Sunday, November 13, 2011

Consumed by School and the Next Step

This week I took the Child Life certification exam. I took it at a testing center online and shortly after pressing the submit button to end the test, I found out that I passed! Many of my friends and family said they didn't have a doubt. I was feeling pretty good about it, too, but just didn't want to count my chickens until they hatched. It was a lot of pressure, given that the exam is only offered twice each year. And the Child Life Council does not share what it takes to get a passing score, so that adds to the anxiety level. So, whew! Glad that is done!

That being said, studying for the test has been taking up much of my free time while looming over my head. I have been preparing for it for almost three months. So, my thesis project has been taking a bit of a back burner and now I need to really get rolling on it. I also went to two professional conferences this fall, both were very beneficial. I have been a busy lady and now that I have taken this weekend to breathe and regroup, I have felt badly that I have not been quite as connected with some of my friends. I've reached out and fortunately I feel they are understanding and I had met a couple of them out last night for some girl time. It was hard to really enjoy it with all that is on my mind, but fully thankful for having that night out.

Now that the test is over, I have my thesis project to complete before graduation. I just want to get through these last weeks and get to the finish line. I feel like at this moment in time my life is almost all about school and I have been feeling a little one-dimentional. It will be so nice to have a normal life again--having free time and having more choice in how I want to fill it. But approaching the end also scares me. Graduation means a lot to me in not just completing a huge educational goal, but it will also be the turning point in which I have the power to really take control of my life again, to get my life back after the divorce.

So with feeling a lot of intense emotions, I decided it would be smart to check-in with my counselor to help me sort things out and regain my footing before this last push. I told him that I am afraid to fail, but I have been trying to break it down into smaller tasks and to not get too far ahead of myself. He said that I am not afraid to fail, but afraid to succeed. He told me, you are succeeding and you are getting to the end and you will have all of these choices and opportunities. I think he has a point. I have been working so hard to just get by and to not get to wrapped up in worring about my future that now it is almost here. I will have to make a choice.

Not only will I need to make a choice in what direction I want to take my career, but that may very well affect my relationship with RJ. Which means I am also going to need to really consider how I feel about him. I don't feel ready for that yet. I feel like I have gotten to a really good place in processing my divorce and the loss of adoption, that I am feeling so much more free. Before now, I knew I was not ready to really think about marriage. And I feel like as I am finishing school, I am getting to that place to have the mental space to really give my relationship more thought. But I am feeling this possible crunch of having to decide sooner, rather than a bit later, depending on when I decide when I want/need to open my job search outside of Pittsburgh.

I do not want to take a job and feel like I am settling after all of my hard work. But then, I may still have some resume building to do regardless. Do I stay or do I go? I don't want to sacrifice my career for a guy after what happened in my marriage. But I don't want to pass up on love if there is potential for a lasting long-term, I want to spend the rest of my life with you kind of relationship.

RJ has also started to question the relationship. We have only started to really begin talking and I am not sure if his mind is made up or if he is scared, too. I could speculate round and round, but I really need to have more conversations with him. But we also need time to just be us. The very bottom line is that I need to decide how I feel about him. And I think there has been part of me that has been putting that thought process off because I am scared to trust in my feelings. Along the way I have been able to say yes there is some pretty fantastic stuff here, so enjoy it and don't over think it. But as time passes, there comes a time when you have to assess the fun and decide if you want to make it last for the long-term.

I have been shaken in trusting myself in how my marriage ended. I felt so certain about making that decision. And looking back, with what I knew then and how I felt, I would not have made a different choice. But my councelor said that I cannot base my decisions in life based on fear of what may happen. I have to trust what I know in that moment in time and make the best choice. Life is not static, it is constantly changing and we have to grow and adapt.

My counselor made a really good point. In life, there is no certainty. You also cannot wait for every part of your life to be perfect either before you act. Say I take a job in another city, there could be budget cuts and I would need to look for work again. Or if I have that awesome job and meet someone, there could be the possibility that they could get a job transfer. I could stay here and choose relationship and something terrible could happen to either one of us. The point is that I cannot plan out every detail or have a back up plan for every case scenario. I have been thinking very rationally about my relationship with RJ, but what I need to do is to consider the heart. I have to look for those moments, the ones when you know everything fits and it feels fluid and full of life, not just going through the motions. I have to re-embrace the feeling part of life and see what it tells me.

But relationships take two people. So, I have to focus on doing my part. Time will tell what RJ will do with his part. And now I am a ball of nerves. And I have to somehow find the focus to get to the business of the last of my work. Yikes!


  1. Hi Jamie,

    Just checking up on you. I'm Lau from the Babycenter forum. I hope you still remember me. Life is hectic and I can't read and comment as often as I'd like but I wanted you to know I'm still here.

    What a great post you've written. Did you notice that you've answered all your questions?

    As I read, I kept having these ideas of what to tell you and then you spelled it all out for me! How is that for being clever of you?

    I think you're at one of those points in life when everything seems to come at you at the same time and you're suddenly in a position to make big decisions all at once. And it can be overwhelming. So take it one thing at a time.

    I'm certain you'll get your masters with no problems. You can do anything! As for not trusting your feelings. You said it best. Life changes, people change. Sometimes it's happy, sometimes it's sad but I am certain the decisions you made in the past were taken seriously and were right for the time.

    None of us knows what's around the corner. It's one of those wonderful/horrible things about life. You just keep your eyes forward and enjoy today. But you seem to be doing that beautifully already, so keep it up. I'm one of the many cheering for you.

  2. Hello Lau!

    I have NOT forgotten you! Sometimes I wonder how you are doing as I send good vibes your way! I am so touched that you have been following me on my blog (and I am glad that I have been able to fix the comment section to open it up to more people).

    I was struck by how you asked if I noticed that I answered all of my questions. Then I went back and read what I wrote and I guess I really do have the answers within me. But more importantly, I know only what I know in the present and I have to trust that and go with it. I have to remind myself that I cannot predict what will happen in the future. I have to stop trying to make decisions based on what may happen and stick to what IS happening.

    Thank you so much for your response. And it certainly has gottening me thinking some more, but in that good, reaffirming in trusting in myself kind of way.

    Do you have my email or any of the other BBC ladies? I would love to know what you have been doing. Maybe we need somekind of BBC reunion--even if it is by email chain.

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Thanks for your reply. I don't have your email but I was thinking the same thing about a chain email to catch up. I have Carli's email so I'll ask her for yours so we don't need to post it in your blog.

      Thanks for the idea!