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Archive for the ‘Quarter Life Crisis’ Category

Last night I dreamt of B. Yeah, that B. Oddly I don’t remember the dream, I just know I woke up feeling a deep sadness.

I can’t really remember the last time I talked to him. I know it’s been over 2 years now since an actual conversation. Almost a full year since even a polite “happy birthday” text.

The feeling I woke up with was more nostalgia I guess than sadness. At times I miss how simple life felt back then, and with B. Get in the car and drive to Maine for the weekend. Hop a flight to Canada or Ireland. Meet after work for dinner in the city and stay up until 1am having deep conversations. Jam pack one long date day from 7am coffee and breakfast on until 11pm bedtime.

But the truth is, it’s not B who I miss. Because when I really remember how I felt back then it was… unsure. Anxious. This feeling of skating on thin ice, always. Deep down I knew very early on, that B didn’t want to get married and have kids. Yet, we connected deeply on many other levels, but never on our main values. So we continued on, happily at times, but always I knew – if and when I brought up that someday I wanted those things, he’d let me go. And eventually I did bring them up, and immediately, he let me go.

The more I’ve thought about it this morning, the more I realize that the nostalgia for those times is because life lately, and in the past year has just felt so busy. Sure sometimes it’s busy with really fun and great things. And sometimes it’s busy with crap that I don’t want to do. Lately I feel more and more like my time is less my time, and more time to meet obligations.

Part of it is perspective. Part of its changed priorities. Part of it is getting older, and becoming more established – in my marriage, career, with friends and family. Starting a family, even if that just means adopting Bentley.

Looking back, when I was with B I was working a job versus a career. I was finishing up my masters. I was 24 years old and everything felt exciting and fun and nothing felt that serious. Everything was about change, and it was supposed to be.

Now, money and savings are far more important. Trying to buy or build a house is a priority. Taking care of a puppy is a serious responsibility. Work isn’t just a 9-5, I’m frequently having 12 hour days. Marriage takes work, compromise and time… time that somehow keeps slipping away. I don’t see the Husband during the week anymore. We get to sleep together (which I love) but he usually gets home after 10pm. So we have weekends.

But weekends, oh the weekends. They are full of seeing this person or that person visiting, or this baby shower, or that wedding shower, or this wedding, or that 30th birthday. Sometimes the Husband can come along, but many times he can’t.

Oh and training. Fitting in training. 3+ hour bike rides on the weekend too.

Jeez, I need to snap out of this funk today.

Nothing changes if nothing changes…

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I get very excited and motivated by change and new goals. At least 50% of the time though, if not more, my motivation fades away or I stop following through when the going gets tough. I can easily justify why I should stop doing something. (In fact this past week, after an awful night’s sleep, a horrific cold and getting my period I thought to myself, why don’t I just get pregnant and stop training for this stupid half iron-man. I’m not doing that, as deep down I really do want to accomplish this goal, but the thought went through my head more than once.)

It’s so easy for me to dole out advice (and I do a lot as I somehow have become the therapist among many friends and family members) – of how easy it is to become the person you want to be. How to eat healthy, work out, have goals, be a better wife, worker or friend and so on. In my mind, my standards and expectations are easy to meet. And yet…do I meet them myself?

…Where am I going with this…

Resolutions for the new year tend to be a long list of changes to behaviors. Half the time it’s giving something up (stop smoking / binge eating / chewing nails – whatever). Other times it’s a list of 100 things you tell yourself you must start doing (eating healthy / gym four times a week / and so on).

Last year I picked a word that was meant to encompass my year and this year I’d like to do the same.

I mean, this is a pretty big year.

The last year of my 20’s. A year I will be accomplishing my biggest fitness goal yet. A year I hope to accomplish my biggest career goal. A year we may try to buy a house. A year the Husband and I hope to achieve a new phase of our marriage – to get pregnant. (<–Tears always start when I say that.)

