Get It: Goals for 2019

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Woo-hoo! Can we just take a moment to celebrate reaching the new year? I don’t know about you, but this year was HARD in the best of ways. So much healing and growth over here, and a LOT of fun memories. But now I am super, super stoked to have a fresh, shiny new year before us with all the magic and possibilities. Who knows what can happen?

Lately, I have stopped setting “goals” in the sense of having a specific thing and deadline to acheive said thing. I find that I either get really “meh” about it and give up, or once I achieve the thing I’m left with a “what’s next?” feeling and it takes a while to get motivated to do a new Thing. So nowadays I prefer to think of my goals as more like intentions or affirmations. Stuff I want to become, but are ever-evolving so I don’t have to feel pressured to not “fail” and not get into a slump. For me it’s a way more positive way to look at it.

So what’s in store for 2019?

One more Whole30 in January

Ugh. I know. Again. I just did one in September! But some of my coworkers are on board, and I said I’d do it in solidarity. Honestly, this may be my last one for a while. I feel pretty good on what food works for me/doesn’t work for me, and my challenge currently is to put more effort into being intentional with my health-for-me eating. I tend to get lazy and order a lot of take-out and convenience food when I feel overwhelmed with the usual Life Stuff, which if you “choose your own hard” just means I feel crummy and tired which begets more unhealthy-for-me convenience food. It’s a cycle.  So this Whole30 my focus is more on the habits to get me eating consistenly well, and less about the what I’m eating: weekly meal prepping, planning ahead, and forcing myself to eat what’s in the fridge rather than grab something on-the-go.

CrossFit 3x/week (and maybe some half marathons)

I recently started up my membership at my local gym again, and I am sooooo happy to be back! I had taken a year off, and I really missed it. As much as I love running, there is something about the fellowship of seeing familiar faces when I walk into the gym that I don’t get elsewhere. Also, holy wow I LOVE barbell work. We’ve been doing TONS of oly lift work since I returned, and I am just so warm-fuzzy good. Just slap some plates on a barbell and I will snatch, clean, jerk, and be happy.

Also, since my cancelled half back in November, I haven’t really been running or looking for new races, and I do want to get back to it. Now that the sun will slowly be creeping back in the morning I’ll have fewer excuses to get outside and run. I’ll put together a racing calendar for the year and in between the strength I’ll gain with CrossFit and a steady running program I’ll be able to do some distance racing consistenly. Because fun, right?

Marie Kondo All the Things

OMG, you guys, did you know that the new “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” show is on Netflix? That’s right, they made the hit home organizaiton book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up” into a series. I started watching last night and I am so ready to go through my house and “spark joy” all over my stuff. My kids and I all have birthdays in November/December and then Christmas happens, so by the new year we are drowning in stuff! For my own sanity I am making plans to start going through the house and declutter. There’s something about a small home that makes a few items out of place feel like a few hundred. But I am in fact a strange human and I LOVE to clean and declutter, so while this will be an extensive project, I’m super pumped for it.

Bloggy Blog!

Finally, I want to blog more than once a month. It’s been something I’ve been trying to get back to doing consistently for a while, but haven’t figured out how to make the time for it other than get less sleep, and I like sleep. It keeps me healthy and sane. Both good things. But I also like writing and sharing my life here. So I’ll keep experimenting with different schedules and pockets of time (sometimes writing from my WordPress app on the train commute is the best I can do!) to compose my posts and do my best to remember “progress, not perfection!”

And that’s my stuff! Are you putting together some goals or intentions for the year? Or are you just winging it and seeing what comes your way? I’d love to hear your thoughts on new years resolutions!

Go make it a great day!

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Don’t Consume – Create!

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p/c Pinterest

The other morning I sat on my bed and scrolled through Instagram for an hour. Yes, an hour. An hour I didn’t really have to spare, of course. I know it was a whole hour because at one point I looked at the clock and it was 5:30 am and when I looked up again it was 6:30 am. And aren’t I the one always complaining how I never have enough time? And when I checked in with myself and how I felt, I found that while I intended to be inspired and energized by taking a peek at what my friends and social media girl crushes are up to, I found myself feeling behind the game and flat. This was not the way I had intended on tackling my day.

