Life Lessons

Late Night Tip.

Some of the biggest lessons of my life were never remotely taught in the classroom. You can’t teach life experience, you’ve got to live it✌🏽

Yes, this was the Facebook status I concocted upon getting home tonight…. but there’s more to the story.

On my drive home at 3am tonight, I began thinking about all the people I drove to the bars, from the bars, to house parties, to video game releases at midnight etc and my wheels began to turn.

Just a few weeks ago, I began driving for Lyft as a part-time gig. With grad school fastly approaching, a wedding to plan, life, etc, I thought, “Why the hell not?” Either I’m out and about, spending money I don’t need to spend at the moment or at home.

I’ve met people from all walks of life, mainly college age folks on these drives. We’ve discussed majors, minors, failed midterms, frat boy problems, literally a mix of everything. I always find myself saying things like “Don’t sweat the small stuff”,  “Enjoy your college years”, “You literally have the rest of your life to have a big girl or big boy job, seriously live it up”, etc. The moments after these exchanges I always question to myself, “When in the hell did I get so old?”

Truth be told, I’ve been in school on and off for the last 22 years. That’s a long fucking time. And frankly, I’m incredibly tired of going to school. Just in general. At this point you may be wondering, “well you should have just gone straight through”. Yeah okay. At a minimum, if you just go from Kindergarten to graduating with your bachelors degree, that’s 17 years. It’s longer if you add 2 years of preschool as well as any grad or post grad school. From there, then what? You work until you’re basically too old to enjoy your retirement. As a realist, bare with me, this will be most people. The classes I just finished to wrap up my undergrad, I’ve been physically doing those assignments in the workforce the past 5 years or so. Yet here I was, writing papers about nonexistent businesses, building up proposals and plans for a grade rather than actual pay like I had been accustom too. All for that little piece of paper (my bachelor’s degree).

Some days it feels as though we put too much stock in formal education and not enough it a little thing called life experience. (This is coming from the woman getting ready to go to grad school even.) Living in itself is learning. There’s so much to be learned from reading, from doing, from conversing with other people with different perspectives from you, from traveling, etc. There’s so much knowledge to be gained from little things known to be called life experiences. There’s so much to be learned from life itself outside the classroom, if we’re just receptive to all that surrounds us. Embrace it. You have your entire life ahead of you. Take time to explore and marvel, to learn and to grow. You’ll later come to find they were some of the best days of your life.

Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel- Atlanta, Georgia
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Life Lessons

Caution There’s an Umbrella Involved.

Clearwater Beach, FL

…but only if you want it to be. Life is full of decisions. All of which lead us to where we are today. Some proceed life with caution. This is just as well as saying you’ll always have a huge Yield sign in front of your face. Others choose to make their own way, avoiding the safety net most seek, take bigger risks and therefore reap bigger rewards.

I know countless folks right now that hate the position they have and sometimes even the company they work for. What are you going to lose by putting yourself out there??? PTO time? You’ll always get it built back up. Health insurance? Honestly, most of it is for the birds anyway.  Look for something else…

Our parents generations were brought up to believe that once you found a stable position, to stay, work your way up, and play it safe. But honestly what does safe even mean? You could get fired, the business could go under, new managers could come in and revamp the place, there are so many factors that go into simply playing it safe.

A dear friend shared a quote today via Facebook that got me thinking about this whole topic.

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.” – Maya Mendoza 

While your career should not be your entire life, it is a huge part of it. You should be able to wake up every day and look forward to the position that awaits you at work. There are a ton of positions out there. While I understand the desire to build a strong  & rather short resume in the process, do you really want to do it in an unhappy environment for a company you don’t care much for?

There are no limits in this world except for the ones you set for yourself day after day. Follow your arrow & make shit happen for yourself. Only you stand in your own way. You’ll enjoy your journey so much more on your own terms rather than simply playing it safe according to someone else’s🔥

Clearwater Beach, FL Coastline

 

Everything Else

Mind Strong. Body Strong.


As a woman who’s spent over half her life thicker than a snicker despite being a former athlete, I’ve tried almost every trend out there to lose/maintain weight. I’m talking everything except an eating disorder (not a joking matter, not to be taken as such). Beachbody, Visalus, Advocare, Atkins, low carb, all veggie, juicing, even doctor prescribed Phentermine a couple different times over the years just to name a few..

Want to know a secret???
They all work!!! Every single one of them with a bit of consistency.
When it came down to it, there was a variety of factors that contributed to my weight gain and loss over the years. It would take an entirely different blog post to get through them all…

The biggest reason it came down to was the mental part of it. My mentality wasn’t where I needed it to be and I was always losing weight or trying to get fit for the wrong reasons.

Once I worked on myself mentally and broke down the whys each time I went on this fitness journey and then tore down my inconsistencies on the way, I was able to make progress (still for that matter). Once I changed my outlook on this journey that should have simply been a lifestyle change, great things started happening. Physically, it hasn’t been immediate. It’s been small changes here and there. But that, in itself is progress.

