The Importance of Self-Care (AKA Post Strep)

19 Mar

Well, I got strep throat this week. 

I was feeling great, just a little sluggish all last week. I said in my previous post that I haven’t been eating very well, and that followed in to last week. (was my last post last week? I don’t even remember at this point.) Saturday was a really good day – Chris and I slept in, we had a late breakfast, started some wedding crafts (which look SUPER great so far, by the way), skyped with an officiant, and then I had a great run. I was feeling a little weary after my run, but I chalked it up to being tired after the physical activity and maybe a little dizzy from spray painting (although I don’t think I inhaled any, but who knows?). We decided to get  ready and go to Austin cause there was a singer/songwriter performing at SWSX that I have loved since high school, and it was free. 

We went to the concert and I felt fine. As we were hanging out at the festival, though, I started feeling a little worse. Again, I just thought I was tired from being stressed at work and having run that day. I also really really really wanted to see Ben Kweller perform, and we were already there. So I pushed it aside. During Ben Kweller’s performance, however, I was finding it hard to swallow. Maybe I had one too many drinks? Or maybe I was singing too much? I kept dancing and singing, but dialed it back a bit. When it was over, Chris noticed some people were going backstage to meet him, which I would normally be all over. I knew something was coming because when Chris asked if I wanted to go do that, I said “nope, get me in the car and take me home.” I needed water, and I needed sleep, ASAP. 

We got home, I gargled water with salt (hey, Mom!), and went straight to sleep thinking it was a cold and I would start to feel better on Sunday.

Oh, man, Sunday. I spent the whole day Sunday sleeping. I could barely keep my eyes open for a 30 minute show. I would watch a show, fall asleep for about an hour and a half, then repeat. I got to a point where I could watch TWO 30 minute shows without falling asleep, but it was hard. I was just so tired. I have never felt that way. It felt like little knives were all along my throat when I would swallow, and my ears felt puffy, which created a little buffer from sound. I already kind of knew I probably wouldn’t go in to work on Monday, but I held off calling my boss to see if I got miraculously better by the morning.

Monday morning, I woke up, and even though I felt a little better, I still knew there was no way I was going to function at work. I haven’t taken any sick days since being employed in July, so I called and took the day off. At least on Monday it didn’t feel like knives in my throat anymore, but it still hurt, a LOT. This time, though, it felt like I had swallowed a cotton ball and it was just sitting there in the back of my throat, preventing me from getting a full swallow of water or whatever in. It’s an awful feeling, you guys. We went to the clinic, and low and behold – I have strep! Yaaaay. Most likely given to me by a client, but who knows. I was ordered not to go to work til Thursday and to take antibiotics. So, that’s what I did/am doing. 

I already feel a million times better. It still hurts when I yawn (which is a really weird thing), but for the most part, I’m almost 100% back to normal. Here’s the real kicker, though – I didn’t realize how much stress and anxiety I was holding on to until I got sick. Your body really just has a way of letting you know “Hey, I need a break. Slow down, would ya?!” Because I wouldn’t have slowed down without getting strep. I’ve had a cold and kept going to work. I like my job. But oh, these three days have been pretty nice. I’m feeling really really zen right now. I had to check my work email today and was so nervous it was just going to unravel all the relaxing I’ve done over the week, and it didn’t. I feel great. I didn’t realize how much I was taking on at work. I mean, I’m the only counselor in my office and I’ve been taking ALL of the referrals…I have way more clients than I am supposed to…more than I can physically see in one week. I have a hard time saying no or turning people away, ok? I have dug myself in to a hole, and unfortunately, when I get back to work tomorrow, I’m going to have to find a way to crawl out of it. I know what I have to do differently going forward, and this sickness was definitely a learning experience for me. I see now how counselors get burned out so so so quickly. It’s a hard job. If I can’t take care of myself, though, how am I going to take care of my clients? I need limits, and boundaries. I hope this new zen-ness can carry me through til the end of the school year (summer slows down a looooot), and I’m sure as hell gonna keep trying to mentally check in with myself at least once a week. I shouldn’t let STREP THROAT be the reason I see I need some downtime. I need to be much more aware, and that is a new goal for me in my workplace. 

