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21 Is The Best Year

I’m in the process of writing my dissertation. I’m sure there will be many blog posts bemoaning the research process in my future. For now, I have 25 articles in my lit review, which is better than zero. I had a conversation with my best friend about it. We (well, she) did the math and found that we will have to write 6 pages each week in order to finish just the lit review by the end of the summer.

Dissertation is like a giant elephant in the room that I need to climb over in order to graduate, but I can’t stop thinking about in the meantime. It feels like the years go by slowly, maybe because I’m counting them down.

I read a book about a girl who made a scrapbook called “37 is the best year”. She filled it with famous people who appeared to reach the peaks of their lives at 37. This got me thinking about when my best year might be. It doesn’t feel like 21 is the best year, because I’m still working toward my future. I’m not happy with stopping here and resting on my laurels, if you know what I mean.

Today I had a new client, and I was telling this client that I’m not licensed, but I’m being closely supervised. “Congratulations!” the client said. I paused, feeling confused. “Congratulations for what?”

“Congratulations for, you know, being in your program.” My client was being sincere, I realized. I didn’t feel like I deserved congratulations because I wasn’t a doctor. I was just getting my hours and doing what I loved. If I had no degree to show for it, I wasn’t making money with it yet, and I wasn’t married with 2.5 children (the American average– don’t ask what half a child is), then surely 21 was not my best year. The Best Year was whenever I accomplished all of those things.

In past blogposts, I’ve talked about how important it is to appreciate the life stage that you are in right now, to appreciate the answered prayers. I distinctly remember praying for what I have. I am now living in the reality that I dreamed of, but I’m not relishing it. Instead, I’m looking toward the future. The “when-I’m-licensed”, “when-I-move-out”, “when-I-make-more-money” future.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to make a list of all the things I love about my present, and I’m going to relish those things.

My clean room. Having long(ish) hair for the first time. Freedom to drive wherever I want. A great workout routine and my ideal body. Talking with friends about their lives, jobs, and dreams. Keeping up with a planner. Reading for pleasure. The “just-because” photoshoot that I did with my sister this past Sunday, in vintage 80s dresses:

Buying fruit from a fruit vendor and talking with him about where he’s from. The people in my life, including my family, boyfriend, best friend, and many others. Clothes that “spark joy”. My health. My religion. My self-discipline.

I could go on, but I’m not going to, because I get my own point. Enjoy the present, y’all. Time isn’t refundable.


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Hi everyone! I started my doctorate in clinical psychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

2 thoughts on “21 Is The Best Year

  1. LOVE this post! I am with you. I am living a life I once prayed for… and sometimes I still year for “when X happens, then I will be happy/fulfilled.” Instead, I need to enjoy the right now while also working towards goals!

    Also, congrats for being in your program! Even though you aren’t finished, you still deserve a congrats πŸ™‚

    Also, the 2.5 children thing has ALWAYS confused me!! What is half a child?!

    Liked by 1 person

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