The Best Decisions

For right now, the best thing I’ve been doing is not putting pressure on myself to write here.  I expect that it will come back again, but right now I have to let myself off the hook a little in terms of needing to write.  With that said, I am also allowing myself the freedom to get all inspired and want to write here and there, and Amy’s post today did it for me.

The Five Best Decisions I’ve Made in my Adult Life

1. Leaving my PhD Program

Sometimes we are on a path and we let that become our identity.  I was 19 when I decided to major in Sociology and I knew that that path would lead to grad school and a PhD.  It was a huge lesson in learning to trust myself and trust that I could change my mind.  I remember the day I decided to leave the program.  I was walking to class, feeling miserable, thinking about how I used to adore sociology.  I spend most of my undergraduate career talking the ears off of anyone who would listen about all the amazing things I was learning about (criminalization of drugs!  gender inequality and power in marriages! marxism and the bourgeoisie!).  Grad school took all that joy away.  On that walk, I was playing with the idea of leaving in my head and when I did a weight lifted.  The simple idea of a life outside of academia was the happiest thought I had thought in weeks, so I went towards that.

I still got my MA, so that's something.

2. Moving to a new town, with no friends but my Grandparents, and living on my own.

I still can’t believe that I did this sometimes.  Have I ever mentioned that I picked my grad school based off of the relationship I was in?  I picked my college based off of (in part) to its proximity to my boyfriend.  I was developing a pattern of making huge decisions for the wrong reasons.  This decision was my own.  I went to the store and picked out my new bed alone.  I signed the apartment lease alone. I could decide to drive to LA Friday after work and not run it by anyone.  I could stay out late Thursday night and no one cared.  I learned about myself.  I learned about boundaries.  I learned how to connect the wireless internet, kill spiders, and hang wall art straight.  Most importantly I learned that I could do a hell of a lot more than I thought I could.  This was the period of my life that I gained ALL THE CONFIDENCE and I walked around feeling like I could handle pretty much anything life threw at me.

3. Forgiving my Mom.

Having a parent battle any addiction is hard.  (duh?)  It took my mom years, and one serious relapse, to get her life back. At the time she was going through everything, it was really crucial for me to put distance between us.  I could not be responsible for her sobriety, and that was incredibly difficult.  In a lot of ways I lost my mom during those years.  When she had been sober for a couple of years, I had a really hard time trusting the permanence of her sobriety.  I was also really angry.  I would recoil when she tried to hold my hand.

Miles changed everything.  Since the moment he arrived, I got it.  I understood my mom better.  I know she loves me as much as I love Miles.  Love heals a lot of wounds people.  My mom is the best Grandma.  I call her almost every day, because I genuinely want to.  Miles was a like the off-button for all of my anger and resentment… all I feel now is forgiveness and the desire for her to live closer to me.

4. Keeping the Baby.

Mike and I had been dating for a whole of 1.5 months when I found out I was pregnant.  An abortion could have been a real option for us.  We’d be crazy to have a baby after such a short time, right?

We chose Miles instead.  Of course this decision is the biggest decision I have ever made, but it’s also one of the best.  I am a better person because I am his Mamma.  My priorities have been adjusted to include a large amount of building obstacle courses for Miles to climb over.  He is so full of joy and mischief.  Life is better with him by about a million points.

 

5. Marrying my Baby’s Daddy.

Life is hard sometimes.  Sometimes we both get stressed out and we clench our jaws until we can just get through that day.  Most of the time, though, he’s a treat.  He’s my best friend.  I look forward to Miles falling asleep at night because it means I get to hang out with Mike.  I have full faith in him and us.  I want to have more babies with him and to spend my vacations sipping wine with him.  He’s hilarious and a good dancer and he adores me.  We chose each other and haven’t looked back since.

 

What about you guys?  What are the best decisions you’ve ever made?

New Things!

Today is my last Monday at this job.  I have been here for almost 3 years and most of the time I have absolutely loved it, but then things started changing.  I work at a non-profit and every six months there were layoffs and budgets crises.  There was no where to be promoted to and there was no funding for anything even looking like a performance based raise.  But I got pregnant, so I knew that I had to stay put.  So I commuted the 1.5-2 hours every day while I was pregnant.  I tried to make the best of it and took the train, trying to convince myself that the train was a blast!

I came back to work part-time.  Still commuting.  Still stagnant career-wise.  So I started applying for new jobs in January.  After three rounds of maybe’s and interviews with companies that didn’t work out, one finally came through.  Proving right the thing I kept telling myself “The right job will work out.  If this one doesn’t work out, it wasn’t the right one for me.”

A week from today I start a new job.  Full-time, but only 8 minutes from my house.  The pay is significantly better, the perks boggle my mind, and I am pumped.  I will be doing Marketing Operations for a team that is part of Boston Scientific.  Miles will stay in the day care he is at now until summer comes, then Mike gets to spend the summer 1-on-1 with Miles.  In the fall we’ll be able to afford to send him to the best damn day care I could find.  It’s so nice that when I saw pictures online and thought to myself “Miles could really go here”, I cried.  This job is huge for our family.  A career change with so much room for growth and promotions.  I am so excited and nervous and mostly pinching myself that it’s happening.

