Forget goals– Try This Instead.  

Last year at work, we had a staff retreat to start the year. You know those “retreats”; the name is misleading as it’s really just a day long meeting? Well needless to say, I wasn’t exactly stoked about the whole experience. But before the retreat, we were told that we were going to be taking part in the One Word program, and we would need to prepare one word on a sheet of paper for that day. The word was supposed to be ours — one word that we would want to embody throughout the year at work. My word for the year was Empathy, and I made a cute little arts and crafts poster to show it.

Now though, I’m not at work anymore. I practice empathy on a daily basis because it’s at the core of who I am as a person — I empathize even when I don’t really want to. But for some reason, I was recently thinking about this exercise and started thinking about what my word would be now. Life is different now, my priorities are different, I’m almost a completely different person than I was just a year and a half ago.

I also realized that at this point in my life, although I have things I want to work on, I don’t always have time to sit down and write down lengthy, specific goals for myself. Some days I’m lucky to just brush my hair, so a list of goals seems to be a little bit out of my wheelhouse right now. But one word? I can do that.

So I got to thinking. What is my one word? One word that encapsulates who I am, who I want to be and what I want to show Izzy as an example. And who knows — maybe my word will change next week, next month, or a few months from now, but at least it gives me something to focus on for the time being.

Presence. 

These are the months when Isabelle is growing and changing at a pace that I never thought imaginable. She changes seemingly overnight, and if I’m not present and aware, I’ll miss these subtle changes happening right before my eyes.

Likewise, little things I love that she does tend to disappear in the blink of an eye, and if I’m not present to notice them, they may disappear and be gone forever. Take, for example, when she was about 4 months old she had a span of about two weeks where she would do these loud, long, dramatic yawns that made me laugh every time. If I wasn’t paying attention and present during that time, I wouldn’t have those as a memory, because they’re gone from her ever changing vocal repertoire now.

But this word is not only important for my relationship with Isabelle right now; it’s important for my relationship with myself. I need to be present in the limited time I get for myself if I want to maintain some sanity and sense of self.

I need to be present during my workouts, because the time I have for them is so limited. If I’m off in La La Land, I’m not going to get done what I need to get done, and in turn, I won’t feel like my best self.

I need to be present during my limited time with Will, because my marriage is equally as important to sustain and flourish right now as my “me” time and my “Izzy” time.

I need to be present when on the phone with my family and friends — a feat that has proven to be very difficult nowadays, but those relationships deserve my time too, when I’m able to give it!

This one word involves so many pieces of my life, and it is equally important in all of them. Rather than make specific goals right now, which I realistically wouldn’t follow, I can easily think about this one word during my day and during my interactions with my loved ones, and my time by myself. I can try to incorporate it into different parts of my day, working on it a little bit more every day until full mental presence becomes my norm, and not something that I have to work on (hopefully, right?).

I’m feeling good about this, this one word. I’m feeling weight off my shoulders, not having specific goals to live up to right now, just letting things come as they will and working on each moment in that very moment.

If you’re feeling stressed or pressed for time, or unsure of what your goals should be right now, give this a try. Do some brainstorming, and figure out what words and themes are important to your life. You may find one common thread between them, and this may become your word! It’s much easier to focus on one word than several small steps, and it may give you something to focus on, which could in turn spur some inspiration or motivation for larger goals. (Along these same lines, my girl Monique recently wrote a great post about just doing something in order to get your inspiration flowing– check it out here!)

So if the thought of specific goals weighs you down more than it motivates you, take a few moments to think about one word. You may just feel lighter and more focused, without the stress of resolutions or deadlines.

What’s your word?

 

Small Successes

We all want to see success in our lives, in our fitness routines, in our diets. But what happens when you get to a point, where for some reason or another, things seem to plateau? It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel like your hard work is getting you nowhere, especially if you’re someone starting out on a new routine or a new challenge.

But the truth is, in the world of health and fitness, big successes are often few and far between. It’s the daily grind, the tiny baby steps that bring us to our bigger goals, and those need to be celebrated just like the larger goals, or it can be difficult to realize that you are making progress, no matter how small.

This happens to all of us though — not only those who are just starting out on their fitness journey. For example, my workouts lately have been a little bit sub par for what I expect of myself. Work and life stresses, and a few random viruses here and there have meant that some of my training has taken a step back. My deadlift right now is not at my best, and I’m doing pull-ups in sets of 4 instead of 6-8. I went for a run last weekend that made me feel like I hadn’t run in years.

