Military

How to Send the Perfect Candio (Candidate Officer) Box

Officer Candidate School (OCS) is a tough 12 weeks (or more if you’re unlucky). It’s tough on the candidates who are going through the training and it’s tough on the families back  home.

There are three phases to OCS for the candidates. First is the indoctrination phase, second is the Officer Candidate phase, and third is the Candidate Officer phase. Once the service member becomes a Candidate Officer they will be granted a little more freedom. This includes enjoying some treats from home known as Candio boxes.

When my husband was going through OCS, I spent so much time stressing about what to send, how to send it, and most importantly, making his box perfect. It was a big topic of discussion in the family and friends Facebook page, as everyone wanted to show their loved ones how much they were missed, how proud they were, and hopefully grant a small break after all their hard work of training. Hopefully the following information will help ease some of your worry and explain how to send the perfect candio box to your service member.

Pin the images for quick reference guides in the future! These guides will also be helpful for deployments and future trainings. Perfect Candio Box-3.png

Candio boxes are opened on Candio Christmas, the Wednesday of week 9. They have to be opened in front of a Drill Instructor or Class Officer, so be mindful of that! **”No tobacco, alcohol, weapons, medications, gambling paraphernalia, or live animals”** You can send any size box, however the large flat rate shipping box from USPS is most popular because they are easy to decorate, a good size to send any and all items you may want to include, and are budget friendly for shipping.

How to send your box:Candio box tips and hacks.png

What to include:Perfect Candio Box-4.png My Candio Box

I spent so much time (and $$$) putting together these candio boxes for my husband. I went with a rustic Americana theme and personalized with photographs from our 6 years together, his civilian pilot training, and of course our adorable cats.

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I filled the box with yummy homemade cookies (packed in decorated pringles cans), jerky, chocolate, chocolate covered blueberries, nuts, popcorn, a head scratcher, magazines, a book, emergen-c, starburst, a talking pen (it says No a bunch of different ways), gum, and a special gift (a customized bobblehead of my husband in a flight suit).

Additional Examples:

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All of these amazing candio boxes were sealed and mailed out, ready to go, and arrived with plenty of time for candio Christmas. IMG_6539

Helpful links:

http://www.ocs.navy.mil/ocs.html

https://www.facebook.com/OTCNewport/

https://perrinplacecom.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/candioboxguide.pdf

I hope this was helpful for you as you prepare your special care package for your service member. OCS is a complicated time for families, but if you’re preparing that candio box, you are in the homestretch now! Just a couple more weeks and you will be traveling to Newport, RI to reunite and congratulate your soon to be commissioned Ensign! Congratulations! You all made it through! 

 

 

Health · Military · Random Ramblings · Travel

Moving. Job hunting. & Weightloss. Oh MY!

It’s been a couple weeks since I have written on the dear ole blog. 24 days to be exact. So what has happened the last 3 weeks and three days?

Moving

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Well first of all, we moved to Texas. We knew there was a chance of moving to Texas. We requested it, as a matter of fact. So we were hoping the Navy would give Yanis orders for Corpus Christi to continue his training, but there was a chance he would be sent to Milton, FL instead. Well, on March 30, we got official, hard-copy orders for Corpus Christi, TX, and we had 15 days to pack up and get there.

Pensacola, FL was a ball of a time. The Naval Air Station there is top notch. The museum and lighthouse are divine, and the downtown area has great shops, bars, and restaurants. We loved going to the ice hockey games, the off roading trails at the Eglin AFB and Blackwater State Park. Let’s not forget the gorgeous, white, sandy beaches, and our quick getaway to New Orleans! Most of all I’m going to miss the friends we made, but I am optimistic we will see them all again in the future! We were only in PCola a short 4.5 months, but we were able to make so much of our time there!

