Be Your Own Mentor

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I have been struggling lately to find a person in my career field that fits the profile I am looking for in a mentor.  I have longed to find someone that I can connect with on a deeper level who has this incredible mix of wisdom, humor, experience and passion.  This search has definitely led me to some interesting people who may fit one aspect or another in the list, but not the full enchilada.  I want the full meal deal and I have come to realize that what I am looking for may not exist…at least not in my area.  So I have decided that having one actual individual to look to for guidance may not be where I am meant to look.  My curiosity has led me to many great books, blogs, journal articles, pod casts, people of history, YouTube videos and TED talks.  So maybe in a round about way these individuals are combined and through my own leadership in discovery I have become my own mentor.

The wealth of knowledge at our fingertips today makes it easy to be our own mentor and I believe the days of practicing under one professional to learn a certain method are going by the wayside.  As research and methods intermingle our learning expands and we all end up with our own versions of success.  This does not just apply to the career field but to our spiritual and political beliefs as well.  Our experiences, environment, relationships and interests create this beautiful mix that is unique to each of us.  When we share our own unique perspective on the world then we can begin to discover other like minded individuals and maybe even discover new ideas that challenge where we started in our belief system.  The once rigid systems of politics, religion and career structure has become more flexible and a lot less black and white.  Practices of holistic and eastern medicine are beginning to compliment the more traditional western medicine with meditation, yoga, massage, and acupuncture.  I spent 15 years of my life working in chiropractic and holistic medicine and I love the study of how the body and mind connect and work together. This has led me to finish my degree in psychology and mental health counseling with the hope to combine the two into a unique mind and body practice.

As I move forward in my education I realize that I have brought together the knowledge of many professionals, from all fields, to create the practice I want to share.  I have realized that when you discover a unique path that no one has traveled down before then it is not likely you will find a mentor…you have to be your own.  This can be a little scary, but if you look hard enough you will eventually find others out there with the same vision as you.  If you don’t then you can’t let it discourage you, it probably means you are on to something truly original and worth pursuing.  The search for meaning and joy in life comes from within and finding our own path is important, sometimes that means taking the road less traveled.  When we go down that road we may find that no mentor is necessary because you have the power to seek the knowledge and the ability and capability all within you.

With love, health, happiness


Dream Big Anyway

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As I move through life there is one thing I have come to realize, those who know you best are the hardest to convince when you are in the process of change.  You know that moment, when you are telling your best friend, partner or parents about your dreams for the future and they are kind of half-ass supportive…They want to show excitement but you can tell by their response they are thinking your dreams are bordering on the impossible.  In this moment you want to get defensive, maybe even angry and tell them how they are supposed to be your support team and then you make the mistake of asking them why they may feel it is not going to work out.  As this person you love and respect gives you valid reasons for why those dreams are impossible the doubt takes over and you begin to backtrack.  This moment has happened for many of us in our lives and sadly I can say it has held me back from my dreams on more than one occasion.  The truth is, that doubt is not yours to own, its theirs and you should let them keep it.

The people we love and respect who are the closest to us have this little power over us to some degree.  Whether we intend to or not we have a tendency to put their beliefs above our own and have them on a pedestal.  We need to remember that love and respect is not synonymous with perfect and all knowing, they are human too.  Sometimes our biggest supporters (like our parents) get scared that if we dream too big we will fall apart when we fail and so their first instinct is to protect us.  Maybe our friends, partner or parents have tried and failed in the past and they have a belief that it is unlikely you can do it if they couldn’t.  This may sound awful and not like support at all but again, we are all human.  Our beliefs about life are formed by our own personal environments and experiences.  So those we love, respect and admire are only capable of responding with what they know and where they are in life at this moment.  If they are struggling in their own personal way they may not be able to support you in your dreams.

