Scully, It’s Me.

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I went into these past few months with the goals of being more self focused having no zero days. Let me tell ya, this first month of year 25 for me has been a doozy.  I am incredibly thankful for this past month and all of the absolutely amazing experiences. Here’s a little snippet of the past 31 days (plus a little extra because I’m a cheat).

I started this birthday month (okay this is my cheating one, because technically this was before my birthday and not even in the same month, oh wellll) with winning our first (and only) volleyball game of this season with only have four people. It was finally a game where we all came together and tried a little harder, but most importantly had a ton of fun which I honestly think was what made the difference! IMG_20180826_104103_01

Next, was my actual birthday in which I had to work. BUT, we got to go to a horse farm and watch all of our kiddos do awesome with the therapeutic horses and digging up the courage to ride the horses themselves! After work, my coworkers came out for some birthday drinks and apps at the snug which also happens to be the first place that I ever went to with my coworkers. These people have 100% made my past year of employment bearable and actually enjoyable (for the most part, because work is work no matter what you do). I have never been one to really dive into friendships, especially with coworkers/classmates/internship peeps. However, SASS really does a thing to ya where all barriers just disappear and you accept that these are your people whether you like them or not. Thankfully I liked them and plan on keeping them around now that SASS is a part of the past (kinda). 2018080295213533951533263836979

That weekend I went to a cubs game with friends and family for both mine and Megan’s birthday. I had entirely too much fun and was thankful, again, to continue to have my life long friends despite the fact that I don’t see them nearly as often as I would like to.  I was also thankful that I got to introduce a new hopefully life long friend to the mix. Some people are hesitant about mixing friend groups, but I have always been one who wants all the people that I like to be around in one place at the same time. Making my sister take a Malort shot was the icing on the cake; going to cheezies was the sprinkles-dear god do I love carbs and cheese.

 

The next morning we had our work 5K race and after that I had my family birthday party. My aunt was in from Texas, which was an added treat. Now that people are getting older, I am happy that we still get to all spend time together and wish that we would do more of it. FullSizeR_01

The next week, we left for Virginia for some Charlottesville fun and camping and hiking in Shenandoah National Park.  Shout out to Sarah for doing all of the driving, you are an angel. This trip was easily one of my favorite that I have ever taken. It was the perfect mix of nights out, relaxation, good natured fun, laughs with friends, enjoying the outdoors, and challenging ourselves. The hike that we did was one for the books, and I am so glad that a little rain led us to doing that one rather than we one we had originally planned on.  Here’s to easy going people who also want to enjoy experiences and the world around them. I am definitely making it a priority to see more of the natural world around me and going to as many national parks as I can.

 

After we got back, I had an entire week filled with smaller experiences that were equally as fulfilling. Whether it was dinner with friends, book club where we watched a movie instead, more volleyball, or working late nights at the bar- I appreciated all of these because each experience continues to add a little more to this life of mine. (Also found out some super exciting news and almost cried allllll the happy tears).

The following week was a little bit more trying with difficult clients, workplace drama, and trying to recover from all the fun that was had. BUT ice cream breaks, office coffees, coworker lunches, and blueberry turnovers made it all a little easier.

The next weekend we had our work team bonding at the bowling alley. It was nice to get to spend time with coworkers that I usually don’t spend too much time with outside of work. I was surprised, but really glad, that we continued the night of getting to know each other a little better, bonding outside of a stressful environment, and enjoying some live music and hilarious dancing.

 

AND THEN I FUCKING MET GILLIAN ANDERSON AND DAVID DUCHOVNY. And my life was 100% made. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love X files.  The past few years have had their trials, and strong women figures such as Dana Scully have been a good source of inspiration to get through these trials. Gillian Anderson has also been a great real life inspiration for womanhood over the past few months for me, so getting to take a picture with her had me over the moon.  David Duchovny is a nice piece of ash himself, so I wasn’t complaining about him also being present. Please see below for the CHEESIEST smile to ever cross my face. img_20180831_134554015_hdr

The next week was a little blasé because, come on, how do you follow up Gillian Anderson. But it was filled with more little experiences like ice cream two days in a row and break through sessions with clients that kept the good feelin’ momentum going.

