89: The Back to School Tradition We All Should Adopt

August 26, 2021

Miles is in Kindergarten (!!!), Claire didn’t cry but she did create an amazing back to school tradition, Joy’s trip to Arizona, and a convo with Joy about her career changes and family upbringing.




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This is Joy & Claire Episode 89: The Back to School Tradition We All Should Adopt

Episode Date: August 26, 2021

Transcription Completed: September 3, 2021

Audio Length: 47:17 minutes 

Joy: Hey guys, this is Joy.

Claire: And this is Claire.

Joy: And this is Joy and Claire. Can I be that person really quick and just be really freaked out that it’s the end of August? I have to do it.

Claire: I know.

Joy: It’s freaking me out. It’s freaking me out. It just went by so, so fast. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m not really working right now, or has it been going fast for you too?

Claire: It didn’t go fast for me, but I think that’s just because we had a lot going on this month. We were in Wisconsin, Miles started school. Yeah, so Miles started kindergarten last Thursday. That’s been so fun. He did really well. It’s been going great so far.

Joy: I just feel like the month just flew by. So I was like, it’s just because you’re not working. But I feel like sometimes it does happen.

Claire: Sometimes it flies by.

Joy: Where is the time going? So here we are.

Claire: I will say, August did not fly… I mean, August felt like a normal pace month for me. It did not fly by, but it did not crawl either.

Joy: Well, the question of the day is, how did Miles do with back-to-school shopping? Did you get cool school supplies, and was he just as excited?

Claire: Okay. So he definitely was excited. So we went to Target. I waited too long and all the cool stuff was taken already. Which I was doing fine with the thought of Miles starting kindergarten until I went to Target and saw all these families in the aisles with their high schoolers and was like,, [emotionally] “Oh my God.” I’m going to have a high schooler in like two days. It’s going to be us in the aisles. And like, I saw a mom who was there shopping with her daughter, so clearly shopping for a dorm. [crying] No, I’m never going to be fine with it. I do not consent.

Joy: Parents out there –

Claire: Yeah.

Joy: Thinking of you Nikki in Arizona.

Claire: Yes.

Joy: I know you’re listening. You just took your boy to… I want to say U of A. Did you do U of A? You texted me. You know what I’m talking about.

Claire: I’m pretty sure I saw U of A on Instagram stories.

Joy: So U of A. That’s just so hard, to just drop your kid off at college. I can only imagine.

Claire: Come back.

Joy: Come back.

Claire: Anyway, moral of the story is I waited too long to get the cool stuff at the Target. I didn’t know. I didn’t know. So we ended up buying most of the stuff on Amazon, which was kind of fine. But also obviously they have a greater selection for things like backpacks and pencil cases. But then it’s really hard to buy like one pack of crayons on Amazon. You have to buy a case of crayons. Which I did, and then just gave the rest to his teacher, which was totally fine.

Joy: Oh, that’s great.

Claire: So, he has this cool galaxy backpack. Which I’ve seen all these kids with the galaxy backpack. I’m like, man, Miles is on trend. He has this cute pencil case that looks like a little monster that you open up it’s mouth. The mouth is the lid. He has these dino light up shoes that are called – they’re by Sketchers, and it’s called “Sketchosaurus.” The light up part is on the top of the shoe, not just on the heal, so it’s a very big deal. What else does he have? Oh, and he has a shark camo lunch box. This is this cool lunch box where the whole thing is a freezer pack, so you put the whole lunch box in the freezer.

Joy: Genius.

Claire: Genius.

Joy: Genius.

Claire: What will they think of next? And then you have this cool black and green splatter paint water bottle. So he was set to go. The first day was really cute. He did fine. And I was pretty teary about it the day before. I was like, man, I’m going to cry. I didn’t think I was going to cry, but I’m going to cry. But we went, and it was just so packed. The area where they have kindergarten drop-off is sort of on the side of the school. It’s in this sort of little outdoor alcove. So every kindergartner had like ten family members with them – including us. With me, Brandon, Maxine, a lot of the kid shad their grandparents with them. I get it. No judgement. You’ve got to roll deep on the first day of kindergarten.

Joy: Yeah, you really need your support. 

Claire: You do. But so because of that, it was so packed. Granted we’re outside, whatever. So when the bell rang, it was just so chaotic that we didn’t really have that moment of, “Okay, bon voyage.” It was just sort of like, “Is this happening? Oh – are you going? Oh, okay. Okay, bye! Was that – okay, bye!” 

Joy: It’s like moving too fast for you to really –

Claire: Right. So I didn’t have that moment of separation, which I think really helped. And then it was done. Then the Band-Aid was off, and we were an hour on the train. I will say, so on the first day of school we started a new tradition where you get to eat ice cream sundaes for dinner. So we went after school and bought all the ice cream sundae ingredients. We got ice cream sandwiches to cut up into pieces to put on top of the ice cream. We had M&Ms, sprinkles. 

Joy: Brilliant. Did you come up with that?

Claire: I did, I did.

Joy: Anyone out there who says they came up with it, let’s pretend like Claire came up with it.

Claire: You may have come up with it, but I also came up with it. What’s that thing where two people discovered evolution at the same time, but then Darwin got all the credit. 

Joy: Stealing?

