Recently, certain events have made me reflect on my life so far and have reminded me to be grateful for where I am right now. I used to always compare myself to others and then feel bad for not having what others have and for not being as happy/smart/outgoing/(insert adjective here) as other people. I probably still compare myself to others sometimes but I am always aware when this happens and can easily re-direct my thoughts to be healthier. Now, instead of focusing on what I do not have, I focus on all that I do have. I think practicing regular gratitude is key to living a fulfilling and happy existence.

Earlier today I opened up my old laptop to get some work done. I have been steadily trying to clean out old files and looking over them brings back so many dark memories. I am finding remnants from my past that were written by a completely different person than I am now. I was lost, depressed, broken and had no idea where my life was going.

When I decided to leave veterinary school over 5 years ago I was both relieved and scared. I was relieved because I finally found the courage to leave a situation that was not bringing me joy, but also stressed out because I had no Plan B and did not know what I was going to do with my life.

It has been cathartic to delete the old files from this era of  my life. I am keeping some because I find value in them, such as my official Myers–Briggs test results. I took this test a few months after I left vet school in hopes of finding out more about myself and what possible careers I would be better suited to. Other files I have happily deleted such as old job applications and notes from vet school. During my lost phase I applied to be a medical assistant, laboratory technician, doggy daycare worker, and counseling center administrative assistant. I know now that none of these jobs would have brought me joy and I was applying out of desperation. I didn’t know what to do so I was applying to jobs where I had somewhat relevant experience. Thank God I did not end up pursuing any of these jobs!

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I fell into a job and career that I love and find so fulfilling. I would never have guessed that this would be my life even just 5 years ago. I am so grateful for my job, my friends, my family, my health, and my home. I have made some wonderful friends at work including a best friend who gets me better than most people ever have. I am so grateful for these wonderful people I get to work with day in and day out. We like each other so much that we even hang out on weekends and spend our precious free time together. 😛

I am thankful to finally have a place of my own. For most of my life I always lived with other people be it my family or roommates. As an introvert, I longed to live alone one day and to rule my own household. Almost one year ago I finally made that dream come true when I moved into my own apartment and it has been the most blissful 11 months of my existence thus far. Nothing beats coming home after a long day at work to have no roommate to talk to and a TV all to yourself. 😎

I am also so grateful for my health. I am relatively young and with that comes good health, but I hope to keep this up for the remainder of my years. I adhere to a plant-based diet and try to eat clean as much as possible. I see others around me who struggle with different health issues that I know would improve if they altered their poor diets. Good health is a blessing and should never be taken for granted.

Just reflecting on how my life has changed and improved over the past 5 years makes me wonder what the next 5 years will hold. I am certain that it will bring more changes, improvements and learning. Although I don’t know exactly what will happen, I know it will be for my greater good if I keep my intentions positive. I am excited to find out!

The Importance of a Best Friend

I am still alive! It has been over 2½ years since my last post. I had intended to post regularly but I suppose I was too lazy.

I recently re-read all of my previous entries and I think it is interesting how my life has progressed over the past few years. Recently, I had a heart-to-heart with one of my best friends and I told her “I am going to blog about our friendship!” I came back to this blog and noticed that I had a draft open from an entry I started over two years ago and never finished. Actually, all I had written was the title of the post which I did not change. It’s uncanny this was what I titled the post over two years ago and this is exactly the topic for which I decided to return to blogging!

In one of my entries from 2017 I wrote about how I had the desire to move somewhere different. One of the reasons I gave was that I didn’t have any friends in town and I missed my friends who were dispersed among various cities. I am glad that I didn’t move back then, because some of my closest childhood friends ended up moving back into town over the past few years. In addition, since I wrote that post I made a new best friend whom I never would have made if I had left. I am truly grateful for that friendship and my life would certainly be lonelier if I had never befriended her.

I have had various best friends throughout life. Some have come and gone, and others remain. They all had an important part to play in my various life stages and I appreciate all of them, even those who have drifted apart from me.

I was in a lonely place a few years ago. I loved my job and was grateful to have my family nearby, but I missed having close friends around. Most of my close friends were living scattered around the world and I did not have anyone nearby to hang out with. This was one of the reasons why I wanted to move, to be closer to friends, but something always held me back.

