My Two year transition from country mouse to city mouse!

Evening in West Harlem

Reflection brings introspection. It also creates clarity. When I reflect over the past two years, my initial thought is where did those two years go? WOW. All the changes that have taken place feel astounding and remarkable at the same time when I actually sit and think about all that has transpired.

But that’s the thing about life transitions – we often don’t know what is around the corner. For some that can be exciting, for others frightening, and for everyone else, somewhere in the middle.

The mere fact of change is often peppered with a roller coaster of emotions – some good, some more challenging than others. Learning how to feel more comfort in the chaos that often precedes calmness, is also part of that equation. My journey has been my own, just like everyone else’s.  So when people come to me to help them with their transition and share their roller coaster of emotions, I really get it.

In my line of work, its no surprise that I am a strong advocate for change – including myself. Because without change how do we become the best version of ourselves? How do we get from Point A to Point B (sometimes many times over) and continue to grow and evolve? Embarking on a major life transition means making changes, often in several areas of our life, concurrently. Seldom seamless.

The Spin Cycle of Change, of Life.

While in the spin cycle of change, until you safely land on your feet (and they actually touch the ground) and life returns to some semblance of normalcy, does the time that has elapsed provide clarity for a deeper understanding of what has transpired. Feeling more comfort in change is also part of that equation.

My life transition from a small borough of 8,000 in South Central PA to New York City with a population of  8 million (and growing) has provided me the opportunity to explore, wander, wish, work harder, walk faster, raise the bar, and fill the vacuum of curiosity about life and this magnificent city that has plagued me for a long time.

Working and living in the city now for two years, my understanding of this city that truly never sleeps and beats to its own drummer, has grown exponentially. The flip side to the pace in which this city beats also creates, at times, enormous pressure and stress to do more, remain competitive, and work harder. I have come to understand that its not about working against it, but learning how to live with it.

Nightime in midtown Manhattan

Despite the inherent “serious life stuff” that major life transitions imbue, there must be an element of levity along the way to make it worth it. That’s required.

A few of my “own” (fun) discoveries.

1.) Buy a few pair of flats! Keep those heels at the office. Despite having to catch a few trains with my heels (at least I didn’t fall on the ground – a pretty proud moment!), I have learned that flats are MUCH better AND you can run faster!

2.) You really don’t know a hot summer day until you have taken the subway when its hot and humid outside. Sans air conditioning on the platforms, consider yourself lucky if your subway has working AC. This is challenging especially when you are packed in like sardines! Bring extra patience…

3.) NYC truly is “the city that never sleeps”. When you live here, you really experience the true meaning behind those words. Just walk the streets. There is always activity going on. Always. What are all these people doing at this hour?

4.) Heading out? New to the city? Don’t go anywhere without a good city map. In fact, get two. Download several map and subway applications. They are life savers. Every time. Trust me on this one. Though I am still a work in progress when someone says, “meet me on the SE corner of”..huh?? How about a landmark?

5.) Got a cookie fix but its 3 AM? Ha! No worries! Insomniac Cookies delivers until 3 AM. They are beyond amazing cookies!

6.) There are endless places to visit. And I mean endless. This city is stocked with hundreds of “nooks and crannies” that makes it seem as though you literally will run out of time before you can see it all.

7.) There is no longer a need to make an appointment for a mani/pedi. With a few places on every corner, you never need an appointment. Priceless.

8.) Amidst the noise and “craziness”, there are many places of quiet and solitude.

Hudson River West Harlem

9.) The unbridled chaos and craziness of this great city is worth embracing. You will never run out of conversation pieces.

10.) You are never more than a few blocks (or feet) from a wine bar and a really great, cold glass of white wine! Now that’s priceless.

11.) Who says that New Yorkers aren’t nice? I have met plenty of them. I like to believe I am one of them now.

12.) I have NEVER missed the traffic or driving since giving up my car almost 2 years ago. Go MTA!!

NYC is an amazing place. It makes me want to work harder so I never have to leave.