Mike and I have been saying that AS SOON as I get a new job we wanted to turn a corner of our living room into a space for Miles.  His things have been haphazardly hanging out all over the apartment, mostly in the way.  So we celebrated the new job this past weekend by moving my desk and computer out of the living room and getting a few things to make the corner “Bubs Corner” (We call Miles Bubs, I’ve mentioned that right?).  When I got back from the store with the supplies Miles was napping so we got to set it all up without him knowing about it.

All it took was a mat and a mirror.

And Miles loved it.

 

Holding My Breath

I have been feeling like I am in the weeds lately.

I don’t even want to acknowledge that I took pictures of Miles for his 3 month-a-versary-of-life and then didn’t post them.  Little dude is now 4.5 months old.  (Which means I also have his 4 month pictures on my camera.)  You see, he got sick around 3 months, and I went back to work.  That was a lot to deal with.  I’ve been back at work now for almost 2 months, and the adjustment has been hard.  Not because work is hard, being away from Miles is hard, which duh.  When I get home I want to smother him in kisses and then I generally collapse on the couch and try to snuggle my husband because I HEAR THAT’S IMPORTANT and then we’re asleep by 9pm.

Miles is amazing, by the way.  His new thing is rolling on purpose and blowing raspberries.  Very cool.

Every part of me loves being a mom and wife, it’s challenging and rewarding and so much fun.  Now I just need to figure out what the hell I am doing professionally.

And while I am waiting, trying to figure out the details I am having a really hard time writing.. or really talking/doing things.  I am constantly perusing job listings, applying, waiting, interviewing, waiting, not getting jobs, crying, drinking champagne in a bathtub and feeling sad, applying some more.  Something needs to change and move.  I just don’t know what or when it will happen and the waiting thing has never been my strong suit.  Rejection is also not super high on my list of “Things I am Good At”.

So, I have momentary tunnel vision until I get this all sorted out.

It will all work out.  It will be worth it.  That’s what I keep telling myself.  I will find the perfect situation for me and then I will continue coming home to this little face BUT hopefully by then I will also be able to write again.

Goals, Renovation, and Guts

Do you have the guts to make those big leaps in your life?

You know the leaps I’m talking about.  The kind of leaps that get you out of the relationship you’re in that doesn’t feel good to you anymore, or the leaps that get you to put the distance between yourself and a parent who is unstable, or the leaps from a secure job you hate into a large expansive insecure world of working for yourself.  They’re all scary.  Change can be overwhelming.

I’ve been making leaps a lot lately… a process that I have compared most to home renovation.  You start with the bathroom, and that leads you to rethink the bedroom… then the hallways don’t match.. so you keep going down the list until the house you started with has been completely renovated.  Room-by-room renovation is WAY less intimidating than starting out with the plan to change everything.

Here’s What I Know Right Now.

  1. My unhappiness alarm should be set to a more sensitive setting.  I am a LARGELY happy person.  I find the silver lining.  I seek to learn the lesson from whatever situation made me fussy.  Here’s the thing though: If I am doing everything in my power to make my attitude a positive one and I still find myself wanting to cry, something needs to change.  Bad days happen.  Rough patches come but I will be damned if I allow myself to be unhappy for an extended period of time.
  2. I’m not the one with the guts.  If I were left to my own devices I would more than likely stay rooted in fear, afraid to jump anywhere.  I am the queen of thoughts like “Well, it’s bad but at least I know what this bad looks like.  Maybe it’ll get better by itself.”  Want to know where I get my guts?  From my friends and family.  The people who believe that I can do things that I am not even sure I’m capable of.  Whenever I get timid, I call one of them up and they tell me that they have absolutely NO doubt that I can do this.
  3. I know you THINK this is uncharted territory, but it’s probably not.  If you can give me an example of some life change/job change/personal change that has NOT been done by someone I will bake you a cake.  This is not to say that it’s not intimidating as hell from where you’re sitting, but I am saying that there are resources out there for you.  Do not reinvent the wheel.  You’ll spend an inordinate amount of time crafting your wheel, and it will end up looking at best life that other wheel someone made.   Look for a mentor, someone who has done what you want to.  Ask them what advice helped them.  Ask them what books they read.  Write that shit down, buy those books.  Become a student of whatever change you want to see happen.
  4. Have an effing blueprint.  You want change.  You want it now.  I get it.  BUT do not take a sledgehammer to your life without a plan guys.  Make some lists.  Make a plan.  Sure, you can get out of that relationship TONIGHT and deal with the consequences tomorrow but how much better prepared would you be if you spent some time processing and making an action plan before you make the big move?  You don’t have to pull the rug out from below yourself, that’s just silly.
My friend Jenny Blake is basically the BEST at helping people make blueprints.  She makes templates for just about everything and this is what she has to says are the steps to get from the point where you are thinking about changing something to actually doing it (and, of course she made a template that you can use):
  1. When you think of [topic], what are you most excited about?
  2. How does this [topic] fit in with your vision of your highest self?
  3. What is your goal in this area? Now double it. What is the version of the goal that is so big you are afraid to admit (even to yourself) for fear of failure?
  4. What’s holding you back / What are you afraid of?
  5. What support do you need to move forward?
  6. What one next step would make the biggest impact to move your forward (or help with your decision)?
  7. What would achieving this get you?
  8. Close your eyes and ask each major decision-making system for advice: What does your head say? What does your heart say? What does your gut say? How can you reconcile the three? (Okay so I cheated and combined four questions in one)
  9. Dig even deeper. What do you really want?
  10. What are you waiting for?

What kind of BIG changes are YOU thinking about making?