My List of Happy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

First of all, a big, big thank you to those of you who commented on my last post. Your words really comforted me during a rough week and reminded me that we're all searching for meaningful work that compliments how happy we know we can be. After I gave my notice at my job last week, I have felt an enormous weight lifted from my shoulders and am reminded of the many, many things I am grateful for. Sometimes it's the little things and sometimes it's the really, really big things.

So here it is, my current little list of happy.

Long naps. Morning smoothies. Giggling children and snuggling babies. Getting lost in a good book and then another. Checking things off the to do list. Instantly watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix after taking a long break from the show. Saying goodbye to the graveyard shift. Dr. Praeger's sweet potato pancakes. New jobs. A best friend who never ceases to find a way to understand what I'm going through. Frozen yogurt. Kanye's "All of the Lights." Planning for a puppy. The unconditional love of my family. 70 degree days just starting to return. Bachelor nights with Jenner's mom. New friends. Eyelash extensions. A trip to Palm Springs with a few of my adored ladies. A love who loves me through the hard stuff.

What's on your happy list?

Going Back to School, Quitting Your Job
& Not Being Good At Everything.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I've been struggling - really, really struggling - and I am happy to report that things are about to change.

After I was offered two jobs that I considered to be of the dream variety last year, I was told I had to go back to grad school for a quarter. (If you read my blog every now and again, you probably already know this.) Now if you have finished graduate school, you know there is serious celebrating involved with reaching this milestone. I'm talking going out to dinner with your family to your very favorite, and most expensive in town, sushi restaurant while throwing back saki bombs. You may have even thrown yourself a party because, and let's be honest here, there were moments you thought you might never get that degree, moments you almost threw your hands in the air and marched to the nearest Arby's to fill out an application. People can say what they want, but graduate school is hard. Hard to start and even harder to finish. Compounding this difficulty is the fact that most of us have full time jobs by the time we embark on this journey and it's a lot of work. Don't let anyone tell you any different; it's a lot of work.

When you are informed that you have to go back to school once you have already finished, celebrated and told everyone who will listen that you never, ever, ever have to write another research paper for the rest of your life, you may kick and scream and and cry and try to fight this. However, at the end of the day, you chose this career and you worked this hard because it's the one thing you can't see yourself not doing. If you were a cheesier person, you might say this is the job you were born to do, but since you're not, you won't.

As much as I hated having to go back and write more research papers, I was in this position because I fell in love, threw caution to the wind, without a second thought to how it might affect my licensure requirements as a therapist, and moved to the desert. And you know what? It was worth it. Even with all the extra work and hoop jumping and struggles, I would do it all the same. Time and time again, I would do it over.

So, during the fall, I went back to school. I also had knee surgery. Those two dream jobs were a distant memory and I was a girl on crutches in need of a paycheck. Thanks to the help of some very lovely people, I was offered the weekend graveyard position at a psychiatric hospital doing intake. I didn't know the first thing about intake or the fact that working the graveyard would make me actually want to bury myself in one, but decided to give it a go. And I did. I gave it my very, very best. At four in the morning, I faxed and compiled, called insurance companies and held the hands of parents who had to place their children in our care. It looked nothing like therapy and utilized almost none of my skills, but I put as much heart as I could into a job that didn't always care how much I cared. (This is not to imply that my workplace is an uncaring place. Not at all. Intake is just not therapy and therapy is my way of helping people. Period.) And as much as I tried to convince myself that I didn't, I hated it.

On Saturday, after coming home in tears two days in a row, I quit. I quit thirty minutes after receiving an email (at 9:30 on a Saturday night) from one of those aforementioned dream jobs offering me a position out of nowhere. I am very happy to tell you two things. 1) In a few weeks I will be going to bed at midnight - instead of just starting my shift and 2) in a little over a month, I will be what I think I may have always been meant to be - a children's therapist.

This whole experience has been really hard on me, but it has also taught me so much. Do you remember Amelia Bedelia from the children's books? The housekeeper who got almost everything wrong? Well, that was me in intake. It was a whole lot of data entry and paperwork and I somehow managed to fail miserably at almost every task I attempted. Because I am a pretty sensitive person who doesn't like to screw up, I took this failure to heart and thought it was a reflection of me.

