Embracing 41

I celebrated my 41st birthday on Tuesday! I originally did not have any plans except to meet with my client. Other than that, I planned to be a bum all day. My client and her husband surprised me with a mini birthday cake (trimmed in my favorite color – purple) and a bag of my favorite candy, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! They even sang to me. I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with emotion.

I had church choir practice that evening, which I originally planned to skip. However, I am glad I went. I got another rendition of happy birthday sang to me. As much as they get on my nerves at times, I love them! Afterwards, I went to dinner with two of my fellow choir members and the other part of my trio. I decided to try a new restaurant and surprisingly had a great experience (I typically have horrible experiences whenever I eat out). I even got a birthday shot from the bartender.

To continue the celebration, I went to a B2K concert in St. Louis. It was quite the experience. LOL. I am working on getting out of my comfort zone.

I met with my therapist today and in addition to working on decreasing my anxiety when I’m driving at night and over bridges (I had a major panic attack a couple of weeks ago and they are happening more frequently), I am to work on journaling/blogging at least twice a week and to focus on postive things (versus the negative all the time). This will be a challenge for me as both my therapist and life coach have noticed how even if I say something postive about myself, I turn back around and follow it up with a negative. I have to learn to quit fixating on the negative and recognize the positive things about me and in my life.

I looked up what the number 41 signifies. I came across a couple of things.

  1. Biblically, it signifies separation. Which I find interesting because I was unaware of that until today, but I have been working on intentionally separating myself fron certain people, things, habits, thought processes, etc.
  2. According to a numerology website, it means conscientious, a sense of personal freedom, and working on securing a foundation for the future. I have been re-evaluating my life and trying to figure out how to make my non-profit profitable and sustainable. I have also been working on improving my finances so that my future is more secure for myself and my children.

I’m excited to see what chapter 41 has in store for me! Happy birthday to me!

Is it really spring?

The calendar says that spring started a couple of days ago. I am not convinced. My emotions are just a dreary as the the long, cold, bitter winter we experienced this year.

I am not even sure where I want to head with this post. I’ve been trying to write for the past few days and just haven’t been able to do so.

I started therapy. I had my first “real” session this week and my assignment is to ponder my relationships – if I want more or have I settled for how things are? This stems from my statement that I do not think that I will ever get married and that I will likely be alone/lonely after my last child leaves the house (he’s 9 and 1/2 now). Yes, I technically have people in my life that I would consider friends, but none of them are really “deep” relationships. We hangout out and have a good time, they celebrate my joyous moments and encourage me, but I don’t trust them to be there when I need them.

For example, I’m have a really difficult time right now emotionally and mentally (after something I saw on freaking Facebook, ugh). I attempted to call one person, they didn’t answer, so I have turned my phone off, making myself unavailable. Is that fair? Probably not, but at this point I don’t want to be bothered. I have someone else I could call but they don’t/won’t understand so I don’t feel like being patronized or told to “get over it.” But enough about that.

I FINALLY purchased my books to begin studying for the certified diabetes educator exam. I am excited and nervous at the same time. I know that it will benefit me and the work I am striving to do within my community, I just do not do well on big exams (and it costs a nice piece of change).

I am excited that I get to start teaching another diabetes prevention cohort on April 1st. I have to travel about 30 miniutes to Jefferson City, but I am willing to go where the need is. I have also made some wonderful connections that will help my non-profit expand its reach in the community.

So why am I a total emotional wreck? I once again feel like I’m not good enough.

My birthday is in two days. I don’t even want to be around any one on my birthday. I have zero excitement about my birthday this year. I need to shake off this funk and focus on the positive things going on in my life. (If only it were that easy.) C’est la vie.

Mid-March Update

March has been a very unusual month for me and we are only halfway through it.

I have only worked ONE day since February 17th. One week was for a scheduled staycation. The remainder of time has been due to what started as a lower back injury due to rearranging my house, which later changed to sacroiliac joint (i.e. hip) pain. Due to the nature of my work (a bedside nurse), I have been restricted from working. Thankfully, I will get a needed injection next week and will hopefully be able to return to work without restrictions. I sure miss my coworkers and the patients that I have the privilege to care for.