Claire: Stealing? Plagiarism? There’s a word for it. It’s something discovering. And I took a philosophy of science class once, and there was a whole unit on this concept that people discovered the same concept at similar times.

Joy: Got it, yes.

Claire: Irregardless.

Joy: Irregardless.

Claire: “Okay, irrigardless.” Ice cream sundae is Thursday night. Friday night after school they had this back to school luau that the PTO put on, and they had a KONA ice truck, like a Hawaiian ice truck. So as we’re leaving this back to school luau thing, and Miles is like, “Ice cream sundaes on the first day of school. KONA Ice on the second day of school. What are they going to do for the third day of school?” And I was like, ohhh. 

Joy: This started off with a little bit too much excitement.

Claire: I hate to tell you this, but you don’t get a special dessert for every day of school. I mean, I don’t know. Maybe you should. And then this weekend – so Miles started taekwondo like a month ago. It’s very cute. It’s mostly kids, but parents can do it I guess too. Mostly kid-focused taekwondo studio that’s near the coffee shop that we like to go to in the Longmont shopping center. Very just strip mall karate. He’s been doing it for like a month. He loves it. They have this fundraiser every year where they do a board break. So you sponsor a board, similar to the way you to a walk-a-thon you sponsor a lap or a mile or whatever. So your friends can sponsor the boards, and then they raise money and they give it to the children’s hospital mental health department. So they bring all these kids together and it’s basically this giant gymnasium full of kids karate chopping boards. And it’s so cute. And the boards were small, but it’s so cute. He broke his little board with his heel striker – not heel strike, his palm strike. He was so psyched about it, and it was so cute. So that was Saturday. Sunday was just down regulating mania. 

Joy: I was going to say, how’s he doing with all the activity and all these changes?

Claire: Yeah. I mean, Miles had been in full-time day care since he was like six months old. But he hasn’t been in a full-time school since COVID. Because last year we just did very part-time preschools, which frankly was more transitions than it was even worth. It was three days a week, three hours a day, not barely anything. So it will be interesting to see at the end of this week how he does. Because this used to be his norm, but it’s been quite a while since he’s been in this rhythm. I think it is a big transition when you start a new school, even if you’re used to the rhythm and the cadence. He gets home from school and he has a meltdown about something insignificant. It’s like, okay, you’ve got to just get this out. And in Colorado, they are mandating masks for all students and all teachers, which I really appreciated the state went ahead and did that because that means that the individual schools and the individual districts don’t have to defend themselves. 

Joy: The parents can’t come after the schools.

Claire: Right, exactly.

Joy: So much easier.

Claire: So much easier. And I mean, frankly, it’s needed. I’ve already  heard a lot of people who are like, “Yeah, my kid’s already been exposed the first day. They’re already quarantined. He didn’t even get through the first week.”

Joy: Which is so devastating. It hurts my heart.

Claire: Yes.

Joy: We’ve been trying so hard to get back to some semblance of normal.

Claire: And especially for kids. Kids are the ones who are suffering the most. 

Joy: Yeah, kids are really suffering with all of this.

Claire: It’s not the same to do virtual. And honestly, kids don’t care about wearing masks. They just don’t. To them, it’s a way bigger deal to not be able to see their friends.

Joy: The adults are really the ones getting all –

Claire: The only times that kids care are when the adults make a big deal out of it and their parents make a big deal out of it. So they see their parents making a big deal out of it, and they’re like, “Oh, this must be a big deal.” Because that’s how kids work.

Joy: That’s how kids work. They follow everything you do.

Claire: I remember seeing something where it’s like, “Children know that masks aren’t natural. They don’t want to wear them.” I’m like, my toddler doesn’t want to wear pants either, but that doesn’t mean I don’t make her wear them.

Joy: [laughing] Absolutely not. 

Claire: Yeah, well if Evie had her way, she’d just be walking around butt naked everywhere, but I don’t let her do that either.

Joy: That’s a great argument. Toddlers don’t like masks.

Claire: They know it’s unnatural. Well you want to know what else they think it unnatural? Not pooping in the middle of the floor.

Joy: And clothes.

Claire: Wearing any amount of clothing. Do we let them just do that because it’s their natural tendency? Absolutely not.

Joy: That’s stupid. I’m sorry, but that argument, really?

Claire: That argument, I know. So many people are like, “Well kids know they’re not natural. They don’t want to wear them.” Kids don’t want to do a lot of things.

Joy: They really don’t. They want to shove Cheetos up their nose.

Claire: They want to eat ice cream sandwiches and watch PBS Kids. Which is also fantastic. I am not knocking ice cream sandwiches, nor PBS Kids.

Joy: No.

Claire: Fact, those are two of the top parenting strategies in my house. Evie might have had an Oreo for breakfast.

Joy: Great.

Claire: What are you going to do? So that’s the news from the Koch household lately.