  1. Find your why. This shouldn’t be for anyone, but you for you. Why did you gain the weight? What were some of the factors that caused it? Contrary to popular belief it’s not always eating garbage that causes. Sometimes it’s eating too much, too little, the wrong time of the day, inactivity. There’s so much more to it than that. How did you get to where you are? It may take some time, but once you start digging you will find it. To never get back to where you are, it’s important to find out how you got there to begin with.
  2. Get your mind right & your body will follow. The body will do whatever the mind tells it to, that’s for certain, but if you don’t get your mind right first, there’s no telling how long that will last.
  3. Find a form of fitness that works for you. I’m not a runner and I’ve never been a big fan. Boxing was my cardio for a number of years until I found excuses over time to get in the gym. Spin is now my happy place and I love every minute of it. But it’s not about me, what’s trending, what your friends are doing, etc. Try a little bit of everything to find what you enjoy.
  4. Whatever you do, choose moderation. Eating what you wish/choose, exercise, etc. That goes for everything and believe me I’m not very good at moderation either. I definitely feel like carbie most days, it happens.

You have one life and one body. Love yourself and your body every step along the way to a better you however YOU choose fit.

*Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness or health professional, these are just a few things I learned over the years, mostly the hard way.

Life Lessons

Four Paws and a Squeaker.


Growing up, I never grew up with any pets. Probably explains a lot I’m sure, but nope. The closest I ever had gotten to that was at the ripe old age of three, maybe four. Beethoven was one of my favorite movies at the time. Who didn’t love that HUGE Saint Bernard and all of his lovins’ he had to offer??!! My grandparents surprised me with a black lab puppy from the neighbors down the road from them. I lived in an apartment back then in town, looking back I think it’s more or less Mom didn’t want an indoor dog and so Beethoven became the sweetest farm dog you ever saw. I remember driving him around in my tricycle, him jumping in the pond; we were the best of friends. One day, playing fetch I grabbed the toy too soon and he got my finger. It broke skin, scared the bejesus out of me, and that was that. It didn’t make it any better having a hover mother for a mom. No one explained to my recollection that it was an accident and off I went. He was more of my grandfathers pup anyways considering he spent most of his time around him. What did I know? I couldn’t have been more than four at the time.

Flash forward a few years…. Fish were a welcome pet in both of my parents homes. I LOVED going to Walmart to pick them out. I always picked too many and I always wanted them all. One day, I probably had 7 goldfish in a tank (they all had names), and we were making the typical trip from Georgetown to Brandenburg, from dad’s to moms. Before choir practice that night, I put the special drops in the water (to purify it unaware I was to take them out first). I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I know I didn’t do it correctly (apparently). I couldn’t have been more than seven or eight at the time and after leaving the room to change clothes, I came back to find a few of them floating at the top of the tank. God it was awful. In a blubbering mess we saved a few but I didn’t want anymore fish after that. I had come to think that maybe my parents were right and I wasn’t cut out for it.

Flash forward the rest of my life and here I am… I went the rest of my days between them and now pet-less (minus a beta fish named Louie a few years back). Between my past experiences and the fact that neither parent was a fan of having indoor pets I wasn’t trying it out for myself. I always loved to rip, roar and run. I never understood why folks would get a small being they constantly have to take care of/it simply wasn’t something I was accustom to. The older I got the more I began reconsidering but I just couldn’t get myself to commit. If there was anything I knew/still know about myself it was that I WASN’T going to be that person that got a cute, cuddly furbaby and not be prepared/have to re-home not too long after. Timing has never been my forte, but I certainly wasn’t going to embark on this journey prior to being ready or at the very least be home more. I had always been a people person and while I loved animals, it wasn’t something I saw for myself.

After dating my boyfriend for a number of years,  we had come to dance around the subject of adopting. He grew up with a mixture of dogs and  cats. Never had a stray around that wasn’t fed. After volunteering at a few events with Lexington Humane Society, I KNEW going to a breeder was absolutely out of the question. I started quietly looking online at their website, not saying anything to him on it. When we found our Giulia she had been listed at LHS for at/almost over a month. After calling to confirm she was still there, once he came home from work we went. She had been saved from a kill shelter across the state and a parvo survivor. She had been passed up by many on the first contact list, as shepherd mixes are in high demand. During our meet and greet, she had been so excited to play with this squeaky yellow ball and was incredibly loving and sweet. It was love at first sight and we had to take her home with us.


Those first few weeks, I started questioning what i had actually been missing out on my whole life.  We were so thankful to have her but it felt almost as though she felt the same. That’s the thing about rescuing a furbaby. I quickly came to realize while I might have been a people person my whole life, it took a pup to teach me a thing or two about love.

