[ unfortunately could not find the original source for this image. some user uploaded to Pinterest here. If this is your work, please let me know because I like it and would like to credit you for it! ]
I’m a planner. I’ve been told to quit planning and just live. Life throws curveballs and whatnot, so you can’t really have a plan anyway.
I’ve been so negative lately because my plan unraveled.
This has been my plan for the last several years, but only recently have I found the (perfect) position at ISU to allow me to do this. I applied to grad school in April and was accepted in May.
Around when I got my acceptance letter, Mark decided to finish his masters in mechanical engineering (at ISU) and begin a job search. His plan was to work towards a PhD, but he desperately needed a break from the academic setting and needed some professional experience. A PhD can come later. Our plans unraveled at the same time, which has made for a very negative summer.
My first thought: I can’t go to grad school*. I finally have the perfect job. I’ve been accepted. My plan is in motion. And now it’s dead**.
Since I thought my plan was out, I started thinking about other things that could make me happy: Moving to Colorado or Minnesota, getting my CPT, going to school for nutrition at IIN, teaching at a community college (where they don’t require an MFA), freelance design, working a few fun part-time jobs, etc. The more I thought about it, the more enticing moving to Colorado became. Everything there falls into what I love. I went to Blend in Boulder in May. And I talked to fabulous women who have made life changes, and some who were about to do so. I was (am) inspired.
I started focusing my energy on the next step: Where are we going? What are we doing? How can we get there?
I realized I have no control over the situation. I started being anxious and negative all the time. I focused on our living situation (we live with a roommate — couples who’ve lived with a roommate? You get it.) and I focused on anything that was possibly wrong. I started getting antsy for Mark to apply for jobs, though he still needs to finish his degree. I convinced myself that I was unhappy in our current situationand spiraled out of control.
And one day last week it all clicked. I realized I am happy here. Why can’t my original plan work? Mark could get a great job around here. All of our other desires could be fulfilled here. In fact, the positives of our current situation outweigh the negatives. So why force change and risk losing any of these things?
- I get to ride my bike to work and can workout for practically free (it’s like $150 a semester) at state-of-the-art facilities on campus.
- I get 90-95% creative control over my work (design, writing, social media) and I work with great people.
- I get awesome benefits/vacation + university holidays off (including a week in the winter), and grad school = free.
- Cost of living in Ames, IA is CHEAP. We can invest in some new (or gently used, but not as used as our current) furniture. We can go out more. I can pay down my student and car loans.
- We don’t have to move again for a while (seriously. Last year’s move sucked HARD.)
- A good chunk of our friends are still here (though I have a lot of gals in CO and Mark’s family is in MN).
- I have great work/life balance. I never work late nights or weekends anymore (except when we have events at night or on the weekend). And since I have free time, I can focus on my hobbies and/or pick up freelance design.
- Iowa has lots of cool nooks and crannies that I’ve yet to explore, and Ames is only 3-4 hours away from major cities, which makes for great weekend road trips.
- We will have a roommate for the foreseeable future. He’s a nice guy and a good friend, and we save $ living with him — plus he makes a great doggie-sitter, but …
- I’m not 100% acclimated to my job. I’ve been here for 9 months and I’m starting to get more clout on campus and build up a similar reputation to what I had at my previous job.
- Iowa winter blows. Hard.
That sums it up. Mark and I talked and he’s planning on focusing his job search here, but will also apply to Minnesota and Colorado. We had talked about him focusing on Minnesota and Colorado, but ultimately his main and original goal with job and location was for both of us to be happy.
*Wait, what about financial aid? It’s not an option. My parents took out a loan with better interest to pay off my loans, so I pay them every month. I can’t just quit paying them. So to go to grad school, I have to have enough money to cover tuition, living, AND the loan. The most viiable option is to get tuition reimbursement here and go for 5-6 years, which coincidentally is the same amount of time I have left to pay my loans.
**I should probably mention here that part of my plan is to stay with Mark for the long haul. Obviously it’s not not set in stone, and I am definitely not going to give up big things that I want and follow him. He wants me to be happy and I want the same for him, so we are going to work together to figure out how both of us can have what we want. And now for some gratuitous cute pix of us because you were nice enough to hang in there and read my rambles.
If you’re partnered up, have you and your significant other had to make a major decision together like this? If so, how did it turn out? And has anybody else been stuck in negativeland lately?