Monday, November 25, 2013

I'll Be Home for Christmas

GUESS WHO'S OFFICIALLY COMING HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS?!?!?!?

I've been stressing so hard over this. My life is just all a;slkjgad;slg;lsd right now, and I have no clue what will happen ever, so I've been trying really hard to go with the flow. But I need to come home for Christmas. NEED. I need to see family, see Christmas lights in the cold, help my dad prepare the shrimp, and, most importantly... help EAT the shrimp. And help drink the adult beverages. It's a very important job I have on Christmas Eve...

This upcoming Wednesday is my last day of work at my current place of employment. Today was my last day in the West Palm office. I had to say goodbye to my coworkers there, which was sad. I wouldn't have survived the past couple months without them. I'll be in the Stuart office tomorrow and Wednesday, running my last groups with my caseload up there. I hate saying goodbye to clients. Hate it. The ladies in my women's group are really upset that I'm leaving, and it makes me feel so guilty and sad. But, among other things, this place would not let me go home for Christmas, even without pay. I was going to have to work until 8PM on Christmas Eve. That is obviously not why I resigned, but do you know how upsetting that would have been for me?

My new job is much more flexible!

I'm going to start as a substance abuse counselor in a middle school here. That means school holidays off, including summer vacation. I will be able to get a part-time job in the summer to make some extra money and hopefully pursue something else I am passionate about on the side. Maybe get a job at M.A.C. or Sephora :) Plus, lots of time to visit family and friends and do last-minute wedding planning.

I think it's funny that I continue to gravitate toward working with children, even thought I keep insisting I would rather work with adults. Working with kids is a different kind of stress. You need to be patient, and you need the strength and assertiveness to work with their parents as well. That is the most difficult part. But when you actually help a kid learn to cope with something horrible, or steer them back on the right path away from substance use, or even just give them a reason to look forward to school every day, or give them the courage to go back home... that kind of reward is something I haven't found in any other aspect of this field.

That might sound selfish, but let's all be honest here. Yes, I wanted to get involved in this field because it's interesting, I'm good at it, and I feel like my background gives me a lot to offer as a counselor. However, you are all lying if you say you got involved in a helping profession solely for the purpose of helping others. You like to help others because it makes YOU feel good to make other people feel better. It's nice to know you're making a difference, sometimes a CRUCIAL difference, in someone's life.

Okay, I'm done my somewhat-controversial mini-tangent.

WE'LL BE HOME:
Friday, December 20th, at 10:00PM until Sunday, December 29th, at 4:00PM. Gotta catch the 6:00PM flight.

That gives us a good deal of time to see everyone! So if you're around and have some free time during the busy holiday week, please let us know.

Or you can just stop by my house after dinner on Christmas Eve and join me for my annual shot of Strega. Or 5.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First Trip Home and Other Assorted Goodness

I don't even know how to start this post, so I'll just throw a life summary at you, and then you can choose whether or not you'd like to continue reading:

I quit my job without having another job lined up, I went back to NJ for the first time in over 2 months, I came back and might have a new job now. BOOM.

Basically, I decided it was best for my own physical and mental health to peace out of my current place of employment. I am going to miss the clients and my coworkers so, so much, but I know this was the right decision for me. It just happened to be a very risky, terrifying one to make, seeing as Eric and I just moved in to a new apartment and need to pay bills... But I'm not going to be able to pay any bills if I have a breakdown. A lot of times, people in the counseling field forget to put themselves first, because we are so worried about taking care of other people. It was time for me to remember that I need to be the best I can be if I want to give my clients the best care possible. I explained this to my employer, and he was very understanding and supportive.

So, goodbye steady employment with benefits and good pay and supervision hours. Hello not having a clue where my life is going. My last day is Thanksgiving Eve.

