January 5: A time you don’t want to forget

I seriously thought about writing about one of the pilgrimages from the last couple of years, but I feel like I’ll be beating that topic to death 5 days into the new year. So we’ll talk about college.

Just as with many others, my time working on my undergrad degree coincided with my formative years as an adult; I was finally learning how to live by myself and how to start functioning as a “grown up” even though I saw myself as far from it. Most of the people that I knew before or at the beginning of college will probably say that if you put me back then and me now next to each other – although while not completely polar opposite – there would be a start contrast between the two.

I look at my time in undergrad at UT in two phases: my UCC phase and my nursing school phase. While there was some overlap, I largely kept the two separate. Not necessarily intentionally, but mostly because by the time I was really established in nursing school, most of my closest UCC friends had graduated and moved on.

My UCC phase started more or less within the week of me arriving at UT. One of my closest friends from our youth group in Baytown had been insisting that I come and join every organization under the sun. In addition, my roommate situation was not working out for me which drove me to spend the majority of my time at the UCC. I grew into my faith, taking a more active role in it through many of the organizations there. St. Ignatius proved to be a worthy Confirmation saint as the patron saint of retreats since I was either going on or staffing multiple retreats every semester. I met and became close to people that I consider my family even long after we’ve all gone our own ways.

And it was these people that taught me many valuable lessons about my own self. They taught me that I was worth more than how useful I was to people; that it was okay to say no; that while service to others is commendable, it was just as important for me to fill my own glass so to speak. And even though I thought I knew enough life skills to get by, they showed me even more. And these were also the people that supported me when I decided to change majors and go into nursing, that comforted me when I was so anxious and stressed out about getting accepted into the program, and that celebrated with me when I did. And they’re the ones that prepared me for what came next: the nursing school phase.

Nursing school was largely me starting to take my academics more seriously because I finally found something that I was passionate about again. And I found a new support group that accepted me for who I was, which was especially important because this was the time when I came out of the closet. Because of the foundation laid in the first few years of college, I was able to accept a part of myself (with the help of one of my best friends), and finally tell others. Which became an anticlimactic process because most of them greeted me with some variation of, “Yeah we knew. Good job. You’re finally caught up with the rest of us.” With each person’s acceptance, I gained more and more strength and confidence in my own self.

Of course, not all of college was this inspirational, my life is finally coming together stuff. I had the typical college party phase too, but thankfully in the safety of people that took care of each other. But while my life was a mess at times, undergrad was the start of me learning how to organize my chaos into something that works for me, and I would not be where I am today without it.



January 4: Something that you’re looking forward to

Well, this is a bit of a repeat, isn’t it? I guess I’ll delve a little deeper into something I’d already mentioned earlier. So one of my goals for the year is to spend my 30th birthday doing the Camino Ignaciano. It’s similar to the Camino de Santiago but instead follows the path of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who is of great importance to me as the saint I chose for Confirmation. I plan to start at the beginning of November and aim to end by my birthday on the 20th. But this is the part that’s going to require some research, so I’m going to have to see if that’s even feasible and if I need to start earlier.

In any case, it will start in Loyola (or Loiola as it is spelled locally) and end at Montserrat. Most pilgrims will be heading the opposite direction west towards Santiago de Compostela along the Camino de Santiago. However, St. Ignatius headed east towards the port cities to get him to the Holy Land.

It will be a rigorous journey in a country whose language I am only moderately familiar with, but I hope to glean many lessons and experiences from this trip that will enrich me spiritually, mentally, and physically.

10 Words

January 3: Describe your day in ten words

An early start cleaning and relaxing to recover from work.

Short and sweet. I’m liking these prompts. But yeah, I had a nice day to relax considering I worked six of the last seven days. Thankfully, work hasn’t been terrible because despite New Year’s having the reputation as being one of the most horrendous holidays to work in the ER, the sub-freezing temperatures seemed to keep a good chunk of our traffic at home. Although the flu is running rampant this year. PSA: Wash your hands, cover your mouth, and take other precautions to prevent spreading the flu because this year, because people both with and without the vaccine are getting hit. Even my co-workers are starting to drop like flies.