Guys – take care of yourselves, please. Strep is not a fun thing, and I do not want it again, even though I enjoyed this time off, I was mostly on the couch. Check in with yourselves; love yourself. 

As for my fitness goals – they obviously took a back burner this week. I haven’t done my push up challenge since Sunday, although technically that was a rest day in the challenge. I’m going to start it back up today, so I think I’ll only be about 2 days behind. So it’ll be a 32 day push up challenge for me, instead of 30. ;-) Hey, at least I’m going to keep going, right? 

Be zen, my friends. Be zen. 

Until next time,

Beth

30 Day Push Up Challenge – Day 10

11 Mar

I’m one third of the way through with my push up challenge – whoa! I’m not going to lie, it was relatively easy at first. I was doing some of the moves (especially the diamond push up) on my knees, but I decided to start doing them all on my toes as much as possible about day 6. Today’s was BRUTAL, but it was after I had finished a 3.3 mile run and some yoga, so I was pretty tired. I DID IT, though. 

Here’s day 1 compared to day 10:

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I don’t really see that much of a change, but I feel it. My muscles are actually sorta there when I flex! And I was able to hold my plank for a lot longer during yoga today, which felt really good. I’ll get to where I want to be eventually, but feeling strong and feeling improved is a fun thing, and I’m really liking it. Today I did a tree pose while cooking my dinner on my left leg, which I could barely do when I started doing yoga again (I could do it, I was just really really really wobbly). Today, I stood on my left leg with my arms up and out for almost a minute straight without faltering. I only stopped cause my calf muscle started to feel a little tense, but I probably could have worked through it.

What I’m working on right now:
*Running 2 miles straight outside. Did a mile without stopping today. Taking that time off from running really hurt me. Aiming for a 5k in May with the brother and sister in law…this goal is feeling far away. Just have to keep pushing myself.
*The 30 day push-up challenge.
*Doing the splits – I found a really awesome video that Tara Stiles posted that open the hips, and then one that helps you work in to the splits position.  Ya’ll know I love my Tara Stiles.
*Very slowly working on holding a crow pose. It’s really hard, but I know in the end it will feel awesome whenever I do accomplish it, plus it’s good for your arms and core, AND helps you eventually work in to a headstand, which is a long term goal. 

I haven’t been eating very well recently cause I was by myself for a while, so I let myself indulge in cheeses and pizzas and things Chris doesn’t typically eat with me. I gained about a pound back this week, but still maintaining the inches I’ve lost. I’m tracking quite diligently and not going over my extra weekly points at all but using every single one of those points allotted me. I don’t use my activity points cause I’m afraid of plateauing on my weight loss and I’m doing so well right now, so I just stick to using the weekly points they give you for treats and drinks or whatever. 

I had to go buy a new pair of jeans. (Oh, I know, the audacity of me to say HAD to go buy a new pair. Let’s all roll our eyes at me together…ready? 1…2…3! *eye roll*) I hate jean shopping. But none of my jeans were fitting me anymore (which is awesome, yes, I know) so I took a deep breath and did it. I ended up buying one pair, although I tried on a gazillion. I have a very weird lower body, so finding a pair of jeans that really fit me and flatter me is a challenge. I have a “pear” shape, which means I have a thicker thigh/hip area than my waist area. I like my body shape, don’t get me wrong, but if you buy jeans that are too low, you get the oh so lovely muffin top (blegh), and if you buy them too high, you get the waist gap, which bunches all up when you put a belt on it. I went from store to store to store and ended up with just one pair. I love them, though. They are perfect. AND! AND! AND! A size smaller than what I have been wearing since I did Weight Watchers the FIRST time in 2011. Which, that was a great feeling, being able to zip those suckers up! 