A lot of my goals then are obvious. Work hard towards my half-ironman. Work hard towards getting my PMP. Be an even better puppy Mom. Be a better wife. Cook, clean, and be more productive. But then there are the ones that I know inside, that I have been thinking about for a long time, those might not be as obvious to others. But they have started to feel far more important than the obvious goals.

Be a better person. Become a more complete person. More kind. More giving. Less controlling. Honest. Compassionate. Consistent. Genuine. Reliable. Authentic.

There’s a person in my mind that I can see myself becoming. The person I’ve always wanted to be – the person I would describe as someone I’d want as a friend, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, and one day a Mom. A person who lives up to their own standards and expectations of others. A person who is consistent with their actions and honorable in their beliefs.  A person with character I would admire.

So it became someone obvious to me what my word will be for 2014.

I will promise to myself that I will be consistent in my actions, my values, my methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes. I will commit to being honest, reliable, genuine and authentic. Most of all, I will promise to hold myself to my own beliefs, standards and expectations.

So here’s to INTEGRITY.

A year of living and acting with integrity. It’s going to be one hell of a year.

Integrity

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I was just reading Thought Catalog’s article, 7 things your future self would tell you now and I loved all 7 things, but one stuck out.

Let yourself let go of what keeps you all pretzeled up inside.

This past Friday at work I had my very first panic attack. An actual, chest tightening, couldn’t catch my breath, choking on sobs while calling my childhood best friend in a work bathroom stall, panic attack. I was at the point of being irrational to be honest, and it’s embarrassing to even admit it (as those I know who have had them, I could never understand why they couldn’t rationally calm down) and yet there are obviously enough things I’m internalizing that made me finally snap.

The combination of my Grandfather’s girlfriend passing, work stress, not getting to see the Husband and moving were some of the bigger things you’d think caused it. But really, they weren’t. They were probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.

And my childhood friend knew the real cause… “it’s not your job to be the parent.

I carry a lot of responsibility for my sisters and by default, for my parents in a way. It’s really hard to explain but somehow I’m in this role of trying to protect my parents. I have been since they got divorced when I was about 11. I love my sisters and parents dearly, I really and truly do. But.

Last week – I sent my father and step-father their gifts that the Husband and I picked up during our honeymoon and a sweet card. I made sure it would arrive on the Friday before Father’s Day since my Dad and his Husband are always punctual about getting us our birthday or whatever celebration cards. On Friday night, my sisters ask, what did you send Dad from all of us for Father’s day? Every year, birthdays, Christmas, Father’s day, I do usually send something from the 3 of us – some years it’s just a gift card – and other years it has been hours of work on a photo calendar of sorts – I always plan it and have to pay for it – but sign it from all of us. This year, I didn’t. And somehow, it became my fault that I hadn’t sent something from them and that my Dad wouldn’t be getting anything from them (late, if at all) because of it.

Add in that my Mother was trying to get to my Grandfather’s, my older sister was avoiding riding in a car with her for other reasons which was upsetting her, my younger wasn’t happy that I couldn’t pick her up and instead I asked her to come to me (so the Husband could sleep since he had a night shift that night and the extra hour it would take to get her would be worthwhile for him to sleep) and then she started saying it was a burden for her to come to me and then just wouldn’t come (via text to my Mom, older sister and myself) and I lost it. There’s so many more details to this, but it would take weeks to write.

The worst part is that I do all of this – the planning, the gifts from all of us, the rides, biting my tongue about so, so, so many things to not cause any additional stress or chaos on my parents – because I don’t want them to be hurt. I don’t want the fact that my two sisters can’t get it together to send cards on their own to hurt my Dad’s feelings. I don’t want my Mom to be burdened with chauffeuring around my other sister when she has a million other things going on. From high-school on, because both of my sisters were so difficult (in different ways) I had to try to be perfect and fly under the radar – get perfect grades, have good friends, work practically a full-time job, don’t ask for rides, don’t ask for money and don’t cause more stress to anyone.