I could use these as reasons to hang my head and get discouraged, or I can decide to look at the whole picture and find the positives in all of this. The small successes that are bringing me back toward my goals after a little bit of an off time.

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This is one of my favorite graphics because it is SO true. Very rarely, if ever, does real life let you get to your goals in one straight shot! 

So what are the small successes that I’ve had lately in my training?

  • I pulled 185 on my deadlifts last week for sets of 3, sans lifting belt. Why is this a success when my 1RM is/was 235? Well, after not doing a ton of heavy lifting all summer, singles at 175 were really tough for me coming back in the fall. 185 is now starting to feel much easier, and although I’m not up to where I want to be in terms of strength, I am seeing progress and that’s what really matters right now.
  • I completed multiple sets of 4 pull-ups. Again, when I’ve done sets of 8 in the not-so-recent past, I could get discouraged with only 4. But pull-ups are something that I’ve found tend to decrease if you don’t do them very regularly, and I let myself slack on them big time this summer. A couple of months ago, I was struggling to complete multiple sets of 2, but now 4 comes pretty easily. I’ll be back in the higher rep range before I know it!
  • A great 5-mile run on Sunday. I’ve been running most Sundays recently, and while some days are certainly better than others, I tend to stick to around 4 miles. Yesterday, I went out with the intention of running my usual 4, but got to 4 and felt so great that I kept going to 5.3. I honestly felt like I could have easily run 6 or 7, but didn’t have time as I had to get to work. To my surprise, when I looked at my splits, mile 5 was my fastest mile! I’m no speed demon, but when I haven’t run 5 miles since last spring, I’ll take a great negative split, especially when I was running into a good amount of headwind. Small success yes, but for me, great runs like that are exactly what I need to motivate me to keep moving forward.

Runkeeper Splits

Mile 5 my fastest full mile? I’ll take it! 

None of these are groundbreaking. None of these will put me in the elite class of any type of fitness category. But they’re all successes for me, right now, and that’s what matters the most. Even if you just improve by 1 rep or 1 lb, that’s still 1 rep or 1 lb more than you could move last week. Small successes may not be flashy or get you a lot of outside attention, but they are the building blocks to get you to where you want to be. Recognizing these can keep you motivated to move toward those bigger goals, even when they feel so far away. Because every little step gets you closer, and before you know it, you’re exactly where you want to be.

Readers: What are some small successes you’ve enjoyed lately? Do you take time to recognize the small successes in your life or are you more focused on the bigger goals? How do you keep yourself motivated during times of plateau? 

Let’s Reevaluate

It’s the middle of July, the middle of the summer, and we’re smack dab in the middle of the year. Because of this, it’s the perfect time to take a step back and reevaluate where you’re at in terms of goals that you may have set for yourself at the beginning of the year, whether they were hard and specific goals, or just thoughts you may have had floating around  in your head.

I actually didn’t set any “resolutions” this year, or for the past few years for that matter. What I tend to do each year is take a little while to think about where I’ve been, where I’m at, and what I want to accomplish in the next several months. Sometimes I stick to these goals and make them happen, other times I realize at some point down the line that it’s not exactly what I want to be doing.

For instance, several months ago I set a goal, or an intention, that I wanted to at least entertain the idea of training for and entering a power lifting competition. Throughout this year, however, my fitness goals have shifted slightly, and I’ve taken on a few new activities into my repertoire. I have been spinning and running a lot more, in addition to strength training. This is great and has been making me very happy, but what it doesn’t do is make a good power lifter. I’m not at maximal strength right now, I’ll be the first to admit it, as I’ve realized that I’m just not interested right now in focusing my training on just one aspect.

This is also the perfect time to think about the goals that I am in the middle of pursuing, and reevaluating whether or not I’m doing as much as I want to be/should be doing. Now, this is a very subjective practice, so it’s important to understand that it’s not up to anyone else to let you know whether you’re doing enough. You have to decide what your priorities are, what you are willing to do to achieve the goals you have set, and if it is in fact something you wish to keep pursuing.

Take, for example, Rondeau Group Fitness. Starting this fitness group was one of my main goals this year, and here we are, in the 6th week of bootcamp already! Yes, I started the classes, and yes, I’ve continued to work on it throughout the summer, but is it enough? Am I doing enough to progress this goal even further? To be honest, I know I need to be doing more, and there are a lot of things on my agenda, but I am truly, honestly proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

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I’ll tell you one goal where I’m not quite up to where I want to be– and that is on this blog. I have not been writing nearly as much as I had hoped to this summer, and I’m not sure if that means that I’m busy having a wonderful life outside of the blog or if I’m just not putting enough energy into it? Maybe it’s a little combination of both, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I think that blogs are kind of like that in nature, unless it’s your full time job, they have a natural ebb and flow — well, this one does any way. But just because I haven’t been writing as much as I intended to, does that mean that I’ve failed my goals? Honestly, I don’t think so. There have been some other pretty incredible things taking up my time and my brain space, so I’m not going to stress too much about it.

