Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

On the Negativity of Quitting

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All of my life, I have been a doer.

A finisher.

I was born a straight A student (cough – nerd – cough), held roles in student government, immersed myself in side jobs and extracurricular classes and volunteer work and {eventually} internships, making sure to completely caulk any cracks in my schedule outside of school. I said yes to everything, and my packed resume showed it. After college and grad school, the trend basically continued.

Yes, yes, yes, and yes please.

And so, for years and years, I have been the queen of commitment. Forever the little girl in the front of the classroom who eagerly raises her hand to help or be in charge anytime there’s a project or a need. Because I am always striving to be a little bit better, a little bit stronger, a little bit brighter than before.

I have almost never not seen something I’ve started to the finish line.  And I’m sure – I’m POSITIVE – that I’m not the only one with a mile long resume. Not the only one who always says yes.

Heck, I can, literally, remember the only three things I’ve ever “quit” (<– a word I despise) in my adult life.

–A French class that I enrolled in while in D.C. that I thought was for beginners, but quickly learned everyone had previously spoken it… and I was the only one who didn’t understand the entirely-spoken-in-French course. 

–That yoga teacher training last year, when after the orientation, I realized I could not, actually, pay my rent and be a yoga teacher, dashing my dream of leaving my cubicle life in the dust as was my {naive} plan.

–Most recently, withdrawing from the community college InDesign course I’ve been taking the last few months- not because I wasn’t getting good grade (I was), but because I realized a. I didn’t really enjoy it, and b. I was teaching myself the whole darn thing from the book, as the teacher didn’t do anything at all except put up grades and due dates.

And for that,  I’ve been called a quitter.

I sat quietly, rigidly, pushing down the idea of tears as I was  judged not so silently by that personal decision. As if the whole of me and my background and my character boiled down to dropping out of a design class that I had only enrolled in for self-fulfillment. Isn’t that silly?

There is a fine line between being a habitual quitter and occasionally choosing to say no (or not anymore) with intention. 

Those decisions to say no – to not see an activity through to the end – are personal, and speak to shift in my mindset I suppose. I’m older, sure, and recognize the importance of placing a greater value on my time and how I spend it. Because, friends, life is short, and if something isn’t making your soul sing… then gosh! Why are you doing it?

Now, certainly that is within reason. I don’t mean to drop every job or club or assignment just because it’s boring or difficult. Not at all. But if something – in the grand scheme of the universe – is not causing you fulfillment, not adding value to your life….Well I think you owe it to yourself to reassess your path, and – as appropriate – say no. Dig your heels in and place your hands on your hips and say NO with unwavering conviction.

If I could stick out my tongue and make a raspberry noise (you know what I’m talking about), I would, because that’s how I feel about being labeled a quitter, and having been made to feel like someone dishonorable.

There is such a negative connotation associated with women saying no nowadays, when really, it’s our lives to lead, is it not? And – far as I know – we’ve got one shot to squeeze out all of the goodness and love that we want from this life. Time is valuable, how you feel means something, and balance is for you to figure out.

So no, I am not a quitter. I have just learned that figuring life out means trying things on, saying yes, but also saying no thank you. And sometimes, you have to say yes to realize something isn’t a good fit after all, and allow the graceful bow-out. And that, my darlings, is perfectly okay.

xo

 

Have you ever struggled with a decision because you felt you would seems like a quitter or have to justify saying no?

 

 

Breaking Up With Running

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Running and I have been together a long time. Since college, really.

It’s always been a  little complicated, and I’ve had more than my fair share of heartache because of it.

I briefly shared my running history here last year, but I started running in the shadow of my best friend Meg after our freshman year of college; she’d become a hardcore runner her first year away at school, and I was inspired. So I trailed behind her on the track at our local gym, and eventually got stronger and more comfortable in my running shoes, and, quite simply, caught the running bug.

It was a deep, intense relationship at first, and I began to run almost every single day — I couldn’t get enough. I didn’t know as much back then about rest days or correct running shoes or trails or even proper nutrition to fuel my runs, and eventually I got pummeled with my first running injury: a fracture in my hip flexor area, conveniently a few months before my last semester in college.

But the pain didn’t stop there, and I have the crutches collection to prove it. From achilles tendonitis to plantar  fasciitis to IT band issues and stress fractures, I’ve been told my flat feet are not built for running big miles. Along the way, I’ve become my friends’ go-to person whenever they feel some sort of weird ache or pain. Yay?

And yet despite all the pain and the tears, I haven’t been able to tear myself away. We’ve taken a few breaks on and off throughout the years, mostly to recover from injuries, but I’ve always eventually come back for more. Running has been a part of my identity for almost a decade. I am a runner, end stop. It’s helped me survive struggles far worse than  any stress fracture, and feel more alive than most anything else in life.

I’m getting older, though, and I’ve realized that my passion for running has sort of….changed, and faded from what it was seven years ago. In the face of my last half marathon in October, I thought perhaps I was finally ready to give running the boot once and for all. I was so over the entire idea of training, and wanted as much distance as humanly possible between me and my running shoes. I was just  burnt out.

I thought it might be for good. Thought perhaps I’d not show up to my next half, and my past as a runner would be a distant memory after a while.

But silly me, I should’ve known. That running is a fickle lover, and he eventually made his way back into my heart, reminding me of what made me fall in love in the first place.