There have been times in my life where everyone in my support circle was consumed with their own struggles and I felt like I was treading water to find the boost I needed to tackle my dreams.  I had to reach deep inside myself to find the strength to push all the negativity aside and push forward.  I found the strength through books, blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos and of course I always turn to meditation and prayer.  I followed the advice of those who were not in my personal circle and learned that no matter what you must continue to dream big anyway.  Telling others about our dreams is often easy to dismiss, you have to put action behind your dreams.  As the action starts to show fruit then you will begin to become more confident and to make believers out of them, then the support will grow.  The start of the process is never easy and it will take the strength to look within and explore on your own.  As you stay on the path for your dreams you may notice some individuals fade out of your circle and new people arrive.  This process is natural and proves even more that you should stay on your own path and dream big anyway. True success and happiness lies within and even though a good support system is helpful, it doesn’t define you or your success level.

With love, health and happiness



Rough Around The Edges


I come from a small river town in southeast Missouri.  It’s located in a county that is known for its beautiful river and it’s low income and high rate of meth and other drugs.  Many of the people I went to school with that stayed in the dead-end town have succumb to a life of poverty and addiction.  Then again, many of us got out and moved on to places that offered more.  When I think about my roots, where I was born and raised, I think about the beauty of floating down the river on tubes and walking down back country gravel roads to a friends house and going swimming in the creek.  I think about the county fair where I entered the sew with cotton competition in which I designed and made my own clothes and then modeled them for a prize.  I thought I might be a true fashion designer some day, but honestly I hated sewing.  I grew up in the same house and went to the same school my whole life and didn’t leave home until I was 21 and married.  My life was simple and sweet in so many ways, but I always felt this trapped feeling, this need for more.  I remember being around 10 years old, when the trains still passed through town and dreaming of jumping on one and never coming back.  I wanted to move to a different town where no one knew me and start fresh.  I was tired of the same boring life in the same small town.

I am older now and the fond memories and not so great memories intermingle to create a truth of what it means to truly grow up.  How we perceive the world changes and so does the light in which we choose to remember certain aspects of our experience.  I was a naive, small town girl who married too young and went from Missouri to Texas thinking life would be different and anything different had to be better.  The truth is, it usually isn’t.  We take what we know with us and the real change is within us, in how we choose to learn, grow and process through each experience.  You can change the scenery but it doesn’t change what you know or who you are.  I wish I had known this when I was young.  I always had my happiness placed in the future…if I could just get out of this town, if I could just meet the right guy, if I could get the right career, buy the right house in the perfect neighborhood, have the family….as we age we realize none of those goals are the real answer to happiness.

We look to what we know, what we feel comfortable with so we seem to repeat aspects of life even if we don’t intend to.  Some of us may work harder to hide where we come from, or fight against being like our parents but eventually little pieces come back to haunt us…the good and the bad.  It is best to own who you are and where you come from and recognize the pieces within yourself.  This not only helps us embrace the good parts and be proud of who we are but it also helps us accept the bad and heal.  Growing up and finding happiness within ourselves takes time but it also takes courage.  Be honest with what you see when you look at your past, even if it isn’t pretty.

My parents are not from Missouri they are both from West Palm Beach Florida and transplanted to the small Missouri town.  I often felt cheated that I didn’t get raised in sunny Florida near the beach.  I didn’t have the hillbilly accent that many expected me to have when I told them where I was from because my parents didn’t talk that way.  I realized the stigma attached to being from that small town when people often looked surprised that I had all my teeth and could speak proper English.  I laughed at these jokes but a part of me cringed at the thought. This made me somewhat ashamed of admitting where I was from when I was younger because people automatically assume you must be a little rough around the edges.

As we learn, travel, grow and work to find our own path in this world it is important to remember where you come from but also remember that it is only a piece of who you are.  You have a choice in where to go from here.  Keep the good pieces, accept the bad and resolve to always strive to be better.  I have grown to love the small town grit within me and I think the truth is, over time it doesn’t really matter where you come from, we all end up a little rough around the edges. The real key to happiness is embracing who you are fully without apology.

