Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New What??

     It's that time of year again. The time during which everyone pretends to open their eyes and realize what they have been ignoring for the majority of their life. That wonderful time when the calendar rolls over and people pretend that they'll truly be making that change this year. After all, they've made their new year resolution!
     If you haven't caught it just yet, I think new year resolutions are silly. Not just silly, but downright stupid. If a person wants to change something in their lives they shouldn't need a date on the calendar or a ball to drop to get them started. Anyone who is serious about change will just work towards it. Individuals who are truly interested generally do not even need a deadline. Change is something that will take time, regardless of who you are or what you'd like to change. There will be setbacks, things will come up. Sometimes the changes are easier or harder than you'd expect and that can effect the time period that it is necessary to put in. To wait for January first to make a change you believe in is silly, and it serves as an excuse to put off change. 
     That being said, everyone around me knows that I've been through quite a bit of change, especially in the last few months, although the argument can be made that real change began a little over a year ago. Last December was when I was interviewing for masters level positions in my field, preparing to leave the job that I'd been at for some time. It was when I met my future parents-in-law. It was when I began to truly become a part of Chris's family, just as he'd been working to become a part of mine. It was when I finally started letting go of all kinds of awful things that had happened and started focusing on me, my life, and my family. 
     I don't hate using the new year as a time for retrospection. It's always a good idea to set aside time to look back and see what has been done and what we've learned from it. It's ok to miss the people we've lost, recognize our appreciation for the ones we've gained, and enjoy the memories we've collected. 
     Use your new year however you like. Try to stay safe, (don't drink and drive!) and enjoy yourself. I'll be using mine to keep growing, becoming a person that I like more and more every day. I'll also be using this year to actually plan our wedding, and tonight I'll be working on relearning how to knit and crochet! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tis The Season!

Hey now, don't worry, I haven't forgotten about my darling blog. I've just been busy! I know a couple of the pople who read are fairly regular readers and can become concerned when I haven't written in a while. I may let the entries get farther apart, but I highly doubt I'll be ending the writing I do here any time soon. It's too much of a stress relieving tool for me to let go! So take this awesome web comic and don't worry.

Here it is:

     With Christmas coming up and Thanksgiving just having passed, this is a time of year that most people do a lot of thinking about their lives and the people in them. I, on the other hand, evaluate my life and it's direction regularly, and over the past 2 years have made a habit of paying attention to the people within it and how I feel about them regularly as well. It's kind of like New Year Resolutions. Some people need a certain time of year to inspire thought, analysis and change. I don't make New Year Resolutions because I think that it's silly to need a date on a calendar to make a change in your life. 
     Life changes constantly if you're doing it right. Stagnation (as far as I'm concerned) is a sign of failure. For life to be entertaining and productive I have to have change and motion. The change can be as simple as trying new types of therapy at my job, taking on new types of clients, or working towards adding new resources or programs. It can be more complex, like starting classes or applying to doctoral programs (I've successfully pushed of application for at least another year since I was nervous about it and didn't feel ready. Not my finest moment, but I know that if I start it before I'm ready I won't do as well as I can.). The changes for me can even manifest themselves as something much bigger like planning our wedding and our move. Side note: don't stress out anyone, the move isn't rapidly approaching or anything. It won't be for quite some time, it's just something I should prepare for so that everything goes smoothly and we can be happy with everything that we decide on.
     Now, over the past few months some of the changes in my life were forced upon me without my consent. Losing two of my ex-boyfriends, on of which was a really great friend of mine, forced me to adapt and evaluate certain things before I wanted to. When someone close to you in age, physical proximity and friendship is ripped from the fabric of your universe it can force you to look at many of the aspects of life. Kirk and I used to have a lot of very deep discussions about life, love, and the universe. Now I may have to deal with those deep thoughts on my own.
     Even with the loss of people that I love very much the analysis of my life had a positive result. 

First: I'm happy with my job. It can be really hard work and sometimes I hear awful, tragic stories of neglect, abuse, distorted thoughts, and many other things that can make a child's life difficult to live. That aspect of my work can be very difficult, but it drives me to do my job and constantly work to improve my skill set. For some of the kids I see I'm the closest thing to a functional adult that they have in their lives. Once we get over the irony of that statement and control the laughter that comes with it we can get back to the point, which is that I have the opportunity to change these children's lives. I can help them to repair some of the damage that has been done to them and help guide them to a healthier life, hopefully breaking a societal cycle for some of them. I've had some clients outwardly state that after seeing me they've not only made a conscious decision to do things differently than the people surrounding them, but also feel prepared for the changes and uphill battle that they may encounter. Hearing that from client's is amazing. It makes every tough session or cancellation worth it. I've also seen younger children grow and develop, with the work that I've done with them clearly having an effect on them, and sometimes having their parents tell me how much of a difference I've made. I'd still do my job out of love for the field without these rewards, but seeing and hearing these things may change me as much as I'm told I've changed others. I wish that everyone will at some people have experiences as rewarding as my job is.