With everything happening with my life lately, I’ve tried to be hyper-conscious of my attempts to numb or hide from things, so I don’t start down that slow slide to depression and isolation I know I have a tendency to head towards. I cut back on alcohol, I try to stay checked in with family and friends, and I try to read instead of watch TV. But I am catching myself more and more picking up my phone and gravitating to my social media apps when I feel uncomfortable, anxious, or bored. And I end up feeling sort of icky with all of the media consumption this results in. Politics, scandals, and social unrest leave me feeling helpless and confused, and I’m forever in a state of processing what I just absorbed. Don’t I have enough going on mentally and emotionally to be voluntarily jumping in the game of “What Facebook Memes Will Piss Me Off Today?” roulette? There’s being informed, and then there’s bingeing on Buzzfeed articles from amusing Pinterest posts. Time to find where that line is.

So for this month, I decided to set my absorption of social media aside, and instead focus more on creating content instead of consuming it. I internally lament all the time that I never have time to blog and write. Well, with hours spent mindlessly scrolling Facebook every day, imagine how much I could get out there if I used that time to put out my own content instead? This is the season of giving, right? So for me, I’m going to use it to give my voice instead of lurking in the background of online connection. Don’t consume – create!

Go make it a great day!

October 2016 Goals

Better late than never, right? Now that we’re a few days into the month, it’s the perfect time to start pondering what all shiny, exciting accomplishments we might have a scarce chance of achieving before we crack out on Halloween candy and celebrate my birth-month of November. My birthday’s on November 1st, but it sneaks up on you, so I find it’s best to stick in some extra celebratiousness just in case it blows by too fast, you know?

My big, hairy, scary goal for October is to blog more. In all my free time.

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Mostly because I want to talk about CrossFit more, and my friends and family are afraid for me. Or maybe tired of hearing about it, I can never tell if those are looks of panic or concern. So I’m going to blog more about CrossFit. Which means I should, like, keep going to the gym so I have stuff to talk about. Which is a good transition to my next goal:

CrossFit more. Right now I’m going about 3 times a week, and I think I can squeeze in another class as long as I stay on top of my recovery and sleep and food and life and stuff. Should be do-able, right? Plus, my gym offers specialty classes in Olympic lifting and yoga an other stuff I want to take advantage of. I know Hulk mentioned he wants to go more often, so I think if we blend our collective motivations together we will become the most unstoppable CrossFit bores ever. Sorry not sorry.

I’m also going to keep plugging away at my 2016 CrossFit Goals. I am particularly interested in learning more of what I like to call Stupid Human Tricks, like HSPU and muscle-ups,  of which I am so far, far, far away from doing but it’s going to be so awesome once I can finally land them. But first, pike push-ups and negative pull-ups all. the. time.

Finally, since I will hopefully be ending my September Whole30 on Monday, I’ll start a legit reintroduction protocol and plan out my “Life After” in a sustainable way where I can enjoy the things I missed (beer!) in a way that doesn’t make me dive head first into Safeway sheet cake and go back to feeling the craptasticalness I felt prior to this round.

Sounds easy enough, right? And of course now that I’ve announced all this and planned it out I shall spend the next 27 days not doing anything to get me to any of these goals. Being a “Rebel” is so fun.

That’s all for now! Go make it a great day!

September 2016 Goals Recap

Well, this is funny. I want to review the goals I accomplished in September, but I realized I never posted at the beginning of the month what my goals were going to be. So we can view this as a bit of a “Did It List”.

Anyway, I wanted to do the September Whole30 with the rest of the Whole30 community in anticipation for the release of the new book “Food Freedom Forever,” which I preordered on Amazon and is due at my doorstep any day now! I also wanted to chip away at my 2016 CrossFit Goals list, and I did hit a couple which was very exciting!

I guess I can’t say that I’ve successfully completed my Whole30 goal since I’m not done yet, but as far as sticking with it for the month of September it was great success. I did have a party six days in where the whole point of the party was to share our home brew, an after pondering it well before embarking on my Whole30  I decided it would be reasonable and worth it to indulge in some beer for the party. I kept the rest of the food compliant (okay, I did have a handful of nuts that I found out had peanut oil later, but that was a whoops), and only drank a couple beers while serving others. It was a very fun party, and I was still motivated to pick up my Whole30 where I left off the next day, which I figured would be the biggest risk. Today would be Day 30, but I’m going to hold out for 6 more days to get in a full 30 days sticking with the program.