With love, health and happiness


Habit Stacking

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I often hear people talk about wanting to start a new diet or exercise routine or maybe wanting to make more time for other things like reading or meditation.  Then, on the reverse end of the spectrum I hear people discuss the struggle of trying to quit bad habits like smoking.  Often the discussions involve words like motivation, willpower and discipline, but the truth is it really is not about any of those things, its more closely related to creating a habit through cues and routines.  The best term I have heard used for the process is habit stacking, taking a routine you already have that you like and is working well for you and stacking new habits on top of it to create an endless stream of productivity.   The end result?  A life you love!

Most of our lives are built on little habits that are triggered by cues that we may not even be aware of.  At noon you may eat lunch even if you are not hungry, when watching a movie you may eat popcorn even if you are not hungry…brand name companies have become experts at connecting fun activities like socializing with friends, going to the movies or going to a sporting event with their hot dog, beer or soft drink.  Even in the grocery isles we can see how the store is set-up and product placement in order to boost sales of the more expensive items.  So knowing this about our world around us and knowing that this process works why not use it in other areas for your own advantage?

I have been habit stacking for a few years now and the results have been amazing for me.  I have also become more aware of certain cues or triggers for bad habits I had created in life, once you are aware you can modify.  I arrive home from work and instantly want to put on comfortable clothes, get some food and relax on the couch in front of the TV after a long day.  I allow myself one hour of whatever show I am currently in to and then the goal was to shut the TV off, clean up my dishes and head down the hall to my bedroom for my nightly routine.  However, in this process I already saw bad habits starting to creep in.  I would get really interested in a show and decide one more episode was okay but I had also created a habit of eating while watching so I would reach for ice cream or a cookie if I would continue to watch.  I am in a current job that is a lot of sitting at a desk all day and so my activity level has greatly reduced in the last year.  With no activity and more snacking in front of the TV it was easy to predict what the future would hold, so changes had to be made.

Goals are easy to have, the steps on how to get there are the keys to success.  This is where habit stacking comes into play.  My goal is to get more active and make sitting in front of the TV and snacking less rewarding.  When I drive to and home from work I always take a bottle of water and drink it on the drive.  That way I know I am getting at least 34 ounces of water automatically.  This is a healthy choice that feels automatic and like a reward, so I have tried to stack a new habit of health onto that.  As soon as I get home instead of changing into my comfort clothes I already have my workout clothes laid out and I change and go for a walk before I head for the kitchen for food.  As part of my nightly routine I lay out workout clothes for the next day.  When I get back from a walk I am more likely to choose a healthier meal and less likely to reach for the sweet snacks when watching TV because the desire to keep the healthy stream of choices going is greater with all the work I have already put in.  In my morning routine I lay a new book I am excited to read on my bed after I make it so that I am less likely to spend extra time in front of the TV in the evening.  Looking forward to reading before bed makes the reward of reading after TV a better reward instead of doing more of the same.  This process may not work as well for someone else, but everyone’s cues, routines and rewards will be different.

I already had a habit of drinking coffee with too much french vanilla creamer on my way to work each morning and I knew it wasn’t healthy.  Now, I get the same sweet flavor without the caffeine and sugar in a vanilla chai black tea. All of these little changes by themselves do not seem like much but when you start adding them together, over time if I stick with them and build upon them it will add up to some pretty awesome results.  Less calories in my coffee, a walk every night, more time reading instead of being in front of the TV, choosing healthier dinner because I already put in the effort with my walk…this creates a natural stacking of great habits that will spill over into even more areas of life.

I have a love of getting manicures and pedicures, I also love getting my teeth cleaned about every six months (weird I know).  When I have pretty fingers and toes and nice white teeth I am more likely to put the effort into myself in other ways as well.  This domino effect is natural for everyone and if you use it to your advantage it can get you where you want to be.  The time of day, the environment and other good habits already in motion are good keys to stack upon.  When considering a new habit pick the time, place and what habit would be the easiest to stack on (before or after) in order to make it stick.  Time of day and environment we are in often set the tone and give cues for how we respond without us realizing it.  Ask yourself what habits you perform in certain rooms of the house.  Maybe you have a favorite reading chair or maybe your couch is where you are lazy, binge watching TV and playing video games.  Sometimes moving the furniture around and redefining your space can make it easier to create a new, healthier habit.

