Life Events

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Hello!

As you can see there has been a very long hiatus since I wrote a post (1.5 years!) but I would like to get back on track.  This blog (and writing, in general), remains on my mind on a regular basis and it feels like one of those things I “need” to do in my life.

The good news is, a lot of exciting things have been happening!

Nine short days after my last post, my then-boyfriend proposed!  Of course I said yes, and life has been a whirlwind since.

Let me give you a picture of what things have looked like since my last post:

  • My man and I got engaged
  • I started a new job
  • I moved to a rental home in a neighboring city
  • I took (and passed!) a professional licensing exam
  • I finished renovations at my townhouse and successfully started renting it out, with the help of a property management company
  • I took a trip to my hometown (600 miles away), where my Mom and I found my wedding dress
  • I took several trips with my man, including weekends at the beach, a trip to Las Vegas, a trip to Miami, and several day trips to a nearby city a couple of hours away, where we planned for our wedding to be
  • I hosted a visit at Thanksgiving for my parents, my brother, and my then-pregnant sister in law, who all came to visit for the first time since I moved to NC in 2008
  • I became and aunt-My brother in sister in law had a beautiful and healthy baby boy, who also happens to be the first grandchild in the family
  • My friends threw me a bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • My man and I looked at houses all over nearby areas and closed on a house at the end of April
  • My man and I moved into our new home only a few short weeks before the wedding
  • My man and I had a beautiful wedding–We got married at the end of May <3
  • My man and I went on our honeymoon!

Thankfully, our honeymoon included a lot of downtime and some much needed rest and relaxation!  After reading that list of what has gone on in the past year an a half, I’m almost exhausted all over again!   Two moves, planning a wedding, several trips, a new addition to the family, lots of stress, lots of to-dos, and fortunately, lots of excitement!  And of course, I’ve had other friends get engaged, get married, get pregnant, adopt animals, and I’ve gotten to share in the excitement of those events as well!

Whew!  I would like to say it’s all be joy and celebrations, but there’s certainly been some difficult things too.  The part that I’m most excited about now, though, is making our house into a home and settling in.  So far marriage has been wonderful, though not without challenges, and I’m looking forward to developing a deeper relationship with my husband (that word still holds so much novelty!).

I’m sorry for the break but I hope your life has been full of joy and excitement as well!

 

 

Blogging:  Concerns and Truths

Blogging: Concerns and Truths

bill payI’ve been consistently posting on my blog here for a couple of months (yay, me!).  There are several concerns that I have had about blogging that probably held me back to start with:

Concern:      I was worried I wouldn’t have enough content

Truth be told, there are plenty of blogs out there that have a more narrow focus than mine, and they are doing just fine.

Even with using blog posts I wrote years ago for Weight Loss Journey 1, I have plenty of ideas to maintain my goal of 2-3 posts per week.  With things that happen to me on a daily basis, thoughts and concerns, stories to share, plus blog posts I have written over the past several years, I have found it easy to maintain this pace without dipping in to my reserve articles.

Truth:  It has been much easier to maintain this pace than I thought.  It was me that was holding me back!

One day I may be interested in posting more articles, but for now posting 2-3 times per week has been easier than I expected.  Apparently, I have more to share than I realized. J

 

Concern:      I was worried people wouldn’t be interested in what I have to say

This blog is probably more for myself than for anyone else, at least for right now.  In order to feel comfortable sharing my life with the internet, I really had to shift my focus from the big, bad world to myself.  I want this blog to benefit other people, for sure.  But for years I have had more guilt about not doing it than I had fear of actually doing it, which led me to finally take the plunge.  I’m not sure if I’m expressing myself clearly so I’ll say it another way.  I’d rather face the fear of what other people think than live with the regret of not ever taking action on the blog.

I have been hesitant to share the title of this blog, even with close friends, for fear they would be harsh and critical.   I think this has to do with a bigger question:

Why is it that I don’t think my words have value?

 

Truth:  People want you to succeed.  More often than not, they will offer support instead of criticism.

 

Concern:  People would avoid my site because the design wasn’t “pretty” or “professional” enough.

Technology is constantly changing.  I have seen the designs for my favorite blogs change over the years, and that hasn’t stopped me from visiting those sites.  I don’t know a lot about the technical aspects of blogging, but there are plenty of resources to help me learn.

 

Truth: People are drawn to websites over and over again because of the content, not the design. I will figure out the technological aspects along the way.

