I’m Glad I’m a Grown-Up: February’s Last Thought

I loved college.  I grabbed a hold of that experience, held on and wrung out every bit of fun that was possible for years – including summer sessions.  Even better than college was AFTER college.  After a year of living for the weekend (and going back to college) on a small island, I spent 5 years living in Maine’s largest city, being a bar district regular, and reigning as the Princess of Portland.

I physically moved on.  I ended up living in a couple large cities, and I’ve had a fun time in my 30s. I didn’t rip it up like the 20s, but it was pretty great. Sure, my alcohol tolerance isn’t what it was, my feet couldn’t take a whole night of dancing, and I called a cab instead of walking home.  My husband has told me, repeatedly, that I’m living in the past, too obsessed with college and my 20s.

I admit, I still keep in touch with friends I’ve had from those times.  We have more than enough #tbt dirt on each other.  Unfortunately we’ve also bonded over the loss of some of our mutual friends – taken from us much too young.  I go home usually once a year to see my parents.  My trips end up including visits with friends and my favorite places.  I like to watch what some people think of as “teen” shows.  But, honestly, either I watch because I like the actors playing the parents, or it’s about vampires.

Not bad.

Not bad.

It doesn’t hurt that I still can pass for being in my 20s.  I love getting carded.  I feel better than I did when I was in my 20s.  I’ve mastered dressing better and I’ve rehabbed the mistakes I made in over plucking my eyebrows.  I have some really awesome jewelry now including 3 wedding rings.

After a conversation on Twitter with a friend from college I came to the realization that without seeing it happen – I grew up. Despite my husband’s protests, my love of 90s music, and the fact that I get off the airplane in Portland and go straight to Margaritas – I’m a grown up and I’m okay with it.

I don’t miss the craziness and uncertainty of that time in my life.  I’m glad I no longer am drawn to drama.  I’m happy with who I am.  I like things about myself, even when I’m striving to improve them.  I have advice to offer women younger than me, because there is a lot of thing I wish I had know when I was in that spot.  I don’t envy the young anymore, I just want to see them have an awesome life and enjoy themselves as much as I do.

It doesn’t bother me that my doctor, hair stylist and boss are younger than me.  I don’t view age as a peg of authority anymore, I now see it as expertise and accomplishment – and we aren’t all going to have the same at any age.

I looked up to women my current age when I was in my 20s as surrogate big sisters and I hope others do the same with me now.  But I dreaded getting older and growing up even if it made me like those women.  I didn’t want to get boring!

I’m not boring.  I love my life and every experience I’ve had.  I’m looking forward to the ones I’m going to have.  I might end up with gray hairs and some wrinkles, but it’s going to be okay when it happens.

Professional Eating Season

Professional Eating Season is what my trainer Rick calls the season between Halloween and New Years.  Basically, all of the Fall.  It does sure seem like every event is based around food and there’s no lack of indulgence anywhere you look.  Seasonal flavors are the rage, and usually come along with a hefty sugar tax.  Coworkers are cooking and bringing in treats.  Kids are bringing home candy.  And then there are those OMG meals that take all day to make and you end up eating them all week.

I made it through Halloween without eating any candy.  We went to our friends’ for Thanksgiving so that meant no leftovers.  I’ve made a dessert to share, and went a little overboard in Las Vegas during the marathon weekend.  This is crunch time.

I have realistic expectations when it comes to my diet.  I’m not going to be perfect, but I always find that when I have guidelines and deadlines, it sets me up for success.  So for the next 21 days I am going to be taking part in a challenge with my online Beachbody team.  It starts with a Shakeology cleanse, which works great for me because I have a surplus and pretty busy days for the start of the week.

Wouldn’t it be great to hit January 1 without the resolution hanging over your head after going off the rails for the holidays?  I intend to be a my lowest weight of the year on January 1st – not doing penance for few months of living like a cupcake rockstar.

This year will be different.

This year will be different.

Celebrating the Worst Because it Became the Best.

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Tonight I’m celebrating the loss of my job 5 years ago. *Technically* the anniversary is tomorrow. The day before the axe came down I knew it was coming because my coworkers saw my job advertised on Craigslist.

The best part of that particular job was the friends I made. I enjoyed my work, but I looked forward to saying hello to the people, not the flasks of cells. (Cells don’t have much to say.) Solving problems was a thrill. Finding ways to bring forgotten cell lines back to life were my specialty and I was acknowledged for it. (This may have included singing to them.) Those parts of the job made me feel proud and needed.

