February: highs and lows

Highs

  • Lots of snow days
  • Bought a new TV and sound system
  • Hung out with my sister for an entire day! We ate some great Indian food.
  • The return of The Walking Dead
  • Keeping up with my work – no all-nighters for this girl
  • Figured out who I want to student teach with next year
  • Lots of time at my favorite coffee shop
  • Staying in for Valentine’s Day and making the best homemade bolognese ever
  • Continuing to watch The Office
  • Getting a great deal on a new winter coat (my old one ripped; I purchased a new one for $56…originally priced $160!)
  • FINALLY booked our lodging for our NYC trip (we’re using AirBNB for the first time!)
  • Spent time with our families
  • Bought a new couch (yup, this was definitely an expensive month) after doing extensive research…we decided to invest in something we’ll have for the next 10-15 years 🙂
  • Drake’s new album. I’m obsessed and I don’t really know why.
  • Finally felt like I got back into a regular workout routine- it feels amazing
  • Some really fun, relaxing days at work with my favorite kiddos in the world
  • Started babysitting again (hopefully it’ll become a more consistent thing from here on out)
  • DOUG GOT AMAZING SCORES ON THE GRE!
  • I’m finally eating in a balanced way (not dieting, not restricting, not counting calories) and exercising regularly…AND I’M LOSING WEIGHT. Go figure.

Lows

  • Lots of snow days
  • Lots of money spent that we hadn’t planned on spending (granted, some of it was necessary..i.e. we bought a new couch because our current couch is basically broken…but still)
  • A very stressful week to end the month- I worked 30 hours and had the two biggest assignments of the semester so far due, Doug got really sick and missed a few days of work AND had to study for the GRE..it was pretty miserable
  • Drama with the billing department of our local hospital. Luckily all is resolved now.
  • Feeling kind of lonely / missing my friends / wishing I had more close friends in this area as opposed to scattered all around the U.S.
  • Not being very social AT ALL for the entire month. We were just so exhausted come Friday that we would crash, and then have lots of school & house stuff to do on Saturday and Sunday. I’m hoping March will be different.
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The most important thing I’ve learned

in the past year or so is to let things go. Whether it’s the dirty dishes in the sink, an unchecked item on a to-do list, the rainy morning, the messed-up coffee order, the rude coworker or customer, that text message you shouldn’t have sent, or the myriad other things that can ruin your day IF you let them…you can make the choice to let them go. Sometimes it only takes a minute to do so; other times it might take an hour or two. But I’ve learned that saving your energy, your passion, your tears, your time is so important. Life is too short.

Sunday night thoughts

The weekends always seem to fly by! I’ve had a lot on my mind today, almost too much to try and fit into a single post. Here goes nothing!

I hung out with a former co-worker of mine yesterday morning. It was a pretty impromptu decision, but one I am SO glad I made. She is a bit older than me (okay, try 15 years!) and I really look up to her in many ways. Most importantly, though, is that she is very assertive and always stands up for herself. I’ve been having a lot of trouble with standing up for myself at work lately, and my conversations with her have inspired me to slowly but surely start speaking my mind more. I’ve put up with a lot of rudeness and disrespectful actions from my co-workers (not all of them, but a handful) this summer and I’m sick of just taking it. I want to start to express my feelings in a polite but honest manner.

The other main thing on my mind is that I’m not “getting enough” out of summer. What I’m referring to in that statement is basically the feeling that if I’m not doing cool/fun/new stuff during my free time, I’m somehow “wasting” my summer. Deep down, I know that’s absolutely ridiculous. Even if I didn’t get to go anywhere or have any new experiences, I would still be having a great summer hanging out with the people who are important to me. I think social media probably plays a huge role in my (and others’) feeling that I need to DO as much as possible. I’ve had fun “doing” things this summer- going to the beach, playing mini-golf, getting drinks with friends, seeing movies, etc. but I’ve also had plenty of fun curled up on the couch with Doug watching Kitchen Nightmares, baking something new in my kitchen, sleeping late, and going for walks in my city.

I guess what I need is a balance between going out and trying new things (even if sometimes I don’t want to- usually when I push myself, I have no regrets) and staying in and doing the same things I always do that I really love. For example, today was a typical Sunday for us- sleeping in, grocery shopping, getting lunch at a local place, cleaning, and doing laundry. We’re about to have dinner and watch a movie, which is also pretty typical. Even though I’m using the word “typical,” there is nothing I dislike about our Sundays. They are comforting and relaxing for me- so why do I feel the need to significantly alter these days? Or that these days aren’t good enough? I’m sure I will continue to grapple with these feelings as I get older, and while this is certainly not the worst problem to have– nor is it really a problem, by any means– it’s definitely kind of tough to resolve. To find that balance. To remember that life is short, and to use my time in ways that are meaningful to me — even if they aren’t the rest of the world’s idea of a good time or the “perfect” summer.