 

I say all this to share what I have been learning over the past couple of months about blogging and how my fears have interfered with taking action in the past.  I have such a different sense of accomplishment now that I am sharing my words instead of just letting them swirl around inside me.  The feedback I have gotten has been positive (thanks!) and constructive; my friends have some really good ideas!

The bigger message I have learned from this is that if there’s something you deeply and intensely want to do but are hesitating about because of fear—do it anyway.  The details will work themselves out.  You can’t wait for circumstances to be perfect; they never will be.  Certainly, there are ways you can plan for success, but don’t let fear or lack of knowledge get in your way.  These things can be overcome!

Is there something your heart yearns to do but you find yourself hesitating and making excuses as to why it won’t work?    Start taking action!  You will feel better and find that you are energized and ideas come to you with ease.  I’d love to hear what you learn along the way!

Overcoming Obstacles

silhouette-936715_1920So if you’re a detail-oriented person, you may have noticed that I really got the inspiration and made the decision to start this website back in the end of April 2011.  However, it didn’t actually launch until August of 2015. You may be thinking, “Bridget, what the heck took you so long?”

I’m addressing this because it relates to my mission in this website—to help people overcome obstacles and get the best life has to offer.  For me, the obstacles facing me were fear and lack of knowledge.

Here are some of the thoughts I have had.  “Would people really be interested in what I have to say?  Do I really have something valuable to offer?  Could I really be successful at this?  Do I really have the time it takes to devote to a functional, well-maintained, and lucrative website?”  Of course, they all center around the fear that I’m not good enough and I don’t have what it takes to achieve something that I really want to do.

So, what to do in these situations?

Put these thoughts out of your mind.

I truly believe that if you have a lot of fear about something it’s because you are truly meant to do it, and that its your own insecurities holding you back. If you follow your inner compass and allow yourself to believe you are capable of achieving what you want, take a step forward.  Just one step.  Then, when you see that work out, take another.  Just one step at a time.  Anyone can take one step.  When I have fears like that, it helps to remind myself of times in the past that I have been afraid, but took action and had success despite the fear.

Fear isn’t what holds you back.  You are what holds you back, if you choose to let fear paralyze you.  It’s a choice.

This is the reason it took me so long to launch this website even though I’ve really known what I wanted to do since for years!  Eventually I just decided that it doesn’t matter how much I hem and haw about my content and my layout; it won’t benefit anyone for my ideas to remain ideas.  I will be the first to admit that this website is a work in progress and it may be a little rocky to start with, but it was more important that I get it out there and make it a reality than to try to make everything perfect before I did something with it.

So here I am, embarking on this journey, which I believe will be a positive one.

Oh yeah.  The other obstacle—lack of knowledge, is one that can be easily overcome.  I really have very little technical knowledge and I’ve never had a website before, so all the jargon is very new and unfamiliar.  I feeling like I’m kind of groping along in the dark, but fortunately there is a lot of (free!) information available on the internet, and other bloggers and supportive people in my life are very friendly, helpful, and forthcoming  with lessons they have learned along the way.

The Practical Reason I Started a Blog

The Practical Reason I Started a Blog

heart-462873_1280One day I would love to have an independent income that’s stable enough that I have the option stay at home with my children when I have them.  As a Hospice Social Worker, I love my job, but it still confines me to a time commitment of (at least) 40 hours per week, not to mention a 35-minute commute (one way), and a significant investment of emotional energy.  As I just came off a summer full of travel and quality time with family and friends, I am reminded of the precious time I have and how I want to spend it with people I care about.

Currently, I’m single.  Although I’m dating a wonderful man, we have no immediate plans for marriage and I have no children.  Let me clarify:  if you count a beagle mix pup, then, yes, I am a single mom, but I have no human children.  I know the pet owners out there understand. 😉

But I want them.  Someday.  As I approach my mid-thirties it becomes more apparent to me that my child-bearing years are limited.  But it’s extremely important to me that the circumstances be right-I want to be in a stable marital relationship with a man I can also call my best friend, who I have fun with before and after the kids enter the picture.  In the past I have been nervous about my aging eggs while still trying to convince myself I have plenty of time, but its most important to me that the circumstances be right before I enter that phase of my life.  I haven’t always had baby fever but its strength has ebbed and flowed in the past several years, especially as people around me get pregnant and I get to hold their adorable babies!  The sweet children I have in my life combined with the thought that everyone seems to be pregnant makes me feel like I’m behind.  However, my life circumstances are not right for children at this time, and if I want to do it right there are a lot of things that need to happen before I feel comfortable bringing children in to the world.