So, in an effort to be brave and really document this journey fully – here is my first frontal progress picture. This one is scary to post, but you can really see how far I’ve come when it comes to inches. My waist almost looks cinched in the second picture, which is so cool. I’m loving it. I’m feeling so good, and I know that it’s only up from here if I keep it up. :)

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Ignore the pooch – abs are next month’s “challenge”. 

Oh, and still no Diet Coke! :) 

Until next time,

Beth

60 day journey mark

1 Mar

Hello, everyone!

Tomorrow will be 60 days since I have had a Diet Coke and 223 days until Chris and I get MARRIED! I have 223 days to get fit and skinny for my wedding dress. Yikes! Seems like a long time, but really it’s not. Seems like just yesterday we got engaged and had over a year to get ready. Bring it! I’m excited. :)

Guys…60 days without a Diet Coke is a HUGE accomplishment for me! I used to drink so much Diet Coke that for my birthday one year in high school, my friends gave me a two liter that I drank straight out of the bottle in class. I drank it so much that my friends gave me a Diet Coke t-shirt my senior year of high school because they saw it and just had to buy it for me. (I have really awesome friends, just for your information!)

I have been drinking that stuff for as long as I can remember. I remember the high school used to have cans of soda for $0.60 that I would use my spare change for every single day at lunch. So cheeeeeap.

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Me in Spring of 2008. Look how skinny I was! *Sigh*

I mean, at the most, I was drinking 3 cans of Diet Coke a day. That is ridiculous to think now that I’ve detoxed for 60 days. I still crave something bubbly every now and then, so maybe once every two weeks I have a Sprite Zero (drinking some right now, actually). I know, I know. Sprite Zero still has aspartame. But ya know what? I’m not basically inhaling it anymore, so I think I’m doing ok.

I’m not craving Diet Coke anymore, and I actually wonder what would happen if I drank one now. I’m not going to, because I’m afraid it will just spiral in to a daily habit again and I do NOT want that. I want to get to where I can have a Coke every 6 months as a treat or something. But I feel like if I even have a sip of Diet Coke again it will be bad so I’m going to steer clear of it.

My weight loss has not been going so well these past few weeks. My birthday was almost 2 weeks ago, and some of my great friends drove down and surprised me for the weekend, which of course included drinks and lots of eating out. Then my co-worker made me a brownie caramel cheesecake (it was yummyyyy) and some of them took me out to the greasiest burger joint in Lockhart. (Homegirl loves a good greasy burger with some fries.) I let myself indulge my birthday week, and although I’m glad I got to enjoy some delicious eats and drinks, my body paid for it by gaining back about 2.5 pounds that I had previously lost. I’m basically back to where I was before my birthday, but it’s crazy that just a few weeks of eating like crap and not exercising can cause that much damage.

I’m still running but took a week off, like I said, for my birthday (and cause work has been crazy), and it is hard to get that small amount of endurance back you lost after that break. I’m still a novice runner, so any loss is a huge hit to my runners ego. My first run after that break was outside, which is harder than treadmill, and I thought “I’ll run a mile without stopping and then walk and do sprints.” which I could do relatively easily before taking a week off. Nope. Got to .65 miles and had to stop cause it hurt to keep going. Literally. I hunched over holding my side because of a cramp. It was the worst.

I know this journey is going to have it’s ups and downs, and I almost didn’t blog about this because I wanted to post a gain, not a loss – but you know what? This is real. This is my journey. And I want to share it. Because if I nit-pick what I post about, then someone may see that I just had happy happy happy times this whole time, and I do. not. want. that. It’s false hope. It’s fake. I am definitely not having all happy times. I still love yoga, but I’m still horrible at it. I was doing yoga this afternoon, in fact, and I was doing a warrior pose and I fell over. Like, fell over on to my side on the ground. I just lost my balance. And as frustrating as that is, it’s the truth. I’m not going to become a master yogi in a day. I’m not going to be able to run a 5k straight overnight. I have to practice patience (yoga is actually helping with this) and perseverance and I will get there, I just know it. I have faith in myself. If I can go 60 days without Diet Coke, I can reach these goals. I can get the body I want for myself. It may take me the rest of my life, but I’m going to do it.

