Career Goals

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Brett and I were talking last night about career aspirations. I’ve been struggling with working from home the last year. I work for a virtual company (which I honestly love my colleagues) but I just don’t see them frequently. We generally only talk on conference calls or virtual meetings. If we do see each other, it’s once, maybe twice a year. Many of my clients are scattered all around the country so I also don’t have a lot of face-to-face contact with them. I do have a few clients in the Boston area but it’s a pretty well-oiled machine that I don’t have to drop-in very often, except for maybe some trainings here and there.

I try to work a couple of times a month from Starbucks or somewhere remotely just to have some sort of interpersonal communications with others. (If you see me, I’m that annoying person who’ll comment on the book you’re reading or ask you about the pretty colored beverage you ordered, just so I can strike up a conversation.) Because of this, I have been searching for new opportunities where I can work outside of the house becauseĀ I can become so isolated and hermit-like just staying at home. There are times where I’ve gone 2 weeks without leaving the house.

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Getting Help When You Need It

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Yesterday I hit a milestone I didn’t even realize I was approaching. Yes, it was May the Fourth for all of you Star Wars fans out there but that wasn’t it. So, what was it?

I reached a year of regularly seeing my current therapist.

A few years back now before we had started trying to conceive, I regularly worked with a therapist and a psychiatrist when I was actively having panic attacks. It took about two years of constant work to get to a point where I felt good again and we could back off on both the appointments and the medication I was on. That was about 6-9 months before we started trying to conceive.

Even before the pregnancy was over in April last year, I reached out to find a new therapist. We had moved to our house in the middle of nowhere and my insurance had also changed so my last therapist (who I absolutely adored since we could bond over “Doctor Who” but also for the hurdles she helped me overcome during regression therapy) was no longer covered but it also was more than an hour-long drive one-way to see her. I knew I was going to need therapy after this kind of experience (what they refer to as a “traumatic event” in the medical terminology in my case-file) and I didn’t want to go back to the really dark place that I was in a few years back.

We had to update paperwork yesterday so that’s how it came up that I had reached this particular “milestone.” I go see my therapist about every two weeks or so. I’ve gradually been able to stretch it some times to a month.

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Grief and the Social Media Effect

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I’ve been using social media for far longer than I care to admit. I was attending one of those Boston-area colleges for grad school shortly after Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in a Harvard dorm room. I was using something called Friendster at the time to stay in touch with a lot of my undergrad friends. Then, one day, one of my co-workers at my work-study job, sent me an invite to The FaceBook, as it was called back in the early days. I was like, “What the heck is this? It’s never going to catch on…”

Now look…

Zuckerberg has created a worldwide phenomenon that people everywhere can’t live without. It’s almost as common as email or a phone number to have a Facebook page these days. People set them up for their children as soon as they’re born so they can have a recollection years later of their birth and every other milestone in between.

Shortly after I earned my Master’s degree, I started working at one of the top children’s hospitals in the country. It was only supposed to be a temporary position. However, they saw my experience with social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc.) and helped me find a niche as one of the earliest “social media managers” before that was even really a job title, like it commonly is today at companies, universities and organizations all over the globe. Since then, I’ve managed a hugely popular online community for a large nonprofit organization that helps individuals living with a rare disease, along with my own personal social media “brand” through blogs and videos, Tweets and Instagrams. I’ve seen directly how social media can be used as a tool for individuals living with chronic illness to connect with one another and learn how to be stronger advocates in their own health care. How it can help professionals network in a global workforce to enhance their skills and leadership qualities, and stay on top of best practices.

But, I’ve also seen the dark side. The bullying, the harsh commentaries, and shadowy reality that can occur in closed Facebook groups, 140 characters on Twitter, or in a discussion board community.

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Simon Sinek, a British motivational speaker and marketing consultant, spoke with Tom Bilyeu, host of Inside Quest, to summarize what social media is doing to the millennial generation. As someone who is on the cusp of both Gen X and the Millennial generations, I don’t relate to many of the true millennial characteristics but this does a great job to sum up the emotional and biological effect that social media has on people of our modern society: Continue reading “Grief and the Social Media Effect”

To My Dear Husband

Dear Schmoopie,

We’ve been through a lot this year. More than we ever anticipated. We started 2016 with such joy and hope, only to have it torn away from us.

I don’t think this is anywhere close to what we imagined our life would be together. We’ve come so far in the 12 years that we’ve known each other and the almost 9 years of marriage. Looking back at those silly college-aged kids in photos, everything now seems like a lifetime ago. When our biggest troubles and our greatest fears revolved around term papers or master’s projects.

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Our wedding – Feb. 15, 2008 at Hotel Metro in Milwaukee, Wis.

Some days I can’t even comprehend how you find the strength to stay with me. You’ve been there for all of my personal struggles in the last 10 years. You’ve missed work to go to medical appointments so I wouldn’t have to be alone and you could hold my hand. You slept on a twin bed for the first two years of our marriage in that tiny apartment so we could care together for my dad and brother. I’ve put you through a lot, and you know it’s my biggest fear that you’ll leave me. I remind you constantly of my insecurity. I’m grateful to have you by my side. I don’t know how I could go on some days without you.

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