Other fun goals accomplished:

  • I ran a mile in 8:56, which is HUGE for me. Back in the day when I ran marathons and stuff, 12:00 was my “happy” pace, and if I pushed it I might have squeaked out a 10:00. Anything under 9 minutes is unheard of for my stumpy little legs. Yay!
  • I pulled off a 50kg (110lb) push press max! I can now lift a slightly emaciated Hollywood starlet over my head if required to do so.
  • I also surprised myself with a 72kg 10-rep-max deadlift. Which is 158 lbs. That would be a standard-sized human. I can pick up and put down a standard-sized human 10 times in a row. Then on further analysis, I realize that I weigh roughly 158 lbs. So really,  I could clone myself, then pick my clone up and set me down 10 times in a row.
  • I’m still working on double-unders as well. So far the record’s 18 unbroken. My goal is to get to 25 unbroken. The consistency of being able to string multiples together is getting better, especially since I got my own rope (ordered this one on Amazon in yellow, and I’ve named her Betty) and I like to do a few before class to warm up. I found out there is really no good place at home to jump rope, since the garage has a really low ceiling and the rope keeps whacking the fluorescent lights, which is bad. And I don’t want to do it outside since the concrete will chew the rope cord up. Ah, suburban homeowner problems. But I’ve been getting some good practice in before and after class, so I’m not too stressed about it.

That’s it for now, I’m excited on what fun stuff October will bring!

Go make it a great day!

Social Media Break – Lessons Learned

Greetings, fellow bloggites!

Oh wow, it seems so weird to finally be writing a post again. The longer I procrastinate, the more I feel like I have to say, and the more I have to say the more I don’t know exactly what to write about. So I don’t write, and the cycle continues. Hashtag blogger problems.

In July and August I conducted a little Social Media Detox experiment on myself. For 30 days I stripped away all forms of social media and content intake in general to see how I felt and what would happen. I was mostly wondering if stepping away from the barrage of posts and likes and other sensory assults if it would help my brain a bit in focus and memory, since I still feel plagued by “baby brain” although it’s been almost two years (!!) since I actually had a baby. Clearly since I’m now posting and pinning and snapchatting I’m back on the Social Media market. So how was the detox? What did I find out?

It was pretty interesting.

For starters, I only intended on removing myself from the socials spaces for 30 days. Then on Day 31, I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to log in again. I ended up waiting for another two weeks before I finally logged back into Instagram, and only a week or so ago did I put the Facebook app back on my phone. I really enjoyed having my own “space” in my head, without wondering what was being posted or if I’m missing out on anything interesting, or even having to question if I should Snapchat my lunch. If I took cute pictures of the kids, I’d just text them to family and friends. If I was curious what was going on in a friends’ life, I would call them. Occasionally when I would talk to people, their reaction for me not knowing about something they had posted on Facebook ad nauseam about made me feel a little silly; like, why would they have to go and explain all of this to me when all of the info is RIGHT THERE on Facebook? I like to be pretty self-sufficient in obtaining knowledge, preferring to dig up the answer myself rather than ask somebody, so it felt weird to ask about things when the answers were attainable somewhere else. But I felt so much more connected talking about my friend’s latest race details on the phone, or group texting new baby pictures with my friend who just gave birth (and commiserating in all of the new-mama war stories!). Instead of taking my kids to an event and being distracted by “ooh, let me take a good picture so I can post this to show the world what a great day we’re having!” I could actually be there and enjoy the great day we were having. I even commuted on the train and just sat and observed the experience – it was actually quite peaceful to take in all of the other commuters sharing this ride with me, ready to take out our individual days. I found myself overwhelmed with such feelings of community and gratitude when I noticed the small pleasantries other passengers would bestow on one another, such as giving directions to a new rider or helping a blind individual find a seat. Oh man, I sound like such a crunchy hippie now. But it really helped me to be able to look and see the good side of people.