Some things of note for myself:
*I can do a SIDE PLANK, you guys. I used to avoid these because of my “weak wrists” after breaking them in 2008. But I’m not using that as an excuse anymore, and I’ve started doing them in my yoga videos (with the amazing Tara Stiles; namaste.) Oh, my arms still shake if I do one for more than 15 seconds, but hey! It’s a great feeling for me to do one without toppling over.
*I’m feeling sexier. I’m stopping every now and then to notice how I look. My jeans are slightly bigger (which is actually kind of annoying cause I hate buying new jeans). My tops don’t cling in bad places as much as they used to (key note being as much there, cause, well, they still cling.) But even if I’m not where I want to be yet, I’m feeling great. I’m appreciating my body for what it can do and fueling me.

Tomorrow I am starting this 30 day push-up challenge because I found out in November that I can not do a push up without my knees, which is slightly embarrassing. I would love for you all to do it with me, but I will be posting progress about that as I go. Not every day, but maybe every 10 days or something. We’ll see. ;-) Here’s the link: the 30 day push-up challenge.  I want to get stronger, and I want to be able to do a single push up, if not more. Hopefully it goes well!

Until next time,

Beth

Shrink Shrink Shrink

6 Feb

I am posting this today cause I am having a GREAT week when it comes to my fitness and weight loss goals.

Guys.

I’m starting to actually feel my ab muscles. They’re getting STRONGER! I haven’t even really been targeting my abs a whole lot. I’m really learning that the saying “You can’t spot reduce.” is true because if I’ve been working on toning anything, it’s my arms. Which, yeah, those are getting stronger, too, but I’ve definitely lost the most inches off my waist and hips. Don’t get me wrong – I am SUPER excited about this, but my main concern, for my wedding at least, is my arms. So, hopefully that just comes with time. I’ve only been doing this for a little over a month, after all. :) 

I know I said I wasn’t going to post a progress picture yet, but I’m too excited so I’m going to post just one. It’s my side view, because I think it shows how much progress, yet it be little, I have made. (The front view is still really scary…pooches are evil. I’m not feeling brave enough to post that one yet.) 

Ready? 

*Deep breath*

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(It’s really hard putting your body out there like this, by the way. I feel so vulnerable seeing my body how it was just a little over a month ago…)

swear I’m not sucking in, either. Pretty exciting to actually see some progress. Small, yes, but whoa. I feel good, ya’ll. 

Here are my stats so far since January 1st:

-10.2 pounds (Side note: I REFUSE to post my actual weight in pounds. Not because I’m embarrassed, but because…well, it’s not something I want to share. I feel like this journey is so much more than the number to me, although yes, seeing the scale this week at weigh-in time was pretty satisfying. This is just a personal choice. Every body is different and beautiful at unique amounts of pounds. The last thing I want this journey to be is hurtful for someone else.)
-3 inches off waist
-1 inch off arms
-2 inches off my bust
-2 inches off my thighs
-2.5 inches off my hips

I’m not complaining. :)

I started doing yoga last week cause I wanted a workout that was going to effective but a little less impact. You can only run and do Jillian Michael’s strength videos so much before you get bored. So, I downloaded a new yoga video. I am in love with the yoga instructor I found and I am rediscovering my fascination with yoga. How do you feel so good afterwards? Even after doing really awkward and crazy poses for an hour? I even scored her book at Half Price Books this weekend and have a new goal of accomplishing a headstand. I have no timeline for this goal, but it’s a goal for sure. I wanna be strong. And I’m tired of using my “weak wrists” as an excuse not to push myself. I’m trying to do just a little bit of yoga a day, even if it’s just a few simple stretches in bed before going to sleep. A million planks I have done since last week, and it must be paying off because the top of my abs are feeling great to me. 

(If you’re curious about my new girl-crush yoga instructor I stumbled upon, here is her youtube page. She has a TON of yoga videos on there. Tara Stiles Youtube.)

