coolest treasure hunt ever to be given a random search criteria & come out with just the right book for the kid or a parent.

It’s not so great when a child asks you to find “the book I was reading a few weeks ago with stick drawings but I don’t remember what it’s about or the name of the book or the author but there was a gun in it.” I wasn’t so successful there!!

Alas, grad school is the next step if I really want to pursue this, and I don’t quite have the funds at the moment – but I am learning a TON in this job.

Goal setting missteps

Remember how I wrote that big long post about how excited I was about my new planner and using it to set TONS of goals and meet them all?

Yeah… more on that later.

April showers

Looking forward to April, it feels like it’ll be a bit of a calmer month for me. I may be jinxing myself just by saying that!

B starts his new job next week, so he’ll be going back to a regular work day, while I mainly work evenings at the library & weekends at the coffee bar. It’ll be interesting to see how we work this out and make time to see each other!!

I’m excited to slow down a bit and re-focus on my goals and on self-care. I also may have a giant pile of laundry I need to catch up on… #adultingishard

Forty truths & no lies {about me}

Hello there, dear readers & people that I actually know in real life! I love you all!

This is going to be like those beginning-of-the-year icebreakers that everyone actually hates, except I’m the only one talking and it doesn’t suck.

I’ve picked up a few new followers over the past few months & thought it was about time to do a proper introduction of myself.

Standing in the snow & wearing my LuLaRoe, as usual.

And what better way is there to do that than dumping a bunch of random {and some fun} facts out onto the interwebs? I can’t think of anything, so here goes! Continue reading “Forty truths & no lies {about me}”

My husband took my last name when we got married.

Did that get your attention?

It’s a long-standing tradition, dating back to who-knows-when, for women to take their husband’s last name when they were married. In much of history, wives were considered the property of their husband, and taking on their last name was just one little part of that. Even in our relatively recent American history, married women were unable to get a credit card unless their husband cosigned, even up until 1974!

While marriage is an important institution, one that has (slowly) changed along with our society, it has such a deep history connected to female oppression and male ownership of women. The assumption that a woman will change her last name to that of her husband is a part of that history. It’s also super heteronormative.

Okay okay, I know I’m not writing an essay for a women’s studies class. 

It can be a beautiful thing to take on someone else’s last name. It shows that you’re creating a new family unit, that you are a part of someone else’s life so deeply and truly, and it just generally signifies marriage and lasting commitment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the desire for a woman to change her last name, but I do think that it shouldn’t be an automatic, this-is-the-only-way-to-do-this notion.

So, when Ben and I got married, he took my last name.

Continue reading “My husband took my last name when we got married.”

busy bee

Oh hello there.

It has been a busy week!! How busy, you may ask? Well, all of these things happened in the past week:

  • I accepted a second part-time job {that I am SUPER excited about}
  • I worked a Christmas Eve closing shift at the coffee bar {people get a little, um, difficult to deal with around the holidays…}
  • Ben & I flew to DC on Christmas morning to see my family
  • We had a packed 3 day trip that included lots of food, movies, & sitting around the table and telling stories
  • We flew back to Dayton, & with delays, didn’t get back home until 1:30am
  • I worked the next day
  • We unpacked & packed up again…
  • Aaaand now we’re in Cleveland for 3 days visiting some of Ben’s family!

So yeah, just a little busy.

I’m looking forward to starting my new job next week and hopefully finding a good routine to settle into. One of my favorite Christmas presents that I received was an Ink & Volt planner – I have loved planners for as long as I can remember – and I’m excited to use it in the new year. I have a gut feeling that 2017 will be a year full of change and growth and exploration. I think it’ll be a year of being busy and I just can’t wait.

Resolution revolution

Every year, I make resolutions & barely keep them past week two. I want to change that by not making any resolutions at all.

{I think I wrote a post on this a while ago, buuuuut I’m fairly sure it got lost in the transition last week and I’ve been too dang lazy to figure out how to find those posts again… so here we are.}

It seems odd to think about starting the new year without making specific “resolutions.” It’s a family tradition to get together on New Year’s Eve (or a few days later… or a few weeks later…) and go through a multi-page document that my dad puts together, where we write down our favorites & memories from the last year, and make resolutions and predictions for the year ahead. As we’ve all gotten older, the predictions for each family member have been more and more similar from year to year! It’s always fun to go back to see the previous year’s predictions and to see where we were wrong or right.

For me, though, it is so disappointing to look back on those resolutions, year after year, and not be able to check off any of them as completed or kept.

Even if the year has been full of love and laughter and emotions and growth and all of that good stuff, it still makes me feel strangely inadequate to know that I wasn’t able to stick to these lofty resolutions that would’ve apparently made my year so much better and worthwhile.

So I’m rethinking my need to make resolutions this year.

Continue reading “Resolution revolution”

In pursuit of passion

Maybe not everyone has one big passion, but many people seem to have that one passion that drives their career. It’s what they get higher education in, what they studied and practiced for, what gets them going in the morning, what gives them butterflies to think about.

I used to be so set that my passion was education. I thought, I’ll get a teaching license, get my first classroom, then have a career for life. But every time I thought about having 25+ children relying solely on me for their entire education for a year, my stomach dropped – & not in a good way. I kept telling myself that this was just nerves or self-doubt, again and again, as I was student teaching, doing pre-practicum, and searching for jobs after graduation. I’ll get that confident “teacher voice” one day, I kept telling myself. During those two weeks of full classroom takeover, I was a mess, but that was just because it’s my first time doing this, right? Being up in the front of the classroom isn’t supposed to feel totally natural at first, right?