A little over two years ago, the beginning of a beautiful friendship started to occur. At this point I had been at my job for almost two years, and although I had made a handful of casual friends there, I didn’t feel like those friendships were as deep as my childhood friendships. I figured that adult friendships wouldn’t be as strong as those made in childhood.

At this time I started talking more with one coworker who I felt comfortable speaking freely with because I felt like she just got me. Up until this point we hadn’t interacted much because we worked in different departments. When her role changed, we started interacting a lot more and I realized I had found a kindred spirit. We are both weird in both similar and different ways and we aren’t afraid to show it. I found out that she is also an INFJ which made it so clear why we understand each other so well.

I am so grateful to have not only a best friend at work, but a best friend in life. I don’t open up easily to people but with this friend I feel comfortable sharing my weird thoughts, past experiences and personal woes. I know she’s always got my back and I’ve always got hers. Work can be stressful for both of us, but we don’t let that affect our friendship. I have to filter my dark and weird side for most people because I know they won’t get it and they will be weirded out. I am grateful to have a best friend that I can talk to unfiltered and not scare them off.

All that being said, I am glad I stuck it out and stayed. Having a best friend makes a world of difference. There is nothing more valuable than a true friendship and being accepted and understood for all your strangeness. For anyone who feels lonely, just be your true weird self and the right people will come into your life at the right time. It happened for me.

The Door Slam

If you are an INFJ, you most likely already know what the INFJ Door Slam is. Other types may not be as familiar with this concept, so here is a brief overview:

The INFJ Door Slam is a process occurs when an INFJ decides to cut someone out of their life entirely. It occurs when someone has caused too much emotional pain to the INFJ, time and time again, without ever attempting to improve matters. Quite often this person is someone the INFJ cares deeply about and has a long past with. The process is done quietly and often without warning. The INFJ simply cuts off emotional ties with the person in question, and most likely will cease communication. Many have described it as the INFJ now regarding the person as being dead to them. It is not a matter that is decided lightly since our type cares deeply about others and wants to forgive and to see the good in them.

I don’t think  I have ever completely door slammed anyone, at least as far as I can remember. I can only recall two instances in my life that resemble more like a gentle door closing.

The first case is a friend who I went to school with. Our friendship was a strange one and it’s kind of hard to describe. She wasn’t an easy person to get along with and most of our classmates disliked and avoided her. Me being the caring person that I am gave her the benefit of the doubt and befriended her. Although she gave the appearance of being a confident and bossy know-it-all, I could see right through her. I saw the vulnerability and pain in her eyes. I knew she was deeply emotionally wounded and I could just not dismiss her like everyone else did.

I heard her put down others, belittle them, and talk about them behind her back. I tried to forgive her because I knew she had emotional problems. I just tried to be a supportive friend. Over the years I knew her she treated me well relatively speaking. She was always nicer to me than our classmates, probably because I was one of the few who was nice to her and talked to her. However there were instances where she tried to say I was wrong and she was right, when in fact I knew it was the other way around. She also told a few straight out lies to my face and about me to our other friend. I forgave all of this because that’s just who I am. I care.

We remained “friends” until we parted ways when our program ended. She has barely tried to stay in contact with me, and the same goes for me. She was more toxic than anything, and I decided not to wear myself out keeping in contact with such a negative person. I know she has deep rooted issues that I cannot fix, and I only wish her the best and that she may heal one day.

The second instance is happening right now. This one is trickier because the person in question is a relative. I would not say she is “dead to me,” but I am quite fed up with how she has been treating me over the last few years, and more so in recent months. I have reached out to her countless times over the past year to try to connect and stay in contact. She has ignored probably 90% of my communications and reaches out to me only if she needs something. At first I was ready to forgive her, thinking she was probably just too busy with life. But the more times I was ignored, the more hurt I became. I personally would never ignore someone I care about when they try to reach out to me. However she has done it time and time again. I can’t help but think she doesn’t care about me that much, or I am not as important to her life as other people are. So be it. I have decided to stop trying to reach out to her. I will cordially talk to her when we meet at family functions, but I will not go out of my way to try to meet up with her. She can lead her life and I will lead mine. I was thinking recently that if we were not related and were simply friends, I would have dropped that friendship in a heartbeat. It’s not so easy to do when you’re family.