I stress so much about making sure my parents aren’t burdened, or their feelings aren’t hurt, or they aren’t stressed . And right now, we are all pretending and overlooking some pretty serious things– and I’m taking that stress, eating it, and letting it grow inside. For all of that to finally boil, alongside those other stressors, like a friend or two who honestly make me listen to hours upon hours of their life happenings without a single question about mine – and I’m tired.

I’m tired of playing therapist. I’m tired of playing peace maker. I’m tired of playing parent. I’m tired of always listening and helping. I’m tired of biting my tongue and not asking for what I want or need. I’m tired of trying to protect everyone’s feelings and happiness over my own.

Or maybe it’s more important to say… I’m tired of it being unfair. I’m tired of playing therapist to those people who don’t ask or care about my life. I’m tired of playing parent – because I’m not one. I’m tired of helping take away other’s stress and worries at the cost of my own happiness. I’m tired of always trying to be my best self – to those that give me their worst.

I’m surrounding by so many other good, positive, and giving people – and it’s not that everyone has to be positive all the time – more so – they don’t have to be energy drainers. Being around these good people – gives me energy. Gives me happiness. Pushes me in the best possible way. Doesn’t burden me in the slightest. It’s a 2-way relationship with them. And so for a while I’m going to try something.

I’m going to spend my time with those people. I’m going to speak up to the others, who maybe even without meaning to, or because I have enabled them, drain me. I’m going to try to be my 28-year-old self, finding my way into adulthood, focusing on my job, my husband, having some fun, saying no to things I don’t want to do, and finally, no longer being the parent of a 30 and 24-year-old.

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This is something I have been thinking about for a few months now, and after a conversation with a friend the other night, I can’t help but write about it.

In my early 20’s I would look at older friends or acquaintances who were getting married or having babies and think – they must miss this lifestyle I’m currently living. The freedom of being single, going out late nights, making last-minute plans, travelling across the world, and caring little about responsibility, savings or having to make a decision as an “us”. In a way, I not only felt badly for them, like they were missing out, but I dreaded ever getting to that point.

I’m on the other side now. My 28-year-old self can look back at my 22-year-old self and realize, at this moment in my life, I don’t miss that lifestyle. It’s almost like, being on this side – it feels like this secret that until you’re here, you just don’t get.

I have a feeling the same will happen when it comes to having children. It’s easy now to think, how could we give up our life, our freedom to just do what we want as a couple without having to think of a child too? But something tells me, once you get to that stage, most parents look back at us couples without kids and think, they don’t understand the love you can feel for a child, for your partner, and what being a parent and a family really means. It means sacrifice but it’s worth it.

That’s not to say that at these stages I think I have, or will have to, give all of my freedom up. It’s not that at all. Stability, in my job, with friends, in love, with money – isn’t a bad thing. Hell, it’s been a great thing. And it’s still nice to go out for a night on the town with my girlfriends but, it’s an added bonus to come home to my husband and sleep on my comfy expensive sheets.

It’s just strange. Growing up is all around strange. This adventurous, thrill-seeking, sometimes almost reckless person I was at times in high-school, college and into mid-20’s – has somewhat faded. Those things, roller-coaster short-lived relationships, binge drinking and drugs, waterfall repelling, sky-diving – just aren’t desirable anymore. There are brief moments I miss the idea of those things, but really I’m even more surprised that most of the time, I just don’t. Those things aren’t fulfilling – fulfilling in a long-term, real life, way.

Instead I find myself wanting a house. A pet. A baby, or two. Travel with the Husband. Challenging opportunities at work. Fitness goals, like running races and cleaning up my diet. Time to myself. And hours of real quality time and experiences with the Husband, friends or family.

Maybe to some that sounds boring or even makes me boring. But in the end, I think in a way I’ve stopped thrill-seeking because I’ve found a way to get that thrill-seeking feeling, in a long-term way. I’m fulfilled and finally relaxed in a way that I don’t think I could have understood until I got here. Here being, happy. I can’t help but realize, I’m fully and genuinely happy. Take that 22-year-old self.