I have so much respect for my parents, who raised 3 children on a modest single income, so that my mom could stay home and raise us.  Now, I am an independent woman of the Y Generation, but I still long for the choice to stay at home with my children if I should want to, instead of cursing the American government for the too-short, 6-week unpaid maternity leave that is available to me.

mother-429158_1280So, here I am.  I want quality time with my family (now, and in the future), and I’m taking steps now to make sure that I will have options when I finally do have children of my own.

You will see these things reflected in my life (and by default, my blog) as I continue to share my story.  Some of the topics that are important to me directly relate to this (long-term) desire for a family, but all of them relate to my own desire to be the best version of myself that I can be.

These are the things that I’m working on that you will come across on this blog:

  1.  My health:  Currently I’m on a journey to lose weight and improve my health.  This not only helps my long-term health but also will reduce the chances of complications when I do decide to get pregnant.  Regardless of my age or whether I’m considering child-bearing, though, health is critical to quality of life and I want to do my part to make sure I’m maximizing my health.  I heard someone say once that if you only got one car for your whole life, you’d probably take excellent care of it.  Similarly, the body can be viewed as a vehicle, that takes you where you want to go.  It needs maintenance, fuel, rest, and nourishment to function at its best.  I only get one body, I want to treat it well.
  2. Money:  I’ve gotten rid of all debt outside of my home and student loans.  For years I have been informing myself about how to manage my finances—Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Robert Kiyosaki, blogs about finances, couponing, and saving money—all have been sources of education about financial management and budgeting.  While I have a long way to go on completely eliminating my debt I continue to try to maximize every dollar that comes into my life.  I have put some money in savings for life’s little surprises and even though I’m young I am contributing to a retirement fund to serve me in my golden years.  I have a salaried job, but also use sales and coupons to save money, and take on side projects to make additional money.   Managing money is a long-term project, my income and expenses won’t always be what they are now, but there are things I can do to plan ahead to make sure I’m in the best possible financial situation.
  3. Home Improvement Projects:  My home is a little 2-bedroom townhouse.  At 871 square feet, it’s more than enough for me and the dog, but not ideal long-term if I want to live with anyone besides my fur baby.  Since I closed on the home in 2011, I have painted, sanded, scraped, and made all kinds of changes to improve the value of the home.  Long-term I plan to either sell it or rent it out.  But right now I live there, so I have done as many improvements as I can by myself to save money.  Most of the improvements have been cosmetic, thankfully, and I have been able to get great deals on supplies from time to time.
  4. Self Improvement:  I want to be the best person I can be–for myself, but also for the people I take care of at work and the loved ones in my personal life.  If I’m not feeling balanced it is hard for me to be available to be a source of support for others.  As I continue to discover my true nature and how to relate best to those around me, I need to reflect and process things as they happen.  I love books about self-development (or “self-help”, as the bookstores like to classify them), and I’m much more likely to be reading something like that than a fashion magazine.  I have chosen to have relationships with people that I’m able to discuss life with on a deep level, and fortunately because of my vocation I have a lot of friends with a therapy/counseling background.

As I go through life I will share thoughts about my journey in each of these areas.  I hope that the things I have struggled with will be a source of help and support to others.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas on how to make life just a little more easy, let me know! :-)

Sharing My Voice

Sharing My Voice

microphone-626032_1920Hi, there!
I began blogging in 2009 at SparkPeople, as a pet project as I began a weight-loss journey.  It was helpful to talk myself through the process and find some internal inspiration/motivation to continue the habits that would keep me healthy.
Fast forward six years later…here we are.  I have wanted to commit to working on a blog for a long time now.  In fact, I’ve been writing articles for it for years.  However, I never took the time to play with the technology, and to keep a consistent habit.  My desire was ultimately to monetize a blog so that I could stay home with my children when I have them one day.  I have a URL, I don’t have a blog.  Writing on Sparkpeople was easy, I just had to type in their platform and post.  I’ve made it far more difficult than it needs to be.
Today I was reading a blog post by Henri Juntilla (from Wake Up Cloud, one of the original blogs that inspired me years ago), who said that I must tell my story.  It’s scary of course.  But I have a lot to say and I wouldn’t have continued writing all this time if I didn’t have something important to share.   My (writing) voice is small, weak even, but I want it to become strong so that I feel confident in what I have to say. 
Picture by Bridget

Photo by Bridget

On my best days, I think that I might just have something special to offer.  But of course, not all of my days are my best days.  On my worst days, I just want to crawl in bed and tell the world to leave me alone.   On both kinds of days, and every day in between, I still feel a longing in my heart to share my story with the world.  It’s not a perfect story.  It’s not a tragedy, a comedy, and certainly not a drama or an action story.  It’s not a fairy tale, it’s not science fiction, I wouldn’t even call it a biography. 