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The upside of moving so much, it forces you to truly prioritize what you need materialistically. Before moving from Delaware, I held 6 yard sales purging stuff. We also had two charity pick ups of tons of stuff we donated. After moving to Pensacola, I identified at least 10 more boxes worth of stuff to get rid of and a couple pieces of furniture. I would easily say we have less stuff than your typical American family and yet that 26 ft moving truck is still full for our drive to Texas. Since arriving and unloading, we’ve picked out even more stuff to get rid of. I’m optimistic we’ll be down to two suitcases and a knapsack by the end of flight school.

Job Hunting

My time in Pensacola was well spent with lots of writing and getting to know myself better- the good and the bad. Now that we are in Texas, I have decided to pursue working for a non profit and in the community again. I miss the sense of purpose I felt when working with The Delaware Readiness Teams. I need that again. So I dusted off the résumé, updated it with my new address and other pertinent details and have been applying pretty aggressively for a new job. You know what’s really annoying about job hunting? It’s so redundant. What is the point of having a résumé, if every job posting is going to require you to fill out their job application, asking for the exact information that can be found on your résumé, and then ask you to attach.. you guessed it.. your résumé. I think job hunting is just as exhausting as working, if not more. Just hire me already. I promise, I’m fabulous.

Weightloss

Moving can not only wreak havoc on my ability to write consistently, but also eat well consistently. The last week of the move we ate pizza three times. I had to pack up all the kitchen stuff at that point, and I also couldn’t find the energy to cook anything, even if I had the supplies to do it. Despite these dietary setbacks, I think a combination of the big losses I had the first couple weeks of my diet bet and the stress burned extra calories and fat. I was able to hit my 4% weightless goal by the hair on my chinny chin chin. So Trump will not be getting a donation from me this month.

Unfortunately the losses haven’t continued on their own organically, and I have gained back 4 of the 8 lbs lost. So my brother and I are revitalizing our diet bet this month. We started as of Friday, April 21 with a couple adjustments. My goal is to lose 3% (6.4lbs) and his goal is to lose 4 lbs. Of course, I’ll keep you updated on the progress along the way. Now I want pizza…

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Oh My!

What a helluva 3 weeks. I have a new city to explore now! We’ve been in Corpus Christi for just over a week now and my first impressions are pretty good! There is literally every single store and restaurant I’ve ever heard of in my whole life here. It’s a bigger population than I’ve ever lived in. There are definitely some sketchy parts, but that is to be expected with any large city. I look forward to exploring and experiencing everything I can before we’re told to pack up and move again!

In the meantime, there’s a lot coming up. The mother-in-law is coming for a visit at the beginning of May, the best friend is coming for a visit at the end of May, culminating in a long weekend in San Antonio. Then we’re going to visit the brother-in-law in Seattle at the beginning of June. It’s going to be a busy, busy couple of months! I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated.

Any recommendations on things to do or see in Corpus Christi, San Antonio, or Seattle?

 

Military

A Trip to the Commissary

This was first published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them!

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When I first got my military ID, one of the first things I wanted to do was go to the commissary. I had heard numerous times you could find excellent deals on all different types of grocery items, and I wanted to experience first hand the savings. Unfortunately, while my husband was at Officer Candidate School (OCS), the closest commissary to our home was over one hour away. It just didn’t make sense logistically to take a trip all the way there to save a dollar or two on cereal, bread, and eggs-or so I thought.

When we moved to Pensacola, Florida for flight school, I joined multiple military spouse groups on Facebook and saw posts from other spouses asking if it was worth it to shop at the commissary instead of the closest grocery store or Walmart. The common answer seemed to be that, while some items were cheaper at the commissary, there were other items that were not. For two months I decided to take their word for it and not do the research myself. I typically shopped at Walmart and used the Savings Catcher feature on their app. This feature allows you to scan your receipt, and it will search surrounding stores for their advertised sales. If anything you purchased at Walmart was advertised for a cheaper price elsewhere, they will credit you the difference into the app which you can then exchange for an e-giftcard. I would typically get back $2-$6 worth of savings a week by using this feature consistently. It depends on what foods you buy and where you live to determine the  type of savings you will get if you choose to try Savings Catcher.

