A New Chapter

It has taken me nearly a year to figure out my writer’s block… for lack of a better term. I have remained committed to writing privately but writing freely in blog form has taken the backseat. I have 40 draft blogs I’ve written in the past two years. All of which were started and promptly left to sit in the digital closet.

After some soul searching I have come to realize this blog, We Built a Camper, feels like a giant metaphor for a much larger life lesson I have been slogging through for the past two years: searching for the boundary between my individual life and my life as a wife.

I often describe it to my clients as “me, we, family.” All of us have these overlapping identities, each with their own responsibilities make up life.  However, our culture typically conditions women to be more “family and we” as the “me” portion slowly gets chipped away at by the other two priorities.

As women, we are taught that we can be anything we want to be, that women have been liberated. But in actuality, we are just conditioned to do more. Have a career, have children, be a sweet wife, while also being assertive, maintain relationships, don’t make sacrifices but each of these identities requires sacrifice. From my work as a therapist, I know that I am not alone in feeling like the sacrifice that gets made is myself. Not in the martyr, look how great I am way. Rather in the slow, almost imperceivable silencing of my heart, choosing career or being a wife and feeling all these roles are somehow competing with each other.

In an effort to take a bold leap toward a larger “me” in the context of my career and relationships, I am moving my writing to JoellaLong.com. A new website devoted to my solo work as a writer, therapist, and lover of adventure.

Follow along if you’d like: joellalong.com

When the past dream no longer fits…

Last Thursday life came into a new focus. In fact, it was such a profound perspective shift, it felt like waking up in someone else’s life. It seemed every decision, every fork in the road over the past three years was in front of me.

And suddenly, that potential I referred to in the last blog was clear.

I love skiing, trail running, and living in sunny Bend… but not as much as I love the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. It hit me like a freight train. All in one moment:

Not only do I love my career, I get to share it with the love of my life who also loves it.

That is my one thing, being a therapist with my hubby. That is what my life is about. And hiding from my potential has taken the form of attempting to arrange my life around other things I love.

Bend is an incredible place if you are an amateur or professional athlete and your life is about your sport. It is also an incredible place if you work remotely so you get paid a big city paycheck and live in a small town. It is also an incredible place if you don’t really like your job and want to drink beer or play outside with all your free time.

I have come to realize I was in the latter category when we first decided to move here. The Army and working throughout my education left Michael and I totally burnt out. We literally just wanted to work enough to pay the bills, run outside, and ski.

However, Bend has become like an incubator for us. We have developed ideas, methods, and have more to offer than ever. And our dream has expanded past just working to pay the bills. We have a clear vision and goals to match.

Change is on the horizon…..