2014.5

Take more pictures.

Dance more.

See more plays.

Calm down.

Take more risks.

Have more faith.

Read more books.

Cook more meals.

Take deeper breaths.

And more steps.

Forward.

There’s nowhere left to fall when you reach the bottom it’s now or never. *

Two months ago I got back from Vegas and boy howdy did I feel like crap. And it wasn’t just the four days of buffets and booze catching up to me- it was a few solid months of less than stellar food choices along with more drinking than entirely (at all) necessary. It added up to feeling tired and gross. I exercise enough that I hadn’t really put on any weight, but I just didn’t feel good. Having cleaned up my diet the previous fall, I knew what good felt like. This wasn’t it. 

So I took a month off of drinking and ate clean for a solid 3 weeks. (To clarify, when I say “clean” I mean paleo. But more on that later?) I was sleeping insanely well. I had a ton of energy and a pretty stable mood situation. I was enjoying not feeling bloated, sporting some good looking skin, and being a few pounds lighter. Was not drinking and being strict with my food choices a little bit of a drag? It was. But I felt amazing, so I chirped about that more than I complained. 

And then a month ago I ran a race with folks from work and celebrated afterwards with my first beer in 30 days. Ok, times three (the beer, not the days). And, guys, it has been all down hill since then. I don’t know why I’ve been so all or nothing about this- I guess I’m working on accepting that I’m more of an abstainer than a moderator and that fighting that nature isn’t really getting me anywhere. I do know that I feel just as crappy as I did two months ago and it’s time to clean up my act again. 

Which brings me to why I’m telling you this- I’ve been learning so much about what it feels like to actually stick with something and feel a difference from it that I think I want to start blogging about it. Or sharing in some capacity. Here? A new site? I’m not sure. I just know I want to talk about it. Talk about what makes me feel better and function as the best version of myself and see if that can help anyone else do the same. I have trouble just starting things without having some grand plan, but I think I just need to jump in. If this even counts as jumping in since I’ve been thinking about it for months now already. 

Right now all I can say is that I can’t believe the difference a month makes- in either direction. The other piece of this is realizing that there was more than just what I was or wasn’t putting in my body that was making me feel better- the actual act of being disciplined felt pretty damn good, too. And there’s a certain amount of pride that comes with that. And I am totes ready to feel that again. 

*NAME THAT SONG. 

Midsummer Classic

As I type, the MLB All-Star game is being played. (The American League is in the lead, shocking no one.) This break in the season is always my wakeup call for the summer- when I acknowledge that Hey! It actually really is SUMMER! We’re past the 4th of July, Labor Day is still six weeks off, and even though the days are technically getting shorter already, they still feel good and long. Despite all signs pointing to it being the dead of summer, including the brutal heat wave(s) we’ve been experiencing, I’ve still caught myself saying This summer I’d like to… [record scratch] Summer is here. Summer is now.

I have a hint of an incidental tan, my hair is consistently wavy, and I’ve been sleeping in air conditioning most nights. Clearly I’m living me some summer. Maybe to really feel it I need to get myself to a beach.

The other component of the Oh, it’s the All-Star break already? realization is acknowledging that the year is more than half over. I don’t know how to feel about that this year. In a lot of ways, my world has significantly changed in the last six months, and I’ve actually accomplished a decent amount. I’ve started consistently attending class and danced in two productions, completed my CrossFit on-boarding, read/watched/seen/made a hefty amount of art, gone on a few good trips, and taken some intimidating risks. I’ve fallen on my face and I’ve come out high-fiving. I’ve been blissfully happy and a hot, hot mess. I’ve felt embarrassingly weak, but more often than that I’ve been pretty god damn brave.

Maybe that’s what I can say about this year so far: I have been brave.

In fact, on Sunday after I took my first aerials class (yes, I’m still skittish about heights) and pitched/auditioned a piece I’d like to choreograph for the next season of DanceWorks I shot off the following text message:

It just occurred to me that I was one BRAVE MOTHERFUCKER today.

Because RIGHT?

I’m also not very humble acutely aware of my own awesome and need my mouth washed out with soap.

So, thanks for the self-check, MLB. It’s nice to acknowledge that I’ve been kicking some ass with 2013. Oh, and I’ve grown out my bangs.

It’s the year end post I always only write in my head.

Honestly, I’ve read so many “Peace out, 2012. What up, 2013?” posts at this point that I have no idea what to say in my own.

I can’t tell you how many times I talked about the days, weeks, and months going by too quickly over the course of the last year. But now, looking back, January 1, 2012 seems a world away.

It’s funny that I’d think that this year, of all years, when it’s the first time since 2007 that I’m celebrating a new year living in the same residence as I did the new year before. The top of 2011 was wildly different from the beginning of 2012 in the most obvious of ways, but this year still seems more significant. On the outside, I live in the same place with the same people and I still have the same jobs; the differences between last year at this time and now are largely internal, and being the introvert that I am (YES. REALLY. I AM.), I could ruminate on them for hours.

