Reply To: PPVE Grads – Share your updates & stay connected

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Long time no see! I can’t tell you the number of times it’s popped into my head that I should check back on this forum while I’m out walking/driving/swimming so I promptly forget. But now I have a question that I thought might be appropriate to pose – especially considering the recent podcast interview with a therapist.

First a non-update update on where I am… Shaun and I are still trying to figure out geographically where we want to head for our low cost of living Thriver life. Took a brief trip to another city over the summer but disliked it more than anywhere we’d been previously, which was again frustrating. Right around that time we also started marriage counseling, which was long overdue. It’s not that we don’t get along or don’t love each other – we are best friends and our therapist even commented on how compatible we are – but we haven’t been able to come to a resolution on having kids. We assumed we would but it seemed so far off when we got married in our mid-20s, and we’ve had varying feelings about it in the years since. Without getting into too many details, at 36 I feel like I need to figure this out for certain and not just let life go rolling along and say “welp, guess that didn’t happen” and wish it had. I honestly put off making the first appointment for so long because I was afraid it would seem stupid to seek counseling on the one life decision that can’t be a compromise…how silly that was! I almost feel the need to apologize to you for not bringing it up back in the spring during the PPVE…at that point it was just something weighing on my mind on top of everything else we wanted to figure out and I was wary of the extra layer of complication it could add.

Anyway, I really like going to therapy and the appointments fly by – this stuff is fascinating to me. She totally understands that after 10+ years in the same city, home, job for both of us the prospect of making such huge changes in life is all the more daunting. And with her it really feels in line with what I’ve learned from Clarity on Fire – for example she wants us to have a goal and a process but at the same time have fun with the search (just like Kristen said before), to not put pressure on one particular place but make a list of places that we’re drawn to and just go explore, knowing there will always be more options if we don’t love it.

Over the course of the few months we’ve been going, she’s explored some perfectionism/anxiety issues with Shaun (in part relating to his dad – if you’ll recall, the one I work with who is ALWAYS RIGHT) and did a little bit of individual work with him. At the end of this week’s appointment she was asking about the non-work things in life that give us identity or bring us joy – again another CoF point of getting past the question “what do you do?” My instinctive answer was baking for friends and family. His instinctive answer was TV and video games (don’t get me wrong, I love the heck out of my TV too). But she asked, can you really get joy from passive activities like TV and video games? And challenged him for next time to come up with something else.

He and I are definitely the butterflies of the world – together we like hiking, frisbee, walking shelter dogs, movies, TV, ping pong, podcasts… But he was pretty bummed out after we left and said that between her earlier one-on-one work with him and now feeling like he doesn’t have a “thing” that brings him joy, that he’s “the broken one” (his words, not mine or anyone else’s). It made me so sad. I’m definitely recommending to him that he take the PPVE next time around because I believe it will get him thinking in different ways about passion and identity. But in the meantime, does anyone have thoughts on the specific question about getting joy from active vs. passive activities? Or how often you do something to bring joy or make it part of your identity? (For example we likely won’t do any of the hiking or frisbee over the winter because we hate cold.) The way he describes himself to me is that usually once he goes out and does something (like hiking or going to a friend’s house) he’s glad he did it, but more often than not, given the choice, he’d choose the couch. #introvertproblems

Sorry for the word vomit and thanks for reading. I love that I get to hear your voices every week on the podcast. <3