In the meantime, I have been keeping myself busy with ways to make my nonprofit successful. I have a few (more) potential partnerships in the works. I had lunch with a wonderful member of the community who understands the trials of having a small non-profit organization and was given some tips on ways to raise funds. I have been preparing for a college health fair next week where we will have a booth to provide information about our programs. I was interviewed by a journalism student to discuss the work that I do with my nonprofit. I am excited that the name of the organization is starting to be mentioned in our community a little more. We are working hard on brand awareness.

I have also started classes in my new degree program, public health. I am enjoying the content of the class thus far, although I despise having a group project.

I have continued working with my life coach. I think I have cried at least once in each of the sessions. After a couple of very stressful situations trying to find a therapist, I had my first appointment with a psychiatrist today. It wasn’t too heavy since it was more focused on what I want to gain from my therapy sessions. I have my first “real” session next week, so I will definitely share my thoughts afterwards. I have continued working on one of my bad habits/obsessions and happy that I am slowly making progress.

I have enjoyed the amount of time that I have been able to spend with my 9 year old son. I have missed our mother-son dates. He may be getting tired of seeing me every day, but I am loving it. I feel comfortable with some of the changes that I have made because I know that I am providing a better life for the both of us. I still have a lot of work to do and progress to make, but I am going to enjoy each and every day and quit taking things for granted.

Movie date with my son

March Madness

I am normally super excited for the month March for a couple of reasons:

  1. My birthday is in March and I tend to celebrate the ENTIRE month!
  2. I love college basketball, so I enjoy having multiple NCAA brackets going during March Madness
  3. I usually have a week off work to enjoy my birthday and spring break with my children.

This year, things are going a little differently. I am a little bummed that I will not be able to travel this year for my birthday. However, my oldest son will be on spring break at the same time as my youngest son, which also happens to be the week of my birthday, so I get to spend some much-needed mother/son time.

A few days before my next session in school began, I made the decision to change my degree plan. I am no longer pursuing a nurse practitioner degree (at this time) but rather going the public health route, since that is more in line with my nonprofit work. It requires fewer practicum hours, which I need at this point in my life as I still have a young child at home, plus work full time, plus still trying to run my nonprofit. I recognize that I am not superwoman and that I want to spend time with my children as much as possible.

I have known that I needed counseling and coaching but have always found an excuse to not pursue the options. I have had a life coach for a couple of weeks now, and the sessions are going okay. The homework is challenging at times, but it helps me to get to the root of some of my issues. You know you truly need counseling when your life coach recognizes you need one. LOL. I finally took the step to contact an area practice and filled out the initial intake paperwork. Now, I am just awaiting the initial visit. I am really hoping I will “gel” with this therapist because I am not sure if I have it in me to go through the process all over again.

Basically, I feel like I am having the “crisis” I expected to experience last year when I turned 40 that didn’t happen. This is probably the most reflective I have been about my life. I just want to get to the place where I can enjoy the good things in my life for longer than a few minutes. I want to live the best life possible and savor each moment. I run on auto-pilot so often, that I often forget to relish the sun on my skin, or smell the roses, or enjoy a leisurely stroll down the street.

My goal for this year is to be intentional about achieving happiness in all areas of my life.

Social Media Angst

Featured

One of my goals for 2019 is to learn more about who I am, what makes me happy (or unhappy), and how to be a better person in general. I am often my own worst critic, and social media has done nothing but increase my level of insecurity.

Towards the end of January, I started to minimize the amount of time that I spent on social media, but Facebook in particular. (While I have Instagram and Twitter accounts, Facebook is the account I’ve had the longest and am most comfortable using.) I was that person who, the first thing I did in the morning, was to grab my phone and open my Facebook app. Anytime I had a free moment, I was on Facebook. It was absolutely ridiculous the amount of time I spent wasted on Facebook.