Finally, I ended my first month of my 25th year of life with a weekend in Madison in which lots of drinks were had, 13.1 miles in the rain was run, and then more drinks and running in the rain because why not.  My  body was not happy with me, but my heart was full. Despite all of the terrible conditions, I am proud that I was able to complete my first half marathon and have enough fun that I am crazy enough to do it again.

 

All in all I am more than satisfied with how this first month has gone. I think that I am living up to all of the promises that I have made myself recently. I hope to keep up the momentum in September (but maybe be a little wiser, because I am broke as a joke). Next month, I want to continue these trends, but I also want to shift my focus to being more unapologetically me and taking more concrete steps in creating a life I won’t be regretful of.  I’d love to be able to break down individual experiences more, because they each do mean so much in so many different ways. But if I am too busy out there living them (my calendar had events on 25/31 days of August) to be able to write about them, I am more than okay with it. If more time does come, then I might just come back to a few of the things mentioned above.  Until then, cheers to being 25 and cheers to all of the people that help to make my life that much more special.

There’s No Crying in Bas(k)e(t)ball: Lessons I learned from being an athlete

“Sports do not build character, they reveal it.”- Heywood Broun

**Shout out Coach Evans for providing the world with the single greatest Tom Hanks line in one of the greatest movies, no one will convince me that this didn’t actually happen**

Anywho, hey. Welcome back. Today I write about something that I feel deep within my soul; that being an athlete means that you can be successful in anything that you could possibly hope to do in your life. Here’s a few reasons why.