Also, just like placement of products at a grocery store or creating mental associations in advertising, we can change our environments.  Place bottled water on the top shelf of the fridge for easy access and put sodas or beer in the bottom drawers or out in a fridge in the garage where it is harder to access than the healthy stuff. Place a bowl of fruit on the counter for easy access instead of a plate of cookies.  Every little change will add up to big results over time and small changes are more likely to be lifetime changes than if we attempt to start a whole new diet and throw away everything in the pantry.  Small steps lead to bigger and lasting results so get stacking!

With love, happiness and health,


Balance & Boundaries


It’s a rainy, overcast Saturday morning, the kind of day I would want to stay home with a little bit of housework occasionally sprinkled in-between my binge of Yellowstone (cowboys & Costner =  win win).  I love relaxing productive Saturdays where I can mix work in the garden, laundry and making a beautiful meal with drinking a nice red wine and watching a great TV show, Blues game(Stanley Cup here we come) or even listening to a Cardinals game on the radio.  A healthy balance of work and pleasure is really my idea of happiness.

I enjoy my job, my home, my relationships and time off better when I am working hard and still allowing myself time to rest and relax.  I am more productive throughout the work week when I am taking the weekends to really focus on me and things that bring me joy.  Learning to have a healthy balance in life is one of the most important things a person can ever learn along with setting healthy boundaries.  Today is not just going to be a lazy Saturday for me though, I am headed to the very small river town where I grew up.  I will be meeting with my Dad and his mothers side of the family for a family reunion.  It is really the only side of the family that has a regular reunion, which is sad to me because I have many family members I haven’t seen in years and some I have never met.  After spending most of the day with family I will return home to join a group of  friends for an evening of playing music, eating, drinking and just being merry!

My boyfriend owns a historical restaurant in my current town and it has a lovely outdoor patio.  Today my friends and I are hoping the weather will clear and allow us to break out the guitars and play a little music.  I have worked hard all week adding 2 new providers to our growing counseling practice and sending out provider referral lists to all the surrounding hospitals and clinics.  It is an exciting time for growth in our practice and I am learning a lot as I manage the office and prepare to start my masters in mental health counseling.  When it comes to my own personal mental health I know that balancing work and pleasure is the key to my happiness.  I also know that I better enjoy my summer because when school starts back I will be working my arse off!

Knowing when to buckle down and get serious and when to let it all go is something that does not come easy to most of us.  There have been times when I have felt guilty for taking time for myself instead of working.  It has been a slow process to get to the healthy perspective I have today.  If I do feel guilt creeping in I ask myself if the work is really a priority over the other option, if it is not then I let it go.  I have also found that scheduling, routines and creating habits have all been helpful in creating healthy balance and boundaries.  If I know how my week is going to go and I see the time divided up to devote to different projects and priorities then it is easier for me to focus and relax in the current moment.  I have read many books on creating good habits and getting rid of bad ones and right now I am listening to one of the best I think I have ever encountered called Atomic Habits by James Clear.  If you are struggling to create the lifestyle you want I highly recommend listening to his audiobook.  Mel Robbins is another great writer who really breaks down the importance of balance, boundaries and how to focus on things in smaller steps in order to reach your goals.

As I spend my day devoting time to my family and friends I am thankful and going to enjoy this time to fullest.  I will not worry about the pile of paperwork on my desk at work or the laundry waiting to be put away.  I am at a point in my life where I understand there will always be more paperwork and more laundry but there may not always be those people we love.  Take time to devote to the hobbies you have because some day you may be too old to enjoy it.  Take time to devote to the people you love now because they may not always be around for you to hug and play music with.  The work should be something that makes you proud.  Earn a living so that you can pay the bills and live a comfortable life, but work, money and material possessions are just pieces of a bigger picture and we all need that reminder sometimes.  We should not live to work but instead be working to live.  Don’t spend your weeks just wishing for the weekend, make time throughout the week enjoyable.  Planning something special like lunch with a friend every Monday will make it easier to get up and tackle the week.