January 2: Three goals for this month

Day 2 of my daily journal prompt…In my last entry, I listed six goals I would like to accomplish by the end of the year. But to accomplish those goals, I have to have monthly, weekly, and even daily milestones to keep myself on track. So here are three of my goals for January 2018:

  • For the six goals I want to accomplish, create a timeline with weekly goals and scheduled monthly re-evaluations. The things I am planning for the year are all things I want badly, but take a lot of planning and work to get there. My goal by January 31st is to have a timeline set for each of the six goals I mentioned in the last entry, and create timelines as new goals arise.
  • Create a spreadsheet outlining my spending habits from 2017, and creating a budget for my expenses for 2018. Between travel, debt, bills, and the potential expenses to be incurred with the goals I want to accomplish, on top of my desire to have a significant amount allocated for my savings account, I need to be much more careful with what I do with my money.
  • De-clutter and reorganize my house so that everything has a home and lives there. I have all these Pinterest aspirations without the time, energy, and sometimes motivation to put things in place. But if I don’t do this now, then I never will. Paper clutter, tchotchkes that I don’t even use…all of that needs to go. If I can sell it, then Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp it is. If I have to trash it, then so be it. But I’m not trying to keep up with all this mess anymore. Plus, with the fact that I have someone that comes and cleans my house once a month, I would like them to be able to do all rooms instead of having to shamefully hide all my mess in my office and make it off limits.

New Year, New Me…Or Something Like That

I’ve been terrible, especially as of late, about taking time for myself to actually kind of sit and get myself organized, regroup, and gather my thoughts. How do I know? Because everything for me has been so scattered, and I’ve found myself haphazardly tasking with no plan for the day, much less my life. I decided to start doing a daily journal entry to hopefully force myself to take a moment to slow down and take myself out of the crazy, even for a few moments. I found some prompts on Pinterest (surprise) that seemed like they’d be good. So here goes.

January 1: What are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to getting my life together and hopefully embarking on a new chapter. I’ve got multiple goals set for this year, and I hope to commit to them so they don’t become lofty, unattainable New Year’s resolutions. For one, I hope to increase the amount of travel I do. I’ve got a friend’s wedding in Hawaii in the summer and then I’m planning on spending my 30th birthday month doing the Camino Ignaciano in Spain. I hope to do some smaller trips in between, but that’s all highly dependent on budget.

Although speaking of the Camino, that brings me to my next goal of being more conscious of my health and fitness. With planning to effectively walk across Spain, I’m going to need to train. I’ve had a membership for ClassPass for 2 months and have yet to use it, and the membership to the rec center in my neighborhood since the summer that I’ve only used twice, so I’m hoping to increase my activity to not only drop weight, but improve my endurance and stave off any impending health problems.

The third goal is to be more wise with my money. I’ve attempted multiple times to create a budget, which has basically been collecting information on past expenses and then forgetting to create a plan to actually adhere to. So at the top of my list is actually making this happen, so that I can budget for the travel and other expenses.

My fourth goal is to initiate the process of applying to a grad school program by the end of the year. I’ve been working for five years now (which is insane to me), and I’m starting to feel burnt out and restless, so it’s time for a change. While I’m not entirely sure I want to leave the ER setting altogether, I need a different main hustle. So nursing informatics is my next target.

My fifth goal is to finish all of the projects I’ve started or wanted to start. I’ve got this whole craft closet and home office full of things that I’ve half-started and multiple Pinterest boards with projects I have yet to start, and none of them do any good if I don’t bring them to completion. Even if they don’t work, at least I could say that I tried.

My sixth and final goal is to create a plan. I have all these goals that have the potential to just be hopes and dreams instead of reality. But if I want them to happen, I need to create specific milestones and deadlines. If I learned nothing from nursing care plans in college, it’s that a good goal must be measurable and specific.

So that’s what I most look forward to for 2018. Not a specific event in particular, but to the idea that I’m going to start valuing my own body, career, and time much more highly than I have been.