Looking back over the last few months, and forward to the next several months, I must say that I think I’m in a pretty good spot even though I haven’t done everything I wanted to at this point. Goals change, priorities change, and life throws curveballs sometimes. The most important thing is just adapting and staying true to your long term vision of yourself, even if there are a few hiccups along the way.

Readers: Did you set any goals at the beginning of this year? Which of your goals have you accomplished and which are you still striving towards? Are there any that you’ve realized are not quite right for you?

Reflections on 2014 and Goals for 2015

Ok, New Years has come and gone, and now I feel like I have had time to actually reflect on the year past and think about the year coming up. As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t hit all of my goals last year. But then I started thinking about all of the things that 2014 held for me, and I realized that last year was more about life than about lifting PRs, and I’m ok with that.

2014 started out in an odd way with the loss of my father. I use the word “loss” loosely, because the truth is, he was already lost. Due to choices that he made in his own life, he had not been a part of my life since I was a little girl, so to find out that he had passed away was jarring, but not in the traditional sense of losing ones parent. He was not a parent to me, but the most difficult thing was knowing that for the past couple of years, I had been planning on finding him, trying to have a conversation, trying to get answers to my 1000 questions. And all of a sudden that would no longer be possible.  It was a difficult time, but not one that I can explain easily. How should you feel when you lose something that had already been lost?

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But still, 2014 kept chugging along. Shortly after my fathers death, my life changed again, but this time in a much more positive way. I was introduced to my half sister and brother, both adults, whom I had never met previously. And the completely serendipitous aspect of this is that my half sister, we’ll call her A,  lives extremely close to me (about a half hour away). So after the strange loss of my father, I then gained a brother and sister. I have yet to meet my brother, we’ve only spoken by phone as he is many states away, but I have begun to develop a relationship with my “new” sister and it’s absolutely amazing. We’re still getting to know each other, and I can’t even explain how weirdly awesome it is to be getting to know your 25 year old sister for the first time.

So I guess you can say 2014 started off a little bit strangely for me! Of course our amazing wedding came right in the middle of the year, and as we did almost everything ourselves, I felt like wedding planning became a full time job in the couple of months leading up to the big day. Training for the Falmouth Road Race was happening at exactly the same time, my first ever seven mile race, so that was yet one more thing that kind of pushed my other goals to the side for a while.

The end of my year was again a bit strange, with a concussion leaving me with severe headaches for 3 months straight (seriously, 24/7, sometimes strong enough to make me have to sit and take deep breaths just to be able to keep doing what I was doing).

So, life, you got me in 2014. There were huge ups and huge downs, and everything in between. There were a lot of things going on that forced me to focus on me and my relationships instead of fitness, blogging, and career goals, only I’m just stopping to realize this now. Life happens, and sometimes you just have to deal with it. I guess I say this to show people that even if you didn’t meet all of your goals last year either, it’s ok to give yourself a pass. Sometimes life gets in the way, and the only thing you can do is put your big girl pants on and move forward.  Am I upset that I didn’t reach my lifting PR goals last year? Nope, I got married, and I found my sister, and I had some other pretty crazy things going on too. All that’s left to do now is look forward to the year ahead, set some new goals, and do my best to achieve them!

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So without further ado, here are my fitness and blog related goals for the upcoming year. I do have other goals in my personal life, but this post has already gotten long enough!

1. Bring yoga back into my life – I used to do yoga, particularly hot yoga, quite often. Then about a year and a half ago, we moved and I no longer have super easy access to the studio that I used to frequent. I know, bad excuse huh? I have recently been realizing just how much I miss it mentally, and also how much my body misses it. My hips are ridiculously tight, and no matter how much mobility work I do, heavy deadlifting and squatting doesn’t help the matter. Yoga just helps me feel better over all, so I would like to start going this year again. I don’t know if once per week is realistic, but that’ll be my goal for now. Heck, if I make it to any yoga at all I’ll be happy, who am I kidding?

2. Get back into my lifting groove – I’m not going to attach specific numbers to my lifts right now, simply because I’m still rebuilding strength after my injury last year. My main goal right now is to get back to where I was (235 lb deadlift, 125 lb bench, 165 lb back squat). When I get my numbers back up to that point, then I’ll set some new goals to work forward. For now, it’s all about rebuilding.

