Progress = Happiness

I had an interview today for a position at a local university and I had to prepare a presentation on the value of higher education and how it ties into a program at the university. (As my sister said, call it what it really is: prepare a sales pitch that you would give on behalf of the school.” Right? yup. ) I started out as I do with anything new by researching. I read article after article about what experts call the value of education, and after a few hours of this, it came to mind that what they are really talking about is progress. Progress in one’s career, their earnings, their growth as a person, and laying the groundwork for their future. In a nutshell, higher education provides the momentum for progress to be made.

This discovery then led to different searches. I started googling “progress” and came across a quote from that crazy motivational speaker Tony Robbins. He said “progress equals happiness.” And the more the words sunk in, I believed it.  I think of any time in my life whether it’s working on a project for school, for work, or just the state that I am in, and when I sense that progress is being made, no matter how significant (or insignificant) it might seem, I feel relief. Content. Happiness. I may not have completely solved a problem, or finished a project 100%, but I am not stuck. I am no longer stagnant.

Before today’s interview, I could feel the adrenaline in my body. Chest was tight, heart beating fast, and I could barely sit long enough to eat breakfast. It was not a comfortable feeling at all. T was home this morning and he asked me how I was doing and I said to him, I need to work on separating in my mind the difference between the feeling of being “pumped up” and being “anxious.” And as I said it, I thought to myself: progress. Several months ago I was waiting for another interview to start and had the same sensations pulsing through my body. But I was also adding to it a layer of doubt, desperation, insecurity….do I need to add more? While I know I did the best I could at that interview, I also know I wasn’t at my best. Today, despite the physical sensations, my mind was stronger. I was prepared for this interview. Progress?

I will not know the outcome of the interview until next week. And yes getting a job would be a significant sign of progress of living here in Kansas City. But right now, today, at this moment, I am feeling happy from the progress I have made since the start of this blog. 🙂


White Coat Syndrome

A few weeks ago I was at the dr’s office for my annual physical examination, complete with an evening of fasting to get blood drawn the following morning. For the first 28 years of my life, no biggie. In fact, a strange part of me liked going to the dr’s so I could hear that I was healthy and all that good stuff. Then came the day when a dr. told me I had high blood pressure and he delivered this news to me as if I had been diagnosed with a terminal disease. There was a lot of sighing on his part, a lot of “frustration” as he took my reading one more time to be sure he was correct. It was serious drama the more I think about it.

At that point in time I had never been concerned about my BP nor did I have any clue what the right numbers were supposed to be. Turns out 120/80 and lower is normal, and then there is the whole range for pre-hypertension and hypertension. It is also quite normal for BP to fluctuate throughout the day depending on our activities, stress levels, etc. On this particular day in the dr’s office, it read 126/84 and this meant to the dr. that I had to go on meds. Had I been prepped with the knowledge I have now, I would have told him he was crazy and walked out the door. But instead I took the medication, and for several years I suffered bouts of anxiety/panic attacks about my health: am I going to have a heart attack? Is it okay to go running? What is this medication doing to my heart?…

Moving to Philadelphia in 2008 meant lots of changes, one of which included a new dr. THANK GOD. Upon our 2nd meeting she asked me, why are you on this medication again? And the next thing I knew I was being weaned off of it. While it was a relief to know that I didn’t need to take the medicine anymore, the lingering anxiety has been more challenging to shake. I really believe it’s why I haven’t run a 5K yet, or why I sometimes believe that I can’t handle stressful times, or why I have developed a serious fear of going to the dr’s office.

It’s no surprise that when I visited my new dr. here in Kansas City for the first time, my BP was through the roof. After a month of monitoring my BP just to be safe, the dr. ruled it as “white coat syndrome” and we moved on. It is bothersome to me that I have this “condition,” but I am determined to approach each future visit being scave (scared/brave) and not totally freaked out. This means keeping my appointments, collaborating with my dr. about the best treatments for me, and building trust with her.

In this same vain I have taken steps to shake my white coat syndrome from my goals: I have been running more, going to yoga class, and overall moving my body with more intention. I have been applying for more jobs outside of the “safe” ones, and taking chances where I hadn’t before. I am building trust again. With myself.


How to Be a Good House Guest provides the following list for How to Be a Good House Guest: As a frequent over-nighter in my parent’s home and various hotels for leisurely vacations, I am probably an OCD house guest, meaning I keep things clean and organized to the point where housekeeping has an easy job when they finally get to my room. Recently we hosted a friend in our home for an extended weekend and during her stay I became more and more annoyed at her presence in my house. In fact, I couldn’t wait for her to leave. I realize now it’s because she violated almost every one of the following rules on how to be a good house guest. This post could go on for days if I highlighted all of them, so I will discuss the top-offenders in my eyes…

Be flexible and adaptive.
My friend and I had made plans to drive 2 hours to Manhattan, KS to see the town, eat, drink and be merry. When it came down to it, I had zero energy or desire to go, not to mention the fact that our mutual friend from Manhattan was already in Kansas City with us! The night before the trip I offered the idea of staying in Kansas City and she sighed and whined with, “But people are EXPECTING me in Manhattan.” Oh. Didn’t know that I was now a free ride to see other friends. Should also mention she made it clear that night in Manhattan that she had no interest in actually still hanging out with me and T.

Keep your guest area neat.
Took t-minus 5 minutes for her clothes, underwear, snacks, and whatever to be literally tossed all over the room and floor. Ick. And that doesn’t include the clothes and toiletries she still needed to borrow from me upon her arrival.

Don’t keep the hosts up late.
I am an early sleeper. I don’t care. Yes, I can stay up late on occasion, but three nights in a row? Nope. Sorry. See you in the morning.

Don’t make assumptions.
I will combine this one with the next. Don’t make assumptions that because I have provided a cozy, homey space for you that we are made of money. T and I have worked damn hard for the life that we live, and we are not a free bed and breakfast. This trip was planned since April. Save your money! Offer to pay at least one way of gas to Manhattan!

Offer to make contributions.
See previous explanation.

Be careful about Internet and phone usage.
Two minutes after sitting on our couch, she was typing away on our Mac without asking. Happened every morning, even if I had the computer closed and turned off.

Send a thank-you note.
Been a week. No note.

Our home is now closed for future stays, and probably a meaningful friendship. It only makes sense so I can keep space open for the people in my life that I am grateful for every morning that I rise…:)