Don’t worry. I’ll spare you.

I don’t know if the way I feel is indicative of the events of the past year, or if it has more to do with the fact that I’m turning 30 in a few short months. Reliable sources have told me that 29 into 30 was pretty damn impressive, so I’m rolling with that. I guess if I could sum it up in a word it would be “confidence”- not the loud, braggy kind, but the quiet certainty that comes with being comfortable in one’s skin and feeling ownership of one’s choices. It’s not perfect, and it’s not constant, but it’s there.

Last year when the whole internet was choosing a word for the upcoming year I went with “begin”. Meaning STOP THINKING ABOUT IT AND JUST EFFING DO IT ALREADY WHO CARES IF YOU KNOW WHERE TO GO OR HOW TO GET THERE JUST SHUT UP AND START GOING YOU’LL FIGURE IT OUT. (Much like this post!) It’s what led me to diving back into old things (like dancing and painting again), trying new things (like CrossFit and rappelling down a building), writing more, and breaking my own heart. Everything I just listed was scary to some degree, but the “what’s the worst that could happen?” philosophy really saw me through.

This year, I think I’m going with “commit”. Meaning IF YOU LOVE THAT THEN GIVE A PIECE OF YOURSELF (OR  EVERYTHING) TO IT AND REALLY EFFING TRY AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS IF IT ALL GOES TO HELL THEN AT LEAST YOU TRIED SO WHAT IF IT HURTS YOU WILL SURVIVE. Maybe “balls to the wall” would be a more accurate representation of that theme, but it’s a word we’re looking for, not a phrase, and “commit” is just classier. And lord knows I keep it klassy. (sip of YTS)

I’m feeling like I’m in a really good place to make commitments, and I can attribute that to the people I’m fortunate enough have in my life. This year I learned that what I really value in my most intimate relationships (in addition to honesty) is the permission to fail. The space to all out fall flat on my face and still feel just as loved as I did before everything went SPLAT and I started crying on a shoulder/into a glass of Jameson. And a couple of those people I either didn’t know at all or weren’t playing that role in my life a year ago- which is totally mind blowing to me. LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR DRUNK TEXTS AT MIDNIGHT, FOLKS. Thank you for listening to me ramble about the same thing for the 16,000th time, buying the strongest drinks, sending thoughtful emails and texts, giving the best hugs, turning a blind eye to my ugly cry, never telling me you told me so, and simply showing up. You’re the best, and I commit to being the same for you as we move forward.

OK. I’m getting a little emotional, and I have a party to get to. I love your faces. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

How to Pack for a Trip

In the weeks before your trip, think about how excited you are to pack. Feel motivated to pack. Tell yourself it’s way too early and would only inconvenience your life if you were to start packing now.

3 days prior to departure make a list of the days you’ll be away and the corresponding high/low temperatures predicted from the Weather Channel. List the activities you’re planning and the details of three outfits you’d like to bring with you. Lose interest.

2 days prior to departure acknowledge that if you want to look anything resembling human for your vacation you will need to do laundry. You’ll have the time, but decide to put it off.

1 day prior to departure gather every piece of dirty laundry in your world and bring it to the laundromat for wash and fold service. Watch the owner clap and giggle with glee when your order weighs in at 42#.

Run errands, retrieve laundry, cook yourself dinner. It may be dark out, but it’s only 5pm! You have so much time!

Make a batch of limnoncello while watching Gossip Girl and How I Met Your Mother. Slice your right index fingernail to shreds. Repair the nail (and guard your raw, exposed nail bed) with a patch made from a teabag and super glue. Decide to polish your nails with Essie’s Little Brown Dress. Nice save, bro. Nice save.

Feel helpless because your nails are wet and start to feel a vague sort of anxiety coming over you. Chatting with a friend online will help. So will some honey Jack on the rocks and a couple of episodes of the Joy the Baker podcast.

Decide that you really want to come back to a clean apartment, so you put away all (most of) the laundry you picked up this afternoon.

Commit to packing light and therefore being super organized and meticulous in your packing. Slow and steady.

Start a blog post.

Read Thought Catalogue. No, not just the new articles. Sift through articles from the summer, too.

Start piecing together the outfits you wrote on that sheet of paper two days ago. Realize you can’t find your black stretchy dress and become obsessed with the hunt. You planned on wearing it, you have the sweater to wear it with, and you really like the way your legs look in it when you’re wearing the heather gray tights you made sure to wash today and your ankle boots.

Decide you should charge/load your iPod Shuffle. The charger has gone missing, too. Be pissed and start obsessively looking for that in addition to your dress.

Start to clear off your bed even though you haven’t put a single piece of clothing in your bag. Mostly because you still can’t decide which bag to bring.

Get under the covers and finish your blog post.

Decide a three hour nap is worth your while and embrace the eminent shift to “throw random shit into a less than practical bag” mode tomorrow. Because you never learn.

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