I decided to give the commissary a shot one warm February day in Florida, and I am so glad I did. I decided to do my regular grocery shopping at the commissary, so I could then compare what it costs there vs Walmart, since all my receipts are saved in the Savings Catcher app. Once I got home I compared prices, and this is what I found: every single thing I bought was cheaper at the commissary than it was at Walmart, as well as the advertised prices for cheaper prices at other surrounding grocery stores. While some items were a few cents cheaper, there were also a number of items that were $1-$1.50 less. This was such a pleasant surprise! Prices will vary depending on what you purchase and the brands, however, after this experience I am now a commissary convert and will be solely shopping at the commissary from now on.

Here are a few tips I would suggest for any other first time commissary shoppers:

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Military

Military Spouses & Politics: Do we have a Voice, too?

This was first published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them!military-spouses-and-politics

If your social media feeds look anything like mine, then your last year has been bombarded with political posts, memes, calls for action, protests, outrage, and posts of support for our public service representatives. For many new and seasoned military spouses there is a gray area as to how vocal or nonvocal we can be when it comes to voicing our opinions on politics. Can our service members get involved in politics? Can we as spouses get involved in politics?

First let’s define what getting involved in politics even means, because it is not limited to Facebook posts or protests. Think of political involvement as a spectrum. At the beginning you have getting informed. You can do this by reading reliable information from the media, following reliable news sources on social media, and following bill proposals by your representatives. The next level may include contacting your local representatives through phone calls, emails, and/or letters, or attending meetings held for their constituents. Then there is volunteering for your political party or working on a campaign. And at the other end of the spectrum is running for office yourself.

So, the question still remains, can a service member and their spouse participate in any of this? And the answer is yes and no. Imagine that! A complicated answer in our military lives.

There are rules for the service member on their ability to be active politically. The policy on this rule is the Department of Defense Directive (DoDD) 1344.10, and was most recently updated in 2008. The DoDD does not take away the service member’s right to register to vote, vote, sign petitions, or contribute money to a campaign. Service members may even have a small bumper sticker on their car supporting a specific candidate if they choose. What they cannot do is use their authority to influence someone to vote one way or another. Anytime they discuss their political views it must be made clear they are their own personal opinions, and not an endorsement of their service branch. Also, they may not attend any partisan event in uniform.

Well that is the service member, but what about spouses? Spouses can say and do what they please in regards to political involvement. This means you can talk about politics. You can post on your social media about politics. You can volunteer for a political party. You can volunteer for a campaign. You can even run for office yourself. One would even be able to argue more military spouses should be involved, since so many policies directly impact our families in more ways than civilian families.

Some organizations that advocate for military spouses and military rights are Homefront Rising, and the Military Spouse JD Network. There is a network of people and organizations out there to help you along if you have interest in a future in politics.a milspouses place is in the house and the senate.png

Still unsure about what you or your service member can or cannot do politically?

Check out the article below! I found it very helpful in my own research:

http://www.military.com/spouse/career-advancement/how-to-get-involved-in-politics-as-a-military-spouse.html

Military

Military Spouse Concerns: Coping with Crazy

coping-with-crazyI married my husband in 2013. In 2016 he commissioned as an officer in the Navy. This was something he had been planning and working towards for quite some time. He joined the Navy to become a Naval Aviator. The route he took to get there brought a lot of uncertainty. We weren’t sure if he would get selected, and if he was selected,  when he would go to Officer Candidate School (OCS). Once he was selected with a date for OCS, we didn’t know when he would have to report for flight school in Pensacola, FL. When we moved to Florida for flight school, we didn’t know when he would start training. Now that he’s in training, we don’t know when we will move to the next part of his training. Are you getting the point? Lots of uncertainty. I’m kinda, sorta getting use to it. Not really.