As you set forth to enjoy your weekend try to enjoy it to the fullest and don’t let the worries of the next work week or the troubles of last week creep in.  Call your mom, hug your kids, play a round of golf, spend the day in your pajama’s reading a great book but don’t forget to feed the dog and make your bed because….balance is the key!

With love, health, & happiness,


Just The Facts For Happiness

When I consider the times in my life that I have been worried, stressed, upset or have high anxiety I realize often those negative feelings are emotional and based on fiction created in my head from fear, not fact.  When we start to create stories in our heads of how things are and what can happen we intensify the fear and things can get out of hand leading to high stress and anxiety.  Persistent feelings of stress and worry can lead to health issues, stress has been proven to be linked to six of the leading causes of death including suicide.  This fast paced, high pressure environment can get to even the strongest individuals, so how do we keep it all in check?  Well, we do a little fact checking  of our emotions.

State the facts of a situation and then ask yourself if your feelings are valid.  A little stress can be good to push us into positive action but constant stress is most definitely not good for us.  If I read or watch something on the news and I feel the stress rising within me I stop and ask myself if it is rational to be getting stressed about something I cannot do anything about.  When a friend of mine is dating a new guy and she hasn’t heard from him all day and she calls me to talk about all the reasons why I have to ask her if it is really beneficial to assume anything or better to just focus on the facts?  We create schema’s in our lives and try to fit people and situations into them because we believe it makes it easier for us to cope, but it actually can make things worse.  Not every guy you date is going to be a cheating asshole like the last guy you dated so stop assigning the behavior of the asshole to the amazing new guy in your life.

We overthink, analyze and then call a friend to overthink and analyze some more and it is often a waste of time because must of what we worry will happen never does.  Try to be more self aware and when you feel this behavior taking hold call yourself out on it.  Don’t allow your thoughts to take over.  Thinking is not something you need to be doing all the time, our thought process is a tool to solve problems and guide us through our day.  We have allowed ourselves to believe that constant thought is necessary, it has become so habitual that when everything is actually going pretty smooth your brain will start to create problems to keep the thought process going.  This is the very reason why meditation and being mindful and fully present is so important in the path to finding peace, calm and happiness.

When we just become fully aware of what is going on in the present moment then we can focus in on the facts a little easier.  Usually once the facts become clear we start to see that our minds create a lot of unnecessary crap that we can easily filter out when we get honest with ourselves.  Humans have a tendency to focus on the worst and believe the worst about themselves and ignore all the good.  As the Indigo Girls clearly stated in one of their greatest songs…”darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear“…  If you just focus on the facts the world will be a lot less dark and you will be a lot closer to fine, maybe even happy.

With love, health and happiness,




Whose Opinion Matters?

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When creating a life we love we must consider the people, places and things we encounter most.  We often read about removing toxic people from our lives or learning to focus on the positive of those we can’t exactly remove for one reason or another, (coworker, family member).  One thing I have found in my research, reading and just life experience in general is we often tend to adopt the attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of those we hang around the most, sometimes without even realizing it.  I have discussed the influence of people in our lives a few times before, but today I want to get a bit more specific and discuss opinions and how to determine which ones matter and which ones don’t and why.

I am a habit and routine junky.  I am constantly reading books on how to become more efficient and productive to get the most out of my day.  I am also an observer, I like to watch people and their behaviors to discover their routines and habits.  Listening and observing has taught me a lot.  As I have progressed through my education I have become more aware of why I choose to validate some opinions more than others and those reasons are not always good.  As a young woman I had to learn that just because someone is your boss and you value their assessment of your work ethic and abilities does not mean you must value their opinions in all areas of life.  Just because someone is older does not mean they are wiser and know more than you do, and just because someone is successful in one area doesn’t mean they are in all areas.  Sometimes I struggle to separate my respect for a person in one area of life and my total disagreement in another area.  In these relationships I have learned to create boundaries so that I could still love and appreciate what they brought to the table in a positive aspect and not let the other get under my skin.  This ability can come with maturity but it still takes practice no matter your age.