As far as brain space goes, I did notice an improvement in my general mental chatter and focus. As I suspected, the lack of new content streaming into my brain did give my cognitive processing abilities a bit of a break to pay more attention to things like what the decision was from that meeting two weeks ago or to not forget that I’m taking Squish to preschool and not driving straight to work even when he is in the back seat. I was able to think more deeply about all of the interesting little topics and curiosities that I like to ponder. And I had an easier time not getting overwhelmed and losing my temper during those routine, chaotic moments that just come with running a busy house with small humans, of the we-have-to-leave-in-exactly-five-minutes-one-kid-is-naked-the-other-is-covered-in-food-the-dog-destroyed-a-couch-cushion-again-something-on-the-stove-is-burning-where-are-my-keys variety. Text that we’ll be late, turn off the burner, throw the dog outside, remember that messy houses mean fun houses, grab baby wipes and spare clothes on the way out the door, and don’t worry, the keys are probably still left in the car from the day before. See, that wasn’t too terrible.

The hardest part was finding out how addicted I was to having a mental escape to distract myself with when I was bored or needed a brain break. This may be TMI, but I suspect this is one of those things that everyone does and no one talks about: I always take my phone into the bathroom with me. And without social media apps to browse while I did my business, I would literally stare at the home screen in my hands. So weird. And during the day at work if I needed a quick mental break from a big task, there was no where for my mind to go. Taking a walk took too much time, I only wanted a minute or two to distract myself. I can’t pull out a book and read at my desk, that’s just weird. I would stand up and stretch and take a few cleansing deep breaths, but my brain still cried for entertainment. I don’t really have a good understanding or answer to this finding yet, of needing to be entertained. I’m filing it as something to explore in the future.

I’ve adopted a new attitude towards my relationship with social media as a result of this experiment. To me, social media is not only a way to connect with people I would like to connect with in real life, but also a form of entertainment just like TV and video games. It’s fun, it can be educational if used in that way, but it’s not meant to replace real life. I can’t play SimPark and think it’s the same as a hike in the real park, just like I can’t “like” my friend’s status and think it’s the same thing as grabbing coffee together. Also, social media shouldn’t “take away” from me. Before my detox, I noticed sometimes I would be in a good mood, then I would browse my news feeds. I would walk away feeling worse than if I had left my phone alone. All of the angry, opinionated memes, “Fitspo” articles, an other ugly stuff that is all too common in news feeds would just knock me out and leave me in a shame spiral – I can’t fix the world’s problems, I don’t have a six pack, and I sent my kid to school with cold pizza in his lunch because today was one of “those” mornings, so clearly I’m not “good enough” and I’m a terrible person. Since coming back to social media I took a hard look at the content I follow, and made changes to ensure that after I take a trip into SnapInstaBook I come away inspired and grateful, if not just the same as I was before. Because that’s what I’m here for – to have a little fun, share some virtual high-fives, and close my browser feeling a little refreshed and ready to move on with real life.

So that’s just what I found, and that was on my first round of Social Media Detox. I suspect that if I make this a regular thing I’ll uncover more observations on the impact social media has on my life and my relationship with it. This is such a strange new world we live in, one that no generation previously has ever experienced. It offers us so many opportunities, but I still want to be a little bit conscientious (without being a buzzkill!) about what we have to pay to have all of this information – and exposure – at our fingertips. Oh man, when did I become all responsible and stuff?

I’m curious, what are your thoughts? How do you view your relationship with social media? Have you ever considered a detox, or does it scare the crap out of you? 😉

That’ all I have for now, go make it a great day!

 

Why I’m Taking a Social Media Break (not just because I’m nuts)

My brain doesn’t work. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. Literally, my brain does work somewhat spectacularly. I don’t have to think too much about breathing or beating my heart, I can usually remember my kids’ names, and I can probably out-daydream anyone I know, except perhaps my sister Amanda. But as most moms can tell you, after kids your brain sort of goes “poof!” and suddenly trying to remember spare details of life such as where you put your purse or that you have an important meeting 9:00 Monday morning just doesn’t happen. Even stuff that occurs routinely, like Wednesday is trash night, just escape me. From who I was before having kids, this has been by far the biggest adjustment to try and deal with, the fact that my brain just can’t keep up with my life anymore.

Or can it?

