What’s your favorite thing to do to relax?
I love cooking for my husband–he just loves my meals and he’s a little picky, so I love the challenge of making delicious things for him. He’s really helped me become an expert in the kitchen.
Do you have any favorite recipes?
Sean, my husband, has a lot of fond memories of his mother’s cooking, so I’ve worked on recreating those recipes for him over the years. Chicken a la King. Strawberry Shortcake. Nothing terribly fancy, but–you know, it’s really difficult to match your mother-in-law’s cooking. I’d definitely say I’m improving.
Did Sean’s mother give you her recipes, or is she one of those women who won’t share their culinary secrets?
When we were first married, I asked Sean’s father for them, but he couldn’t find them. I’m sure, if she were here, though, that she’d be more than willing to share.
What about outside of the kitchen? What type of work do you do?
I’m a professor at Ambrose University. I’ll be up for tenure soon and, just between you and me, it seems likely that I’ll get it. It’s been a lot of effort, but it should pay off in the end. Once I make tenure, I’ll be able to focus even more time on my home life. I’m sure Sean will appreciate that.
What do you teach?
Psychology. Right now I’m teaching a course in abnormal development. We examine mental illness and its origins.
I’m sure your students enjoy that topic–it sounds incredibly interesting–but it must be draining to focus so much on how people’s minds can break down.
Yes, it can be. But, you know, I try to focus on the positive and not let it affect me. I’m a firm believer that, if you work hard enough at a goal or a problem, you can fix it.
But surely there are some problems that require outside help? That you can’t solve on your own?
Other people’s problems and failings–yes, certainly those are out of your own control. Even in my own life, especially recently, I’ve been let down by the weakness of others.
But as for my own–what would you call them? Issues? Disappointments? I have yet to find one that effort couldn’t mold into success.
That type of attitude could sound domineering to some people.
I prefer the term agentic. It’s empowering to believe that your life’s achievements rest in your own hands. Quite honestly, I wish more people would realize this.
Not to belabor the point, but haven’t you ever encountered something within yourself that was entirely out of your control?
As long as our mind is intact, we each have the capacity to overcome our inadequacies.
So what would you tell someone who struggles with negative beliefs about themselves–who feels immobilized by self-doubt?
I’d tell them to get over it and get to work–or get out of the way and let someone do it for them.