While I often used the excuse that this was the way to keep my friends and family informed of what is going on in my life, I had to be honest and admit that I spent more time exploring what others were doing in their lives and how my life was seeming inadequate. I love to see others succeed, I honestly do. I will support others as much as I can and be their biggest cheerleaders. However, I often got discouraged because no one “liked” my posts/photos, but someone else could post the same thing, and “everyone” likes/loves their post. I often felt, why am I not good enough to garner more likes or support? It went so far that I began to question whether I truly have friends, or if people really consider me to be their friend. It made me second guess my worth. I know it sounds ridiculous to base my worth on how many likes I get on a photo or a post, but if you have never struggled with self-esteem and self-worth issues, I do not expect that you would understand. As a people-pleaser, I often negate my feelings/desires to keep those around me happy, even if it makes me unhappy. I have always wanted to be accepted – which I think we all desire that on some level – and have often left others to decide what acceptance looked like.

My challenge for the month of February is to detox from social media. While I cannot delete or deactivate my accounts (because they are linked to my non-profit), I have removed the Facebook app from my phone because I am too lazy to take the time to log in via the internet to access my account. Plus, I don’t have to worry about being obsessed each time I see a notification (which unfortunately were usually only to inform me of events my friends were attending). I still jump on Instagram and Twitter occasionally, but thankfully, I am not “addicted” to those platforms. I am hoping that by the end of the month, I will be able to get on Facebook and not feel the need to compare myself to others or base my worth on how many likes I get.

How to let go?

I came across the quote above while reading a commentary.  As someone who is loyal to a fault, I have a hard time walking away from people, even when I know they mean me no good.  I like to think that everyone is “redeemable” and that I have it in ME, to “fix” them.  (That is really arrogant of me, huh?). I have often thought that I had enough love to heal all wounds.  One would think that after being hurt time and time again, that I would learn to walk away sooner.  I often stay in unhealthy relationships (platonic and romantic) for way too long, and if I am brutally honest, it is usually the other person walking away that causes things to end.  I have stayed at jobs that I hated because I didn’t want to upset anyone or leave my co-workers in a bind, despite not being respected or appreciated.  I have let “friends” use and abuse me and let men take advantage of my body and my kindness.  I have to learn to teach people how to treat me – people will only do what they are allowed to do.

While I do not know that I will ever stop being a kind-hearted person who wants to see everyone succeed, I am going to work on learning to walk away sooner and accept that I no longer serve a purpose in that individual’s life, and that is okay.

I challenge you to also learn to let go of any unhealthy relationships that may be hindering your progress.

Ready or Not, 2019 is Here…

I have been so negligent of this blog.  There are several reasons why, one being that I have been super busy with my non-profit and the other, I have been in an emotional funk for a few months.

There have been some pretty amazing things that happened in 2018:

  • I started a non-profit, Defense Against Diabetes, Facebook,
  • Working full time & maintaining a 4.0 GPA in grad school,
  • My oldest child graduated from high school & started college,
  • My daughter had her sweet 16,
  • I ran my first 1/2 marathon,
  • I bought a new car,
  • Had a successful first fundraiser, and
  • I formed some new friendships within the community as a result of my non-profit.

Yet, I still often feel/felt unfulfilled, inept, and not good enough.

As the year was drawing near a close, I started doing some soul-searching because I did not want to continue being bogged down with negative energy (most of which was self-inflicted) in the new year.  I am still on this journey of discovering where some of my deep-seated fears and anxiety stem from so that I can find a way to resolve those issues and continue on my journey of being the best me I can be.

I recently listened to “Girl, Wash Your Face” via Audible (because who has time to sit and actually READ a book?).  I really enjoyed the book and will actually purchase it because it made me think about some things that I have unresolved in my life that are the basis for why I push myself as hard as I do.  I totally related to the author on several fronts.

I am considering eliciting the help of a therapist as well as a life coach to help sort through the things I am aware of but have avoided dealing with, but also to discover the things that I never considered that have influenced me.  While the thought of this all is scary, I know that I have to do it, if I am ever going to be truly happy.  No one else has the power to make me happy, that is a decision I have to make on my own.  I have to learn more about me and figure out what makes me happy.

Cheers to the new year and the new me!