Losing that job was devastating. It felt very personal. Even though I was told I was not doing enough, I ended up being replaced by 3 people. While it felt good to know that it took those 3 people to replace me, I entered into a very dark period. I realized some of it as it happened, but it was an insidious blanket thrown over my life and my dreams.

Science was how I identified myself, even when I had non-science jobs in between gigs. With this dismissal I literally lost who I thought I was; my identity. The subsequent job hunt was quite possibly more depressing. Constant striving, working, switching things up, and getting rejection back. Job hunting is a lot like dating.

I’m celebrating losing that job today because it was not the right gig for me. I knew it when I took it but I stayed and made the best of it.

A little less than a year ago I became a Fitness and Health Coach. I did it for myself and for the discount. Yes, sometimes it IS about the money. I was finally ready to make my health the #1 priority in my life. Throwing myself in to a fitness community is what I needed to do. The accountability and the community was the piece missing for me.

I didn’t expect to feel so fulfilled by helping others with their own health goals. When my friend from grad school messaged me that she lost her first 6lb, it was better than any of my own weigh ins. I definitely didn’t expect to find my team to be such a source of inspiration, yet every day I come in to my Facebook group to find more love and positivity that I imagined was out there. I am becoming the leader I have always wanted to be. Realizing that I was holding myself back by viewing my impact and my life as limited has been powerful. Now, I’m growing a team of people who, like me, are ready to show the world that they can make a difference.

I am definitely happier working toward my own goals. I want to help as many people as possible feel positive and find their best selves. Being unhappy with your physical self and listening to negative self-talk is no way to live a happy life. I’m on my way and I know there are so many people who need the same inspiration as I’ve received. The gratification outshines being a small cog in a project that could maybe lead to changing lives in the future, if our work is correct, and if a company finds it feasible to invest in. I invest in myself. I invest in the people around me. It feels great to become healthy in mind and body, to share my experience, and to help others reach their own dreams.

Crazy.

Something crazy happened this weekend.  On Saturday morning I cried 3 times before 8AM.

The thing that makes this so unbelievable is that I haven’t cried in a really, really long time.  Other than a few weeks ago when I read the photo essay of a dog’s last day before his owners took him to the park and had the vet meet them there with the needle of peace.  Once in awhile I also get PMS tears.  But these tears came from somewhere else entirely.

I was tired.  I felt defeated and I just had enough.

On the bike.  Again.

On the bike. Again.

Last week was tough.  Internship days were LONG.  Workouts started earlier than I ever even wanted to think about getting up.  My butt got totally chapped from the spin bike, and my hand can’t grip a water glass.  I dissolved in to a punch drunk mess in evening workouts on Wednesday and Friday – complete with doing round house kicks making sound effects like a little kid.

I feel more out of control than ever right now and I’m just hoping this is the point where everything comes together.  Workouts are hard.  I don’t see the changes in my body that other people do.  Money is becoming more of an issue.  My house is a mess and by the time I get home at night and eat dinner I have 30 min before I need to get my ass upstairs and in to bed.  All so I can get up and do it all again.

I want this, I really do.  I’m up for the sacrifice.  But I think there’s a part of me that wonders if I’m going to fail and I’ve just set myself up for it to all fall apart.  And then all these early mornings will be for nothing and I’ll just be a sleep deprived mess who goes off the road on her way home at night.

So yeah, I had that “Biggest Loser” moment of tears and frustration.  But I sucked it up that day, and I sucked it up the next day, and I’ll keep sucking it up.  I’ll keep doing what I’m doing.  I’ll try and take back a little more control over my diet.  I at least got to vacuum my bedroom today and hopefully I sucked up whatever mystery bugs have been biting us in our sleep.

Reboot, Reset, Regroup

I stepped on the scale today and I really didn’t like what I saw. Instead of getting angry with myself, going back to bed, or looking for the nearest sweet, I did something different. My rational brain spoke louder than any other voice in my head. “Well, why are you surprised? It’s been holiday time. You were given 2 plates of cookies. You had company and were out to eat every day. You drank quite a bit. And then there’s the NYE party where you drank more than quite a bit. This isn’t rocket science, kid. Time to get back to business.”

That’s what I’m doing. I’m eating breakfast. I have a healthy lunch planned. I have work to keep me busy all morning and not hanging out of the refrigerator.

I also have to remember that I’m keeping up with training, and that’s AWESOME. Yesterday I hit the strength deck hard, shredding my abs, and I’m upright and smiling about it all today. There are victories everywhere.

On days when my face won't smile, I can always refer to my smiling teeth cast to get through.

On days when my face won’t smile, I can always refer to my smiling teeth cast to get through.