I hopped on a plane with Eric that night to head home for the holiday weekend. My dad picked us up at the airport and brought us back to my parents' fall-festive house, where Eric's parents were waiting with my mom (and a crap load of cheesesteaks and pizza and snacks... score). It was the best feeling ever to get out of the car and smell the fall air and see the changing leaves and pumpkins on the porch. My house is the best in the fall. My mom left all the Halloween decorations up for me:




I guess it was nice to see family, too ;)

The weekend was a blur. We tried to see as many people as possible while we were home. We spent time with our families on Saturday. I went shopping and got my hair done with my mom.

Then we went to Dave and Sunny's wedding on Saturday night, which was amazing! It was so interesting to see Scottish and Indian culture combined. The groomsmen wore kilts and the bridesmaids wore saris. Plus, it was literary-themed, so all of the tables were named after Game of Thrones houses, and bookmarks were the favor. It was beautiful and unique and perfect. And I got to see a ton of MelUFriends!


Sunday we spent time with Eric's family in the morning, and went to Landmark for the Eagles game in the afternoon, where we probably got a little too into celebrating the fact that the Eagles were winning and we were in a bar filled with friends and locals wearing Eagles colors. I just can't bring myself to turn down $2 jagermeister shots after touchdowns. What can I say, I haven't changed too much...


We went back to my house after that for a giant family gathering, where I became a slightly intoxicated, emotional mess. Sorry guys, but I really was just so happy to be with everyone again. I couldn't stop thinking about leaving the next day and how much I miss everyone. Especially the kids. And Aunt Sean's chocolate chip cookies...

ANYWAY. I stopped by the Robins' Nest house on Sunday to see the girls and my old supervisor and coworkers. That job had some of the toughest hours I've ever worked, and it was difficult to get a new program started, but I can definitely say that it was one of the best working environments. I was actually EXCITED to "go to work" on my last day home. I really do miss everyone there.

Linny and I had a little Starbucks/Barnes & Noble sister time after that, where she bought me my first pumpkin spice latte, which I actually enjoyed, thankyouverymuch. And then, we did the most important thing on my entire trip home... Got pretzels. 10 for me and Eric, 10 for Kristin and Ben. She might have murdered me if I didn't bring them back. BUT I DID. So all is right with the world.



Of course I hadn't packed anything yet (gotta stay on top of my procrastinating game), so when I got home, I really needed to pack for the flight that afternoon. So we did a little fall scenery photoshoot instead, obviously.






Now, here is the crazy part. I pack all my shit up, and I'm sitting there about to cry, dreading going to work the next day, dreading leaving my family and friends, and dreading not knowing what is coming next in my life. I felt like I was back at square one, only with bills to pay now. So my dad is about to load the suitcases into the car and drive us to the airport, and I get a phone call.

I am basically the biggest introvert ever. I know I appear bubbly and outgoing and talkative, but it takes a LOT of energy for me to be that way. That being said, I screened the call from the unknown number, because it is terrifying for me to not be prepared for a phone conversation. I need to be able to read body language. Anyway, I listened to the voicemail when it came through, and lo and behold, it was a prospective employer calling to talk to me!

Needless to say, I called back immediately, risked us being late to the airport, and set up an interview for the next day at 9AM... the morning after flying back to Florida and not going to bed until 1AM... I do what I gotta do. It ended up going well. Everyone there seems very friendly. I would be a substance abuse counselor in a school, which means school holidays off, including summer vacation. The pay is not nearly as good as what I am making now, but I've definitely learned that money is not everything. If I can pay the bills and still save some, I am more than willing to cut out unnecessary expenses, like clothes and alcohol.

But maybe still buy SOME clothes and alcohol...

You get the gist. I could get a summer job as well during the off months. Even if I don't get this new position, I think it is way too much of a coincidence that things just keep magically working out for me. I know some of the decisions I have been making are risky, but the whole point of moving was so Eric and I could pursue HAPPINESS. So that is what we have been doing, risky decisions and all, and it has been working out for us somehow, some way.