It’s never an easy decision to cut someone out of your life. However, unfortunately it’s necessary for us INFJs to protect ourselves from the deep pain others cause us. Sometimes it’s easier to forget about someone entirely than to remember the pain they caused us. I prefer to focus on the light and the positive. I’m only going to give my time and energy to people who care about me back and treat me right. That’s what we all deserve.

I can’t get no satisfaction.

All my life, I have always been wanting for more. More independence, more money, more success, more confidence, more happiness…you name it. It’s like I can never achieve this hypothetical level of satisfaction.

I’ve been feeling this way lately in regards to my living situation. I’m currently living in my hometown where I’ve lived most of my life except for 3 1/2 years abroad and a few miscellaneous years before I was 5. I live in a small-to-midsize city that, while pretty and pleasant, is truthfully boring to me most of the time. Since I grew up here, I am familiar with the region and there is nothing new and exciting for me to discover.

At times I just want to pack up and move to a larger city with more opportunities and new places to explore. I can’t seem to bring myself to do it quite yet though. I am constantly torn between moving and staying. I’ve composed 2 lists: why I want to leave, and why I want to stay.

Anyone else feel similarly about their living situation?

Why I Want To Move:

  1. I have a desire for new experiences: meeting new interesting people, visiting new places, learning new things. I like to explore.
  2. There are more career opportunities in larger cities.
  3. I can be more independent from my family.
  4. There are more diversions to occupy my free time. I love concerts, museums, and restaurants. I’ve pretty much exhausted the options where I currently live.
  5. Most of my closest friends have dispersed and live all over the US and abroad. I feel lonely without them and wouldn’t feel too sad leaving since they all have already!

Why I Want To Stay:

  1. Although I want independence from my family, we are still close and the thought of not being able to see them regularly would be kind of depressing.
  2. My doggy. She is extremely bonded to my mother and if I moved away, she would stay with my mom. I would miss her so much.
  3. Familiarity. I confuse myself: although I crave new experiences and adventures, the familiar feeling of my hometown is comforting.
  4. We have nice weather here, and most places have more extreme temperatures. I am highly sensitive to temperatures and don’t fare well in hot or cold. I need moderate weather to be fully functional which is what I’ve got now!
  5. Although at times I find my current city boring, it is nice in that it is not overly crowded. A bigger city would mean more crowds, more traffic, more noise, and more pollution. I am highly sensitive to my surroundings and I can see myself becoming a constantly frazzled person if my senses are constantly assaulted and I can’t get much peace.

For now I’ll stick with my current living situation. I won’t force a move just to get out if it doesn’t feel right. If ever a new and better career opportunity arises elsewhere, I’d highly consider a move if the location was nice. I guess I’ll just keep at it and see where life takes me. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep myself entertained with reading, writing, films and travel. Sometimes I forget how refreshing and revitalizing to life travel can be. Now on to plan my next trip…

It’s Never Enough

All my life I’ve felt like I’ve never been enough or done enough. This is mainly due to pressure and expectations I’ve put on myself, rather than how others have treated me. It seems like no matter how hard I try or how much work I do, it is just never enough to me.

For instance, when I worked in the veterinary field I knew I was doing meaningful work by helping sick and injured animals but I still felt like I should be doing something even more worthwhile with my time. Although I love all animals, at times it just didn’t feel right when clients would drop hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars on their poodle or bichon or other pampered little breed, when there are millions of people living in poverty and have no healthcare. I mean, come on.

I feel much more fulfilled in my current job now that I am helping improve the lives of those with disabilities. I am so grateful I found a career that allows me to make a real difference in the lives of individuals with disadvantages. However, even so, every now and again I get that nagging feeling like I can and should be doing more. But what?

I have to remind myself often that I am only one person and I can’t save everyone singlehandedly. I tell myself that I should be happy when I help even one person improve their life. It does make me happy to receive positive feedback from the people I support as well as from my co-workers. But still…I want to save the world.