LIfe is to Lived

The Unspoken Tragedy Behind Robin Williams Death

Jobless

Robin Williams very public life and ultimately his death only magnifies the fact that mental illness and addictions have no boundaries. They do not discriminate. They affect all people, men and women, from all walks of life regardless of money, status, or life circumstances. No doubt his sense of hopelessness (a dangerous sign of suicide) led him to feel that he had no way out but to end his life. Therein lies the true tragedy. A death. Yet, behind his death is a deeper, often unspoken tragedy.

That tragedy is the millions of people who continue to suffer from a mental illness and addictions every day, many of whom will ultimately also end their life by committing suicide. This holds especially true with our military – those very same men and women who serve and fight for our country everyday. Although we rarely hear about them, their families and friends experience the same extraordinary pain and suffering because of their loss.

Let us hope that the extensive coverage given on behalf of Robin Williams death (and notwithstanding the many contributions he has made in his life), will reach others who are suffering in the same way and they will seek the help they so desperately need before its too late.

Let’s create more conversation about the debilitating effects of mental illness on a person’s life.

Useful Links:

Signs of Depression and Suicide

Military Suicide Rate

Heart Disease and Depression

Is Divorce Mediation Right for You?

Divorce & Mediation

Over the past eleven years as a Clinical Psychologist, I have helped numerous couples get a “good divorce.” In these instances, couples have started therapy hoping to save their marriage only to find that with time, greater insight, and honesty do they recognize their marriage is no longer salvageable and decide to embark on a different path – divorce.

My passion for helping couples remains unwavering. Because of this, I have expanded my practice to include Divorce Mediation. My role as a Divorce Mediator feels like a natural progression for me. My experience working with couples has cultivated my skills in both conflict resolution and effective communication skills and practices – two areas (among others) I believe to be integral components of divorce mediation.

Before a couple embarks on their journey of divorce and contemplates hiring a Divorce Mediator, there are some things to consider before you decide what path to take – one of mediation (as its not suited for everyone) or litigation.

Is Divorce Mediation right for you?

Sometimes couples who’ve been struggling in their marriage decide that the best thing for the relationship—and their family—is to end it. It’s never an easy decision, but once it’s made, a Divorce Mediator helps you both navigate the separation process in a safe, collaborative way. As you explore your options, here’s what to know:

Mediation is not couples’ therapy.

The purpose of mediation is to help both partners reach an agreement about their new future: How will property be divided? What will the custody and childcare arrangements be? Is spousal support necessary, and if so, how much? You are not there to rehash the past or discuss the issues that caused the relationship to fail.

A mediator is a neutral party who listens objectively, facilitates communication, and provides a safe environment for each spouse to voice their needs. Its a non adversarial process. Divorce Mediators do not advocate for one spouse over another—but work towards what’s best for the couple as a whole. That means taking a solution focused approach to reaching a settlement both parties feel is fair and acceptable.

Mediation can save you time and money.

Ultimately, you retain control of the outcome—the more you can discuss with your partner or spouse outside of your appointments, the more effective and efficient the mediation process can be. By not limiting discussions, agreements, or conversations strictly to mediation sessions will often result in the process being faster and less expensive than litigation.

Old and new life

Mediation can help you have a happier, more peaceful divorce—especially if you have children.

Once divorced, you will need to have even better communications skills than you did in your marriage in order to co-parent in a healthy, collaborative way. Mediation can help you set that tone from the start by eliminating power imbalances, creating clear boundaries, and respect for each others’ choices and wishes.

It is absolutely possible for children to thrive after a divorce—however, their resilience is often very dependent on their parents ability to put old differences aside and make decisions together.

You will still need a lawyer.

Once you’ve reached an agreement, your Divorce Mediator draft the terms as outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding. This agreement gets reviewed by both parties and their respective attorneys. If needed, you can also consult with your attorney during the mediation process. This can also prove beneficial. Although recommendations for changes may be made by both attorneys, ultimately you are the owner of the agreement and ultimately the final decisions.

Are you considering a divorce? Do you have more questions about the mediation process? If so, please feel free to contact me at drkristindavin@gmail.com or call 917-715-6583 for a free consultation.