Mixing up my workout routines has been really effective in keeping me motivated. I reached 2 miles without walking or pausing last week on the treadmill, and I got to 1.5 miles without walking outside this week. (It is soooo much harder to run outside after you’ve been using a treadmill for a few months…I’m starting to mix it up when I can if the weather is nice so I can actually run a 5k outside when the time comes.)

Other good news: I’m getting to the point where I am not even craving a Diet Coke. I’m not even thinking about it very much anymore, and I’m not counting how many days or weeks I’ve gone without it regularly anymore.

Guys, I’m feeling real real good. :)

Thanks for listening to me praise and encourage myself. ;-) Hope you guys are all having a great week. Love you all!

-Beth

 

29 Days Down

29 Jan

Hello, all!

The Diet Coke detox I blogged about earlier this month is going SWELL. I have not had a Diet Coke in 29 days! That’s almost a whole month, ya’ll. :) I’ve gone longer than a month before, but I’m feeling really, really, really good about it this time. I don’t even crave it very much anymore. There are somedays when I just think “Man, I really want a Diet Coke.” but I resist. Although I did have a dream the other night that I accidentally drank a whole Diet Coke before I realized it was one…so, it’s still on my mind, obviously.

Some positive changes I have seen in my life since quitting Diet Coke:

*My headaches are few and far in between. I used to get little minor headaches all the time when I was drinking Diet Coke. I’m sure it was the aspartame working it’s evil magic in my system. Either way, those are gone. 
*My car is clean (most of the time. I mean…I drive a LOT for work, so you know…I’ve got portable sandtrays and brochures and therapy materials in my car…). I used to drink a can or bottle of Diet Coke while driving and just throw it in my backseat until I cleaned out my car 3 months later. It was always a pain in the butt cleaning out my car. But I don’t have that problem anymore! Yeah, I still have trash in my car from time to time, but it’s nowhere near what it was before. 
*And on that note…my office is cleaner now. I used to have a “recycle drawer” in my desk, but I cleaned it out after about a week of no Diet Coke and moved some of my important folders from on top of my desk to inside the drawer. There is not even close to the amount of clutter I used to have on my desk, which is leading to more productivity and happiness at the office. Who knew Diet Coke caused me to be so messy?!
*I’m sleeping so so so much better. I fall asleep easier and wake up easier (most days). Waking up is still not an easy feat, but it’s easier without the caffeine lag. It used to take me close to an hour to fall asleep and over an hour to wake up (I mean, I had to set alarms in 5 minutes increments an hour and a half before waking up), but now I fall asleep within 30 minutes after shutting off my light and wake up within 45 minutes of my alarm going off (still not good, but BETTER!). 
*I’m losing weight quicker. I had my last Weight Watchers weigh-in of the month this morning, and since January 1st, I’ve lost 9.8 pounds! That’s a lot in a month, I realize. However, I gained about 6 pounds over the Holidays, so most of that was bloat/water weight. I lost about 5 pounds the first week of going back to Weight Watchers, so really…my loss has been relatively steady. I gained some last week, but lost it and more this week. Which is weird, cause I ate basically a whole box of Girl Scout cookies and drank almost a whole bottle of wine on Friday when we had the day off of work due to ice…but whatever.

I’m feeling great. I’m loving the way my body is starting to look. Not enough to post “before/after” pics or progress pictures, but it’ll get there. I’m determined to get in shape by my wedding, and I’ve got a little more than 8 months to go! I know it’s going to be an up and down process, and I am constantly having to remind myself that gains happen sometimes and that’s ok. I’m doing this in a healthy way so I can keep it off, long after I’m married. My runs are getting easier and much more enjoyable, and I hit 4 miles on my treadmill for the first time this month, running most of that! My goal for this year is to run a 5k without walking, and by the end of the year to finish a 10k (jus finish…not run it without stopping). I’m getting to where I can run about a mile and a half without stopping, sometimes a little more, but I’m just about dead after that. But you know what? That’s progress. And I still push myself to do a little more when I can. There was a time (ahem, HIGH SCHOOL when I was in ridiculously good shape) that I couldn’t run a mile straight. So, I’m happy. I’m out there doing it. I’ve set goals for myself, and even if I don’t meet them, I’ve got something to strive for. That’s keeping me going. 

