January 01, 2012

What A Woman Wants (or maybe just what THIS woman wants)

It’s New Years. Happy 2012! New Years is hands down my FAVORITE of all holidays. I love love LOVE feeling like I’m starting something new, like I have a clean slate…a fresh start. I really dislike the word resolution. A New Year’s Resolution to me is something you do for a few weeks and then by February it turns into something that just seemed like a good thought a month or so ago. So, no New Year’s Resolution here. I do, however, make some renewed longish term plans, and some shorter term goals in an effort to help steer things in the direction I want my life to go. And I come up with a crazy amount of OCDish spreadsheets and lists and whatnot in an effort to figure out how I’m going to get there. I know, weird, but spreadsheets make me happy. Whatever floats your boat, right?! My ideas and dreams may or may not happen in all actuality, and some days I’m more hopeful that they will come to fruition than others, but either way they give me something to work for…a reason to get out of bed in the morning and work my butt off…a reason to begrudgingly move toward and embrace that once horrid word…’healthy’.

That's goal number one, to legitimately become more healthy so I can achieve my other goals. I've been moving in that direction, two steps forward one step back style, so I guess my goal would be to continue taking more steps forward than back...and to stop retreating back to the comfort of restricting when life feels out of control. My idea of health may be slightly different than that of my treatment team. I'm working on embracing the idea that fueling my body is necessary and acceptable, and in doing so I kinda want to fuel it with the best things possible (with the exception of my beloved chemically laden diet coke). I'm more for eating organic and mostly vegan than intuitive cupcake eating, which my team seems to think is obsessive and still disordered. And it may very well be, but being obsessive about 'healthy' eating seems better than being obsessive about NOT eating, so I figure its a start, and we can iron out the kinks along the way.

Aside from that, two things I want more than anything right now (and have for some time) - I want to be able to go back to school and become a dietitian, and I want to move back to Austin. I moved to Austin right after finishing my undergrad a couple hours away from there. I lived in Austin for two years before my eating disorder got completely out of control and I had to move back to California. I lived in California for the next 5 years, and have been in Utah now for 3, and I still miss the place like crazy. How do I love thee?...Let me count the ways -

The Oasis…oh the Oasis. Quite possibly the most beautiful place to watch the sunset ever. Multi-level decks overlooking Lake Travis – not a bad seat in the place. Loved it on a nice evening with friends. Loved it during my lunch hour as an escape from work. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Mozart’s Coffee Shop. This one may even trump the Oasis for me…maybe. Coffee right on the water where boats can drive up and park, outdoor seating, live acoustic music. What’s not to love?

6th Street – Now, I’m not against the bar scene, but it’s not usually my cup of tea. I just tend to feel more at home in say, coffee shops and book stores. But I can’t deny the excitement of people-watching on 6th street from an upstairs patio at a pub…or watching some good live music…or laughing hysterically at the comedy club.

Did I mention the live music? Austin – ‘Live music capitol of the world’. Home of the Austin City Limits South X Southwest Music Festival. Huge. Amazing. All venues of awesomeness.

What’s that? Home of the first Whole Foods you say? Yes, my true love in grocery store form.

And UT Austin…enough said.

I want to move back. I want to call Austin home again. I want to live in that place of so much acceptance for so many types of people. Culture. Live music. Beautiful scenery. Unique. I sit here with the mug I bought when I went back for a vacation several years ago…’Keep Austin Weird’. Yep, I fit in there!

How does this fit in with my ‘plan’? Well, first and foremost, I want to become a dietitian. This has been my plan since I had to move back to California 8 years ago. I couldn’t decide whether I was more interested in dietetics or psychology (I know – an eating disordered girl interested in psychology & dietetics...that’s a shocker!). So, I was debating between the two when I went to a conference where Elyse Resch spoke. For those of you not familiar with Elyse Resch she’s the co-author of ‘Intuitive Eating’, the CFC bible! She spoke of being a nutrition therapist. And there it was…ding ding ding…the lightbulb went off. I could do both! An over-achiever’s dream! So there it was, I set out for the psych part first and got my Master’s in Counseling Psychology. Then I moved to Sacramento to start my dietetics degree at Sac State. Except that this liiiiitle thing called an eating disorder got in the way…again. And next thing I know I’ve spent like three years in hospitals and treatment centers. And here I am now, in Utah, with no money to finish my degree. Fail.