Sleep deprivation is the most likely and most-cited culprit in Baby Brain. I mean, we are not made to function on four broken hours of sleep a night for months on end. Squish took a while before he was sleeping through the night enough to give me a decent rest. Buttercup, however, was one of those miracle babies that settled into a solid, predictable schedule right off the bat and was sleeping through the night in just a few months. I’ve had over a year of not really feeling like “oh I have a baby” is a justified excuse for poor sleep, since my own choices are now affecting how much time I get in bed more than my tiny, demanding humans. Finally owning up to this fact, I began do my best to get to bed on time, practicing good “sleep hygiene”,  and sleeping in if I feel like I need it. The past four months I’ve really improved my sleep, averaging 7:30 per night. While I have noticeably more energy and vast improvement on my overall mood, my brain still feels spacey and not really like it’s on it’s game.

Now that Whole30 has given me a good template for my diet, I’ve been more active with CrossFit, and my sleep is under control, so with the main factors of cognitive degradation under control I started exploring more options on how I can improve my mental performance. I was flirting with the idea of a social media detox of sorts, maybe doing a “SocialMedia30” of sorts where I abstain for a month. My totally inspiring bestie Alexis just embarked on her month media-free, which put the bug in my brain even more. But 30 days without social media is a bit drastic right? I mean, it’s not just a way to distract for me; this is how I share pictures of the kids with my grandma and stay in touch with friends that live abroad. Clearly I don’t misuse my online connections, do I?

There’s really only one way to find out: that dreaded “awarenes”.

Curious, I downloaded the Moment app, which tracks your phone usage. You guys, I’m spending on average about 2 hours a day on my phone. Two. Hours. I couldn’t believe it. I complain so much about not having time, about wanting to cram 30 hours into a 24 hour day, and here I am spending two hours a day on Facebook or who knows what.

And it’s not just Facebook. It’s Beyond the Whiteboard app where I record my CrossFit workouts and compare myself to my gymmates. It’s My Fitness Pal and the Up app that syncs with my Jawbone, where I load my sleep, food, and exercise data … and compare myself to the other users in the community and browse blog posts. It’s Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Yelp, my Feedly blog feeds, all of the apps that I don’t really need, but I find myself checking ever day, just because they’re there. And that’s not it. There’s all of the newsfeeds I subscribe to through email, with article links and other “healthy” tips that jam up my inbox and feed my brain with data.

What if I don’t have Baby Brain? What if my recent decline in cognitive abilities is because of the barrage of media consumption I subject myself to on a daily basis? Thinking about it: when I had Squish, the only social media I engaged in was Facebook, and I had just found out blogs were a thing. I don’t remember spending my free time sitting on my phone, except to put together a new iTunes playlist or read emails. Now, I am consistently turned onto all the things that are supposed to “connect” me. Connect me to whom? Not my Grandma. And then there is all the IM: the texting, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts. I’m constantly getting pings and notifications and reminders, and my brain cannot turn off.

Maybe I don’t have Baby Brain. Maybe my brain is just done with all of this extra stimulation.

The final straw was when I read this Fast Company article about the brain that I ironically ran across in the latest email newsletter from Dallas Hartwig. And it blew. My. Mind. The article, titled “Your Brain Has A “Delete” Button—Here’s How To Use It” took what I knew about your brain and sleep – as in, you need sleep for your brain to work – and took it a step further to explain how your brain uses sleep to “clean up” stuff, and more importantly, describes that your mindfulness and the things you focus on tells your brain what to clean up and what to repair. So when I’m looking at Instagram 326 times a day, I don’t remember what was decided on in that budget meeting I lead last week, but I do remember that funny meme or the wicked workout that <insert CrossFit Games athlete I follow> did yesterday. Because that’s what I’ve told my brain is important information to retain. Clearly important facts!