Then it hit me. We don't have to be good at everything. We just don't. We have to roll with the punches and make the most out of the times we have the least. We have to try our best. We have to be kind. (And, yes, these are the rules according to me.) What else do we have to do? We have to try and find a way to be happy in times that are sometimes anything but. We have to try to be the best versions of ourselves even during the worst of times. More than anything else, perhaps, we have to discover what we're brilliant at and find a way to give that gift to the world. For me, I have always been great with children. After almost 15 years as a nanny (to over 21 children), I can't wait to take my strengths with kids and parlay that into a career as a children's therapist. Life is too damn short to be miserable and to only focus on what we aren't good at when there is so much we excel in.

I hope that whatever it is you're good at, you find a way to do it. You deserve to be happy. We all do.

Falling Asleep on the Floor...
{A Lesson I've Learned from the Sims}.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Have you ever played the game The Sims? If you haven't, you should. It's like playing with Barbies, but about a million times more fun. There are hazards of this game, however, hazards I should warn you about. For example, your Sim might be a successful entrepreneur with a beautiful home, a gorgeous George Clooney Sim husband and three cute kids. Then you look around and realize that while your Sim is succeeding, you - on the other hand - are not. You (for example, of course) have been playing fourteen hours straight and wearing the same pajamas since Tuesday. Please take this warning seriously.

Moving on... One pesky little Sim antic is that when they haven't gotten enough sleep, they pass out on the floor. They usually wet themselves next followed by waking up damp, embarrassed, exhausted and uncomfortable.

You may be wondering where I'm going with this, but be patient. I am currently going on my eighth straight day of work and won't see a day off until another week passes. So far, I am at hour 70 of work and am tired in ways I didn't know were possible. In addition to my weekend graveyard shift (which always leaves me tired) and weekday nanny gig, I took an extra job this week that had me waking up at 5am. Needless to say, my internal clock is utterly and entirely confused.

My point? This week, at any given moment, I am silently willing myself not to pass out on the floor and pee my pants. It may not seem like a big goal, but if I can make it through the next seven days without following in so many of my sleepy Sims' footsteps, I will consider it a huge success.

What to Expect When You're Expecting...
a Puppy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I recently told my boyfriend that I'm expecting... a puppy.

A little creepy? Perhaps, but I need him to wrap his head around this idea because, people, come October, the stork is dropping this furry little baby off at my doorstep and I hope he or she has a doggie baby daddy.

What does expecting a puppy look like? Well, it means I get to gain weight (just kidding - I have actually bribed myself into losing weight with the promise of eyelash extensions if I make my weight loss goals), get all my ducks in a row (this includes getting really serious about finding just the right therapist position that will enable me to be a working mother) and reading lots of "how to raise the cutest/sweetest/most charming puppy in the world" books (two are on their way in the mail now). This also includes texting my little one's godmother for lots of advice.

I've let my future fur baby's grandparents know, as well as his auntie - Autumn Vegas (who owes me big since I will be watching her pup for a week while she jets off to the, wait for it..., Maldives) and his uncle, Russy. Let's be honest here, Russy is almost entirely to blame for the very strong case of puppy fever I contracted a couple of years ago and everyone knows the only known cure for puppy fever is, well, a puppy. The soon to be uncle is also the reason behind the kind of dog I want - part golden retriever, part cocker spaniel. I hope the baby inherits his uncle's good looks and charm, but not his neurosis. Sorry, Russ, but it's true.

So, there you have it, friends. Thank you for letting me share my good news! Oh, and don't you worry, I'll keep you posted and direct you to our registry when the time is right. ;)

New Year's Eve Photos, Thoughts and Joy.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy, happy (belated) New Year!

For so many of us, 2010 was a struggle. If for no other reason, I was happy to ring in the new year. This was my third Las Vegas NYE and my first off the strip. The boyfriend and I headed down to Fremont Street to drink champagne, laugh with our friends and dance it up (and in a fantastic romper he bought me for Christmas, no less). Right before the clock struck midnight, Jenner pulled me aside to tell me how happy he was to spend this last year with me, as well as how excited he was going into 2011 together. Of all the moments that night, that one meant the most. Oh, and then we clinked glasses and pronounced this would be the year we tried to move out of the green shag palace. That was the cherry on top.

In my last post, I mentioned some of the hardships I experienced in 2010, but what I failed to mention was what it had an abundance of, love. There will always be hard times, and life will deal me far more difficult times than I went through last year, however, I am so grateful for all the love and all the laughs. And there were and are many, many laughs.

NYE marked the first night post-injury that I attempted to wear wedges and, let me tell you, it was fun. I'm afraid that prior to my surgery, I found myself in a bit of a rut. I didn't really want to get all gussied up and go out. So, I holed up a lot at home, with a book and a pair of slippers. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE those kind of nights more than any other kind, but being forced to a) stay home due to surgery recovery and then b) working the weekend graveyard shift gave me the opportunity to really miss nights out on the dance floor. I ended the year regretting that I had taken my mobility for granted and started to make up for it on New Year's Eve.

