An Update

I’m here…I promise. If you’ve been following this blog, or my updates via social media you may have wondered where’s the recent post, or any update. Well here you go…

As a preface to the blog – I’m going to go personal here. If you don’t want to hear that, or perhaps hearing about depression and anxiety may be triggering for you, turn away now.

As we all experience at some point, there are ebbs and flows to life. Over the past months, year really, I’ve experienced this myself. This post is by no means extensive of my recent experience, or any kind of means of support if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. But my hope is to share a little about me. If you too are experiencing anything I’d ask you to speak to someone, today.

About a year ago our family dog was diagnosed with terminal cancer. This was devastating, beginning a summer of grief we weren’t expecting. At the same time I was having one of the toughest semesters of my life as a student academically – missing assignments, not understanding prompts, and generally feeling disconnected from my peers.

Of course summer came, work slowed, and we spent more time with our family (even as COVID-19 raged on) to try to make memories and life our lives. Beyond perfect, it was as close to an ideal summer as I’ve experienced in my adult life.

Then in August we said goodbye to Bella, our boxer who filled such a special place in our hearts and home. Of course we carried on the best we could, but it was devastating to say the least. In hope of retreating to work, I threw myself into classes and projects. Sadly much of that backfired as I was not fully focused or prepared for the level of work. I was overwhelmed, made mistakes, grew distant, and so much more. At the same time I pushed through and earned achievements like my first first-author publication (a big deal for academics, but really no one outside of academia cares too much) and being invited to speak at several events. All the while suffering – silently and sometimes not.

Then earlier this year I pursued professional help for what seemed like insurmountable levels of anxiety. In a short amount of time there was so much light shed on how I perceived the world – through a lens of ADD and anxiety – and what was causing my acute and severe depression. I was never diagnosed as a child with ADD, but the it is clear to me now that it’s been a lifelong struggle. The good news is that I’m aware and treating it now.

It’s a dedication to myself to continue to do the work.

JW Harris

Now this isn’t a pity post, or anything like that. Instead it’s a dedication to myself to continue to do the work – both for myself and for others. I’ve struggled and continue to struggle. But here’s what I’ve learned so far…it’s okay and natural to feel overwhelmed and unaccomplished. In fact, I’ve shared this with a few of my students one-on-one who have shared similar experiences. And they’ve said that it’s nice to know they’re not the only ones who feel the way they feel. So maybe that’s the goal of this post: to let people know they’re not alone (and remind myself of that).

But with these ebbs and flows I’ve also gained some insight into the next stage of my life, and where this blog is going. Over the past few months I’ve been working hard on re-envisioning the future of JW Financial Guidance. Originally I designed it to be the place where I could serve clients in the future once I’ve finished my PhD – to help them live deliberately with their money. Then the opportunity came to partner with some good friends to launch an upcoming business [Stay Tuned – 2022] where I can dedicate my time and energy (without feeling isolated) to serving clients who are in transition, who experience the inevitable transition of life as we move from now to the future.

So what’s to become of this blog? Well I have a lot in store for it. It’ll still be the home for my thoughts and experiences as I continue out my doctoral degree in financial planning. It’ll also be the home for some future content and training I’m passionate about (Money Mindfulness). It’ll be where you can follow my own journey to live deliberately with money, and begin your own journey.

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