Second: I'm happy with my personal life. I'm sad over my losses just like anyone would be. I sometimes find myself wishing that some things hadn't happened the way that they did. When this happens I take a look around and see that the people close to me are exactly what I want. The friends that I hold close are different than I've had in the past, and I now have reciprocal relationships (for the most part). Everyone will always have their melodramatic moments, myself included, but I'm finally around people that are not in a constant state of emotional emergency that they need me to fix for them. I finally have friends that are as interested in being supported and helped by me as they are in being helped and supported themselves. For the longest time I thought that friendships were just what I'd been a part of, one girl always needing, wanting, demanding time energy and attention. Those relationships were draining, and after a little while they started to feel more like obligations than friendships. Now I'm old enough and aware of my situation so I can choose my obligations, and I choose ones that have as much return as they require in output. I am fairly confident in my ability to judge character now and even though I might take my time trusting people or letting them get close to me, I judge better and I'm not afraid to admit when I made a mistake in letting a person into my life or keeping them out. I will work to remedy any mistakes that I've made. It's not easy to admit mistakes to yourself or others. Being able to do so takes effort and maturity.

Third: I'm happy with my family. Both the family I was born into and the one that I'm working on creating. Neither one is always easy. My biological family can be very difficult sometimes. It's hard to be a part of this family and have your own life sometimes. Caring for my sister, helping my mother, being an active daughter and sister in this atmosphere can be seriously challenging. Balancing this family and their needs with my own can be hard. Sometimes I have to change plans on very short notice. Sometimes I have to let my needs fall back until my family is taken care of and stable. Beyond needs is happiness, and my family's happiness is paramount. I would give almost anything to make and keep them happy, which sometimes means that I have to wait to help myself to do what they need. It's always been like that, so it isn't new. What's new is the balance I've been working towards and achieving more often. I'm proud of the growth that I've experienced, growth that helps my family and myself. The family I'm building has to try to grow while we maintain the family I was born into. Like a little sapling that's trying to grow in the shadow of a big, fully grown tree. The big tree gets the nutrients, the sunlight, and is seen by people. The sapling has the benefit of being protected by the bigger tree from threats and elements, but has to be strong and work harder because the big tree gets all of the nutrients and necessities, leaving the sapling with what's left. Our sapling is finding a way to get what it needs. That is a challenge. I'm proud of how strong and understanding my partner is. He makes sure our sapling grows. 
(That got super gross and sappy. Gag. Sorry about that.)

Fourth: I'm happy with the direction that I'm going. I'm working hard in almost every area of my life, including the leisure aspect. I've dedicated time and energy to becoming mentally healthy. Managing my anxiety and moods, working on relaxation, focusing on what I need to be a better, happier, and healthier person. I'm focused on today and the future. I'm ready for what life has to throw at me and I'm happy with the people who will be by my side when it comes. 

     I'll never stop missing the people I've lost, but I will always do my best to appreciate what they've done for me. No matter how a person has left my life I will keep the memory of how they have changed me (for better or worse) and attempt to appreciate it forever.
     So if you do New Years Resolutions, start looking at your life, decide what you like or dislike, attempt to appreciate every aspect of your life, and make changes as you see fit. Don't let other people dictate your life or decisions. Take control and take responsibility. When you own your decisions and create your life you can fix it, change it, and take pride in it. True autonomy. Being in control feels great!

Check out this super sweet drawing our security guard did for me!!!

Super duper congratulations are in order (even if they are a little late) to my friend Karla, who achieved her Masters of Psychology in the spring. Caring people make wonderful therapists, so I'm sure she'll be successful!

Also, for everyone who loves gossip and/or drama: The person whose part in my life inspired me to start this blog got engaged. I'm not sure why people want to tell me about what goes on in that girl's life, especially since she's not a part of mine anymore and I'm happy for that. Still, people want to share this kind of stuff with me for some reason. My suggestion to those of you that have told me you've developed some kind of feelings given how everything happened between us is this- be happy for her. I never dreamed of my wedding, and even being engaged for a year and a half I still don't know what I want, other than to spend the rest of my life with Chris. That girl has been waiting and wishing for a husband since I can remember and she'll finally have it. It's comprable to my masters degree. Something I always knew I wanted and was so excited to finally have. So if you know her, congratulate her. If you don't and have some feelings about her just because of me and that situation, add some good will to the pity that goes her way.