Joy: Well congratulations to all the kids going back to school in person or otherwise wherever you are in the world. If you’re dropping your kid off at college, if your kid’s starting school, if your kid’s going back to in-person school like most everybody – whatever transition you’re dealing with. And shoutout to all the parents who really had a heck of a 2020 and 2021. Hats off to you, hats off to you. Okay, well I just got back from Arizona. I can do a little bit of a recap of my trip. It was really hot, and it was very humid. Which is very funny because most of you know I grew up in Arizona, lived there my entire life, moved to Denver when I started grad school. I go back to Arizona because I still have a lot of family there and wanted to see some family and childhood friends. It’s so funny because every time we go there, I’m used to the oven heat where you walk off the plane and you feel like you’re walking into an oven. But it was really humid this time, so that was really odd. It’s like monsoon season where there’s a lot of thunderstorms. I decided to go for a run one of the mornings. I usually get up pretty early anyways, but I was like, I’m going to go run on the canal. Which if you’re not from Arizona, there’s just huge canal systems that run through the state everywhere. In any neighborhood, there’s a canal. So people kind of run or walk on the canals. It’s kind of where you get your exercise. You just go on the canal. Walking along, just kind of seeing all these people running or walking or biking. Someone had an ElliptiGO. People are so used to this. This used to be me. I used to get up and just be riding my bike in the heat, so hot. And within five minutes, I’m just dripping with sweat. And I’m not used to this obviously in Colorado. The climate here is not that hot. You can work out outside, not in the middle of the day, but in the morning. It was not even 8 o’clock, and I was just pouring sweat. That was really humbling. My lungs feel great, but I am just dying. I can’t even go for five minutes without it just pouring sweat. But I thought about when I was in high school, in order to get some exercise my brother and I would go running at midnight when it was a balmy 85 degrees.

Claire: Honestly that’s the thing about Colorado that I will never take for granted is that it could be 100 during the day, but it’s going to be 60 at night.

Joy: Yes. I really appreciate that about Colorado, especially living the city in the summer time. Because you get a little bit of a break. It’s not all the time, especially in the June, July. We don’t always get that break. But when I was in Arizona, I was like, yeah I’m really thankful for that. Or just the little things where you get in a car and it is so hot. I had to turn the car off for like a second when I was just getting something, and you just start pouring sweat. I’m like, oh yeah, I remember this. I remember when I was in college, I would have to park at the really far away parking lot because it was the cheapest and walk from class. I took a summer school class. I took a couple summer school classes. And the walk from my car to class, I would just be drenched. So I would have to plan my outfits to decide what am I going to wear that’s not going to show all the sweat on my body. But it was a really fun trip. I got to see a bunch of family. I went with my mom, so my mom and I traveled together. It was just really good for the soul. It was like one of those moments where I realize I haven’t seen a lot of my family and close friends from home in over two years because of the pandemic and how meaningful that way. You know when you’re in a space where you’re not even thinking about anything going on in your life. I wasn’t thinking about any work stuff. I wasn’t thinking about what am I going to do for a job. I wasn’t thinking about any of that. It was just really nice to not have that on my mind. And of course, just being in Arizona is really good for my soul. Has great shopping.

Claire: And you saw Tina who lives in New York City.

Joy: Yeah. Her and her husband met me for a hike to Camelback. Because I was going to do Camelback anyway. I think I posted a couple days before I went to Arizona that I was going to be there, and she messaged me. She was like, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to be there too.” So we just decided to meet up for Camelback in the morning, and that was great and wonderful and beautiful. My lungs felt so good. I just felt like I could probably climb that mountain three times in a row because my lungs felt that good. But sweat wise, it was insane. If anyone goes to the Scottsdale-Phoenix area, you have to hike Camelback. It is so fun. But don’t go on a Saturday/Sunday morning if you can help it because it’s so crowded and the parking lot is always full. 

Claire: That is one thing about living in the Denver area is any time to go to a lower elevation, you’re like, I am an iron man.

Joy: Now I understand why people come here to train. It totally makes a difference. It’s crazy. And I was watching my heart rate, and I was like, really? I feel really good. I shouldn’t feel this good climbing this hard of a mountain. Because I had just done Manitou a couple weeks before. Manitou, my heart was really pumping. Camelback is not as intense as Manitou, but it’s intense. It’s a really short, intense hike that we did in just under 45 minutes. But if you’re hauling –

Claire: I’ve heard it compared to like Sanitas]. Would you say that that’s similar?

Joy: Yeah, it’s similar. But it’s just very, very steep. It was only a mile and a quarter long. So you’re up pretty quickly if you’re hauling. There’s parts of the hike – there’s a bar bolted into the ground you can pull yourself up because it’s so steep. I didn’t want to tell this story. I’m not making fun of the person, but there’s always one person hiking in jeans, which I really, really applaud and appreciate. Always one person hiking in jeans.

Claire: So, chaffy?

Joy: This is Arizona. And then there’s always one couple that’s fighting about something. We were coming down the mountain and we hear this yelling. I was like, oh geez, someone’s upset. Inevitably there’s one family member that’s like –

Claire: Yes, there’s one person that’s a little too hot, didn’t eat enough breakfast, they’re a little dehydrated.

Joy: And I mean that in the sense of –

Claire: They’re not having a good time.