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I knew this time would come. When the excitement of a new role would wear off, and the complete and utter discomfort would set in.

I lack all confidence stepping into a meeting. I feel like I’m failing at facilitating, motivating, and delegating to get things done to meet deadlines. I feel lost. My brain feels fuzzy like it’s not picking up on this logic – but instead keeps sticking with my old logic.

I know it will take time, experience, and some education. I know all I can do is work hard, ask for feedback and mentoring, and do my best. I know in time, I will feel confident again.

Last night I left work disheartened. I came home to the husband cooking salmon and asparagus, a completely cleaned out and stocked fridge, encouraging words, and a movie (of my choice) waiting to play.

We watched Parental Guidance, and as cheesy as parts may have been it was the perfect movie for last night.

Sure work is important, my career is important to me, but the silly little movie reminded me that there is so much more to life. There’s family – my husband, our families, our future kids, and our friends, who are just like family. Being surrounded and supported by all of them makes me realize that a bad day at work, isn’t so bad. It’s part of life, it’s part of growing, and it’s part of stepping outside of my comfort zone.

But I’m lucky, really lucky. Because after that discouraging day, or when I’m in such a low mood, I have the best support system there is.

So today I’m thankful, and I’m saying it.

I’m thankful for my husband, who cares so much about making sure I feel loved and happy.

I’m thankful for our families – our true blood-line families, and our friends who are just as close and considered family. They support us, they make us laugh, and they make life even more fun.

I’m thankful I get to focus on my fitness passion right now – to get healthier and consistently exercise. I am thankful I can see a personal trainer once a week, that I have a handful of gym classes I love, and that finally, I’m getting my run back. The kind of runs where I zone out, day-dream, and literally feel the stresses and ounces of fat melt away.

I’m thankful that I stepped outside my comfort zone at work. I know it’s bringing me down in some ways right now, but I also know I’d still feel stuck and unhappy in my old role. I’m just thankful this opportunity came up, and that I have something I am eagerly working towards.

And most of all, I’m thankful that Lent is over on Sunday and I can eat dessert after 47 days of absolutely no desserts. Kidding…sort of. 🙂

Thankful

weheartit.com

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I’ve thought about this for the past few weeks. I’ve struggled on what to write. You can probably read through the lines in my past few posts. I’ve struggled with wanting to still be so open about my life. Most of all I’ve struggled coming to a place to write that no longer feels like me.

I started this blog right after B and I broke-up. Looking back, I can’t believe my vulnerability on some of these pages. But I wouldn’t take a word of it back.

It’s a real view of my journey. Getting through heartbreak. Struggling to keep the ex as a friend. Learning to date. Frustrations and experiences with work, family and friends. Training for my first triathlon. Completing my first triathlon. Trying to date organically. Trying to date online. Meeting and falling in love with a new guy. Moving forward.

Part of me wanted to keep this blog and write every few weeks. But coming back here seems to set me back. It makes me feel forced into a place that I no longer fit.

I don’t exactly know where I fit, and maybe I’ll eventually start a new blog, but for right now I know that this blog, and this specific part of my journey has ended.

I’m getting promoted at work.

The townie and I looked at wedding rings this past weekend. I can’t wait to really begin our lives together. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s OK to be this content in love.

I’m closer with friends and family who’ve matched the effort I’ve put into relationships.

I’m planning trips, near and far. New York City, Baltimore, Buffalo, and Thailand are on the agenda over the next 3 months.

I struggled with whether or not to even post this. But one of my favorite bloggers, Maura, recently said goodbye too. Had she just left without explaining, I would have been so disappointed.

So without sounding corny here goes. This outlet healed me in so many ways. There were countless night I found myself sobbing on my bathroom floor. But somehow I moved on, I learned, I became motivated by writing my own posts, reading other blogger posts and most of all, from your comments. This blog has helped me find me over the course of the past year and a half.

