I was just reading my old online diary, and I came across the following list from June 29, 2003:
32 Things To Do...
Hmm well this is my 32nd entry of 2003...so I decided to make a "32 things to do before I am 32" list. Here goes:
1. Go to college *
2. Find a 4-leaf clover *
3. Write a novel
4. Become fluent in Spanish *
5. Be on a game show
6. Learn HTML (more than basics) *
7. Get a degree in design *
8. Have my own clothing line
9. Become fluent in French, Italian, German, and Portuguese...to name a few.
10. Learn to skateboard
11. Study abroad *
12. Be a camp counselor
13. Meet INCUBUS
14. Live in New York
15. Learn Karate
16. Organize my bookshelf *
17. Go to every state in the US
18. Own 500 CDs
19. Read all of Shakespeare's plays
20. Make a million dollars
21. Design a building
22. Get married
23. Play golf
24. Travel to Greece
25. Go to all 21 Hispanic countries
26. Go to my 10 year high school reunion
27. Design an amusement park
28. Perform my songs
29. Eat gelato in Italy
30. Invent something
31. Reach my 30th birthday
32. Discover who I am.
*** (* denotes something I have achieved or have almost achieved)
Now this is incredible to me. It's so easy to forget the details, and while sometimes it is really really hard for me to go back and read past journal entries, poetry, etc., at other times its amazing to be reading this and still see ME so clearly. Sure, if I were to remake this list some things would change, but the essence is still there. I feel like I'm at a really exciting time in my life. A huge phase (full-time school) is about to end. I have been in school for as long as I can really remember. And I like to remember, sometimes. Sometimes when I go back and re-read my words, re-experience my pain, my frustration, my uncertainty it kills me that I can't reach out to the person writing, letting her know it's going to turn out okay, even if some of the same frustrations and insecurities are still there. But at the same time it heals me, knowing how much more capable I am of dealing with it, and when I come across entries like this I am glad that that girl survived and makes up a vital part of my life. It's never too late to nurture my inner teenager. She still appreciates the attention.
Last night I was reading a blog post at Cranky Fitness and they were addressing something that has been addressed many times before: women and body image. As women we are given societal clues that we will never be thin enough, pretty enough, sexy enough, or good enough. I've touched on this before, in my Celebration of Me post, but sometimes it feels like it's not enough. So last night I made a list of things I love about my body and would like to share that now:
Things I love about my body:
- My hair is awesomely wavy. All I have to do is occasionally wash and comb it for it to look good.
- My eyes are extremely blue, and with them I view the world, notice details and vibrant colors, express unspoken sentiments and witness beauty all around me.
- I love my neck for being long and strong, and for holding my head which contains my mind.
- I appreciate my shoulders for carrying all of my stress and tension, and for supporting my arms and any weight that I carry.
- My arms are strong and flexible, able to do many push-ups and chatarangas. They also can carry my groceries the mile back to my apartment.
- I am incredibly thankful for my hands and fingers. Their dexterity, muscle memory, and strength allow for hours of writing, drawing, painting, typing, playing guitar, playing other instruments, crafting, and all sorts of other skills requiring the slightest of movements and great control.
- I love my spine for keeping me upright and in line, and for notifying me when something is out of balance in my body.
- I love my abs and my stomach for propelling me though the day, for being able to hold a plank for more than 2 minutes, and for keeping me warm.
- **One more thing I love about my arms, back and shoulders** Thank you for the ability to accurately and consistently throw a disc and for always remembering how.
- I love my hips for containing my womb, and for holding my emotions and supporting me, even when I let them get way too tight.
- I love my legs for carrying me through a half marathon, for their strength and speed when I play ultimate, and for bringing me everywhere I go.
- I love my butt for providing me a padded seat, and my glutes for being really strong.
- I love my knees for overcompensating for my weaker hamstrings and hip flexors. I also love them for remaining intact after several injuries.
- I love my feet for bearing my weight, and for being strong, and for putting up with my obsessive nail picking.
- I love my bones, my muscles, my veins, my organs, my tendons and ligaments, my glands and nodes. I love my joins, my skin, my nails, my teeth, the fluids that run through my body, and my freckles.
- I love it all, because it is mine.
I started this blog as a way to voice my philosophies and thoughts on life, as well as a place I could put my experiences within a potentially larger context. It's interesting how relentlessly positive I was this past summer, and how I have been struggling with optimism for the past couple of months. It has been hard to place my shadowy unhappiness- it only appears sometimes, or as an accumulation of way too much going on in my life.
I think I started to feel less whole sometime around mid-October, though it's not really something I can place, as I didn't notice it until I was already deep in it. But logically, mid-October sounds right. I let myself take on way too much, and left very little time for myself. I was taking five classes, 4 of which were 300-level, and started my second job at around that time. The last three weeks of school I was a haze of caffeine and energy bars. I was mentally exhausted and foggy, and was sapped of the majority of my joy and energy. I got really sick around mid-October as well- the swine flu, actually, and I never completely recovered from all of the work that piled up around me during that time.
Every few months I get run down because I let myself take on too much. I stretch myself too thin, and forget to think about my own health. I lose sleep, only excercise sporadically, eat a lot of processed foods, drink coffee like it's water and eventually my body shuts down from the stress.
I will not allow myself to do this anymore. I am going to work on being realistic about how much time I can commit to outside activities. I am currently working on decreasing stressors in my life. It is easier at the moment because I am on break, but it is also difficult to release habits and tendencies that are so ingrained into me.
Current stressors (to name a few):
- Projects hanging over my head (including my thesis)
- Money issues
- Diet (my nutritional intake these days is far from optimal, even if healthy)
- Overexercising and then underexercising
- Being alone a lot
- Eat out way less and plan my meals in advance for a lighter grocery bill and less stress over what to eat
- I have been coffee-free for a week and I have been exhausted. I am going to attempt to limit my consumption to 1-2 cups a day. I refuse to eliminate it completely because I love the taste so much and my life would be less rich without it.
- Less intense exercise daily (under 45 min) compared to 2-3 days a week of intense strength training (1 hour or more). I am also fortunate enough to be taking yoga classes right now, which is fantastic for my body, mind, and spirit.
Basically, taking time for ourselves is essential. Identifying stressors, figuring out what to do about them, doing that and taking time to do what we love will keep balance and peace in our hearts and lives.