I plan to continue making up for it well into 2011.

I love the photo above because I look so damned happy. That's a look I plan on wearing most of the year and I hope you'll join me in this new trend. I have a great feeling about what's to come and, from the bottom of my heart, I hope this is your best year yet.

Lots of love and laughs, dancing and happiness,

2010 - The Year I Had to
Suck it Up and Grow Up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2009 was a big, big year for me filled with love, change and stupidity. I assumed this year would be quiet in comparison. Turns out, I thought wrong...

So, here it is. 2010 in words - the setbacks, the stumbles and the smiles.

I started this year expecting great things. Instead, I quit my job, had to go back to graduate school, said goodbye to Friday and Saturday night fun by taking a weekend graveyard counseling position and ended up having surgery for a very painful fractured kneecap.

You see, this is the year I had to do the things I didn't want to do. In other words, this is the year I had to suck it up and grow up.

It started with quitting my job of almost a year. After several months of unhappiness and poor treatment, I made the decision to leave (because nobody puts Bailey in the corner). After applying to Nevada's Board of Clinical Professional Counselors, I was told that I needed to take one extra credit in five additional graduate level courses. So, I went back to graduate school and if you happened to read my blog around that time, you know that I had a really hard time accepting this. Oh, and then I found out I needed surgery. A surgery that ended up being far more complicated than I had ever anticipated with months of physical therapy, immobility and pain. Finally, there was the weekend graveyard shift and a Christmas without my family.

Each of the aforementioned items were things I did not want to do. I didn't want to leave a job where I felt as though I really made a difference (and got a great paycheck). I can promise you that in no way did I want to RETURN to graduate school and read more books and write more research papers. I never wanted to have surgery and I never, ever, ever wanted to work the graveyard shift or work the holidays. EVER.

Here, however, is what I have come to realize. Big girls suck it up, do the things they don't want to do (at least some of the time) and acknowledge all their blessings. And even during the hard parts, I am a very blessed person... Everyone needs to have the opportunity to stand up for themselves and find a workplace that values how much they care. As hard as it was to leave, I always knew - in my heart - it was the right decision... Everyone has to be tested; is this what you really, really want to do with your life? Do you want this so much that you are willing to do anything for it? It turns out, I did want it that much... If I had been in Washington when I had my surgery, I would have turned to my family and they would have entirely taken care of me. Although I certainly had people help me, I was forced to learn to rely on myself in ways that make me proud... What else can I tell you? My days working the graveyard shift are numbered and I know for sure that unless I find myself with 12 mouths to feed someday, I will never work these hours again. Why? Because I value my mental health... And as much as I hated being away from my family for the holidays, I felt a part of myself strengthen from this experience.

What else? I'm glad you asked...

Fake eyelashes. Sushi. Growing pains. One ugly gym. Seeing Phoenix at the Hard Rock. Trips to California. A perfect Valentine's day. A birthday surrounded by new friends. Autumn Vegas. My karaoke debut. (Even more) puppy love. The art of happiness and costume parties. The return of Mary Poppins. Pop Culture. Falling in love with San Diego. Wearing fake moustaches on the strip. Twice. Embracing my inner gay man. Zumba. Giving up cheese. Realizing that a cheese-less life wasn't one worth living. Personal trainer pain. The crazy bird lady who lives next door. Going to see my first love, Huey Lewis. Celebrating my one year anniversary with Las Vegas. Bloggers in Sin City. Fracturing my kneecap. Loving my boy. Quitting my job. Lake Tahoe. Kings of Leon on a summer night. New jobs. Major letdowns. Recovering from said setbacks on my mom's deck on the bay. Little boys I love. Finding myself in the desert. Going (back) to grad school. Hosting my best friends in my new city. Surgery. A Madonna Halloween costume. Graveyard shift. Intake Counselor. A redheaded soul. A new beginning.

I am going into 2011 having just told my boss that I am looking for therapy work DURING THE DAY, having finished my papers and received my extra credits with an almost healed knee. I also just returned from a few days with my adorable family. I can't think of a better way to bid 2010 farewell. If this year has taught me anything, it's that you just never know what waits in store for you. However, I still expect great things.

In 2011, I see a career I'm passionate about (instead of just a job), a whole lot more love and travel, a little less candy and a puppy by 2012. That's right, Jenner, a puppy.

To great expectations, rolling with the punches and the setbacks that make us stronger... To 2011!