So I’m going to give this social media detox a shot. I’m going to go 30 days social media free, and see if/how my cognitive abilities improve. Here are the rules I am going to follow:

  1. No apps on my phone, and no apps in my phone web browsers. I’ve deleted the apps from my phone and web browser bookmarks.
  2. No email newsletters. I’ve either unsubscribed from all email newsletters, or have set up a gmail filter to mark them as “read” and move them to a special folder to read after my experiment, if I am so inclined.
  3. No reading blogs, articles, or online journals, but I will post here if I am so inclined because I sort of view my blog as a journal rather than social media. However if I find I’m posting more often as a substitute for real social connection, I’ll take another look at that rule.
  4. No podcasts. This will be a hard one; I love podcasts on my commute! But I know that if I listen to podcasts, I’ll probably start to crave online social interaction since many of the podcasts I listen to I also follow on social media. So better safe than sorry, and I’ll find other ways to amuse myself driving over the bridge. Like call my Grandma.

In addition to reclaiming my brain space, this social media detox will give me the opportunity to reconnect with the humans in my life, in my  real life. If you don’t know me in real life, please don’t take this as “Emily doesn’t care to know you anymore.” On the contrary, I’d love to get to know you better! Feel free to email me, and let’s connect! And if you do know me in real life, call/text/email me, and let’s connect without a screen in between us (except for my SoCal/East Coast babes, we might need to Skype! Skype is totally okay in my book), preferably over coffee or hiking mountains.

To be clear, I don’t think social media is bad. I think it is useful, purposeful, and an easy way to connect with people. But just like birthday cake not inherently “bad” and is useful and purposeful in the right setting (celebrating a birthday!), so is social media. It is a tool, not an activity. And just like I use a Whole30 to adjust my attitude to birthday cake (totally worth the splurge on birthdays, but not on, like, Tuesdays), I want to use this Social Media Break to identify the role social media has in my life and how I engage with it.

I am super pumped to get two hours back into my day. Wish me luck!

Now that I’m off to do something not social-media related, go forth and make it a great day!

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ERtR’s 2016 Resolutions

Welcome to a bright and shiny new year! I couldn’t resist taking a crappy iphone photo of the last sunset of 2015 from my deck the other night:

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I don’t always make New Years resolutions. Sometimes I do, but rarely do I keep them up the full year. You know, like EVERYONE ELSE pretty much. I usually fall into one or two traps: either I don’t make them goal-ish enough where they’re something I can actually track, measure, and improve on, or I take on too much too soon and burn out. This year we’re going to incorporate both traps! So here is my list of reasonably vague and overwhelming resolutions for this year.

My 2016 Resolutions

1. Whole30 & Whole9 Monthly Challenge

I’m participating in the January Whole30 this month (on Day 2, woot!), and will finish this up by January 30th. I might do another one later this year depending on how things go (i.e. how off the rails I slide between now and then.

A group of folks on the Whole30 Forum proposed doing a “Whole9 Challenge” that I think is pretty cool. The Whole30 is just one aspect of a larger organization called the Whole9, which preaches nine factors for optimal health including nutrition, sleep, socialization, getting outdoors, healthy movement, and other stuff. So each month we’ll focus on improving one of these nine pillars of health. I’ll post this in more detail later.

2. Crossfit twice a week

I’m currently crossfitting twice a week, and will continue to do so. Eventually I want to boost that to at least 3 times a week, but we’ll see how time and energy will allow.

3. Blog daily and keep up with my feed

I will intend to blog daily, but y’all know how that goes when Life Stuff happens. But I’ll do my best. Some days there just isn’t much to talk about, and it’s okay to take a break now and then. What I won’t do is go on month-long hiatuses without first announcing it. Let’s be honest, usually when I don’t blog it’s because I’m not making it a priority and I’m just being lazy.

Also, I keep trying to follow my bloggy friends, but usually it’s just a quick glance from my Feedly app and I can’t always comment right then and there so I tell myself “I’ll do this later from my computer” then it doesn’t happen. So I’d like to make more of an effort to interact with the blogging community by prioritizing reading and commenting.

4. Get adequate nutrition, rest, and recovery

Now that I’m working out for realz again, I’m noticing the effect it’s having on my body. I’m sore, tired, and so. hungry. So I’m prioritizing a lot of recovery and self-care such as foam rolling, early bedtimes, and an Epsom salt bath when I feel really achy.