It is obviously important to be prepared for the future, save money, and have a job, but it is nonsense to hold yourself to incredibly high standards that you know are jeopardizing your well-being. I would love a job in the counseling field, but I am willing to work at Starbucks, Publix, as a nanny, I don't care. Happiness is the main goal here, and I think American society as a whole has this idea that you are a failure if you aren't making six figures while working at a job that kills you.

You know what? I don't care. I want to be happy. If I'm happy bagging groceries with a Masters degree and I can still survive and pay my bills, leave me alone. There is nothing wrong with that. I am tired of being overly cautious and anxious and scared to do things that make me happy. Life is too short for that nonsense.

Monday, November 4, 2013

We do this cause we care, not for the thrill

Alright guys, here is my toned-down, internet-appropriate vent sesh that I have been wanting to unleash for weeks:

When I moved down here, I was a super hobo for two weeks. For two whole weeks of my life, I sat on my ass with Mango and Lex and applied for jobs. Applying for jobs was my full-time job, and I hated it. I felt discouraged, dependent, and, worst of all, like a moocher. I hated the fact that I was living in my friend's house, unable to contribute anything. Incase you don't know me very well, you should know that I am the type of person that absolutely hates feeling like I can not survive on my own. I don't want to rely on anybody but myself. Not my friends, not my parents, and definitely not a guy.

Besides that, I just really missed working. I felt useless. I missed talking to people and hearing their crazy stories. I missed using my brain. So when I got a job offer at a clinic after only two weeks of moving to a completely new state with no connections in the field, I was pretty damn proud of myself. I also was pretty damn sure that I needed to take this job if I ever wanted to get anywhere in Florida. I had a weird feeling after the interview, if you recall, but the job offered good money for having only a Masters degree (how sad is it that I need to say ONLY a Masters...), and it was doing exactly what I wanted to do.

Fast forward 6 weeks. I'm dry heaving more days than not, living off three hours of sleep a night, and my hair is starting to fall out. This job is the most anxiety-provoking thing I have ever encountered in my entire life. I'm not saying it's a bad place. I love what I actually do. What I'm saying is that some people can handle certain things about this job, and some people can't. I'm the kind of person that can't, I guess.

So I went to put my two weeks notice in today. I walked up there feeling like the biggest quitter in the entire world. I don't like to give up on things. But you have to realize, I'm not the kind of person that would quit without good reason, and I really need to stop beating myself up for wanting to do so. It's okay to not take shit from life sometimes. Life doesn't have to be a struggle all the time. Why make things harder for yourself when you know you can be happier? That's why we moved here, isn't it? Wasn't I telling Eric the exact same thing when he was debating taking the risk of quitting?

When I told my boss that I was putting in my resignation, I explained that I was very overwhelmed, and I didn't want it to be affecting my work. Clients deserve better than that. He went on a big spiel about how my work has been great, I'm learning so quickly, everyone here respects my work, and he's willing to work with me if I need to work part-time or only do certain things.

Now, I believe him when he says these things, not because I think I'm good at what I do (even though I am ;)) but because he's the kind of guy that has no problem firing people... yeah. So if I wasn't doing a good job, he would have just let me go. He said so... Besides that, I didn't even know stepping down to part-time was an option.

So now I need to let him know what I'm doing by the end of the week. I'm glad he's willing to work with me, and I think working part-time and finally going back to school in January for the rest of my credits for licensure would be ideal. I would still be making decent money. I'm just not sure working less days will solve the problems that are causing my hair to fall out, but I think it's worth a shot.....

Right?

Moral of the story is: Apparently I like to torture myself.

The other moral of the story is that I know I made the right decision in moving, because I am able to enjoy all other aspects of my life. I'm even able to enjoy the good things about my job and feel accomplished at the end of each day. I am able to stop the negative from overflowing into the positive. I was never able to do this before. I attribute a lot of it to the weather. It's November 4th and it's 78 degrees at 9PM. It's sunny, it's warm, and when I step out on my lunch break (if I have time to take it), I feel better just by letting the sun soak in to my skin. Instant high. It feels like chugging a bottle of Mountain Dew.