  1. Learning never ends: I started basketball when I was in 6th grade and 13+ years later, I am still learning new things about the game and how to be better (Pat if you’re reading this, I still got it and never should you ever ask me again if I want two shots to one #aroundtheworld). Being an athlete taught me that there is always room for improvement, and that learning in a never ending process to do better than you did yesterday. Being an athlete made me a forever student. I may not currently be enrolled in school, but I am always looking to further my knowledge whether it’s by reading articles, talking with other professionals, or engaging in new experiences. Remembering that knowledge never ends helps me to stay humble and ensure that I do not take on the role of the professional-a key skill in social work.
  2. Being Coachable (aka taking constructive criticism): Hearing others tell you what you did wrong is never an easy feat. However, it is an important one. In line with the above lesson; being coachable allows us to further ourselves far more than we’d be able to on our own. Being coachable means that you are able to separate your feelings and not take things personally when others are trying to help you improve. Being coachable means that you are able to actively listen and take advice. Being coachable means that you are able to put your trust into those you are working with and working under to not lead you astray. Being coachable means that you are able to acknowledge that you don’t know it all, and work with your teammates, coaches, bosses, coworkers, friends to teach each other and make each other more well rounded individuals. (On the other hand, live by the rule that you sandwich in constructive criticisms between two compliments if you are the one giving it out)
  3. Teamwork (because duh): This is one of the most important things that being an athlete taught me. I have been on a heck of a lot of teams, and being an athlete has prepared me to better be able to navigate this. I learned that in order to be a successful team, you have to leave all personal opinions, negative feelings, and differences off the court (or at the door). I definitely did not like or get along with everyone I’ve been on a team with; but I did respect everyone. I trusted everyone. I worked with them toward a common goal. I put aside differences so that we could function as a unit. And I went to battle for them on the court (playing field, office, whatever it may be).  I learned that being a team is pretty dang close to being a family, and treated it as such.
  4. Leadership: Not all athletes have leadership skills, but the others learn how to accept leadership from others (most of the time). I have always been a leader in all things that I have ever done. I have never been a very outwardly loud or vocal leader; in fact I recall my coach spending a good 10 minutes making me shout random things in the middle of practice until I said them loud enough (if you thought I easily embarrass now, oh boy was 16 year old Maegan even more of a tomato that day). However, I am someone that puts the team ahead of myself, leads by example, gains the trust of my team members, gives advices, takes action and makes decisions, doesn’t let my ego get in the way (this one’s hard, Leo probs), and am insightful and analytical and steadfast in my convictions.  I learned that each person plays an important role on the team, and the team cannot function without everyone. I quickly learned that being a leader means that you aren’t always liked, and that’s okay. I am able to look at the bigger picture and how each of these roles can fit together, and empower those around me to play their roles to the best of their abilities (well I try to at least).
  5. Strength and perseverance: Sophomore year of basketball was by far the hardest thing that I have ever experienced (even harder than college basketball). Whether it was 3 hour long Saturday practices, minute runs, one minute layups, cut throat, or endless ladders because someone (cough* KATE * cough) was late to practice (I love you Kate), our limits were tested.  However, nothing to this day has felt better than the feeling of accomplishment after we did all of those things successfully. I learned that the hard work is well worth the reward. I learned that I will never improve if I don’t push myself past where I think my limit is  (please see this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sUKoKQlEC4  No, I’m not crying, you’re crying). I learned that some things take several tries, but if you keep at it, you’ll get there eventually and it will be amazing.
  6. Life is a game of inches: This lesson is two fold. The first way it can be taken is perfectly described by the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (which I am currently binge watching). In the show, Kimmy tells us that you can do anything for 10 seconds. If you string together these 10 seconds, you can accomplish anything that you set your mind to.  You just have to take things one inch at a time. The second piece of this lesson is that games are won and lost by inches; by being one inch ahead of your opponent to the basket, jumping one inch higher to get the rebound, shooting one inch higher to make the shot.  The point of this is that details matter, small steps and actions matter, putting in your full effort in every second of every day matters; because if you don’t, the next person might and they will feel miles ahead of you.
  7. Learn from the losses: Everyone is going to fail over and over again. The important thing is to get back up and keep on keeping on. Learn from your losses, learn from your mistakes, and work to improve each and every time you try.  You will get there eventually.
  8. Read the defense and scout the competition: Basketball taught me that you have to read the defense, aka take what  you are given and make it work for you. It taught me that every action has a counteraction. It taught me that thinking ahead of the competition will get you where you need to be. It taught me that there is always a way to be successful if you are paying attention.
  9. Free throws and bunnies win games: Free throws and bunnies (layups) are the easiest shots in the game of basketball. However, and trust me I am speaking from experience, they are SO easily missed in games when they matter most.  When you do things like lose focus or get too cocky or not practice the little things, you end up messing up the easy stuff. Don’t lose sight and take the easy stuff for granted. It is probably THE important and will help to ensure that you are successful. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s. Be meticulous. Don’t get caught up in doing flashy things or trying to impress others; do solid and efficient and effective work. Get the results without making it harder on  yourself.
  10. Hustle, and if you need to rest, do it on offense: I know there is a good life lesson in this one, but I keep using it to describe itself and thinking in circles-so hopefully you guys just get this one on it’s own.
  11. When all else fails, put on the full court press: Sometimes you put up a good fight and things just aren’t falling into place. Don’t give up. Pull out all the stops and give it your all until you have nothing left to give. Sure you may still end up losing, but at least you’ll know that you did everything you could. Sometimes that is enough.
  12. Love what you do: Do what you love for as long as you love it, and when you no longer love it, move on. It is important to be passionate about the work that you do. It makes sure that you aren’t being burnt out, aren’t living life going through the motions, aren’t missing out on other experiences that could be better. Loving what you do allows you to live a happier and more fulfilled life. You don’t owe anyone any favors to stick around. “Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.

I’m sure there are countless other lessons, and probably different ones for each sport, but these are the ones that have really been sticking out to me lately. Boy was I fortunate enough to be an athlete for so many years and have amazing role models and coaches that helped to shape me into the person that I am today. We use to joke that being a member of our high school basketball team was like being in a cult; but I honestly can attribute most of who I am and my successes to the lessons that I learned from my four years on that team. I hope that I can give back and be that role model and teacher to others someday, even if that means implementing Lombardi time and minute runs and day after Thanksgiving practices that we SWEAR were made to be the worst practices of the year. Or the equivalent of these things in whatever field I am in and future I may have. Here’s some pictures of the good ol’ times to really express how much joy and fun I felt being an athlete, even when there were days where I thought that I wanted it all to be over as soon as possible.

 

Crises, Coffee, Cattle Dog Galactica

Crises, Coffee, Cattle Dog Galactica: how I went from pre-med to this equally crazy life.