Joy: They’re not having a good time, and they’re not in steep hiking shape. You really should probably have some level of fitness to do this hike and just be realistic about that because it’s not easy. So I could see this happening. I totally did this to one of my friends one year, so I totally relate, where she was like… she probably just shouldn’t have done it because she wasn’t in Camelback shape. Yeah, we’re coming down the mountain. We hear this girl just screaming. We all just kind of stop, and I looked at Tina and I was like, “Did you hear that?” “Yeah.” We’re looking around, and she basically was having a meltdown on the side of the mountain. It was right after the part where you literally have to hold onto a bar to climb up to the top to the next flat. She saw that and she got to the top. She got so scared that she’s like, “I’m not going any further.” We passed them- I felt really bad. She was crying. Her boyfriend or partner was trying to console her. Then we kind of just walked by really quickly. But then we saw them kind of running down the mountain, so they just left and turned around and went home. And I was like, probably a good choice because the rest of that hike was not any easier.

Claire: Honestly that used to happen. When we lived in Moab, you know Delicate Arch, like the Moab vista, is a pretty steep hike, It’s not crazy steep, but it’s mostly on sandstone rock. It’s no shade really at all. There’s a parking lot for it, and then there’s a short sidewalk that leads to the actual trail. People think it’s just the sidewalk. So they get to the end of the sidewalk and they’re like, “Where is it?” It’s like, “No, no. You still have to hike for like 20+ minutes from here.” And people who go to national parks maybe are not always – they’re a little more used to just being able to drive up into the parking lot, see the site, and get back in their car and drive to the next site. So they’re not really equipped for a very exposed, hot hike that’s pretty steep. You would literally just pass people that were just laying on – and there’s not even a trail because you’re just on the rocks. There’s a path where you can clearly see the scuffs of people’s shoes that have accumulated over the years, and you follow this little path. But people are just laying on the rock waiting to die. [laughing]

Joy: Just waiting for their life to be over.

Claire: Just waiting. And you see these people who get to the end of the sidewalk that comes out of the parking lot, and they’re like, “Well, where is it?” And you’re like, “Oh no. Oh no.” 

Joy: Yeah. And I make the mistake every single time, and I’m just going to never say anything ever again on this hike. Because I just want to encourage people, but there’s two false summits on this hike, and every single time I do this to my friends that I take with me. I’m like, “We’re almost there.” And then they get to the false summit, and I’m like, “Oh wait, wait, wait, there’s one more.” 

Claire: I would push you off the mountain in that scenario.

Joy: I do that every time because I always forget. And I know that hike so well. I’ve done it so many times. I used to do it almost every day when I was in college, and I’ve done it plenty of times after that. I’ve done it so many times, and every single time I just get all excited and I’m like, once we get to this summit and there’s a little turn and we’re at the top. Then we get to that one and I’m like, wait, there’s one more false.

Claire: I would just turn around. I’d be like, “I don’t have to go to the top. This is the top.”

Joy: I did that to Tina, and I was like, “Oh wait. Too early. I’m so sorry. We’re almost there.”

Claire: I would be so mad. Yeah, no. And I don’t want anybody to take this conversation to mean that you shouldn’t ever try hard things. But be prepared.

Joy: Be prepared, exactly. Hikes are no joke.

Claire: Know what you’re getting yourself into.

Joy: Yes. This is something where it’s like 100 degree heat. If you don’t get to the bottom of that mountain by 8am, you are in trouble. It gets really hot. The hike faces west, so if you’re climbing up early enough, you’re going to be climbing it all in shade. Take that into consideration. Be bringing enough water and making sure your shoes are grippy and blah, blah, blah. And having a snack if you need to. But getting to the top, it’s really intense. And it’s not to say anyone could go and try it. Be prepared. Because you don’t want to mess with the wilderness. You don’t want to mess with the wilderness. The wilderness will always win.

Claire: It will. I feel like I’ve said this recently, but somebody asked me a question on Instagram. What advice would you give for somebody’s first fourteener. And honestly if you’re going on a hike that’s more than a half-day out-and-back, or even if it is a half day – if you’re going on a hike that’s more than a couple miles roundtrip, you should have equipment with you to spend the night out. And maybe Camelback is not a hike like that. But I just think that people take day hikes for granted, and they’re like, “Oh, we’re going to hike 3-4 miles, have lunch, turn around, and come back. Well if you’re 3-4 miles in and you twist your ankle and you can’t get back out, it could potentially take the rest of the night for somebody to – you have to call Search and Rescue. They have to assemble their whole team. They have to come out. They have to find you. They have to carry you out. It could be hours. Maybe a storm’s going to come in and they can’t get to you. I always tell people that, and they always are kind of looking at me like I’m overreacting. It’s like, no, you don’t have to have a tent with you. You don’t have to have a stove with you. You don’t have to be preparing to be in the lap of luxury for the entire night. But you need to be able to not die of hypothermia. You need to have an extra layer and enough water and an emergency snack so that if you had to, you could without significantly deteriorating.

Joy: Right, right. That’s a good point. I remember when I was in grad school, I went to see my best friend in Montana. We went on a hike with a couple other friends, and we left really late. Her dad was like, “You know, there’s a lot of storms coming in.” It’s the summertime. Afternoon thunderstorms in Montana. And she’s like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll be fine.” She grew up there, so she knows. So I was like, oh we’ll be fine. And lo and behold, afternoon thunderstorm. Really bad lightening storm hits, and we are in the middle of an open field, and I am freaking out. Then it starts to hail and just pelting, pelting hail. So we just start running as fast as we can and huddling up against a rock. We’re huddling up from rock to rock, trying to play leap frog. It was just one of those things where like, yeah, this was so stupid. We weren’t prepared, and we didn’t listen. We were young and stupid. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.