You see whether we like it or not, people almost always love with a condition. It’s not like that with animals. They may be a part of your world but to them, especially those who are rescued, you are their world. No matter how your days been, no matter what happened, they are always happy to see you when you walk through the door. While we’d like to think that’s how it is with our loved ones and such, sometimes we’re clouded and even foggy with the stresses of life and it’s never that way for your pup. Giulia has taught me an incredible lesson about a human beings capacity to love and to care for another. It has taught me we have so much more to give than what we do and that affection, compassion, love and attention are all free gifts that we often overlook time and time again giving out to scarcely when we really haven’t even began to open our minds and hearts. When it came to toys, squeakers have come to be her favorite, but the material toys are nothing compared to a good ear or belly rub or just laying in our laps for a nap.  She specifically taught me I have more to give than I thought and I plan on doing just that.

Volunteering at the humane society makes me want to bring home all of the furbabies. My boyfriend was recently away for work and I spotted a 9 week old shepherd mix that looks like it could have been Giulia’s sister. I had decided to sleep on it a night to think it over. The day I decided to go up there she had been adopted just a bit before. Walking by the kittens on my way out, I made eye contact with one of them. He meowed and upon holding him I knew he had to be ours.

Winston has been quite the little kitten.


And to think it all started out with four paws and a squeaker.

Girl Power, Life Lessons

Open Letter To The Woman Who Is Her Own Worst Critic

Dear Miss,

Hello there miss perfectionist, miss independent, miss I can do it all. Yes, I’m talking to you!

Life has a funny way of getting away from us sometimes. Before you know it, you’re 27 years old, can’t wait to get home after a long day just to take your pants off, eat a bowl of mac and cheese (what I meant to say was a kale chicken caesar, but really I meant mac and cheese), and breath a minute. Then before you know it a couple of hours have passed and you’re silently muttering sh**, sh**, sh** as you try to find your textbook to complete a last minute assignment that you swore you wouldn’t wait til the last minute to do. At this point you’re up way past your bedtime regretting you didn’t do it sooner then dreading the next day to get up and do the same thing all over again. When you finally get to bed, it’s as though Google Chrome updated in the middle of your assignment and without asking your brain conveniently pops up every single tab that’s been on your mind that day: how hard you worked, what you could have done better, this, that, and every other thing. It happens. Life happens.

Stop being so hard on yourself. Okay so yeah, we all have this somewhat vision of what our lives are going to be like at 18, 21, 25 and so on. Then you got there and it’s not at all what you thought or planned or considered ideal for yourself. Am I right? It happens to all of us in some form or fashion. Ultimately, where you sit is where you are at this current point in your life. Does that define you? NO. Does that mean you a failure?? HELL NO. Does that mean you will remain where you are the rest of your life & this is it??? ONLY IF YOU CHOOSE IT. Set realistic expectations for yourself and a healthy timeline to complete them in. Not everything can be accomplished in one day contrary to what we sometimes tell ourselves. Arrows move in one direction and that’s forward. We’ve all had a speed bump in the road from time to time, don’t let that define you. You are more than that and you are exactly where you need to be for today but don’t stop moving and keeping on.

It’s okay that you don’t have all the answers, nobody does.  We’re human. Every day we’re growing and evolving, hopefully into better versions of our self. Reach out to your parents, a mentor, etc. Don’t feel like talking it out. Start reading, find a hobby, something you can totally immerse yourself in. Sitting and overthinking as to why you don’t consistently have your shit together at this point in your life is not the answer, you’ll simply be wasting your time.

Appearances are not always as they seem. While social media has a lot to do with this, stop comparing yourself to others. Your size, your looks, your house, your vehicle, your job/career choices. Some may say money is the root of all evils, I say envy is. The grass will ALWAYS be greener on the other side (EVERY SIDE) if you’re not busy watering your own. You will never be happy with what you have if you are looking continuously at what everyone else has. No matter what that may be, be thankful for what you do have, what you’re aspiring to be and achieve. Someone, somewhere is wishing to have just a little portion of what you have going on in your life while you sit there thinking what you have or don’t have is simply not enough. Stop looking for that destination in which you will finally be satisfied. Learn to appreciate where you’ve been and where you are, while looking forward to where you’re going.

Learn to say no from time to time. Stop spreading yourself so thin, giving the best of yourself to others, saving nothing for yourself. Sometimes we find ourselves giving so much energy to people, things, etc that don’t deserve it. Take a step back, sometimes we truly can’t see the forest for the trees. This applies to everyone differently, but ultimately understand that time is precious and you cannot get it back.

Ask for help from time to time, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Being stubborn as a mule, all of my life, it took me years to understand being strong  truly means knowing when to reach for another’s hand and sometimes we can return the favor and other times we simply have to pay it forward.

And for the love of everything, stop trying to please every damn body. You will never achieve this. Spending years in sales, giving client after client, the best customer service I had to offer, I always fell short with at least one. With friends, I have always had a diverse group of friends, so many different interests and hobbies, you’re going to disagree from time to time and you’re not always going to be on the same page. Get over it. It happens and that my dear is life. Do the best you can and move on.

You have the same 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week that everyone else in this world has. Use that time the way you see fit, to the best of your ability. If you are doing simply that. How can you do anything more?

 

Sincerely,

The Woman Who Has Been Her Own Worst Critic