I am a planner, in case you couldn’t tell from the lists, and I have found that a lot of military spouses are like me. We’re type A, we like to be in control, we like to have a plan and we like to see it happen. And the military just laughs and laughs and laughs. So how do we find a way to keep our sanity in such an insane world?

  1. Alcohol– Did someone say wine? Margaritas? Hey girrrrrl, Hey! So I’m only slightly kidding here. I don’t necessarily mean drinking copious amounts of alcohol all the time. More like, relax, have a drink and woosah. Blame it on the.png
  2. Keep engaged– I hate when someone says to stay busy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good advice. I think it just hits a nerve with me, because it’s the advice that is given out SOOOOO much. So I’m going to say stay engaged instead. Semantics are important! When your time is consumed with work, or kids, or volunteering, activities, social engagements, etc… it’ll make the long days go quicker and less time to worry about when and where you’re moving to next.
  3. Socializing– This can mean a lot of different things to different people. If you’re the type who flourishes in a big crowd, by all means get out there, make all the friends you can handle, there are tons to be made and found on base and off base. If you’re the type who just needs a handful, make that happen. Or maybe you’re the type who prefers to fly solo most of the time. Whatever works for you, just make sure you know yourself. If you need to be super social, don’t hibernate inside all the time. Do you boo. we like to partay.png
  4. Improve Yourself– So a lot of our time is spent making sure our spouses are supported in their careers. We make a lot of sacrifices to make sure they can be focused on their missions and growth in the military. But we need to make sure we are improving ourselves as well. This can mean developing your own career, or learning new skills like a language, or a hobby, or a talent. Never stop growing. It can be done even when you’re unsure if/when your spouse will be home.
  5. Be Independent– I was given advice from the spouse of the CO at a spouses event last month that really resonated with me. She said she learned to live her life as if her husband wasn’t going to be there. That meant she planned trips. She planned nights out. She worked and took her kids to activities and groups and parties. She did it with the expectancy of doing it solo, so if and when the opportunity came that her husband could attend, it was a pleasant surprise. This did two things. 1. It helped to eliminate disappointment when he wouldn’t be able to go to these things. Is it perfect? Will there be a little sadness that you’re flying solo? No and of course! But it means that #2. your life is not on a constant standby.

Learning to cope in a crazy world. Still planning in an unplannable life. Some might call it insanity, I call it the military. Stay fly spouses! And when in doubt, return to option #1: Alcohol. 43764928

Military

Five Career Hacks for the Military Spouse

This was first published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them!

5 Career Hacks for the Military Spouse.png

One of the greatest challenges, and topic most talked about by military spouses, is finding work. That may come as a shock to some who assume it would be milking their service member for benefits, eating all day and not working; alas, no. A majority of the spouses I have come in contact with are desperate to continue working in their field or continuing their education to become gainfully employed in the future.

It is not always easy. Moving every few years, or even more often if you’re in the training pipeline like we are, makes employment complicated. Depending on your location, there may be few or no positions in your path, or employers may be reluctant to hire you due to your status as a military spouse. It gets tricky explaining frequent job changes on your résumé, and they may not want to hire someone who will most likely not be long-term. All of this, in addition to other reasons, makes things murky; but, it isn’t impossible, and there are opportunities available which I have compiled below:

