I have been underground for some time lately. After graduation in August, then defending and passing my dissertation while simultaneously packing household “go” bags (with smoke filling our home and evacuation notices looming ever closer from all the Oregon wildfires last fall), I had a biological break down, resulting in infections and overall exhaustion. After I was down for the count with my health, I had a mini-existential crisis. That was weird for me – since existential crises are where I thrive.
During my “crisis”, I dropped into a depressive episode that has taken me months to surface from. I’m just now starting to feel a little energetic. What my depressive episodes look like is me going into a personal dark abyss that feels completely numb and muted. It was like regressing to my childlike self that was barely verbal. I’ve had no words; thus, I’ve remained silent, spending a lot of time in bed where everything has felt eerily quiet. The frustrating part is that I have a million things to write – with profound ideas abounding, and me unable to put words to them in any understandable way.
The good thing about my existential moment was that it was such a necessary step for both my kiddos. I’m not a helicopter mom by any means, I try to balance – semi-structure – with a little more freedom than most parents would offer. I think of it as helping my children practice being adults. My crippling silence took me out of the parental role I’ve played their entire lives. They had to fend without me. This was in their best interest, to be honest. They have instead been building an intense emotional connection with their father. He always did say that I had them when they were little, and now that they’re older, he’ll take over. It was perfect timing.
My 20-year-old has been slowly forging his way into adulthood, while simultaneously carrying his innocent little inner boy with him. Whereas my 16-year-old daughter is itching to get out on the road as a certified driver, ready to hit her 20’s before she even graduates from high school (which will happen next school year). She and her papa have been practicing driving every week – sometimes every day. She has an appointment to get her official driver’s license in a couple of weeks. After that she wants to go to motorcycle school. She’s been saving up for her own Suzuki Ninja 300cc, as she imagines driving her bike to college in a little over a year. My husband keeps watching motorcycle crashes on YouTube while asking himself, “why on earth did I cultivate a passion for motorcycles in my daughter?” I then ask myself – why did I let him. The answer is easy – nothing was going to stop those two. It’s like mixing fire and air – big ole fire tornado! I bet if you look at them just the right way as they speed down the freeway you can see their metaphysical hair on fire!!
So now I have a doctorate in psychology – which I never thought I could reach – and my kids are moving on without us. Just a little empty nest syndrome on the side before my career goes into blast off. I’ve always said I do everything backwards. Regardless, it was well worth the effort. We’ve started to call this time the end of volume 2. Volume 3 will be “psychologist”. It’s been a good process for us to collectively name the chapters in our life so we can revisit them later. So much to learn from them.
In the meantime, I have little clues where my career is headed. I recognize that nothing is fixed, more like living in a constant flow of possibilities. The ones that are manifested are brought about due to events, people, situations, just lining up. Stane and I describe it as all the tumblers in the cosmic lock aligning and unlocking a door with unimaginable experiences. Sometimes I’m blown away by the possibilities. Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel nothing. Wherever we go, is where we need to be…. I’m simply focused on spending the next year logging hours in post-doctoral residency while studying for the EPPP, on my path to become licensed. After that, who knows. Infinite possibilities – I just need to remain open to them.
Like I said before, I have many articles swirling in my head – so stay tuned. They’ll come out when they’re ready if you are interested. I’m a one-woman designer – with extraordinarily little time. This website is all me. Designing and programming websites was something I taught myself when I was trying to figure out what to do (around 1996). I worked as a graphic artist for a few years before returning to undergrad. It’s a neat skill I have that lets me build and design this website – unfortunately, it ends up taking me longer than I’d like to update or fix things on the site. I get tired of designs after so long, changing things up just for fun – which only takes up more time that I just don’t have. I realize there are broken links and spontaneous issues – usually due to updates to my pages engine that I have no time to attend to. I’ll get there eventually.
The other project I’ve been dedicated to lately is with the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Team (EDIT) for Western. We’re transitioning to a national company (Lifestance), which opens so many other doors and possibilities that are at a national level and are endless. There are also issues – as there always are in any transition. It’s metamorphosis time….
Change is hard for all of us – even me – the one person I know who lives in a constant flow of change. We tend to want to hold on to something…. I keep holding on to the same hope I had as a child. If I can’t find what I’m looking for in others, I can become that person I’m looking for.
So what are you looking for or holding on to?