I have been working full time while completing grad school. During this process I have had many ups and downs and in January I will start the final year in my degree, take my state license, and start my supervision hours. I have many emotions about this next year but mostly I am just ready to complete the process and finally be fully licensed and practicing on my own. The education and licensure process to be a therapist is a long one but so worth it. I often find myself in the “hurry up and wait” limbo. I wish to be at some point in the future where I believe life will somehow be better or easier. When I think about it I realize I have done this many times in life and for different reasons. There are many good things in the works for the future that will come in time and it is important for all of us to remember to be more present. Basically, do not wish your life away. Enjoy each moment to the fullest and appreciate the process.
I am currently navigating my first long-distance relationship and he is in the Army. Around the time he is set to retire I will be finishing my supervision hours and become fully licensed. We didn’t plan it that way, but I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. We attract people, places, things, and situations in life and I think my positive focus on my hopes and dreams for the future have brought me to this point in life with purpose. In my relationship we both are working on self-growth in addition to our careers. This distance in our relationship has its good and bad aspects but at this point I would say mostly good. It allows me to more easily focus on my education and career while still making plans for my future. It forces the relationship to move slow and for us to get to know each other in every aspect and really communicate.
Instead of pushing for the big end game take time to appreciate the little accomplishments along the way. Yes, it is good to be goal oriented and re-evaluate to make sure you keep your eyes on the prize, but not so much so that you fail to notice all the beauty of the present moment. As we move into the Christmas season and the New Year take pause to reflect on everything you have been through, good and bad. Really focus on the accomplishments and appreciate the present, slow down, breath in the moment. Do not rush through the holidays or get distracted by the commercial and gift giving aspects of the season, really take time to appreciate who and where you are in this moment in life…in history…because there will be a day when you will wish you could do it all again.
In my current long-distance relationship we have officially navigated through 3 months and have begun our 4th. Even though much of this new relationship has been discovering each other through technology like phone calls, FaceTime, and text messaging, we have also managed to spend at least one week each month in person. So far he has had more leave time and availability to travel than I have so he has been the one coming to me. My first trip to him will be this month for Christmas and I am excited about being able to see his world. Long-distance relationships have a bad reputation with most people and my current boyfriend was resistant to the idea. I didn’t push my thoughts on it because I never really navigated a long distance relationship before but I think anything is possible if you want it bad enough. After a week of great conversation and uncanny connections in life we decided to give it a go and focus on each other.
In this process so far I have found myself struggling with a healthy balance of space. I know at first you may think…what do you mean you are struggling to find a healthy balance for space? You are in a long-distance relationship, you should be getting plenty of space! Well, with technology I find that my new and wonderful boyfriend loves the idea of being on the phone with me everyday throughout the day and FaceTime any time we are at home and even when we sleep. At first I found this charming and super attentive and a great way for us to really get to know each other. He called it virtually living together. I found myself feeling a little overwhelmed. The big positive with our relationship is the comfort to be able to talk about anything. The communication is great and we have managed to navigate our differences very well. I honestly do not believe the comfort level would be the level that it is if we had not been on the phone with each other as much as we have. So with that being said, it brings me back to that healthy balance.
I am in graduate school and I have a full time job, friends, family, a home, and the need for just me time. We have started creating space and time to do things without always being on the technology with each other. In the beginning I can see where constant communication throughout the day can help create a level of understanding and trust but over time it can feel suffocating. I felt guilty when I had these feelings because I had prayed so hard for a good man who loves me as much as I love him and here I am asking him to give me some space. I felt conflicted at first but then I took time to really think about it. Creating a healthy balance is important and actually more beneficial to the relationship. This last visit together was a great example of how too much time together can actually have a negative impact. With Covid19 we didn’t really leave the house at all and spent 10 days together. When he left to go home we talked on the phone basically reviewing the week and we both agreed, we felt more like an old married couple and not a new, exciting relationship and it was concerning for both of us. I thought of a quote from the movie Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts, when James Franco’s character says: “you haven’t even given me a chance to miss you”. I think creating some space and having lives outside of each other creates an eagerness to talk and share later. The reason it felt so fun and alive in the beginning is because we were learning things about each other. When you spend every moment communicating about your day all day then what is left to share and learn? In order to be excited to see and talk to each other you have to go some period of time without seeing or talking to each other, even if its just a normal work day. Creating space helps create space for individual growth and experience which creates two stronger and happier individuals which in turn creates a strong and healthy relationship and who doesn’t want that?