I have accepted that is due to how my brain is wired. I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with my work. No matter what I do for others, I’ll think I should do more. I suppose I should see the positive in this: this drive is what will keep me going forward in life. As long as there are others in need, I will be there to help!

I was hiding, but have not disappeared.

Hello Reader!

After over a year of hiatus, I have decided to return to blogging. I don’t know why I abandoned this in the first place-I probably just got caught up in my job. Now that I feel more settled, back to writing I go.

As we enter into the new year, I have been doing a lot of reflecting as well as planning. I want to establish personal goals for myself so I have something to work towards. Upon reflecting on 2016, I don’t feel like I accomplished a whole lot. I probably am just being hard on myself, but that’s the story of my life. I’ve always been hard on myself. Besides work, I didn’t really do anything significant with myself and I’d like to do more with my life this year. But what?

One of my main goals for 2017 is to find a new project to work on in my free time. I feel like my life’s purpose is to serve and help others. Life is just not fulfilling or meaningful unless I am doing something to help others. If anyone read any of my previous posts, you would have learned that I got a job working with people with disabilities. I am still in that job, and loving it! I kind of stumbled into the job not knowing what to expect, but wanted to give it a try. I was thinking it would be a good experience to tie me over until I found my “true calling.” Little did I know when I applied, that this field may be my true calling after all…

I get so much gratification out of my work, knowing that I act as a positive influence in people’s lives and that I can give them the support they deserve. Life is hard enough, and if I can help make it a bit brighter or easier for someone, then I am happy with my work. Nothing warms my heart more than receiving positive feedback and words of gratitude from the individuals I support. Although it can definitely be challenging at times, I absolutely love working with this population and can see myself doing so for the long term. I feel like I can be my true, strange self around them and they welcome and embrace it! I am so happy to be able to enjoy going to work everyday and be greeted by a caring and accepting work environment.

Back to my goal of having a new project…I’m not 100% sure what I want to do yet, but I’d like to find a worthwhile volunteer project. I’ll keep my eyes open for new volunteer opportunities where I can help others in need. Perhaps helping youth, homeless, terminally ill or any kind of disadvantaged population. I’m sure the right opportunity will come along in time. I just want to help as many people as I can. Stay tuned…

Oh and another goal for 2017? Continue with this blog. Even if only one person reads it-heck only if I read it-I find it cathartic to write out my thoughts and feelings. Some things I just find too personal to share online, so there may be some weird abstract/metaphorical postings in the future to deal with these emotions.

If you have read this, I thank you. Wishing everyone a bright and beautiful 2017!

Update on the job situation

In previous posts, I explained about my educational and career path thus far in my life.

Now, I’d like to give an update on what I’ve been doing these past few months. I spent weeks looking for jobs at the beginning of the year, while trying to figure out what kind of work I would be happy doing. As an extremely introverted and highly sensitive individual, I have a lot of factors to take in to consideration when considering potential jobs. For the longest time the only listings I could find were for retail and office admin jobs, both of which I had zero interest in.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of job I would like. I knew I wanted to do something that involved helping people and that was not profit-driven. Since I had worked with animals in the past, I applied to work at a dog day-care facility. The interview was a breeze since I had so much animal experience, and they called me back the next day to offer me part-time work. Right after the interview I thought about if I would like working there. As much as I love dogs, I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me for 2 reasons: (1) it seemed pretty boring/no intellectual stimulation–I would basically be monitoring dogs all day to make sure they were behaving and not fighting; and (2) the constant barking and jumping would just rattle my nerves too much. So, I declined the offer even though I didn’t have anything else lined up.

Luckily, a few days later I saw a couple of job postings for two different non-profits that assist adults with disabilities. I had never worked with people with disabilities before, but it sounded like a very rewarding field. So I applied to both. I got a call back from one of them the next week, and the other one emailed me back. One was more on-top of communicating with me so I followed through with that non-profit. The interview process was very lengthy–understandably since they want to make sure they have responsible and honest people working with disabled people. Luckily I must have made a good impression, because I got the job!