5. Play with the kids every day

Guilty parent moment: Squish asks me about 147 times a day to play with him, and usually 146 to 147 of those times I respond with, “I can’t, I’m working/doing chores,” “Not now,” or my personal favorite, “Sure, in a few minutes.” Total lie, a few minutes later I just move on to something else and we repeat the request-response circle until bedtime. I’m not building any credibility with him with flaking on my promises all the time, and they’re not going to be this young and eager for Mom to play with them forever, so I’d better seize my chance while I still can. Even if it’s just five minutes, I need to carve out play time. I mean, Fun and Play is another Whole9 factor, so I’m sure on that month when I’m focusing on it life will be all couch forts and super awesome train track setups!

6. Everything in it’s place, and a place for everything

When we moved from our apartment to our house in May, we didn’t have a lot of stuff since we were up-sizing so much. But the stuff we did have, I didn’t really do a good job of organizing it when we moved it. Things just got shoved onto shelves and closets and there’s no rhyme or reason. Then of course we have all this space now, so we can get more stuff! I’m sick of the clutter, and it’s hard for anyone to feel comfortable with helping me put anything away because apparently only I know where anything goes thanks to the haphazard “organization” system. I’m not sure how I’ll structure it yet, but over the year every room, closet, drawer, and shelf will by systematically cleaned out and reorganized in a way that everyone agrees on. Plus, we’ll have a routine clean-up process so every evening and weekend chores get done and clutter dealt with. And now the Gods laugh, because I am a mere mortal thinking I can make this happen.

7. Be happy. Find a system of replacing negative thoughts with loving ones

After my break since October, I’m going back to therapy. It was nice trying to ride my own bike for a bit, but I still have some areas where I need assistance. Since I’m trying to manage my depression without drugs, I need to lean on other modalities more. One of my biggest pitfalls is allowing myself to get weighed down with negative thoughts, and not bothering with trying to replace them with positive ones. It’s a practice and not something that’s easy to just “do” when you’re suffering from mental illness, but it makes a big difference if I keep up the practice.

8. Search out a method of spirituality that resonates with me

This one is a bit personal, because everyone has strong feelings about what they believe. That’s awesome, and I think religion and spirituality is a beautiful thing and I am happy for folks that have found their path in whatever way that is. For me, I really don’t like organized religion. I tend to march to the beat of my own spiritual drum, and I don’t like others telling me what/how I should go about thinking about the universe and beyond. But I do like the community and connection that comes with bonding with others over like-minded philosophies. So I’ll do some searching and reading and find a community that shares what I feel. Worst case, I make one up myself! “Church of the Emily: Come Be Your Own Awesome.” Haha.

9. Read books and update my Goodreads list monthly

I love reading. It’s my favorite. I don’t always make time for it, but when I do I can plow through a book in one or two sittings. I’d like to do a better job of tracking what I’ve read/will read through my Goodreads account because I like to track those things and recommend stuff I’ve enjoyed to others. Recommendations are always welcome!

10. Find joy, and love hard

And then this. Find the joy in life, and love life hard. That is all.

Go make it a great year!

So Long, 2015!

I perused through some of my old posts from this time last year (I hardly ever do this!) to see if I did any sort of New Year’s resolutions or goals. I didn’t. Big surprise. But I did stumble on my journal from earlier in the year that declared my theme for 2015 to be “authenticity.” This time last year, I was still struggling to find the “new normal” from Buttercup’s arrival and feeling the loss of “baby” Squish as he pretty much turned into a little kid overnight while wrestling with postpartum depression in our tiny apartment in downtown San Francisco. Most of my friends were single, childless urban dwellers that I would occasionally be able to meet up at a bar or at a party, but there was a chasm between our life states I could never really bridge. They thought I was super cool that I was a mom twice over that could still “party.” And by party, I mean get a sitter for a couple hours so I could pretend I enjoyed the club scene. But I hated it. My body and emotional state rebelled. The weight piled on, the depression got worse, and I had no idea what it would take to feel normal again.

We moved in May to the East Bay, to a beautiful “forever home” in the perfect suburban neighborhood close to good schools and surrounded by other families with littles. Slowly things started to look up for me. I was surrounded by nature, and tried to take advantage of the nearby fire roads and hiking trails. The kids suddenly had tons of room to play and grow and make friends. Squish started preschool. I connected with some of the neighbor moms. I took on a couple of Whole30s and started to feel kind of good again. I could breathe.

