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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

A Year of Attending to Me

I started my 36th year of life pretty sad. I’ll spare you the details. The important part is that I listened to that sadness. One day at a time, I pursued what did feel good. I attended to me and followed my energy - what I was excited to do.

I’m now 37 and I can say that my 36th year of life was the most seminal of all of my years. There were so many meaningful things that happened.

I adopted my dog Egon and integrated him into my life.

I revved my business up to a full caseload of clients at my full fee.

Autistic Art Therapist Jackie Schuld shares an illustration of a person reading while a creature sits on her back.
"A Year of Doing Whatever I Want" Illustration by Jackie Schuld

I developed my new niche of late-identified autism.

I joined a feminist marketing program and dove into the work there.

I grew my accountability relationships, making deeper friendships and new friends.

I started sharing my essays on Linked-In and interacted with great people there.

I did all of my licensure work for the ATR, ATR-BC, REAT, and LPC.

I joined Medium and started publishing my work there.

I deepened friendships.

I faced and resolved deep family conflict.

I did all of the groundwork to present at a national conference.

I dealt with a cancer scare.

Ok, that last one was not something I wanted. I didn’t know a cancer scare was in the cards for me. In fact, most of these were not goals that I set for myself. They were things that naturally evolved as I evolved.

That is what has been so beautiful about my 36th year of life.

It’s a year where I’ve listened to what feels good and what doesn’t, and then made adjustments accordingly.

I’ve stripped my calendar bare and put my energy where I felt invigorated.

I’ve started projects, and then stopped them. I’ve stuck with some (like writing 360 essays) and taken others farther than I imagined (like now making a side income on Medium).

As I wrapped up my 36th year of life, I was tired. Not burnt out. It’s the kind of normal, natural exhaustion from a brain doing what it loves.

From waking up at 6am day after day, excited to write.

From implementing so many ideas.

From showing up with the power and presence I wanted with my clients.

We are not meant to go at full speed at humans. Breaks, slower periods, and times of contemplation are necessary.

For my 37th birthday, I gave myself that rest by taking an analog trip (meaning nothing virtual with me… including my laptop) to see my friend of Scotland.

It set a great tone for my 37th year of life, which has thus far been a mix of slowing down in some areas and speeding up in others. I’m doing what I can to attend to me. For when I attend to me, everything seems to go better.


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