I have been working there for about 3 months now. My title is job coach and I am in charge of supervising crews who work in the local community. I have to drive them to the job site, give them instructions and feedback on their work, and do regular progress reports. The job can be tough at times, but it is very rewarding and I am so glad I did not get stuck in some awful retail job. I really enjoy helping others and making a positive difference in people’s lives. It means the world to me when my crew members tell me they like me as their job coach and that they are happy to work with me.

For at least the next year I’ll be happy in this position. I would like to go back to school for a Master’s degree in a year. Right now I am thinking career or college counseling. After lots of research and thinking, I believe this would be a great fit for me. I would be able to help people while being in an educational setting (which I love). I have always loved helping people figure out what they want to do with their lives. So if all goes as planned, I’ll be back in school learning how to be a career/college counselor in a year’s time! In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy helping the awesome people I supervise.

You Want Me To Buy Something? Then Leave Me Alone.

Yesterday I was browsing shops at the mall and as I was walking along the pathway, I was pestered by a handful of store employees standing in store doorways trying to entice potential customers. I hated this. As an introvert, I really don’t like talking to people I don’t know. I especially don’t like being confronted in such an aggressive manner when I am trying to have a peaceful, solitary shopping experience.

As I ambled along the walkway, a sales associate at a cosmetics store shouted at me to try to catch my attention. When I ignored him after the first attempt, he tried again, louder. I continued to pretend I didn’t hear or see him, and went on my way. Can you talk about annoying? I really wanted to go up to him and say “if you want me to buy something, then leave me alone.” I am non-confrontational so I did no such thing, but boy did I want to! Maybe I will next time if I feel aggravated enough.

In fact, I am much more likely to make a purchase if I am not approached by sales associates. I am always keenly aware of their intentions: to make as many sales as possible. I know they are trained to pitch products as amazing and will turn on the charm to persuade people to buy stuff they don’t really need. As a very intuitive person, I can see straight through this and it doesn’t work on me. I can’t say I’ve ever been persuaded by any sales person to buy something. I prefer to quietly study products on my own to figure out what is best for me. If I have a question then I will ask for help, but other than that I prefer to be left alone in shops.

Usually when I go in to a store, I have an agenda of what I am going to get and I don’t stray from it. I rarely go in to stores where I don’t need to buy anything, and if I do, I just look around first. I prefer to be an informed shopper and I don’t make any purchases before reading multiple reviews online.

This level of preparedness reflects how I tackle most situations in life. Any other INFJs/introverts out there act the same way regarding shopping? Do you let sales people sway you or do you see right through them as well?

Breaking free

If you read my previous posts about my educational/career path, you’ll know that I had been unhappy in my pursuit of veterinary medicine. Today as I was driving, a mental metaphor popped in to my mind of what my life had been like. It was as if I had been stuck inside a glass cube for years. The cube represented the veterinary career I had forced myself to pursue. I could see outside of it, and I wished I could escape to the outside world which was more desirable than being stuck inside. I would stare outside of it for years and years, but too afraid to try escaping. However over time I started having my doubts about this career, and so I would slowly chip away at the glass. It finally got to the point where I couldn’t bear being stuck inside any longer, so I mustered up all my courage and punched right through the glass, finally breaking free and being able to breath easy again. Even though it was painful breaking out, it was the best thing for me to do, for time will heal the wounds and now there are new possibilities open to me.

I can’t help but stare.

I have always been a starer.

I don’t mean to stare, it just happens. I am a very deep thinker, and quite often my mind is racing with various thoughts that come in an endless stream. I’ll be lost in thought for long intervals before I come back to the present, and then I realize I had been staring at someone.

I usually never know if the person was aware of my staring. If I happen to meet their gaze, then I become acutely aware of what I had been doing. I will proceed to awkwardly smile, inwardly reprimand myself, and declare to never stare again. If they do not appear to see me, then I wonder to myself if they had seen me staring, then looked away because I was making them uncomfortable. Or, had they never noticed my gaze in the first place?

I torment myself with all these what ifs, and I stress over what other people think of me. Do they think I’m a weirdo for staring? Or maybe luckily, no one ever notices me staring.

Does anyone else ever have a problem with staring? Any tips on how to combat it?