Thanks for listening to my Diet Coke detox journey. :) It feels good to share it, even with the internet world. Maybe someone will find it eventually and it will help them.

Until next time,

Beth

New Year, New Me

4 Jan

Hello, friends!

I’m feeling in the mood to update my blog, so here goes.

2014 is here, and 2014 is going to be a crazy, busy, awesome, and exciting year for me!

2013 was amazing – I saw my grandfather get married, I ran another 5k, I grew as a counselor, I graduated with my Master’s degree, I got my first real job, Chris and I moved in to a house, THEN we got engaged!, I passed the National Counselor’s Exam, and finally became a Nationally Certified Counselor.

Phew!

What a busy and accomplished year. I’m really happy to see what 2014 will hold for me – Chris and I will get married, and so will a lot of our friends (hence why I keep saying “busy” year). We are very very excited!

With the dawning of a new year, I have made a goal with myself. I am quitting Diet Coke for good. I’m not going back.

There are many reasons for this, one being I want to get in really good shape not only for my wedding, but for me. Yes, I want to be a, I’ll be honest here – skinny – and beautiful bride, but more than that, I want to be healthy. I’ve gone through spurts in my life where I’ve been really healthy, eating right and cutting back on diet soda (and alcohol). I’ve also gone through times where I haven’t been, most recently this last semester of graduate school. I was eating almost a whole medium pizza from Pizza Hut by myself like, two times a week. That’s not ok. I love pizza and don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to eat pizza. But what I’m talking about is making that a special thing, not a weekly (or jeez, even BI WEEKLY) occurrence.

So, I’m starting with cutting out the nasty chemicals that are in Diet Coke. This is so hard. I’m on day four and it’s not getting any easier. The first day I did ok because I was at home and was drinking tons and tons and tons of tea, but going back to work after vacation was brutal. I had a caffeine headache all day, despite drinking tea and crystal light energy packets with water. I was irritable and not 100% available for my clients. This really made me realize how much of an addict to Diet Coke I truly was am. I’m not getting caffeine headaches now on day four, but I got them the second and third day. Today is Saturday, and I went out and ran some errands this morning. What was I right next to? A McDonalds. A glorious, glorious McDonalds with those beautiful golden arches. Where a large drink is just $1. I rely on this fast food restaurant so much more than I realized. I would grab one of those huge drinks for a buck very often. I went today, but I got tea instead. Not as satisfying at all, but I’m still proud of that.

I’m learning what my triggers are and that is helping. I want or expect a Diet Coke most at work, on the weekends, at lunchtime, and at the movies. I went to see a movie with a friend last night and we walked in and BAM! I had a craving for those fizzy chemicals. (It’s honestly making my mouth water now just thinking about it.) BUT she helped me and we walked right past the concession stand without buying anything. This new diet should be nice on my wallet, at least. ;-)

Along with cutting out diet soda, I’m also trying to eat “clean”. I kind of hate the term “clean eating”, but I like the theory behind it. I went grocery shopping on the 1st, and I attempted to stay as close to the outside border of the grocery store – produce, bakery, meat, etc. as possible. I bought a lot of vegetables, fruit, and “organic” foods. I’m definitely not hardcore about this, because I ate out and had drinks last night, and that’s ok. I’m just making more of an effort to eat healthier, leaner foods, compared to what I was eating over the summer – a whole pepperoni pizza.

I also started Weight Watchers after getting engaged. I was really really good about tracking my food until the holidays hit. And then I stopped working out because I got sick. And then we went on vacation. And then I gained about 5 pounds back of what I had lost after joining Weight Watchers. I am happy to report, though, that only after 4 days of eating healthy foods, cutting out Diet Coke and consuming more water, I’ve already lost that 5 pounds (I’m sure it was mostly bloat/water weight). I feel good. I feel healthy. And I’m already liking my body a lot more by working out and changing my diet lifestyle only slightly. The only thing that’s been really hard so far is the Diet Coke. I like healthy foods, so I don’t really feel like I’m sacrificing anything. I’m enjoying researching recipes and trying them out.