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  1. Working from Home: There are many benefits to working from home. It may be one of the few PCS proof work options available to military spouses. Do your research on the different positions and options available which may fit your skill set, and then get to applying! Be careful of scams, since unfortunately they do exist, but if you’re diligent in your research on companies and any offers you may receive, this may be a great option for you and your career.
  2. Furthering your Education: Whether you are currently in school, looking to begin a new program, or wanting to advance your career with more education, there are tons of options available for military spouses. You may even be able to receive tuition assistance which is definitely helpful on any budget. Be sure to check out options through MYCAA.
  3. Connect with a Mentor: Taking the time to find someone in your location  who can help you not only find employment but develop your skills and connections will make your transition much easier. Even if they do not work in your field, their ability to help you adjust to a new station will give you the flexibility to focus on your next steps career-wise.
  4. Build your Business: Many military spouses have their own businesses they support. Growing your personal business can be a great way to increase income, connect with your community and grow personally. Do this through connecting online, local conferences, and working with a mentor specific to your field. Set goals for where you would like your business to grow and what steps you need to take to achieve them.
  5. Start a New Career: This may be one of the scarier paths military spouses can choose. However, as we’ve learned from being in the military, life is not meant to be lived standing still. If you are feeling like you have the opportunity to change your career be sure to do your research on the course you will take. What skills do you already posses that are transferable? What skills will you need to learn? Is this new path going to be a feasible option with the military lifestyle? Feel confident when making your choice, plan for success and then buckle down and get to work to make it a reality.

One of the biggest mistakes one can make is trying to do it alone. So get out of your comfort zone, connect with other spouses, connect with your community, find a mentor-have I broken that record yet?- and watch your career take shape and grow. It might not be what you thought it was going to be 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even last year, but it is still yours. You are still a success, and your purpose and impact will be felt everywhere you go.

Military

New MilSpouse, New You! 32 Military Definitions to get you Through!

This was first published on Military Spouse Advocacy Network and I am honored to work with them!

new-year-new-you-3Weight loss, pay off debt, save money, learn something new! As if you could forget, it’s a brand new year and with that comes everyone making New Year’s resolutions.

You may have promised yourself to pursue some of these endeavors also, but chances are, as a new military spouse, you probably have something a lot more simple, yet so complicated on your goal sheet. Raise your hand if that goal is to learn the language of the military. Hello acronyms!

Or maybe it’s to survive your first PCS (permanent change of station). What in the world is a personally procured move? What about finishing your education or finding a job in your career field? MYCAA who?

You have a set of unique challenges to tackle and it’s something your civilian family and friends may not fully understand or be able to help with. This is where your military network comes in to offer the tools you need to save the day! To survive this crazy life as a military spouse, self-reliance, confidence and empowerment is key. So prepare to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and we’re going to learn some need-to-knows together.

Let’s start with the communication barrier. Who would have thought you’d need a translator when being married to your love in the military? As a former teacher, I thought the world of education had a lot of acronyms to memorize, but the military definitely takes the gold medal. The list is probably infinite, but here are some very common acronyms and vocabulary you’ll need to know to get started32 Need to Know DefinitionsFor the New Military Spouse-3.png

Whew! Are you ready for the quiz later? These terms will be old hat in no time at all and you’ll be on your way to fluent in the language of the military!

Military

Courage and Inspiration: Synonymous with Military Spouse

In the eight months I have been a military spouse I have met so many diverse, inspirational, and courageous women. Every single one of them keeps me motivated and inspired to continue to work hard and make a difference every single day.courage-and-inspiration-synonymous-with-military-spouse

I have met women who are in college -while also working jobs- to obtain their own degree and have a career alongside their military significant other (SO). I have met women who are living apart from their SO for a number of different reasons, like school, or economical circumstances, or training. I have met women who run their own businesses, while running a household and raising their children to not be little assholes. I have met women who volunteer on base, off base, and virtually. I have met women who struggle with their mental health, physical health, family issues, money problems, moving to a different side of the country without a job or knowing anyone there. And I have seen them persevere through it all.

Along with meeting all of these amazing people, I have also become wiser to the stereotypes and stigma that comes along with being with a spouse/fiancé/boyfriend in the military. The expectation is that the non-military SO doesn’t work, is lazy, and is just a moocher along for the ride and benefits. There may be people out there that do fit this description, but I have yet to meet them. Sometimes, when faced with this expectation that if you’re a military spouse, you’re a dependa-potamus (as it is so lovingly referred to), it can get you a little down, a little defensive, and a little hurt. So I found a few inspirational and motivational quotes that will keep me and hopefully you aware that you are important, and you do make a difference-regardless of perceptions.