Claire: I mean, I could go on a whole tirade about –

Joy: Yeah, you could, about safety, with your WUFR. 

Claire: Yeah. Because then if somebody has to come out and get you, that puts them at risk.

Joy: Totally. All of it.

Claire: It’s a whole thing.

Joy: All of it.

Claire: Anyway, be prepared is the moral of the story.

Joy: Be prepared for the elements. 

Claire: And don’t go with Joy because she’s going to make you think you’re prepared and then there’s going to be another summit. 

Joy: I’m going to be like, “Yeah, we’re almost there guys. We’re almost there.”

Claire: You’re like, “Great, I have sufficient snacks and water.” And she’ll be like, “Just kidding,” and you’ll be like, “Noooo.”

Joy: And I’m the annoying person that’s a little bit ahead where I’m like, “Come on, come one,” so when you get to me you never get to rest.

Claire: Yeah, no. That’s just your personality though. You never walk with the group.

Joy: No, I’m always up ahead.

Claire: Joy is doing her own thing. It took me a while to realize you weren’t annoyed with me. Because it was like, is Joy annoyed with me? Why isn’t she walking with me? And then I was like, oh no. 

Joy: I’m always ahead.

Claire: You’re scouting. You’re scouting for the group.

Joy: Yeah, I’m scouting. I don’t know what I’m doing. Also introverting. Getting a little brain break.

Claire: 90 seconds at a time. Yeah, it counts.

Joy: It’s true. Okay.

Claire: Two weeks ago we were going to do a little mini interview session where I was going to interview you. You guys know a lot abut us, but at the same time we don’t really talk a lot about ourselves in a more specific way. We talk about our reactions to things, our thoughts about things, but we don’t talk a lot about ourselves in a way that we hear from our guests. So I was thinking about this. I’ve been listening to more podcasts. I’ve been trying to listen to more podcasts lately. You guys know that I’m not a big podcast listener, but I’ve been trying to listen to more podcasts. As I hear guests interview, I’m like, “That’s such a cool question. I wish someone would ask me that question.” And that’s kind of where a couple of weeks ago where we were like, “What were you like in high school?” where that thought came from. That’s such a cool question. I want to answer that question. So it made me think we should interview each other just for a little bit. So that’s what we’re going to do. Some of this might be old news to you guys. Hopefully it will be a slightly different angle of what you already know about us. Hopefully it will reveal a little bit more into the depths of Joy and Claire. Alright, are you ready?

Joy: I’m ready.

Claire: Okay. So my first question for you is to tell us why you got into behavioral health and why you are still in behavioral health. What attracted you to it, and what has kept you there?

Joy: So I got into behavioral health – so my mom worked for a psychiatrist office growing up, so I was around all of these counselors. She was kind of like the office manager, the secretary. So I was hanging out with psychiatrists and counselors, cleaning their offices. I would clean their offices for money, and that was like my chores/my first job. So I always got to see their offices, and I always thought it was really cool to have your own office. I don’t know why I thought that was like, oh, they have their own – like you know when you’re little and you play like bank or you play store or you play whatever and you have a counter. I always loved that feeling of being at the counter like, “Can I take your order?” I think I became intrigued by that environment and that career path. But it wasn’t in my brain when I was 6 or 7 years old. I was just around it all of the time. So when I got older and started to go, what am I going to do for college? Picking a major, I immediately was like, well psychology. I knew I wanted to get into psychology. I don’t know how, I just knew that that’s what I was going to pick as a major. As I got further and further into my college career, I decided that I wanted to go to grad school. Fast forward with what you want to do as far as picking what kind of study you want to do with grad school, counseling psychology I knew was broad enough. It wasn’t too specific where I’d get too much into a pigeonhole where you’re like I can’t do anything else with this degree. But I knew it was broad enough to where I could do a lot with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. I just will never forget the returning point. I hung out with a lot of people that were in that boat, as a lot of people are in college, where you’re like, I have a major but I’m not sure exactly what I want to do with it. Should I change my major? I think one of the biggest errors people do in college is they change their major a lot, which just makes them go to college for like eight years. I would always advise kids when I was working with teens and parents, I’d be like, “Don’t change your major unless you’re like going to med school.” Just get a degree and figure it out later because you’re just going to end up paying for all this school when you just needed a college degree. But I remember thinking, because I was hanging around with a lot of people who thought that they wanted to go to law school and they were kind of questioning their major. And I was like, yeah, I might go into criminal justice for a while because I really was intrigued. I always kind of joked with my friends that I was like the original crime junkie person. John Douglas is the godfather of true crime. If you don’t know John Douglas and you listen to true crime, then you need to get to know him because he’s the OG FBI profiler. I was super, super, super into his books. Devoured every John Douglas book you could ever imagine. I wanted to be in the FBI. I think it was my junior year I ended up going to study abroad in France. At the time, I had applied for an FBI internship in Quantico. I want to go do this internship with the FBI, but they didn’t take me because I was overseas at the time, so my application couldn’t go through because I was not in the country. Which I was bummed about, but irregardless I was really interested in that. So I questioned for a while whether I wanted to change my major to criminal justice. I decided not to just because I didn’t want to delay any degrees. I also went on a couple ride alongs during that time because I was like, I kind of want to figure out if I want to be in law enforcement. After the ride alongs, I knew… but I ended up going – this is so weird. I ended up going on a date with a cop I went on a ride along with a couple times. It was so weird. Your face. But yeah, I saw during a ride along, I was like, oh I don’t know if I could do this every day. Meaning, I don’t think I could react to everything. I just want to be on the prevention side, so that’s when I was like, I want to be on the prevention side of things. So that’s when I decided to go into behavioral health and really study counseling psychology and get my master’s degree in counseling psychology. Got my first job at the district attorney’s office doing therapy with kids and teens who were involved in the justice system. So it was like this weird culmination of my interesting criminal justice and counseling all in one for my first job, which I loved, and I did that for 12 years and then I went over to Kaiser for behavioral health and counseling. I’ve been in that field ever since. What keeps me there is – I think there’s an element where you have to realize do you love it, are you go at it? I like it because I feel like I’m good at it. Not saying I’m this brilliant counselor, but I just think I’m really good at connecting people and hearing them and understanding what they’re looking for in a counselor. If it’s not me, it’s someone else, but I feel like I’m really good at reading people, at applying all the years of knowledge that I have of counseling and what is going to help that person, rather than spin wheels talking to someone and wasting their money. I stay in it because of that because when I’m really in it, I really enjoy it. Right now I’m doing BetterHelp, and I love that platform and I love the clients. They are so cool. Sometimes you can get really burnt out with therapy because the clientele is just really intense. And by that, I don’t mean people are exhausting. But if you’re seeing a lot of patients and clients that are really mentally struggling, and by that I just mean so severely ill – and I say that in a clinical term, not just in a buzz word term – that it’s really hard to do that day in and day out. Counselors can get really burnt out. The clientele on BetterHelp are just lovely people. And I’m not comparing – you know what I’m saying.