I miss the seasons, I miss my family and friends up north more than you guys know, but I am meant to live in the Sunshine State. I can see the changing leaves when I visit home... which I'm doing THIS WEEKEND! Stop by Landmark on Sunday to watch the Eagles game with Eric and me if you want to say hello :D

... whew. It felt good to get that out. If you're still reading this, mad props to you.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

WHERE AM I

Disclaimer: I am still not a grown-up no matter what you read in this blog post.

It's 7:00AM and I've been awake for an hour. I'd rather have extra daylight in the evening than an extra hour to party one Saturday night per year. You know you're old when...

Anyway, I woke up crazy disoriented this morning because I had no clue where I was. Today, my friends, I woke up in my first home with a boy! Ew. Another "you know you're old when..." moment. I've lived away from home so many times, but it has never affected me the way this is affecting me. It has never been permanent before. I always knew I'd end up back on Upton with my parents, in my green room with all my stuffed animals. Today, I woke up with the feeling that this is the rest of my life. I only have 3 stuffed animals shoved on a closet shelf, and my walls are white, and I have no food and no kitchen table yet to eat my non-existant food.

I know I can always go home if I need to, but I'm out on my own for real now. I need to make this place in Florida with Eric my home. I can't go 2 years without decorating the walls like I did in Baltimore... unless I want to live in a maddeningly blank white box for a year or two... but that isn't really an option this time. It's not like I can escape it, even on weekends.

The past two months have felt like a vacation. But today, I think it's starting to hit me that this is real life. THIS IS MY NEW HOME. In Florida. A thousand miles away from the northeast. With Eric.

We have a kitchen, living room, extra living area for our music equipment, a guest room, an office room, a bedroom, and two full bathrooms. It's a pretty big place, and it's nowhere near fully furnished yet, so it feels empty. But SOON, we will be getting guest room furniture and a desk for the office and a TV. And a kitchen table. We really need a kitchen table...










So, there are the parts of it that actually have furniture so far! All of that stuff was shoved into Kristin and Ben's back room. Literally piled to the ceiling. I have no clue how she does it, but Kristin is the most expert packer-inner I have ever seen in my entire life. Seeing her pack stuff is like watching a real-life game of tetris. Incredible, really. And the guys are master unpackers. It took less than an hour to get the furniture up to the third floor and in to our place! It took longer to install the ceiling fans and light fixtures than to bring in the belongings... what a pain in the ass. Thank god for Kristin and Ben and their family.

I am very happy to be here, and it's exciting to have a place with Eric. I just wish our family and friends could be here to see it. I can't wait to decorate. Eric's designer eye will come in handy for that :)

Besides that, not much has been going on. Kristin is just pregnant, that's all. HA! Gotcha! Finally, I can tell people. It's been eating away at me. Living with a pregnant best friend has made me think about a lot. First, it has made me think about how grateful I am that Kristin and Ben let Eric and I live at their house for their first trimester. I don't think I could ever thank them enough. I have some really amazing friends.

Second, it made me realize how much it must suck to have to hide being pregnant from people before you are ready to tell the world. You can only come up with so many excuses for why you're not drinking, why you're tired, why you feel sick all the time. It sucks.

Third, it has kind of pulled a little bit on my heartstrings when I think about her having a kid. Shock! I have never wanted kids of my own, but I've always liked being around other people's kids. I think I'm developing a soft spot for the little monsters. I can't wait to babysit and help out and buy little girl things, i.e. her first pair of Chuck Taylors ;) Ugh, what a ball of mush I am turning in to. Despicable... :P

Alright. My stomach is yelling at me. I am going to eat breakfast. I think I have cereal... I think I have enough milk in the fridge for a bowl of cereal... Hah. I'm sure my parents would be proud of my survival skills!

Until next time. Which might be very soon if more big news happens. Which it might. Just sayin'...