All my life I’ve just sort of done what everyone around me is doing, what I’m told to do. I just wanted to be normal. But now I know that normal is painful, and you have to do what is right for you, not everyone else. That’s what this year has taught me, in a weird way. You’d think that, “Well, duh. You had a family and found out city life doesn’t work anymore. Shocking.” But it’s not just that. You have no idea how much I rebelled at the though of being a suburban mom. It seemed so cliche. I wanted to be the hip, cool lady that just happens to have kids and does all the things so effortlessly. I am not immune to the wretched no-name plague that strangles otherwise smart, confident women into thinking they are doing it all wrong, that it shouldn’t be this hard, that if they could just be more _____ (organized, smarter, calmer, focused, whatever) then everything will magically happen and you win, I don’t know, some life award or something. “Congratulations, you win at Adulting!” Ugh, worst award ever.

Whatever you’re drawn to, be open to it. It’s okay to like weird stuff. It’s also okay to like what everyone else likes. It’s all okay.

2015 kicked my ass, and I am grateful for it. I’m so pumped to see what adventures 2016 has in store!

Snaps for September!

How can it be the last day of August already? I still think it’s June in my mind.

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(Side note: Calvin and Hobbes was the best part of my childhood. They practically raised me.)

I’m wrapping up my Whole30 this Friday (woot!) and now that the end of this challenge is in sights, I’m looking forward to the next one. Right now it feels good to be challenged, so I’m rolling with it. So for September, I’m going to get back to the gym and running again. What will be nice is having a whole week in Alaska that I can use to “reset” some habits. Do you use vacations or travel to try and adopt a new habit or mindset? I find that getting out of Dodge helps me to put things in perspective, and when I get back home I’m usually pretty recharged to tacking life again head-on. And it’ll totally be do-able to work out in Alaska given that we have no real plans or schedule yet. All I know is we’re flying into Anchorage, and if we don’t get eaten by wolves or bears or something we’ll fly home the following week. Real vacations don’t do plans.

I also want to knock out some goals for the month:

  1. Work out six days a week (one rest day in there)
  2. Do one pull-up (assisted somehow)
  3. Do a two minute plank
  4. Squat, deadlift, and bench 100# (this one might be tough for a month, but we’ll see)

Okay, now I feel really pumped and want to run like 10 miles now. But instead I’ll go to work and sit at a desk all day. That’s fun, too.

Go make it a great day!

August Goals Review

It’s September already! Okay, it’s been September for a couple of days now, but I can’t seem to shake that bright, shiny, new-month feeling. Anyway, time to review my goals I set for August:

  1. Work out 4 days a week
  2. Daily blog post
  3. Sleep/nap more – 8 hours/night

Eww. Do I have to? Because I kind of, you know, didn’t do them again. Well, I certainly did my part on #3, the whole sleeping thing. Good grief, all the sleep. If I didn’t have to actively be at work or forcibly take care of another human, I’m pretty much in bed or laying on the couch. I get an A+ for sleep. Even if I do wake up 1,000,000 a night and wake up more tired than when I went to bed. My goal was quantity, not quality.

Anyway, I also crapped out on working out, mostly to make way for more sleep. But I’ve figured out an ingenious way around my whole boo-the-gym attitude. I have stopped riding my bike to the train station, and instead am now taking the Caltrain shuttle from the station to the business park in the morning, then walking the 1.5 miles from the office to the train station in the evening. It’s about a half hour walk, so this way I am guaranteed to get SOME activity in during the day. Then I pepper the week with sporatic squats, push-ups, and the occasional prenatal yoga (which I’ve been able to hit up here and there and I am LOVING it!) either at Satori Yoga in downtown SF or from a podcast. I do feel better, even though I still want all the sleep.

I felt really weird about blogging lately, because I’ve been so lazy and eating so crappily. But as I mentioned yesterday, you can’t present the good without also paying tribute to the bad. I’m struggling with giving myself a break and letting me just embrace the fact that this is the one point in my life where I am allowed to be lazy. Once the little miss comes (in just a couple of short months! Eek!) I’ll have my fair share of running around again. Until then, it’s time to order some more Indian take-out and watch another season of Archer in one sitting.