It’s really occurred to me that it’s not the running that I’ve become so burnt out on, but the racing. When I just ran leisurely, however many miles I wanted to, whenever I wanted to, our relationship was great. Rocky, but not stressful. But the racing I’ve been doing the last two years? For some reason, it just brings me stress and makes running feeling like work, instead of a hidden burst of joy in my days.

It’s mainly because I always want to do my very best, and take training very seriously. And I love the sense of accomplishment at the end of races, but overall? I don’t really need the medal. And I don’t need the motivation – I have never had  trouble motivating myself to run….. other than when I’m training. Ironic, eh?

A number of my friends here in California race regularly. They love it, and I can certainly understand why…. but as  a result, I’ve begun to feel a sort of internal pressure, as if I have to register for every single race too, like it mattered or would change my place in the friendship group. And it doesn’t – no one cares if I’m racing other than ME. Isn’t that silly? And it’s not like me to do something just because everyone else is, whether it be running a race or driving off a cliff. I do what I want!

I think I forgot that for a while.

SO, I’m running again, for me, and after the San Diego half, I will be taking a little breather from running half marathons, and I’ll train for another if and when I ever feel like it…. And if I never want to do another, ain’t no thang. Doesn’t make me (or you!) any less of a runner.

 

Happy Thursday!

 

Are you a runner? Do you do races? What do you think about them?

I Just Want To…

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Yes. ^

That’s basically how I feel these days.

I mean, please. Please?

I just want to do that all the time,  on repeat. And I want to do it starting NOW, versus trying to squeeze in the above between a 9am-5pm-er that isn’t inspiring me anymore.

Patience is not my jam.

So instead, I am a mix of frustrated, tired,  antsy, inspired, and occasionally disenchanted. I need to get a grip.

Oh! And while we’re chatting about things I’d rather be doing, my new side biz is at the tippity top of the list, as well as freelance writing more often. (Let me know if I can help ya!) I’m working on staying in the present and be grateful for the moments I have now, not letting impatience get the better of me.

And now, time for that coffee. And to figure out what the heck I’m doing for Halloween (besides hopefully eating this).

xo

 

Are you antsy about anything? What do you wish you were doing, in a perfect world? For me, it’s anything related to writing, food, and fitness/health promotion. 

On Secrets in a Social World

fe5c52f195ff6abf6c260f42925d999cMy life is not simple.

It’s not full of clean lines and calm water.

It’s not easy, but probably neither is yours.

I have a blog so that would lead a lot of people to believe I’m pretty open, and that I share, you know, a lot. And I am! I do.

I mean, I blogged through a hideous break-up a couple years ago, for goodness sake. I might as well have placed a disclaimer at the top of this blog asking you guys to mail me my therapy bill.

But, that’s not everything. This isn’t all of me. There are aspects of my life that I prefer to keep in the shadows. Parts that I’ve never wanted to lend the spotlight to, that I’d rather deal with privately and have only shared with a select few, like my parents.

The era of social media we’re currently existing in lets people think that they know you, inside and out, from the few clever lines you’ve tweeted, or from the perfect days you recap via Facebook status updates. But that’s nothing more than a snippet. Who really knows KNOWS  you?

This 24/7 world can make you feel like all your feelings and actions have to be spoken out loud, or else they don’t matter. But there’s something to be said for privacy. For letting some parts of your life remain in anonymity, and only available to the people of your choosing, when you feel ready to share. That doesn’t mean that you’re hiding, or that those pieces of your life are less important. It just means, I think, that you’re allowing a certain respect to the areas of you that make you who you are – the foundation of your character.

For me at least, the parts of my life that I’ve historically let slide to the background are the ones that have made me the strongest, and helped define my identity and inner spirit.

They don’t need a megaphone.  I don’t long for anyone to pat me on the back and commend me for overcoming obstacles or remaining cheery in spite of personal challenges. Honestly, most of the time I’d rather they’re none the wiser.

My point is, no one’s life is seamless or breezy, regardless of how much you think you know about them. As my mama always told me growing up, everyone’s got something — regardless of how much their flawless Instagram account may otherwise indicate. 😉

Remembering 9/11

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13 years ago today, I was getting ready for a day of high school to begin, confused. Wondering if my dad was safe; he was working  and supposed to have a meeting that morning in one of the World Trade Center buildings. Wondering if my best friends since kindergarten who were still living in NYC were scared. Wondering what and how and why.

I credit 9/11 for helping push me onto my current career path, working with the Service members of the U.S. military. Brave men and women who have served tirelessly and do not complain, supported by families who never know for sure when or if their loved one is coming home. Sacrificing a lot, and facing a  changed world since that day more than a decade ago.

With all things in life, it’s easy to forget. Harder to remember.

But remembering the past is what keeps our light shining forward. The hurt, the tears, the smiles, the extraordinary joy – those moments all matter, and they let us grow into the unique tapestry of love and strength that we each are. Forgetting doesn’t help us – it makes us weaker.  When things are sparkling, be grateful. Feel blessed. And when things are oh so hard and bleak, remember the sun always comes back out. Do the things you’re scared of, mean every word, and make every minute count. Don’t take a single second for granted – you’ll never get it back.

It’s people that matter, not things, not timing. There will never be a perfect moment to do anything, so why not do it now? And for goodness sakes, tell someone you love them.

xo

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