Whether you commented once or 300 times, thank you. And if you were just a reader, still, thank you for reading. Your support, your advice,  your tough love, (and your uncanny resemblances ( Becelisa 🙂 ) pushed me forward.

I wish I could give you all hugs. Or better yet, an amazing, warm from the oven, apple-cider donut from an orchard here in New England.

I’ll still be reading along all of your journeys. Please keep writing. And if you’re ever in Boston, let’s be real friends. caitlinsbookinit@yahoo.com

This is just goodbye to this part of my journey. It’s the beginning of everything else.

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I just looked at my calendar. It’s been exactly 6 months today since we broke up. 

What do you do in 6 months after your life has been turned upside down? Well here’s what I have done… 

  1. Cry. A lot.
  2. Lose 10 lbs without trying. Joke that it’s the “breakup diet”.
  3. Spend my 25th birthday in a hotel room with the best girlfriends a girl can imagine and cry… a lot. (It was a day after the breakup.)
  4. Take an approved gun safety training course. (Have to clarify this one – target shooting became a fun hobby with B however, to be able to go on my own or with other friends I need a license so that’s step one to getting a license. Still no license yet.)
  5. Spend the holidays with friends and family and realize how truly and deeply loved I am.
  6. Go to Ireland for a week anyway with B against what everyone says. Have an amazing time. Have nothing sexual happen. (Cuddling, yes.)
  7. Come home confused, missing him, start the breakup process over.
  8. Feel like I’m having a quarter life crisis.
  9. Start a blog. Start connecting with people who have similar experiences (boy does it help).
  10. Start playing in a cornhole league once a week at a bar with a friend. Realize we’d rather just have dinner together.
  11. Hear that a best friend from college got engaged.
  12. Run a 5k in February…in Boston…by the water.
  13. Spend Valentine’s day with Mom, Aunt & Uncle.
  14. Join eHarmony. (Realize later a hiatus in dating is probably better.)
  15. Go on 3 different dates. (End result…No thank you number 1, 2 or 3.)
  16. Go to an awesome Flogging Molly concert.
  17. Experience emotions and inward looking that is incredibly painful, frustrating, exhausting.
  18. Struggle with the ups and downs of being best friends with your ex-boyfriend.
  19. Survive everyone asking questions, giving advice, trying to tell you what’s best for you.
  20. Have an amazing reunion in Buffalo with college best friends.
  21. Struggle with trying to answer “why?”
  22. Take two of the hardest and most time-consuming night graduate courses while work becomes insanely busy.
  23. Get promoted, get an 8k raise, and an extra week of vacation.
  24. Go to Mexico with Mom & younger sister for a week and appreciate family even more.
  25. See family (cousins, sisters, parents) a lot.
  26. Spend a lot of time with friends. Realize that I have two amazing childhood best friends (17 years and counting) and 6 of the most thoughtful caring Boston girlfriends.
  27. Get hit on in bars by a lot of different men. Flirt but know – they don’t stand a chance.
  28. Drive 9 hours in one day to be at the shower of one of my college best friends.
  29. Graduate from graduate program and officially become a master.
  30. Reaffirm that these girls are amazing during my “mock” graduation.
  31. Run another 5k – in the cold pouring rain with 2,000 marines.
  32. Decide to do a triathlon.
  33. Start training for a triathlon.
  34. Try indoor rock-climbing.  LOVE it.
I won’t lie, I will fully and vulnerably admit these have been the hardest 6 months of my life. I’m struggling to figure out who I am, what I want, what I don’t want, and why I am no longer with the one guy I love.
 
But, I made sure when we broke up that I wouldn’t stop living. And I haven’t.
 
I do truly feel stronger than I did 5 months ago. In fact I feel the strongest I have ever felt in my life.
 
So what can I do at this point? Keep living.

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