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no one knows what you have been through or what your pretty little eyes have seen but I can reassure you whatever you have conquered shines through your mind.png

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the great thing in this world is not so much where you stand as in what direction you are moving.png

there is hope in dreams imaginagtion and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality.png

I am proud to be a military spouse and am not defined as so simply because of my husband’s profession, but because of the unique set of challenges I face, endure, and persevere through every day. So I can chuckle at the dependapotamus cracks and jokes, because I know it does not apply to me, and it doesn’t apply to you either. We’re not along for the ride, we’re driving our own car.

Military

The Five Stages of Grief…aka Becoming the New Military Spouse

the-five-stages-of-grief-aka-becoming-the-new-military-spouseWhether you are marrying your significant other who is already in the military or you’re already married and they are now enlisting or commissioning, many spouses undergo a cycle of emotions when becoming a new military spouse. These stages may look familiar as the stages of grief, but they 100% apply to this life changing moment as well. Pour yourself a cup of tea or some Irish coffee and enjoy:

  1. Denial– It’s not going to be that bad. My spouse won’t be gone ALL the time. Our lives won’t be SO different from what they were when we were civilians. Oh sweet, naive you. This is the first part of the cycle when you have your rose-colored glasses on and haven’t received your own set of battle wounds yet. Now don’t get me wrong, the reality isn’t the complete opposite of what you think it’s going to be like, it’s much more in the middle, well…. maybe leaning a little bit more to the right. Truth is  your life is going to be completely different from when you were a civilian, and no your spouse won’t be gone ALL the time, but they will be absent pretty frequently -some more than others, depending on their job- and no it won’t be that bad. It’s not going to be all candy and flowers, but it will certainly be an adventure so buckle up for the ride.thisisfinecomicthumbnail1-630x227
  2. Anger– Oh will there be anger. You’ll be mad at your spouse. You’ll be mad at the situation. You may be mad at the military or the government. You’ll be mad at yourself for being mad. You’ll be mad because you can’t make any concrete plans. You’ll be mad because Sally’s spouse called her or sent her flowers and you didn’t. You’ll be mad because people ask the same questions over and over again. You’ll be mad because you feel guilty for being mad. You have a right to be mad. Don’t be ashamed of your anger. Just don’t stay there.94b77afc279bec32413ccc62976004815ed0665d82e88e4892097a043fb6d025
  3. Bargaining– You’ll make deals with yourself or with your God about if you get to talk or see your spouse you’ll be ever so good. You’ll be the best spouse ever when they get home. You won’t take your time together for granted. You’ll bargain with family, you won’t be home for the holidays this year but maybe next year. Or what if they come to you instead? No? Don’t be surprised when they can’t or won’t come. You’ll take a job below your skill or education level because sometimes you have to take what you can get. You’ll watch the neighbors kids this weekend if they’ll watch yours next for a date night with your significant other. Get your bargaining chips ready, there’s a lot to barter for in the military life.nzox5nl-jpg
  4. Depression– You’ll want to be alone. You’ll want to not do anything even though they say, “Keep Busy!!”. This is like the anger stage. You have a right to be depressed. Don’t be ashamed of your sadness. Just don’t stay there. tumblr_n7mcyauebg1t7gtxto1_250
  5. Acceptance– You’ll start to get the hang of things. You’ll get into a routine. You’ll make a few friends. You’ll be able to find everything you need in the grocery store, and even get to the grocery store without a GPS. You’ll start speaking the military lingo using all those acronyms and your civilian friends and family are going to need you to translate. And then you’ll PCS and even though it won’t be as hard as the first time, you’ll hit up some of these stages again. 348baa9ffbfdd7791f63c2bf2632b234

The stages of grief do not move in a cycle like they are frequently pictured, and neither are the stages of being a new military spouse. It is much more organic than that. You’ll bounce from one stage to another and back again, you may skip a cycle and think you’re in acceptance, only to go “back” again. It’s all normal and it’s all part of the adventure! Because you’re not only going to feel these emotions, you’ll also feel extreme moments of happiness, joy, excitement, support, purpose, and love. Those are the ones that make it worth it.