Claire: You’re enjoying a different population.

Joy: I’m enjoying a different population. They’re so amazing to work with. Every time I get a new client on BetterHelp, I’m just like, “Oh my God, this person’s amazing. And this person’s amazing. And oh my gosh, this person’s amazing.” It energizes me, so that keeps me going with that. I still don’t know exactly what I want to do moving forward in this job transition phase, but I’m having such a good time doing what I’m doing now that that’s all I really need to focus on at the moment. 

Claire: I feel like we answered this in a Q&A recently and you kind of answered it with talking about criminal justice, but now that you are actually in a job transition, what other careers have you been thinking about? I know you talked about, is this your moment to take on a second career. Have any concrete thoughts really taken shape, or are you still sort of waiting to see what happens?

Joy: So… yes. It’s interesting because ever since all of this happened in June – for those of you who may not know, I’ve left my job right at the beginning of June, so I’ve been… not free falling by any means, but I’ve just been figuring out my life in the last three months. The transition of what I want to do next. What I found myself doing was just throwing myself into job applications and just being like, “I got to get t a job. I got to get a job. I got to get a job.” And I was kind of frantic and manic about it. What I realized was I need to take a step back. Scott gave me this advice like day one where he was like, “Take a break. Just give your brain a break. You have the time. You have the savings. You’re going to be fine. You can take time to see what you really want to do.” And there was a part of me that was like, remember when we talked about – we talked about it with Scout, but we also talked about it a few episodes ago where we’re like, can you do your passion and make money? One of my friends asked me what I wanted to do, and I was like, “I don’t know.” And Scott’s like, “Because you can do so many different things and be happy.” So it’s really kind of the wrong question to be asking. What would really light you up? There’s a million things that could. So it’s not so much of getting too laser focused on one thing, but just trying everything and seeing what really feels good to you. So that’s when I decided to do BetterHelp because that’s something that I could do from home and there’s not a lot of pressure. I’m doing what I know, and it’s really easy – not like easy. It’s work, but it’s what I do.

Claire: It’s flexible.

Joy: It’s enjoyable.

Claire: Right.

Joy: I realized very quickly – and I’m still figuring this out. But to answer the question, I very quickly realized that it is so nice to not have a boss. Because I think the other thing is I’ve just not had great experiences – I’ve had one really good boss. One. Out of my 20-year career. Who I could say was amazing, supportive. I just knew she had my back. One. It’s just really hard to find good bosses who can also be mentors and shape your career and blah blah blah. So that felt really good where I’m like “going to work” seeing these patients, and I don’t have anyone barking at me or telling me I’m doing something wrong when I’m a grown adult trying to do my best, but you just have a boss who’s being a jerk to you for no reason. That felt really good. And then also having your own flexible schedule. I’m like, wow, this is really amazing. And I really enjoy working from home. So there’s all these things where I’m like, okay, I do know that I want that. So whatever that looks like, I don’t know yet. Maybe it’s that I find a full-time job working from home. Maybe I keep doing BetterHelp. Maybe I open my own online practice. I don’t know, but there’s a lot of ideas swirling around in those vicinities that I know I’ll figure it out, and I know I’ll know when I know. But I’m glad that I’m at least at that point where I’m not completely like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do” because that was scary for a while.

Claire: Do you feel like, in this process, it has been helpful or not so helpful to feel like you have any option that you want. Have you wished for more direction?