Be a leader, not a follower is a phrase I have often stated to my daughter.  Don’t be afraid to be different and don’t conform to the majority if your gut is telling you something isn’t right.  Basically, learn to think for yourself, which is one of the most important things for a teen and young adult to learn in this world (or anyone for that matter).  If you don’t understand something then don’t just take another persons opinion as gospel, research that shit yourself and form your own opinion.  Also, you must always consider the source.  Then ask yourself, is this person really someone whose opinion matters in this particular situation?

At this point in life I realize whose opinions mean the most to me and it is a pretty small circle.  I am respectful enough to listen to others, but the value I assign to it varies.  Watching how others live their lives helps me determine if this is a person whose opinion I should value and to what extent.  Being aware and setting boundaries can be life changing and most of all, freeing.  When you stop letting everyone’s opinion matter then you are free to be yourself without the stress of worrying what others think.  Ask yourself what value each relationship brings to the table for you and understand that each one does not have to be all-encompassing. Boundaries and balance are such great qualities to learn when it comes to any relationship.  So next time you find yourself becoming frustrated by someone voicing their opinion on a particular subject ask yourself why?  If it’s an individual that you truly admire and their opinion is important then you can take it a little deeper and explore the why.  If this individual is voicing an opinion and they have no real importance in the big scheme of things in your life, then why let it bother you?  Because at the end of the day I will quote what my old school, military Dad has always said:  “honey, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one”.  So basically, its up to each of us to determine which ones really matter to us and why.

With love, health, happiness, and a little humor from Dad,


Seeds That Grow Our Future

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I started my life on a small farm in Southeast Missouri.  As a kid I grew up fishing for catfish in the pond on our farm, picking blueberries, peaches, and pears right off the tree.  I spend many hours sitting on a milk crate pulling weeds from the peppers, tomato and strawberry plants and chasing all the farm cats around the barn.  Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had a blessed life on a back dirt road with a creek to swim in with the neighbor kids and nights spent catching fire flies.  My mother used cloth diapers she washed and hung from the clothes line in our back yard, I had a grandmother who actually chewed snuff and spit it in an old coffee can and bottle milk was still delivered to our door step when I was just a baby.  I drank well water that was produced by a spring fed creek near our home and didn’t have a soda until I was 10 years old.  I played sports and rode my bike and my brother and I would have wars with sling shots using black walnuts and acorns as ammo!

My mother taught me about how to grow herbs and all their uses, about home remedies and essential oils. My primary care physician was a chiropractor that I would babysit for and when his kids grew up I then transitioned into the chiropractic office as a file clerk and learned to take SOAP notes working after school each evening.  Little did I know these seeds planted in me as a young kid and teenager would follow me into my life and career goals as an adult.

After getting married, moving to Texas and having a baby, I returned to Missouri.  I ended up being hired on at a very busy and successful chiropractic office in my new Missouri town and I worked there for 15 years learning every aspect of the practice.  I could do the billing and coding, the therapies, x-rays, scheduling, collections and I learned about natural health and wellness.  I studied the muscles and bones of the body, vitamins, supplements, hormones and the science of diet and exercise and the holistic benefits of essential oils, massage, meditation, yoga and of course chiropractic and physical therapy.  My interest in the mind and body connection began to grown around the time I went through a hard break-up and some health issues all at once.  I was in my early thirties and ready for a change.  Even with all the healthy physical changes I was making in my life I was still struggling and I realized how important our mind can be in the process.