First, hopefully people got my Office reference otherwise- embarrassinggg. Second, depending on how long I can manage to stay awake, this may or may not be a lengthy one so stick with me.  I am currently watching The Heat for comedic inspiration and brain stimulation.

I ended my first semester of my Senior year of college as a pre-med student. I then had one of many existential crises in which I decided that I did not want to do pre-med anymore (mistake number 54687424).  I then began my new journey to where I am now. Here’s how I got here.

After deciding no more to pre-med, I decided that I wanted to join the mental health field since I was planning on doing something in that realm with medicine anyway and was a psych and neuro double major. I decided to take the easy way out (or in), and apply to graduate school for Social Work. (p.s. Social Work school is easy, Social Work real life is not). I then proceeded to spend the next two years as a full time graduate student, with internship, working two jobs, living in the city, and maintaining a relationship in the burbs. I am exhausted just thinking about those two years.  Those two years in themselves were a lot of crises (of my own) and coffee; I hadn’t made it to the cattle dogs yet though. I learned a lot about my own resiliency, stamina, and self care habits (or lack thereof) and had some good laughs along the way.  Those two years were filled with a lot of temporary people, but I am thankful for each and every one of them because they got me through it.

After graduate school I treated myself and then boyfriend to a month in Europe. It was by far the best experience I have ever had thus far, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  That month was also a learning experience. I learned that I can indeed spend more than 3 days away from home without dying. I learned that I love to travel and experience new things, new people, new cultures. I learned that great experiences go by quickly, so you better make the most of them. And I learned that what I wanted out of life was someone who was willing to create these experiences with me so that I don’t miss out.

A few days after I got back from Europe then boyfriend and I moved into a new apartment. Two days after that I started at my now job. I didn’t mention that I got a job did I?? (Insert shoulder shrug).  My first day was rough for personal reasons, but I made it through and I am still here so I couldn’t have been too bad right? Not rhetorical. I was okay right?? And so begins the Crises, Coffee, and Cattle Dog Galactica.

I should probably mention what my job is. I am a SASS worker (think crisis assessments and follow up therapy services). I won’t go too much into detail of the past year, but I will give some anecdotes about what it means to be in this position.

At the end of graduate school I was so excited to be back on a normal schedule with one job to worry about (LOL Maegan, LOL).  At the beginning, SASS was a heck of a lot of confusion, feeling useless, and having a go getter attitude. After time, the confusion lessened, I felt more helpful, and I plead the fifth on the go getterness.  However, I am back to that exhausted feeling as mentioned above.

Some days SASS is spending 12 hours straight on crisis in one day (aka two Tuesdays ago). Some days SASS is the same client being called in 4 times in a few hours (aka two Thursdays ago). Some days SASS is sleeping two hours, being out until 6am and then going straight to your appointments because you haven’t seen all of your clients this week yet (three days ago).

Some days SASS is getting bit and punched in the face by a 6 year old, just a few months after being chased by this same client with scissors when he was 5.  Some days SASS is assessing your client for the 4th day in a row, and not knowing what to do anymore. Some days SASS is frustrating clients, frustrating parents, frustrating coworkers that make you feel like you need your own assessment.  I actually have a more consistent sleep, workout, and eating schedule- but somehow I am more exhausted than ever.

Thankfully there are good days in SASS too. On good days, SASS is seeing your client’s meet their goals. It’s being thanked by others for your hard work. It’s client’s that write you raps that you read over and over again when you need a good smile (which also happen to be the same clients mentioned above- sometimes the worst are also the best). It’s coworkers who arm you with coffee and chocolate and compliments so you are ready to take on the day.  SASS has really taught me a lot about myself-mainly that I REALLY do suck at self care. It taught me that building a tribe of strong, inspiring, passionate, compassionate people is the most important thing I could do.  So here’s to you guys, ya’ll know who you are.

Thank you for the endless amounts of coffee, for sharing lunches, for agreeing that we need a break, for loving dogs as much as I do, for helping to find humor in difficult times, for bringing me McDonald’s when I’m stuck on a crisis, for helping to cover and trade shifts, for sharing my taste in music and movies and shows (or for not, and reminding me to tone it down when I’m getting to be too much), for hours long conference calls, for advice and putting me in my place when needed, for ice cream dates, for knowing my Wendy’s order (I realize now, the way to my heart is probably food), for brainstorming solutions (after we take a little bit to be mad and vent), for caring about the quality of the services we provide and about what’s going on in the world outside our little bubble, for constantly giving in SO many ways and never expecting anything in return. You guys are the real MVPs, and I am grateful for ya.  Thanks for helping me to stay positive, even if we need to convince ourselves to do so sometimes (Please see Instagram post about this blog for real life video example- apparently you gotta upgrade to Premium for videos on here *sigh* sorry Meghan).