Joy: A little bit. Do you operate that way? I think everyone’s different, but I always wonder about that. We have so many choices… we have so many choices. Really, we could do so many different things. I think my whole life has been directed or at least has had the narrative of you go to school, you go to college, you get a degree, then you get a job, you work a job, and you have a job, and you a have a job with this and this and this. I’ve been really evaluating the “shoulds” of the things that I should be doing. Maybe I should have a job that’s a jobby job where you’re working corporate and you have all the benefits package and all of that stuff. I think that that’s something that I’ve been thinking, that’s been a comfort for me because you have that steady paycheck coming in all the time. And the idea of doing something on my own is a little scary for me because it’s that question of could I sustain that level. You question your own ability. My whole life, my struggle and the risk for me has been I don’t ever like to have things land on my shoulders. That’s why I never did sports where it was like you have to be the one who makes the goal. You know what I’m saying? I never played soccer for that reason. I never was on softball. I never played basketball. I never did volleyball. I never got into sports where it was relying on you to get a point. So I find myself in these scenarios where it’s too scary for the weight to fall on me, but I also like a lot of elements where those jobs are flexible where it does fall on you. So it’s been really exciting. When all of this went down, I was very scared, but I immediately felt this sense of space and possibility open up where I was just like, [gasp] “What do I really want to do?” And then there’s doubt that creeps in where it’s like, get your head out of the clouds. You’ve got to really get to work now and figure out your life. So there’s a lot of voices that I’m trying to sort out of what’s really possible. And it is exciting. I’ve never been in this scenario before. I don’t know if I will again where I get this opportunity to be like, you really need to figure out what you want to do now. Because I’m not getting any younger. I’m not saying I’m old. But truly the next chapter of my career, this could be a pretty significant move. 

Claire: Okay. I know we’re getting short on time, but I want to ask a completely different question. And maybe I should have started with this because we’re going to go backwards in time chronologically in your life. But talk about your family dynamic growing up. You have a twin brother, obviously. He’s your only sibling. He is… if I get the branch of the military wrong –

Joy: Oh, Marines.

Claire: Yeah, he’s in the Marines. He’s a pilot for the Marines. So obviously his trajectory, talk about a structured trajectory. So talk a little bit about your family dynamic growing up and the dynamic that you still have with your twin and how that plays into your life.

Joy: My twin brother Jay lives in Maryland.

Claire: Hold on a second. Let me just say this before everyone keeps asking it. Joy and I both have twin brothers. Joy’s twin brother is named Jay. And my twin brother is named James. It’s a bizarre coincidence.

Joy: It’s a very bizarre coincidence, and everyone always freaks out. There’s always one listener –

Claire: Who didn’t know. We both have twin brothers. We didn’t necessarily know this about each other prior to starting the podcast. This wasn’t like a thing.

Joy: It’s not a prerequisite –

Claire: It wasn’t a prerequisite, but it is a fact. Okay, go on.

Joy: Okay, so my twin brother Jay and I, we were always really close. We fought like cats and dogs up until junior high I would say. So kids through junior high is when we stopped beating the crap out of each other. We would literally beat the crap out of each other, I remember that. And then when we hit junior high, we kind of started maturing and acting like normal humans. But we were really, really close and had a lot of the same friends that we would hang out with. I would tell him if I liked a guy. I’m like, “Can you find out if he’s single?”

Claire: Didn’t you date a lot of his friends in college?

Joy: No. In high school, no, not really. He was in a lot of sports, so he played football and did some sports. But I didn’t hang out with – they would hang out at our house, but I didn’t really date many of his friends. We just hung out a lot and had a really good time together. It was such a fun thing to have a twin brother going through high school with you where you’d be like, “Can you find out if so-and-so is single?” Or especially with him being on the football team or whatever. So really good friends. Jay is not super emotional sensitive like I am. He’s super awesome and nice, but I’m the emoter. For example, when he left – I’m so sentimental and have a hard time saying goodbye to people. When he left for the naval academies – he got accepted to the naval academy, went off to the naval academy when he was 19. I wrote him a 10-page letter. It was just this very… I had such a hard time with him leaving. I’m sure that has to do with not only being a twin but being my only sibling where he was out of the house now. It was just the three of us. I lived at home for college for the first couple years. So he and I have a very close relationship. I would say now, just because he’s on the east coast with family, he has a really busy job. So when he graduated from the naval academy, he became an FA team pilot and he flew all of the other different planes and has had tons of different jobs. Went on an aircraft carrier for a while, did some deployments, and now he works in Maryland – Hollywood Maryland, California Maryland. I know that sounds really weird, but it is a town. Working with doing some test pilot stuff over there. He’s a lieutenant colonel. We are so proud of him. He’s so freaking smart. He’s like the science/math smart that I will never understand. Super engineer brain. And he was always so insanely good at math that I was just like – that’s when we started to drift apart grade-wise in high school, and it drove me crazy. I was always the more artsy brain, and he just became very, very math, science, logic brain and we kind of started drifting apart where I just felt stupid. We got really competitive that way. But yeah, we have a really good relationship now. Obviously I wish I could see him more often because he’s on the east coast and in the military. I have twin nieces and a nephew that I would love to see more often. But he’s awesome. He’s really funny. He’s a really funny guy. He’s got a really funny sense of humor. Any time that we’re together, my mom always says – the last time when we went to see them in May, she’s like, “You guys still have your own language. It’s so funny to hear you guys talk because you just still have your own language.” And it’s true. It’s really true, and it probably annoys the crap out of everybody. But yeah.