It’s just my story, the story of a 30-something gal trying to make her way in this crazy world.  Like everyone, I have family, friends, dreams, goals, priorities, causes I care about, and responsibilities.  I have questions, hesitations, doubts, fears, things I don’t think I will ever understand, and things I don’t care about at all (even if I wish I did).  I have areas in which I can improve, books I want to read, places I want to visit, and people I’d love to meet.
As a Social Worker by day, I believe that everyone has something important and valuable to share.  I believe that everyone’s experiences and perceptions are different and that we all have something special and unique to offer the world.  It’s time I lived up to my own expectation and start believing that my story is valuable too.
So here I am, stuck in the middle of all that, and finally—finally—I am ready to share my story.

Let’s Get to Know Each Other

Here’s a brief synopsis of the past few years of my life, which has led me to where I am now.  I am a Master’s level trained Social Worker and I’ve worked in the field of dialysis for 4 years before moving on to Hospice, where I am now.  Prior to that I was going to school for Physical Therapy, so I have a strong background in the health care field.  My interest has always been to help others, but it has only been recently that I have discovered how to do that in a way that’s best suited to my training, my desires, and my natural abilities.  If all that education means nothing to you, that’s fine.  Just know that I’ve had a lot of education but I haven’t been able to use that in the way I’d really like to.

In the fall of 2008 I moved from upstate New York to North Carolina (where I currently live), where I knew only 4 people at the time.  That move was very scary, but it has definitely shaped who I am and given me the confidence to make great decisions for my life.  During this time I’ve also been involved with great people that were passionate about self-improvement and education, and I have soaked up every bit of education I have been able to get my eager little hands on.

In 2009 I made the decision to create a healthier life for myself.  I was very overweight but I wanted more out of life and I hated how my body, and the thought processes that had caused me to be fat, were holding me back.  I’m proud to say that I lost 75 pounds just over a year (the healthy way) and have kept a good portion of it off for years.  I can tell you, this journey was not an easy one, but it has made more of an impact on my life than anything I’ve ever done.  I can truly say that I’m a different person, physically, emotionally, and mentally, than I was before I did that for myself. 

It was during this process that I discovered the wonder that is blogging.  I found that there were so many changes going on in my head and heart that I just needed to express myself, and I started journaling on an incredible web community I was a part of that kept me accountable to my weight loss goals.  I never knew I liked writing, to be honest.  With all the education I had been through, I had done countless papers and projects, but I had never really considered writing in my spare time for fun or recreation.  Also, I had kept diaries as a teenager (oh, the horrific problems of adolescence) but never really as an adult until I started to write as a way to cope with the changes brought about by my weight loss.  Suddenly I realized that I’m decent at writing, and I really enjoy it.  Twice I even considered writing a book about specific experiences I had gone through, but at those times of my life writing wasn’t a priority.  My passion for writing didn’t go away, but I did kind of push it aside for awhile, while I focused on other things.  However, I continued to journal as an effective means of self-expression and problem solving.

I love learning on any kind of level.  Even when things fail in my life I try to turn it into a learning opportunity.  I will say that I’m a relentless optimist and I’m always giving people the benefit of the doubt (to my detriment, at times), but that mindset is a big part of who I am and how I view the world, and I’m happy with that. 

At this point I am ready to take on another big challenge, so I’ve entered into the world of blogging.  I know very little about setting up a website, but fortunately I have found that there are a lot of resources (and a community of incredibly friendly, successful, and helpful bloggers) available to assist me.  My hope for this blog is to reach out to others who are ready and willing to move forward in their lives by sharing the life lessons I have learned over the past few years.  One of my life’s passions is to help others achieve their potential, and I hope to use this website as a means to do that by reaching out to others interested in improving their lives.  

I’d love to hear from you and what you would like to get from this site.  Enjoy!