3. Increase Social Media Presence – I would really like to increase my presence on social media this year. I have put most of my focus into the blog itself, while putting considerably less energy into Twitter, Instagram, and my blog Facebook page. If you’re not following me on any of those outlets yet, please check them out! (And I finally changed my name on Twitter and Instagram to my married name, so there’s that)

4. Post consistently, but don’t stress about it – I realized last year that keeping up with 3x/week posts was just not going to happen. If I can stick with 1-2 times per week, I’m happy with that, and hopefully you are too! It’s just what works best with my life, and I think it also gives you guys better content — quality over quantity and all that!

Celebrating 32 (Yikes)

Well folks, here we are. The 3rd anniversary of my 29th birthday. 🙂

I like celebrating my birthday on the blog. It gives me a good snapshot of things to look back on each year, remembering where I was the previous year and hopefully seeing some progress or forward movement in some way. Looking back on last year’s birthday post, it’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since that time. I guess that’s how it goes, as you get older, the time goes by faster. Or maybe it’s just that as you get older you’re more aware of the passing of time… either way, now is not the time to get philosophical.

I am proud to say that after the crazy injury streak between my 30 and 31st birthdays, I have been injury free! Yes, I made it through the year without having to be in a walking boot, which is pretty amazing considering my recent past. I have been dealing with a flare up of some pretty bad tendonitis in my wrist because of all of the crafting I did for the wedding, but I don’t consider that an injury. Just the hazards of getting old, I suppose.

So now that I’m 32 and hopefully another year wiser, what have I learned since my last birthday? Well, a few things.

1. I can do it.

I know this sounds pretty vague, and I guess it is. But what I mean is that I’m finally figuring out that I really can do the things I want to do. They don’t just have to be dreams, and if I work hard enough, I can make some of these big plans a reality. I’ve now had articles published in a couple issues of Volleyball Magazine (check out the latest here), and that is something that I’m pretty darn proud of. Freelance health and fitness writing is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I’m just starting to believe that it’s actually a reality for me. I plan on spending the next year doing a lot more writing, submitting more pieces, and reaching out to other people in the fitness/health field to make this an even bigger reality, but the difference is that now I really believe I can do this, it’s not just a hypothetical plan anymore.

I also had a great proverbial kick in the pants when I listened to Kara Mohr at the Perform Better Summit earlier this summer. She built something very successful without first owning her own studio, etc. Listening to her speak, as cheesy as this sounds, was like she was speaking directly to me. I have some bigger goals, but I’ve spent the last couple years telling myself that I’ll get to them later, when I own a studio, or when I’ve done this or done that. Listening to Kara made me realize that I don’t have to wait until other things happen, I can start working on things now, because that’s how change is made. If I keep waiting, pretty soon I’ll be 40 and still won’t be any closer to my goals than I am now. So what if I don’t own a gym? Maybe I never will. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t do other things in the meantime!

Maybe the 30s are just naturally a time for this “I Can Do It” attitude? I don’t know, but I’ll take it!

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2. I could possibly compete?

I was able to hit some pretty strong numbers in the weight room this year, and that was without a coach or anyone else writing a program for me. Last time I maxed, I hit 235# deadlift, 185# back squat, and 125# bench. Not bad, eh? Then fairly recently, someone posted a chart of benchmarks for women to work towards in weight lifting — and I realized that I was hitting most of them. If I could do this on my own, what more could I do with a coach pushing me with a new program? What could I do with the excitement of competition looming over my head? I’m a competitive person by nature, but besides running races, there haven’t been many opportunities to take advantage of this. But what if I turned my passion, weight lifting, into something competitive? What if I entered a power lifting competition? This is a total hypothetical at this point, but I’m starting to realize that I could actually compete. It would take dedicated training and a program from a qualified coach, but it’s something I really want to look into. Stay tuned for any updates on that front, because you know if I register for my first competition I’m going to need lots of support from my amazing readers!

Stephlift

3. Change isn’t all that bad.

In fact, in life, I think change is a pretty healthy thing. What good is it if everything stays the same all the time? I feel like we all constantly need to be evolving, need to be challenging ourselves in new ways. That’s why I did take a little break from the weight room this summer (I know this completely contradicts what I just said above, but hear me out). Deciding to run the Falmouth Road Race -a 7 mile hilly course in August- has taken me out of the weight room and onto the roads. This summer, my training has been much more about conditioning and running than it has barbells and plates, but I’m ok with that. I’ve been doing enough with my KBs and other equipment to keep my strength at an appreciable level, and I know that I’ll be able to build back up once this race is over on August 17th. A little change-up is good for the soul every now and then, and helps to keep us humble. This little break from the iron has taught me to appreciate running a little bit more, and has helped me to really enjoy my summer off with tons of time outside, exploring all of the beautiful areas of my neighborhood.