So that’s what’s on my mind during this beautiful August evening. I hope you all had a good weekend, and are able to give yourself the time & space to reflect upon whatever it is that’s kicking around in your mind. 😉

Kindergarten graduation

Today I visited the kindergarten class I interned in for the last time. Tonight is their graduation. They will spend the summer at various camps, visiting family, and maybe even traveling to other countries. Then in the fall, they will all begin their next adventure: first grade. Small groups of 3 or 4 students might be at the same school or even in the same class, but for the most part, they will be apart, as they live in many different towns/neighborhoods.

I can’t attend the actual graduation ceremony because I have to work, so I chose the next best thing: the rehearsal. They filed in, sat down, sang a welcoming song, practiced receiving (student-created) awards, practiced receiving their diplomas, and sang their closing song. I almost cried during that last part. The closing song begins with the line, “See the sun setting in the sky. It’s time to end another day.”

While I was with them, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I probably will never see most of them again. How this special, unique group of children, with their various personalities, quirks, interests, and habits will never be together — all 18 of them — again. I thought about how short a school year really is, in the grand scheme of things. How difficult it is to say goodbye after just 190ish days. September always brings a new group of students, but no class is the same from year to year.

I will miss playing mancala and the secret word game with C. I will miss watching I draw her fashion designs. I will miss R’s enthusiasm for sharks. I will miss watching J and K try to run faster and faster during tag games. I will miss kicking a soccer ball around with M. I will miss just talking with E about her weekend. I will miss H and S’s insightful and creative contributions to storytelling. I will miss dancing with J. I will miss our morning meetings, our songs, freeze dance, the block area, the treehouse, field trips, and most of all, our stories. The stories we read and the stories the children told, sometimes independently, more often in a group.

This kindergarten class was, for me, the first experience I ever had in a classroom on a regular basis. I know beyond any doubt that I was an important part of their learning and kindergarten experiences. I wonder if they will ever know how much I learned from them, and how unforgettable they are.

Life post-Whole30: Part II

Grocery shopping now sends me into a tailspin of anxiety. My choices feel unlimited once more, which is kind of terrifying after a month of eliminating lots of the foods I used to eat. Although I can now technically eat whatever I want, I don’t want to do that. Instead, I find myself still gravitating toward many of the foods I ate during my Whole30 (sweet potatoes, coconut oil, more fruit, kale) and not wanting some of the things I ate pre-Whole30 (granola bars, shredded cheese, fruit snacks, sparkling water containing artificial sweeteners, etc.).

Any kind of restrictive manner of eating is dangerous for someone recovering from an eating disorder. Someone like me. Last week, I did overindulge a bit: chocolate chip cookies and tortilla chips were the primary culprit. I definitely attribute at least some of the cause to being sick, but I know that part of it was due to that feeling of deprivation that is particularly problematic if you suffer from binge eating disorder like I do.

However…those urges have not come back at all. I’m a lot more focused on how food makes me feel physically instead of how it makes me feel emotionally. This focus is something I was never able to achieve through other diets I’ve tried: veganism, vegetarianism, the Atkins diet, and flat-out caloric restriction.

I suppose this change in mindset is due to the drastic nature of the Whole30 challenge. I cut out so many things from my diet, and now as I begin to reintroduce some of them, I am made acutely aware of how downright awful some foods make me feel. After a month of feeling on top of the world physically (and pretty damn good mentally, too), the awful indigestion I experience after eating dairy and fried foods doesn’t seem worth it. I want to continue eating in a way that makes me feel great, and when I want to eat something that won’t make me feel so great, I want to make a very informed and intentional decision to do so (That last statement is actually one of the goals the founders of Whole30 have for participants!)

I’m proud that through a lot of hard work, reflection, and change, I’ve moved one step closer to a balanced, healthy, and peaceful relationship with food. I never thought completing a month-long challenge that entailed eliminating many different foods from my diet would help my eating disorder in such a meaningful way– in fact, at times, I thought it would backfire and destroy some of the progress I’ve made this year. I’m so glad I proved myself wrong.