Monday, December 31, 2018

"Don't do anything stupid"

I keep looking back on 2018 and I can't decide how I feel about this year. The 3 things that I write about below have been the biggest lessons in my entire life and have filled me immense happiness. At the same time, I have suffered so much this year. I lost someone so dear to me that it still, somehow, doesn't feel like she's really gone. It feels as if I'm just waiting for her to come back from Hawaii so we can celebrate New Years. I had to make a really hard decision to put down my best friend of 12 years. I think, in the end, I know I've had some incredibly high highs that accompanied incredibly low lows. I am so beyond thankful for the people who have been here for me, through all of the insanity that is 2018. You are loved.

Instead of an end of year wrap up, I wanted to talk about some things I learned this year. I originally thought 10 was a good amount of lessons. Then it went down to 5. Then, I kept looking at the list and only 3 popped out to me. So here are the 3 lessons I learned this year. I hope that you can learn from them too.

People can change, but you can't change someone
Listen. I'm a girl. We, somehow, are born with this thing in our brains that wants to change guys. The lucky ones end up figuring out that this is a very bad idea. The unlucky ones spend a lot of time on broken guys we can't fix (I am looking DIRECTLY at you Ariana). Everyone says, "Find a guy who doesn't need to be fixed" and you can just suck a duck, okay? Everyone can use some fixing up. That's why we're humans. We are not without major issues. We change and evolve all the time. I am, undoubtedly, not the same person I was 5 years ago. So, why does anyone expect a guy to be the same person he was 5 years ago? Being able to see one man grow, evolve, and become a different person has been such an amazing experience. Throughout most of the year, I spent so much time going, "Well, he USED to be like this" and "the OLD him would do this thing"... Until I started really realizing that he isn't the same person he was before. Maybe I had something to do with that. Maybe I didn't. But I can tell you that I never, once, told him to change. I left, not caring what happened (okay... I cared a lot about what happened but not publicly). I didn't care who he was as a person anymore. All that change. All that growth. That came separately from me. I had been so brainwashed into thinking that people remain one way, for all of their lives. Only the people who want to remain one way for all of their lives will. Once you notice something you don't like about yourself. You do something about it. And he did. But, it wasn't about me. It shouldn't be about someone else. It should only be about how you feel about yourself. 

This year has been a rollercoaster of growth for myself as well. I am stronger, more confident, and happier than I've ever been. I have found a group of human beings who make me feel like the badass I am. They push me to do crazy things (backpacking for the first time, solo international trips). They encourage me to live my best life. In the end, though, I have learned that other peoples' opinions about me, what I do with my life, and who I have in my life doesn't really matter anymore. I got this.

Nature can recharge you in a way nothing else can
I spent more time in nature in 2018 than any other year. For goodness sakes, I flew to Germany and hiked in their INCREDIBLY INSANELY beautiful forests (I did not run into any talking animals, evil Queens, or dashing princes though so I'm majorly disappointed). Since there was a bit of a language barrier and we were tracking wolves, most of the hikes were fairly silent. I was able to think about everything and sometimes, just get lost in my own head. The forest enveloped me with healing vibes. It was exactly what I needed. 

Right after I had to put Harley down, I had a 2 person back-packing trip planned with a friend of mine. She told me that it would be no problem to back out of the plans, after what just happened. I wanted to go anyway. I needed to get out of my house and away from it all. Neither of us had ever been backpacking in our lives. It was a huge challenge for us and I would never trade that experience for the world. I got to heal from my two incredibly huge losses this year in the best way I knew how. Outside. When you don't know what to do, go outside. Sit in nature. Ask yourself questions. Just get everything out there. Nature will let you know what's up.

Hiking in Germany!
Exercise is not a punishment
I have viewed exercise in a negative way for my entire adult life. I was always "burning off" that extra helping of mac and cheese. When I ate something I "shouldn't" have, I would punish myself the next day by getting on the elliptical machine for 45 minutes to burn off approximately 500 calories. That was the routine. Eat bad. Get on elliptical. Burn off bad stuff. Eat bad. Get on elliptical. Burn off bad stuff. Continue until you hate yourself. 

This year has been my biggest food struggling year yet. I was finally fed up (pun intended) with watching what I was eating and counting my calories and how many calories I burned off and watching the scale fluctuate and seriously guilting myself for eating a slice of pizza and blah blah blah blah I'm over it. This year, I finally said "fuck it". I'm not going to be super model thin. I will never be that thin. Figuring this out unlocked the secret. Exercise is not a punishment. Exercise is a reward! Food is fuel for my crazy fun workouts. I stopped analyzing everything I watched this year and I think I've eaten the healthiest. It's funny how, when you stop really watching something, the magic happens. I recognized what helps my workouts and what hurts my workouts (I'm never giving up Taco Bell I don't give a fluff). Every time I add a higher weight to the machine, I get overly excited. My butt is getting bigger and I'm actually happy about it! I have a healthy body that I get to drag to the gym or to some studio to workout. I am so incredibly fortunate and how dare I ever think that being able to workout is a punishment, when so many people can't workout. If you currently view your workouts as "burning off" last nights pizza, come see me. I would love the opportunity to change your mind and your body.
*I will leave you with this one piece of advice from my best friend. "Don't age like an open can of soda."*

- so I can sigh eternally -


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