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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20 tips for practicing self care

It’s been a rough few days. 

I’ve spent so much of this time thinking and reading and feeling all of the feelings. I’ve been using social media to share lots of these feelings, and the feedback of solidarity and understanding has been incredibly helpful. This election has showed us just how divided our country is, but luckily I’ve got lots of people in my circles that have been able to share words of comforting wisdom and ways to turn this anger into action.

All of that aside, now is an incredibly important time for a reminder on how to practice self care. Many of us are hurting and angry and upset, and it can be easy to forget to spend some of our energy focusing on ourselves and our well-being. Self care is something I learned about in college when I was heavily involved with my college’s feminist group, the Feminist Association of Wheaton. Being in that group and being a Women’s & Gender Studies major meant that a lot of my time was taken up with activist efforts, reading heavy articles & books about society, and learning about less-than-pleasant things, aka the systemic oppression of women and minorities in our world. Real fun, huh?

While not fun, all of that was incredibly important for me to learn and be involved with. Luckily, many feminist groups and communities know the importance of regular self care, so that is something that I learned about and practiced during this time.

What is self care? Self care is taking the time to put yourself first, to get in touch with yourself & your emotions, and to give yourself time and space to reflect and heal. It’s really something that everyone should be doing regularly, but is especially important in times like this, where it’s hard to avoid hearing or reading potentially distressing things. There are a lot of ways to practice self care, and a healthy form of self care is different for each person. Also, pro tip, be careful to avoid disguising unhealthy or self-destructive habits as self care. It’s way too easy to let that happen. Other than that, there’s not really a wrong or right way to take care of yourself – so your list might be totally different than mine!

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Continue reading “20 tips for practicing self care”

Your vote is your voice

I’ve spent all day trying to think of a blog post to write that does not focus on the election that is happening today. It hasn’t gone well.

It’s not that I don’t want to get political on this blog, it’s more that I don’t know what to say. I voted for Hillary Clinton in September during early/absentee voting. I’m with her, I don’t care about the damn emails, and I am so excited to have voted for the first female presidential candidate. I know that she’s not a perfect candidate and that there are lots of things that upset people about her, but I feel confident that she will do a great job leading our divided country. Having a Democrat as our president will help our country get where it needs to go in so many ways, and hopefully this election can help the House and the Senate actually achieve things in the near future – mind blowing idea, right?

My insides jump and flop any time I think of the outcome of this insanely important election, and that there’s nothing I can do about it at this point. Maybe if I had volunteered for the Clinton campaign by canvassing or phone banking, I would feel less helpless – I have no real excuse for sitting by and not helping out. Part of me felt reluctant to do anything surrounding the campaign (aside from our yard sign!) because I’ve had difficulty putting into words why exactly Clinton was the best candidate for this election – it feels like common sense to me, and I get flustered and overwhelmed when I talk about politics. I just can’t seem to get the words together, and feel ashamed about my inability to be vocal for something that is so important. That is also part of the reason why I really didn’t want to write a blog post on Election Day.

But here we are. 

Here I am, sitting at home, refreshing the election results every two seconds, watching episodes of Friends that I have seen at least 8 times, trying to distract myself from the election by doing research on my dream of opening a coffee shop/bookstore business, and forcing my cats to cuddle with me. The anxiety is giving me a headache, and I’m dreading each refresh. I can’t look away, but I need to.

Whatever happens, the sun will still rise. The Earth will still turn, and we will have to find the light in what could be a very dark situation.

See you tomorrow!

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Motto Monday

Do you ever try to get a song stuck in your head? Like on purpose?

This song has been my jam lately. I’ve been listening to it when I get ready in the morning, while I’m writing, when I run, cook, shower, dance around my living room, you name it. It’s got such an upbeat and positive vibe, and it’s so catchy! I find myself purposefully trying to play it over and over in my head when I’m getting a little stressed out at work, or when I’m trying to push out those ever-present negative thoughts, oops. It’s just so dang good.

What’s your current mood-lifting tune? I’m trying to create a playlist to listen to while writing and want all of the suggestions!!

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Feelings on friendship

It’s hard to make friends.

It’s hard to make friends when you’re an introvert, a generally awkward person, a young & childless military spouse in a place that is new to you, and a liberal & not religious military spouse at that.

I have learned so. dang. much. about adulting in the past year since we moved to Ohio. I’m in that post-grad identity crisis stage still, which is weird enough on its own, but pile on the desire to make friends in a completely new environment where you don’t know anyone, and still being a newlywed, and you’ve got a LOT OF FEELINGS ALL THE TIME.

When I say that I’m not great at making friends, I mean long-lasting, deep friendships. I’m the kind of person who has a lot of acquaintances and people that I can talk to, chat with, enjoy spending time with at social events. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting to know people on this level, but sometimes I want something more complete. I often end up with just a few close friends, and unless I’m living near those friends, those friendships tend to be more distant than I’d like. I’m not the best at keeping up communication – just ask my mom when I last called her! 😫

Some people are so lucky to be able to form fast friendships that last and have depth, closeness, and heavy meaning, no matter where they go. I envy religious people who can connect through their faith to people and use that as a basis to form friendships, and develop those deeply through fellowship and study. I think that is a beautiful thing, but I’m not a part of a faith that allows me to have that right now. Mothers also instantly have something in common, a shared experience of giving life & raising children, and that can help form fast friendships. I don’t have kids yet, and understand that having kids majorly changes your life, your focus and your priorities, and that it might be harder to become friends with women that don’t yet share those experiences. I can still keep my fingers crossed that I’m just making up that idea though!!

I put such a focus on military spouses because that’s one of the most prominent parts of my identity at the moment. I don’t have a life-defining career, so the main way that I can find and make friends is through the group of Air Force spouses that I am a part of here in Dayton. There’s a shared experience that military spouses have that gives us a way to feel instantly connected to each other, and allows us to explore friendship – but many of us have big differences! I am a liberal, pro-choice feminist, and just by typing those few words, I might instantly alienate a lot of military spouses that I’d hope to be close friends with. I don’t generally have a problem being friends with people who don’t share all of my views, but I know that other people might find it more difficult, and that the closeness I’m looking for sometimes comes from sharing those types of views and ideals. Of course, maybe it’s not “worth it” to pursue friendships with people that would be turned off by big parts of my identity, but it still feels so discouraging to mentally cross more names off the list of potential friends.

Lately, I’ve been putting myself out there a little more, have been more active in these groups, and have been putting more of an effort into the chances that I do have to connect with other women and make friends. And I think it could be starting to pay off! I’m continuing to meet more women that I’m excited to get to know better and to see more often, and I think that feeling is mutual with some of them! I know that building lasting friendships takes work, a spark, effort, and that it won’t always work out the way I might hope – but here’s to hoping.

Also, I am totally aware of how freaking cheesy this whole post sounds, but sometimes my brain just really likes to write cheesy-ass things. #sorrynotsorry

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