Health · Military · Random Ramblings · Travel

Not your Typical Millennial: Choosing to be Intentional

courtesy-of-6Twenty-eight years. I’ve spent twenty eight years and some months becoming the person I am today. It’s funny how I have always thought I had my life together. I’ve had to be an adult for as long as I can remember. I started working (on the sly) when I was 11 at a convenience store my mom managed. I didn’t get paid, but she still got in some trouble for that when the supervisor found out. Fast forward to my first legit job at 14 working at McDonalds. I’ve worked for Dominos, Claire’s Accessories, back to McDonalds where I became a shift manager, multiple banks, multiple schools, and even running my own little business selling desserts. All throughout high school and college I worked full-time, and at one point I was doing school full-time, work full-time, and a part-time job.twitter-work-work-work-ahafgeidbdveisnaidhbejdisb-work-work-573277

I have a habit of trying to stay just under being overwhelmed. Which is why I was shocked when I was faced with the brutal truth that I’m considered to be part of the millennial generation, and I. was. appalled. Every time you hear about millennials it’s made out to be synonymous with entitled, lazy, overly sensitive children. So I was very distraught to be lumped into that category. And it didn’t really make sense to me. I’m not anything special. A majority of the people I know my age are very hard workers, and like me, have worked or do work multiple jobs. I think we should split up this millennial category a bit. Because I get around a younger 20 something and I don’t feel many similarities between our two upbringings or lifestyles. But that’s neither here nor there.courtesy-of-7

My point is, I’ve always felt very put together and like I had my shit on track. But something has happened the last couple months since turning twenty eight. I’ve started to really feel more clarity in who I am as a person, my values, what I stand for and believe in, who I want to be and where I want to go. And it makes me realize that younger me was just basically playing life and going through the motions. I was getting a college degree because I wanted to make a liveable wage, I wanted to feel accomplished and successful. I did what felt right at the time. I was getting a degree to be a teacher. And at the time it felt right, or at least I thought it did. Maybe getting a business degree or a journalism degree would’ve felt right too. I probably should have explored my options more because now I have a three degrees and three teaching certifications and have no interest in entering a classroom again. Buuuuutttt I have those pretty student loans to remind me that I paid a lot of money for a piece of paper with my name and and a sticker on it. Hmmmm. Maybe I am a millennial.

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I make it rain on my loan holders.

One degree wasn’t enough though, because even when I started teaching and I thought, maybe I don’t want to teach forever, I continued on to get my master’s degree in school counseling. And my how those student loans very quickly skyrocketed when paying for master’s levels courses. But I didn’t think about it, because I wanted that larger, more impressive piece of paper. And now I have it! And it’s framed, and sitting in a box right now, because I refuse to fully decorate a house I will only be living in for a few months. And I also don’t think it’s fair, or wise, or probably even realistic to find a job as a school counselor when I’ll be moving in a few months.

Even if we weren’t going to be moving soon, I still feel I’ve found a better connection with writing. And while doing research for a few posts this week, I came across another blogger who wrote about being intentional with her use of social media this year. And it really spoke to me, because I feel like intentional is exactly how I see myself now. I don’t want to just go through the motions, I don’t want to survive through the week to live on the weekends. I want to be intentional in a variety of aspects throughout my life. So what does intentional look like for me now?