With the support of my boss I went back to school while working for him.  He allowed me to work on my projects and pick his brain on thoughts and ideas.  I knew I wanted a degree in psychology but not just a mental health counseling job, I wanted something outside the box that would incorporate everything I know and love.  I left the chiropractic office after 15 years and went to work for a private practice counseling center while completing my masters degree so I could learn the office management aspects of insurance and billing for counseling providers and to get my supervised hours.  The connections I made with the chiropractor and massage therapist have been great and I have a vision to work with them again when I complete my degree.  I want a holistic practice that incorporates mind and body care.  We will create a space for guided meditative yoga, massage, coaching and therapy for individuals and groups.  Individuals can be counseled on every aspect of their lives and learn mental and physical ways to manage stress and live their best life.

This vision is in the works and something I have been meditating on and working towards my whole life.  I think about my childhood and pieces from my past, how it all adds together in a path that has lead me to this point in my life.  I am excited about what I have learned, who I have become and what the future holds.  The wealth of knowledge I have gained in my life is something I want to share with others.  My degree is not quite complete and I still have a lot to learn (don’t we all) but on this day I am feeling blessed as I look at how far I have come.  Those seeds planted along the way have made me who I am today.

With love, health, happiness and blessings


Know Thyself

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Through my twenties I was just a leaf in the wind of life, my thoughts and desires and curiosity floated from one thing to another.  I finished my first two years of college with an Associates degree, then I got married, moved to another state, had a baby and worked a few different jobs trying to decide where I really fit in and ultimately moved back to my home state, got a divorce at 28 and met a new guy a year later, but that ended by the time I was 34.  Many lessons were learned in my late twenties and early thirties, lessons that were humbling and forced me to take a deeper look at myself.  I wasn’t happy, I was just following a pattern of thought and I am not even sure where it came from.  Social norms that made me believe getting married and having a family should come first, then college and career or any other desires I had should come later, if time allows. All I know is after a failed marriage and a bad break-up, I was tired and unhappy with who I had become.  I was focused on trying to get a life I wasn’t even sure I really wanted and I knew I needed to re-evaluate my situation.

The next 5 years I started a quest for change, I bought my own home, bought a nicer car, started a second job and went back to school.  I completed my bachelor degree (and soon will be starting my masters).  I also focused on what I really wanted out of a relationship and started dating a really great guy who is on the same page with me.  I am now entering into a new decade of my life and taking another look at myself.  I ask myself, based on my past experiences, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?  Every decision I make I run through this process, but first I must be clear on what my future hopes and dreams are.  I know within five years I will own my own private therapy practice; so completing my degree and supervised hours are the priority at this point. However,  I understand I should have other goals as well.  So what is really important to me beside my career? My relationships, investing in fixing up my home, paying off debt, taking better care of myself by eating healthier and exercising more, and saving money to start my practice and for retirement and travel as much as I can.

I want to be debt free, get my house completed and paid off, eat healthier and exercise more regularly to lose a little weight, and work for myself all before I turn 50.  Now that I know what my hopes and dreams are I must create a game plan on how to make all of this happen.  I already signed up for my classes for Fall so career goals are in process, I already have an automatic draft for a retirement fund set up, I have been paying my bills on time and extra when I can afford it, I have a gym membership I just need to use it more often and I make time for my relationships throughout the week.  So then I ask myself what areas can I be doing better and I know diet and exercise and paying off my debt are the areas I could be more aggressive.  So how can I address these issues?  I can devote 3 days a week to going to the gym after work and I can create a payoff plan for my debt and maybe cut out some unnecessary expenses.  This process of re-evaluating is something I think every person should do on a regular basis, especially when you start to feel stagnant.

I like to take inventory of how I am doing and how I have changed over time.  As we age we get to know ourselves better and understand what we want, what we like and what we are willing to do or not do.  We should be able to set boundaries better and say no, and prioritize things easier.  If you are not, ask yourself why and what you can do about it.  Know what helps you with stress, know yourself well enough to know when you are getting too stressed, pay attention to things that cause you stress and consider how to make those things less stressful.  We all have our own unique past, present and hopes for the future, so don’t follow the path of someone else, don’t compare yourself, just focus on getting to know yourself and everything will fall into place.

With love, health, happiness and love of thyself