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I’m not assuming that everyone who teaches feels totally natural at first, or even after their first full year, but to me, it just felt a little too unnatural. I don’t know if it ever really clicked. It felt like I was trying too hard at something that I didn’t have my head fully into. My heart was there, all there, still is there, but that’s not enough sometimes. Or it wasn’t enough for me. I’m not writing this to say that I’m completely, totally, & forever giving up on the idea of being a teacher – but that I’m thinking it’s just not for me at this moment, and I need to stop beating myself up for not going down that path right now. I’m listening to that tiny voice coming from the depths of my soul telling me that it’s okay to spend some time flopping around like a fish out of water, and that maybe I’m just trying to find the right pool to dive into.

Maybe it’s photography. Maybe it’s something in the coffee world. Maybe it’s being a librarian. Maybe it’s working in publishing. Maybe it’s writing a book. Maybe it’s something else that hasn’t even yet crossed my mind.

I keep trying to remind myself that this is normal. This is so fucking normal, especially for people my age. It’s also such a privilege to be able to spend any time at all waffling around with different career ideas & not having to rely on my job to pay all of the bills. I know I am so lucky to be where I am, and to have the time to figure things out. Still, it’s hard to be in this limbo where I have no purpose in particular & I don’t know exactly what I’m passionate about. Just because many of my peers have figured out where they’re going with their careers and are charging full speed ahead doesn’t make me any less-than. They are so lucky to have figured things out already. But of course, no matter how people appear on their resumes or their social media profiles, no one actually has it all figured out.

Not everyone’s life paths are as straight and narrow as they may seem. I think mine’s just got a few more curves at the start. But at least I’ve got a driver’s license and a great co-pilot to help me navigate. 

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Tip-toeing out of my comfort zone

I’ve been a little bit MIA from my blog lately, partly because I’ve been under the weather and feeling very bleh, and partly because I’ve just had a lot going on at the moment that’s been taking up my mental energy. I’ve been more in the mindset to make endless mental to-do lists than I have been to come up with blog posts that I’m comfortable sharing.

But on that note about comfort…

With tiny baby steps, I’ve been trying to to tip-toe out of my comfort zone, ever so slightly.

How, you may ask?

Processed with VSCO with g3 presetI’m doing this by being active on the board of my local Air Force spouses group, which included helping to put on a holiday ball for ~250 people. Oh, and at that ball, I ended up wearing a dress that highlighted my very un-toned arms & shoulders, which I was sure people would judge me on – guess what, things got so busy that I ended up not caring about it and just enjoying myself. Wild, right?

I’m doing this by applying to jobs that I might not be 100% qualified for, but that could help put me in the right direction for a career that I would really like to explore. And I got an interview!

I’m doing this by posting pictures of myself, not just lattes, on my Instagram.

I’m doing this by doing a Christmas photoshoot for my friends & their families, which is something I’ve never done before. I had to confront feelings of possible inadequacy & major self-doubt around the photoshoot, which had been taking up a lot of mental space in the past few weeks. Taking pictures for a friend might not seem like a big deal to others, but to me, I could’ve ruined their Christmas cards with blurry, mediocre photos and wasted their time/money. The end result was even better than I had hoped for, and the photos will be cherished by these families for years to come.

 

I’m doing this by entertaining the idea of taking my photography hobby to the next level, which is scary & exhilarating & nerve-wracking & bringing back all those beautiful feelings of self-doubt… right now it’s just an idea, being spurred on by sweet friends & a supportive husband, so we’ll see where I end up with this.

I find that I’m a person with a lot of dreams that put butterflies in my stomach but that I don’t often make the leap out of my comfort zone to put these plans into action. I know that I won’t get very far staying in the confines of that zone, but I also know that forcing myself far out all at once is way too overwhelming for me. So for right now, I’m sticking with tip-toed, clinging-to-the-handrail baby steps. I’m working on letting go.

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Worry less – or don’t, whatever…

I’ll never be a free spirited, go-with-the-flow, super chill kind of person, and I’m mostly okay with that.

I tend to worry a lot about most things, big and small. Worrying is definitely not one of the traits I am most proud of, and it can lead to some intense feelings of anxiety sometimes, but, get this – I don’t think that all worrying is bad.

Sometimes my worrying causes me to catch details or issues that others might miss, or allows me to fully think through and process a situation in front of me. I can mentally prepare for multiple outcomes, as I have that “let me think of every single thing that can go right or wrong in this situation” kind of brain. This brain has also gotten me into many a sleepless night because I was pretty sure a murderer was about to break into my house, but hey, I didn’t say that my worries are all good! I just think that so much of the conversation around worrying is that it’s something that should be avoided, shamed, or crushed immediately, and that that mentality isn’t helping anything.

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Instead of trying to immediately force any of these thoughts out of my head or beating myself up for my worries, I am putting my focus and attention to worrying less and trying to understand why I am worried in the first place. Can I turn this worry into positive thought on what I can practically do to make the best of this situation or prepare for something? Most of the time, my worrying won’t actually change the outcome of the situation. Many of my worries are not productive, and therefore should not be given priority in this strapped-for-space brain of mine. Repressing them is not going to get me anywhere, but reflection and gentle thoughts will.

… any tips?

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