Sometimes you get lucky enough to have good work people that turn into good real life people as well. That’s how you know you’ve really made it in this life. These people are equally as important to me in real life- and here’s how the Cattle Dog Galactica comes into play. While SASS is crazy, home is crazy too.  In the past 3 months alone I have had some major changes including adding a second, crazy fur baby to the mix, breaking up with my boyfriend of 7 on and off years, and moving into a bigger place (because fur babies need more space, ya know).  These changes have been hard.  (Actual human moms ignore this part, because I’m sure it’s not actually true). Having a new puppy feels like having a new baby; potty training, several feedings a day, waking up at all hours of the night, and needed endless attention.  Having two dogs at once (crazy cattle dogs in particular), what was I thinking?! I thought I couldn’t be more exhausted than I already was, boy was I wrong. My people have helped to support me through this as well.

As with clients, dogs can be frustrating, but they are infinitely rewarding too.  On top of the support from my people, my dogs have also helped me through this crazy life. They bring joy and fun and comfort, and somehow they know when each is needed.  They give endless and unconditional love and affection daily, even when I don’t deserve it.  Plus mine in particular are super cute!

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And so long story short (boy am I getting sleepy)- life is hard and full of surprises and changes, but it’s worth it.  You just gotta keep on keeping on and build your tribe wisely (I suggest funny people, laughs can always make anything better). More changes are coming, but I am ready to take them on with all the coffee and candy this body can handle.

 

Goodbye, Hello.

“Say goodbye like a plague. Say it like all you’ve ever wanted to be is the sun on their skin and the air in their lungs. Say it because it was good. Say it like the last time you touched and the first time you realized you were happy. Say it because you’re not now. Say it because if you don’t, you never will. Say it because you have nothing left to say.”

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So this is my third attempt at a blog (third times the charm right??), and I am hopeful that this time it will stick a little bit better than the last two since it means a little bit more to me personally.

This past year (for some reason at 25 I still determine years by school years and lease renewals rather than actual calendar years) has been a roller coaster of trials and tribulations. A few months ago, I found myself exhausted in every sense of the word; emotional, physical, spiritual, you name it. I was exhausted despite having the most regular sleeping, eating, exercising habits that I have had since Freshman year of college- how was that 7 years ago already?! I was going through the motions daily; not able to give my all (or even very much) to my work, my clients, my family, my friends, and myself. There came a day that I felt like I was truly at my breaking point (the kind that isn’t all tears and yelling, but rather enormous amounts of indifference and shoulder shrugs). I realized that I had been forgetting one of the most important parts of life; I wasn’t being me. I wasn’t working to find the parts of me that I have yet to discover.  So I turned to my powerful role models, both real and fiction (shout out Dana Scully).

First, I took an introspective look at the past year. The past year was full of newness; new home, new adventures, new job, new friends, new fur babies.  However, this past year was also full of patterns, full of stagnation, full of rote days and weeks and months. I realized I was forgetting to live with intention. I had all of these new things, but they were often new things that simply happened to me out of convenience rather than big picture life choices.

Second, I decided I needed to take back my life and make it into something I was proud of living.  I have no idea what that looks like yet, but I am looking forward to finding out through endless trial and error.  So here I am, at the start of the new year (please see above on how I classify years).  For those who have made it this far, thanks for reading. Hopefully, some of you will stick around to see how this all plays out. And if not, then that’s okay too because this is about me being me for me.  If you do decide to stick around, buckle up! I have a feeling it’s going to be a bumpy ride as I navigate this world, but well worth what I learn. Hopefully you’ll learn something with me.

Here’s to being a (almost) 25 year old, newly single woman social working my way through life as a dog mom of two who loves chocolate, X-files, and adventures. I am glad to have you along with me for this journey.