Profiles in the Gap
Joan Nagel is a Registered Dietitian and grad student living in North Dakota. She blogs at Everything is Yours. Follow her on Twitter at @rdgal37.
Did you expect this time of singleness?
Yes and no. Now I realize that a question technically shouldn’t be answered with both yes and no, so I’m going to do my best to explain myself…
I say yes because I’ve dated quite a bit over the past few years and have yet to find “the one” who is “my one.” I’ve sometimes wondered if “the list” of qualities I’ve concocted for my future husband might be impossible to find in one person. But when I listen to the advice of strong, married, Catholic women who stress and stress and stress, “Never settle,” and “Never lower your standards,” I am so thankful that I’m not married yet because I truly haven’t met someone that embodies everything that I’m looking for.
But are there days when I think, “Gosh, will I ever get married?” Definitely! I just have to keep reminding myself that God’s plan is always better than my own, so when he thinks that both me and ”my one” are ready, it will happen!
So on the flip side, I say no because I have always and probably will always be a very “planny” (please excuse my feeble attempt at trying to add a word to the English language) person. I love making lists (task lists, grocery lists, lists of lists), so when my mental plan of “go to college, graduate college, get married, and have kids” didn’t happen in that order, the “planny” part of me went a little crazy.
Thankfully, I’ve finally learned that it’s okay to keep “get married” on my to-do list, but I’ve realized that this can only happen if and when God decides to check it off of his list, too.
Do you seek or find fulfillment in your career? If so, can you elaborate?
Absolutely! In September 2011, I got my first “big girl” job working as a dietitian at a hospital in my hometown. It was such an amazing learning experience, as I was exposed to so many aspects of clinical dietetics, but it really drained me emotionally. Since I’ve always loved school and learning — I was that little girl who maxed out her library card during the summer months — I started praying about whether or not I should consider going back to school for my M.S. in Dietetics in hopes of landing a job better suited to my personality.
After feeling a great deal of peace about pursuing grad school, I started exploring my options and eventually found myself enrolled in an online program which allowed me to take courses from 9 different universities. The online option appealed to me because I wanted at least one year’s experience in the hospital setting before looking elsewhere.
I started to pray feverishly for a new job once I hit that monumental one-year mark, and my prayers were answered after being offered a position from the diabetes clinic where I had interned as an undergrad. Although the position was full-time, it was also just a maternity fill, but I felt confident that another opportunity would present itself after if it was meant to be. Thankfully, I was right, and several dietitian opportunities have fallen into my lap since moving!
Currently, I am back at that same diabetes clinic working a few days a week, facilitating a diabetes prevention class, teaching two college-level dietetics courses, and taking a full load of grad courses with plans of graduating in May. I absolutely love helping patients reach their diabetes and weight loss goals in the clinic setting, but I’ve discovered that I also really enjoy teaching! I’m hoping to take and pass my Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) exam this coming June, so it will be exciting to see if any new opportunities come my way once I have M.S. and CDE after my name!
How does faith play a role in your actions and your outlook on your life as a single young adult?
One of my favorite things to hear is, “Joan, you’re always so happy!” Now I’m not going to lie, I definitely have those days when I’m not feeling like this ball of sunshine, but for the most part, I always try to greet people with a smile or simple hello, even if I’m feeling stressed or crabby.
Why? Because a smile can brighten a person’s day. A hello can let others know that someone in the world cares about them. I absolutely believe that a simple act of kindness can go a long way, so that is one example of how I try to allow my faith to influence my daily activities.
As far as my outlook on life as a single young adult goes, it breaks my heart to think of how many young adults are living their lives. I believe that the main reason why many young adults are filling their lives with alcohol, parties, addictions, and promiscuity is because they are trying to fill the gap in their hearts that only God can fill. I know how it feels to have that gap. And I know how it feels trying to fill that gap with things that aren’t from God. It doesn’t work. I know that God can fill that gap. And I know that it can take time to fill that gap, but it can be done through prayer, attending Reconciliation, and more prayer!
And so it is my hope, that my “cheery disposition” may be contagious or heck, even obnoxious enough to at the very least get someone thinking, “I wonder why Joan always seems so happy?”
Since you have this time, what are some challenges you give yourself? If you didn’t have to worry about failure, what would you do with this time that you might be putting off out of fear?
During the last few years, I’ve developed a love for running, so I have been trying to run at least a few races each summer. This past summer I ran a half marathon and a 15 K, and I’m toying with the idea of signing up for my first full marathon next summer. Go big or go home, right?!
Another challenge I’ve given myself is in trying to spread the Catholic faith via my blog. I started the blog ~1 year ago coining myself an “online missionary,” and this blog has honestly been such a blessing in my life. Blogging has become my new favorite verb, and it’s safe to assume that I can be found sitting at my kitchen table, overhead lights off and candles lit, most nights of the work week (okay, sometimes on the weekends too!) as I blog to my heart’s content.
I’ve really enjoyed connecting with other Catholics and non-Catholics in the blogosphere and have felt my love for the Catholic faith grow leaps and bounds with each post I’ve written. I recently started a series on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit and am hoping to feature more series in the future as well as to host more guest posts to include a variety of perspectives from both girls and guys!
What would I do if I didn’t have to worry about failure? Gosh, good question! Well if money wasn’t an issue, I would quit school, quit my jobs and fly to Rome in hopes of attending a Pope Francis-led Mass. And then after I’d toured every church and museum and tasted the finest coffee and gelato, I’d travel to India to work with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity! A girl’s gotta dream, right?