But I’m writing this update to share my journey with you guys, as well as giving myself some accountability. I feel like the more I talk about cutting Diet Coke out of my life and making an effort to be healthier, the more I’m going to stick to this goal. I would hate to let somebody down or to have someone think “Oh, she’s going to start drinking Diet Coke again in no time.” or “I bet she won’t lose the weight she is wanting to by her wedding” or whatever – I want to prove those nay-sayers (if there are any) wrong.

What I’ve found that helps so far:

*Having an accountability group. I have two friends that are also cutting Diet Coke, and I simply text one of them when I have a craving and they encourage me to stay strong.
*Social media. I tweet or facebook when I feel accomplished and the feedback from my friends is so helpful.
*Become aware of your triggers and what causes you to have cravings. Make a journal and list them down.

So, it’s a new year, and it’s going to be a new me. A new, healthier, fitter, happier me. :)
-Beth

How does that make you feel?

9 Oct

Well, it’s been a while.

I am sitting here at my kitchen table, amidst my counseling exam study guides, flash cards, numerous empty Diet Coke cans, and crazy confusing health care policies and it hits me – I’m an adult.

When did this happen? I’m not only officially done with school (Yeah Master’s Degree!), working full time (so lucky to have a job), living in a house, and ENGAGED, (which are all fun and exciting things), I now have to pay rent, bills, car insurance, health insurance, renter’s insurance, taxes, etc…

Nobody told me about that part. YUCK.

But, wading through all the papers and Diet Coke cans floating about the craziness, I’ve had some serious reflecting about my career path lately.

Here’s what I come up with: I really, really, really, really, really, really really love my job.

Yeah, it definitely has some things that need to be fixed, and my specific job now is not where I want to be forever, but I am so incredibly fortunate to have found something I feel so passionately about at such a young age. I am constantly leaving my day at work with an optimistic feeling. So many people say to me “Oh, I could never do what you do. Just hearing all those sad stories and seeing all those crappy situations…I just don’t know how I could handle it.” Yes, I definitely have my moments where I have to take a break, or cry, or rant to my supervisor. It is really hard sometimes. Really hard. I want to help everyone so badly, and there are times when I just…I just can’t. It’s out of my control, and that can be hard to handle. I can remember the first time I realized I just could no longer do anything to help…it hits you, like a bag of bricks. That helper instinct to just wave your magic wand and fix it all is so strong sometimes. It’s really tough when you learn you just can’t do that.

There’s something, though, that a lot of people don’t even think about counseling – everyone thinks of the negative aspects of the job. For me, the best part of my day is seeing the resiliency – their strength, their fight. They want to change. Something isn’t working for them, and they just can’t figure out what that is. And the best part?! I get to help them do that. I get to help them figure it out. I don’t tell them what to do, I don’t give them advice, I simply listen, and apply those counseling skills I spent gobs and gobs of money on to learn. And when you see that *click*? Oh, oooh is it amazing. This may be incredibly selfish, but THAT is why I do what I do. When you see somebody succeed because of the therapeutic relationship you developed, somehow, magically helping them? It is indescribable. It just feels sooo good – think of all the warm fuzzies, butterflies in your stomach, and million smiles and hugs all mushed together – and you’ve got a teeny tiny idea of how it feels. 

This really must be how it feels to find the career you know you were supposed to end up in.

How did I get so lucky? To have a job right out of graduation? A family and friends that supported me, encouraged me, pushed me when I couldn’t push myself any longer, until I got here? An amazing team of counselors that I get to bounce my ideas off of?

And I only have room to grow. Man, I am excited to see where this path leads me.

So, through all the big, wet tears, hours of frustration at how life sometimes works out, ranting to colleagues and professors, and studying theories and freakin’ research, it is so worth it. To get here. To right here, right now. 

Yes, yes. This, this is where I am supposed to be – I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life.

It feels good. :)

-Beth

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