  1. Career– I’ve always been very job-oriented, and career-driven. And I don’t necessarily want to change that, but I’m definitely pursuing it in a different way. I have this obsession with finishing things that I start. And I think that’s why I have a masters in education. I started my degree in education and by golly I was going to go all the way come hell or high water! And I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be intentional with my career choices that fulfill me professionally, personally, and can make an impact in others. And while the idealist me would like to say-no matter what the compensation is, the realist me says-you’ve got bills to pay (thanks student loans). So I need to make a way for this writing gig to pay. Writing has connected with me in a way that teaching never will, so my pursuit from here will be taking my writing and finding a way to pay the bills with it. Intentionally step out of my comfort zone of banking, or teaching, or school counseling and truly set my sights on what I want to do. Oh fuck, it’s intimidating. Eh, I swear too much to be surrounded by kids anyways. f6e57fd72fcbf51feff9e60fe0d95184
  2. Social Media– I check social media a god awful amount. Sometimes I feel like my eyes are crossing from staring at a tiny screen. Anyone else scroll through their newsfeed until they have seen every new post, just to refresh so you can see the new ones that rolled in while you were scrolling? I’m going to be much more intentional with my social media usage going forward. Not to cast a dark shadow on the big bad demon of social media, it’s just, I can probably be doing something much more productive with my time. So I’m going to limit my social media usage to two times a day, with a time limit on how long I’ll be catching up. To make this work, I’m going to get rid of all those useless pages I currently follow- Do I really need to like Walmart’s page, or Dominos? No. So this way I truly can focus on staying connected with family and friends. courtesy-of-8
  3. Diet and Exercise– So I started this at the beginning of the year and I’m going to continue it, because even after only two weeks of healthy eating and exercise, I already feel a thousand times better! I’m going to be intentional about what I am eating. In case you didn’t know processed food is crap and really bad for you. So let’s try to stick to lean meats, fruits and vegetables as best as we can, k? K. And exercise. I’m finally getting my exercise regimen into a schedule that works for me. I’ll be sharing more about it on Friday’s post. 0e7c931b14166d183ec643e942a37914
  4. Free time– This is something I need to work on. I want to be more intentional with how I spend my free time. It ties in with the social media piece though. Currently all my free time is spent scrolling through Facebook or Instagram; however, with limiting my time with these apps, I’m going to finally allow myself the time to do some of the things I tell the strangers I do. You know how your dentist or someone will ask you what are your hobbies or what do you like to do? Normally I have no idea how to answer this, because who has hobbies anymore? It’s sad. I’ve gotten so tied to my phone, I’m such a liar when I finally spew out reading or knitting or some other super cool hobby that I have. Oh you don’t think knitting is cool? Psh. Wrong. But I haven’t knitted in probably years! So bye bye Facebook, and hello knitting needles! Or the books that just became available from the library on my kindle. Or how about all that traveling I claim I want to do? Let’s do that instead! So sorry Netflix, but I’m about to get all bookish and artsy AF. tumblr_ndannigsdv1qcy5a2o1_5001
  5. Marriage– My husband is about to become super busy with flight school, but right now we have some down-time while he waits to class up for part of his training. So rather than scrolling through Facebook, I’m going to instead be intentional with spending time with him while I can, doing all the things we both love, him outdoorsy stuff, me traveling and experiences. We cute.untitled-2524

This ended up being a longer post than I originally intended. And it almost feels like all those New Years Resolutions people set. New Year, New Me! Hopefully you’re still with me. Of course you are! If you weren’t you’d miss out on this awesome picture of my cat:img_7282

But seriously, intentional. Intentionality. Intentionalism. Let’s be a little bit more purposeful about how we choose to spend our time. Do you feel like you’re just going through the motions?

“Do not stay in a mistake because you’ve spent a lot of time or money making it.”

I’ll say it again:courtesy-of-9

And if you find yourself hitting your late twenties, or thirties and you realize you don’t want the same things you did when you were 18 or 20. Don’t be afraid to change. Yes it’s important to be responsible, I’m not saying drop the ball on your family and stop paying your bills. But don’t be afraid to change because it will be hard. Fuck yeah it’ll be hard. That’s what makes it worth it.