The Year Round Up
The Year Round Up
I turned 40 last year. Call it a "milestone" birthday if you will, but the truth is that every birthday for me is a time to reflect and see what I can do better in the year to come - kind of like New Year's, only I think of each year as a new chapter, a new beginning. So now that I am approaching 41 it's time to sit and reflect on the past, present, and future, the mark of my new year, my new chapter in life.
A lot has happened both personally and professionally - not sure how so much happened in just one year - but I'm here to tell you that I'm grateful and ever in awe of this so called life. Here are a few things I learned/made a priority in this past year:
Self-care. I know people say it's important but how many people are really practicing self-care? I can't express to you how important it really is. I'm not talking about a 4-hour day spa getaway once a month (although that would be nice), I'm talking about a simple 10-minutes to yourself each day (yes, I know that's hard for mothers of the world). Make it a daily priority. Yes, life is busy and at times it might seem like taking time for yourself is trivial when there is so much else to be done. Well it's not. It's actually one of the most important things you can do for yourself. A few things I've been doing for self-care this past year (it depends on the day and how much time I have): meditation, exercise, spending time in nature, manicures, & more. As I said, it depends on the time I have, but minimally I've been meditating for 10 minutes to be able to sit still, center myself for the day before me, and remind myself to always come back to my breath. My encouragement is to find a way to have your own self-care practice. Giving back to yourself helps you give to others. (cliché but true).
Miami Marathon. January 29, 2017 -- 5 hours 15 minutes in the cold, cold rain. Weird weather day for Miami, but yes it was cold (in the 50s with rain is not pleasant). My running partner Marcela and I had talked about running a marathon for years. You can read about it here. Little did I know how much the training was doing for me. The thought of running for 26.2 miles straight can seem daunting. But there is truth when people tell you that you get a runner's high. All of my pictures from the marathon I have this ridiculous grin on my face. It couldn't have been anything else other than a runner's high. I think it was the culmination of all the training and there we were on that day and it was finally coming to fruition. Talk about never being more proud of myself for having accomplished something. I truly couldn't have done it without Marcela. She pushed me to do something I didn't think I could ever do. The training gives you the grit to know you can. Beer on mile 22 might've helped just a little. And knowing that you can overcome anything. Training for this marathon forever changed me. Whenever I think that I can't do something I remember back to all the hours I put into training. Where there's a will there's a way.
After I completed my marathon in January I had a couple of back to back months with injuries (injured foot after the marathon, broken rib and then a broken toe because I'm just a clutz). Add to that during this time period I was facing work stress without having the ability to workout. I wasn't myself most days and I was walking around as if I was a different person. I'm one of those people that will just keep things most times inside - I feel why share with others all this negativity? My outlet normally is the exercise, so pair that with not being able to exercise, I was what you call a hot mess. What turned it around for me? The meditation helped some, but the bigger "elephant in the room" was that I had to take an inner look at what I wanted to do with my life (professionally). I knew that what I was doing wasn't making a difference (most days) and I knew that I needed to be able to have a better work/life balance. So I started looking for jobs. That was one of the first things I knew I needed to do to improve the situation. As hard as it is for change at times, making the decision to move on was what really turned it around for me.
My job is going well. Almost 3 months in and I'm loving what I do. I've finally been able to find a better work/life balance. I'm re-learning how to go and have fun. Sounds silly maybe, but I had lost the ability to go and enjoy life. I was always so tired I used my down time just to recuperate and get ready for the next week. It's definitely been a transition, but one I'm welcoming. I've already caught up with a few friends over dinner, enjoyed a concert, and even did yoga in the ballpark (something I've always wanted to do but never did). I definitely work hard, but I'm learning that old saying, "work hard, play harder".
Be passionate about what you love. I’ve been told once or twice (okay maybe 100 times) I’m too passionate about nutrition. I don’t even know what that means. I just know that I went through a time where I switched careers and even when I wasn’t doing dietetics’ work I was always incorporating nutrition somehow. Apparently I did know what I was passionate about and just needed some time away. I will always be passionate about improving people’s health, it’s just in my nature and in my being. And if being called passionate is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
Travel. It’s the best education you’ll ever get. “Nothing will teach you more than exploring the world and accumulating experiences.” Last year for my 40th I went to Italy - Rome, Florence, and Venice. I'll have to do a blog post about that sometime. That was the first vacation I had in almost 10 years. Long overdue. I've always said it's more important to have stories to tell than stuff to show. True story - I brought back a few gifts for people from my trip, but every time I went to buy something for myself, I always hesitated. So much so, I didn't end up buying anything for myself. I have a ton of pictures and I wrote a journal to help myself remember all my adventures. It was definitely a trip to remember. Now I need to start planning where to next!
I don’t have it all figured out. By no means am I trying to force my views or opinions on you and telling you how you should live your life. What works for me, may not work for you. And the truth is, I’m still trying to figure it all out – because some days it works and some days it doesn’t, even for me! Here’s wishing that my 40s (as each year passes) will be as wonderful as my 20s but with added wisdom. I am approaching my 40s with an open heart full of wonder and magic.