Aaanyway, somewhere along the line I figured out that being a therapist isn’t really my thing. In fact, I kinda suck at it…and I really don’t like sucking at things. Psychology really interests me, but in working as an intern therapist I discovered it was waaaay too broad, far too many unknown variables, and far too abstract for this little logical OCD brain. I definitely need something to narrow the playing field – Like say, using it within the context of dietetics. Oh wait, that was my plan all along. Really wishing that I had decided to do the dietetics degree before the psych degree. Not to say I regret the psych degree at all. I still plan on pairing it with the nutrition aspect. But standing alone without the dietetics degree it’s not doing me a whole lot of good at this point. Live and learn I guess.

Instead, I work in PetSmart management. Totally random. Never what I imagined. I have a fond dislike these days for the customer service aspect of retail. And had I not been promoted fairly recently to my current position I would have moved on by now. I do, however, somewhat enjoy my position as the presentation manager (I’m in charge of the inventory, replenishment, shipments, stocking, resetting the store for new sales, new seasons, new products, whatever…pretty much everything to do with the product). It’s tedious, involved, and stressful. I thrive on that! But it’s seriously underpaid for the amount of work, and it’s not what I want to do in the long term. But it’s a means to an end. There’s another promotion looming on the horizon – a position I really don’t think I’ll like as much, but one that will pay a whole lot more. And that means, if I continue to live pretty minimally, ideally I can afford to get back to school to do what I really want to do. THAT is the goal, and that is what keeps me trudging forward.

So, my plan for the new year (and next many new years) – Start saving what little money I have now…be able to pay for at least one class (probably Chemistry II) by Summer, or more likely the fall semester this year…add in more classes once I do get promoted and have more funds available…complete all my millions of general science requirements, then transfer to either Utah State or University of Utah (except that the U of U only offers an MS in dietetics and there are a crap load of prereq’s to get in)…complete my dietetics internship and get my RD license…and finally, move to Austin!!! My goal is to do it all before I’m 40. That sounds like FOREVER from now, but in reality, it’s only 7 years, and while working full time and having to come up with the funding (without taking out more loans), it’s actually a fairly lofty goal. Lofty, but doable.

As a side note - I have ZERO intention of working with eating disorders (at least not specializing in that field). I’d like to work in a more clinical general hospital setting, or possibly in a private practice specializing in a more holistic approach to intuitive eating. Yeah, two entirely different ends of the spectrum, but both really interest me.

As a second totally unrelated, random side note – From a complete OCD standpoint I’m so excited to move out of 2011 and into 2012. I very much dislike the number 11. I always have. The date 11/11/11 was like the worst date ever. Multiples of 11 (up to 99) are evil. No, there are no superstitions associated with these numbers (at least for me). It is purely based on the way they look when I write them out. You can never make (2) 1’s EXACTLY parallel to each other. 11/11/11, with a whole bunch of slashes in between the one’s is just a disaster when hand-written. Oh the travesty of seeing so many one’s that can’t possibly be made perfectly straight by the human hand! 9…now nine is a good number. Good looking when written out, and with a perfect square root of 3, also a nice number! Yeah, that’s probably enough to make everyone think I’m nuts. I swear it’s not really an all consuming obsession…just one of my odd little idiosyncrasies! So, while 2012 does not contain my precious number 9, at least it does not contain the number 11. So here’s to 2012…cheers to a great new year!

Oh, and PSS...I kinda sorta still want to write a book. Maybe not to publish, but for my own viewing pleasure...and to write out my story so I can move on. I've written odds and ends here and there to piece together. But I want to write and edit and fine-tune more in 2012.

(Disclaimer - those are not pictures of me in a white lab coat...just what I want to be doing. Wishful thinking I guess)