Claire: Okay, I feel like that’s probably all we have time for today. But I want this to be sort of an ongoing segment.

Joy: Yeah, you’re next. Let’s do flip flop for next week.

Claire: So excited.

Joy: We’re having Cassy on.

Claire: [gasp]

Joy: Let’s talk about that.

Claire: Oh my gosh, guys. We’re going to have Cassy Joy on from Fed and Fit. We love Cassy Joy so, so ,so much. She’s coming out with a new book, which is going to come out… I don’t know. Find out. Listen to the next week’s episode.

Joy: This fall-ish. October maybe.

Claire: This fall-ish. December, I thought maybe. 

Joy: TBD.

Claire: TBD. But it’s another meal prep style cookbook that isn’t quite as strict as the meal prep cookbook that she came out with a couple years ago. Which we still use that cookbook. We’re making dinner from it tonight. We still use that cookbook all the time. It has to be the most used cookbook in our house. The Cook Once, Eat All Week. I can’t recommend highly enough.

Joy: I don’t read cookbooks, and that is the one that I’m like, I’m going to use this one. And I’ve actually used it.

Claire: I love it. And the thing I love about it is everything in it is so reasonable. I feel like I buy all these cookbooks, and people think that in order to have a recipe in a cookbook it has to have a thousand steps and all these bizarre ingredients and a sauce and five different – no, I need a chicken casserole that I can make that’s not going to suck, but also doesn’t have like a bunch of cream cheese in it. It’s great. I can’t recommend that cookbook highly enough, and I can’t wait to talk to Cassie about her next cookbook because I personally am just so excited about it.

Joy: So excited. And she’s great. She’s such a fun guest to talk to.

Claire: Yes, she’s so cute.

Joy: So we will have her on for next week. And then as always, you guys can reach us thisisjoyandclaire@gmail.com. We love to hear feedback and get ideas for what you guys want us to talk about moving forward. The fall is coming. Do you want us to address anything for the holidays? The fall? Any guest suggestions?

Claire: Oh, pretty soon, Joy you’re going to have to do a fall product roundup.

Joy: Yep.

Claire: We know how much Joy loves fall products.

Joy: I am to Trader Joe’s to get my Trader Joe’s haul.

Claire: You’re going to need to make a reel for that. Bring your ring light.

Joy: Oh, that’s so funny. I totally will. Won’t be annoying at all to the Trader Joe’s employees.

Claire: It will not be the first time, I guarantee you.

Joy: I’ll get everyone involved. And then speaking of food, you guys can support us by going to eattoevolve.com. The discount code is JOYCLAIRE15. Amazing meals, we talk about them every week. Please, please get their grab-and-go’s if you don’t have time to heat it up. The barbecue chicken is amazing, as well as the sweet potato grab-and-go. It’s awesome. Awesome, awesome. 

Claire: All the stuff is so good.

Joy: All the stuff. So eattoevolve.com. The discount code is JOYCLAIRE15. 

Claire: It’s so good for back to school. It would also be good for a dorm. If you have a mini fridge in a dorm. If you’re sending your kid off to school and you’re worried that they’re just going to be eating crap, it would be awesome. And the thing I like about Eat to Evolve is it’s unlike previous meal companies that we have worked with. There isn’t a minimum order for your week. You can just go on there and order like four things. So you don’t have to worry about ordering ten different entree when you don’t have room for that. You can just go on there and order four things and send them to your kid’s dorm. I always like to remind everyone, sending a box of food is really awesome for just about any transition to support somebody from afar. So if you know somebody who’s had a baby, got a new job, just started a new school, just moved. 

Joy: Moved into a house, yeah.

Claire: Anything like that. A box of meals is always such an awesome way to support them. So eattoevolve.com. Discount code JOYCLAIRE15, which even though it says 15, it actually gets you 20% off your first order. Support Eat to Evolve. Support the podcast. Thank you. Alright guys, we will talk to you next week.

Joy: Have a great week. Bye guys.

Claire: Bye.

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One comment on “89: The Back to School Tradition We All Should Adopt

  1. Hilary Snowdon Aug 26, 2021

    This eposide had me in tears from the start. This summer flew by as I was in preperation mode to take my only to University. We live in Ontario Canada and she is attending school in Arkansas. I cried every day in July from the stress of the paperwork, the joy of her achieving her goal of getting a track scholarship even though COVID had made training and competing so inconsistant and preparing for a road trip where technically the border to the US was still closed to Canadians. I made it to Aug, and dropping her off at school without many tears as a two day road trip to Arkansas and multiple trips to Walmart and Target (to get everything we couldn’t fit in the car) filled my time and my head. I cried the morning I left her, but a solo roadtrip made me focus. Now when people ask how she is and where she’s going, my eyes fill with tears of pride. I miss her terribly because she’s a cool kid to be around. I want the last two weeks of summer to slow down…..I’m now ready to enjoy it. Thank you for knowing that no matter where you are in the school process…there’s always a first day and so many emotions that go with it.