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So with that, I’m off to enjoy my birthday by doing absolutely nothing. And that’s ok, because it’s my birthday, and I can sloth around if I want to 🙂

Readers: Have you ever thought about doing a powerlifting competition? For those of you in your 30s, did you feel this change in perspective too, or is it just me? 

Goals: Then and Now

Looking back over the past year, I can pretty easily say that 2013 was a memorable one for me. I got engaged (!!!), got attacked by an immersion blender, fell 8 feet off a wall and subsequently was saved by Superman, moved to a new apartment, and got rid of my car (welcome to the world of city dwellers with no cars!). There was a lot more, including pretty significant growth of this little blog, but these are the big things that stick out in my mind right now. I also realize, though, that New Year’s is not really about looking back but about looking forward, and thinking about how I can better myself in the new year.

NYE1My New Year’s Date! 

I’ve told you guys a long time ago that I don’t believe in resolutions. I don’t believe in picking one day per year to make up an unrealistic vision of the person that you want to be. I do, however, believe in setting specific and measurable goals that you can track throughout the year, setting new ones when you reach them. Yes, I say when you reach them, because while goals should be ambitious, they should also be attainable. What’s the point in setting goals you can never reach? Sounds pretty non-motivational to me.

I think I did a pretty good job of last year’s goals, even considering some extenuating circumstances that made a few of them pretty difficult. Let’s take a look at my old goals, how I did, and what are my plans for 2014.

Last Year’s Goal: Lifting PRs: I set goals last year of achieving a 200 lb deadlift, a 100 lb bench press, and a 170 lb squat.

Outcome: Well, two out of three ain’t bad! I actually surpassed a couple of these, recently hitting a 230 lb deadlift and a 125 lb bench. Considering there were about two months this year when I couldn’t grip a barbell, and another few months where I was out of heavy lifting all together, I would love to see what I could have accomplished if I had been healthy! Not hitting the squat goal is no surprise though — after my bike accident last year, and the other ankle injury in June, I’ve only just started back squatting again. It will take a while to get back up to where I was lifting previously, but I have no doubt that I’ll get there eventually!

New Goal for 2014:  Bench – 140 lb; Deadlift – 285 lb; Back Squat – 170 lb. Lets Go!!

Last Year’s Goal: Networking in the fitness world, as well as getting assessed at Cressey Performance, which is close to Boston. I would love to get to know them, as well as network with some of the other bigger names in fitness and strength training.

Outcome: Neither pass nor fail here. I have started communicating more with others in the fitness world, but I still have a lot of room to grow and improve. I also put off my assessment at CP, simply because of all of my ridiculous injuries which really limited my lifting abilities.

New Goal for 2014: Continue putting myself out there and reaching out to others in the fitness/strength and conditioning world as much as possible. Networking is key in this field, and I know that there are a lot of great resources out there for me! Also, I do still want to visit CP at some point. It’s kind of a splurge that I can’t afford right now, as I am trying my hardest to save for the wedding, but hopefully by the end of the year.

Last Year’s Goal: Start working on my forever-in-the-background dream — writing a book.

Outcome: Ehhhh I have lots of ideas, some of them written down, some of them not. I wouldn’t say I have anything tangible, but the potential is there.

New Goal for 2014: I think that this needs to go on the back shelf for a while. It is still a goal of mine — eventually — but I think I have too much on my plate right now to pressure myself about this. Maybe it will happen, maybe I’ll start with an ebook and go from there. But I don’t want to make any specific goals, because I don’t feel any rush to stress about this.

NEW Goals for 2014:

  • Stay relatively injury free. I’d like to think that last year was a fluke. I know I don’t have control over everything, but I will do everything in my power to stay healthy this year. Mobility work, foam rolling, regular sleep, etc. These are things that I can control, and that can make a huge difference in training and health.
  • Update my blog. I really need to make some visual updates to the blog, and that will definitely happen this year, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m not sure that self hosting is in the cards, but a major update is 100% necessary at this point. Stay tuned!
  • Expand my brand. I’ve been throwing around the idea of running an outdoor fitness group or bootcamp type workout when the weather gets warmer. This will need a lot of planning and organization, but it’s something that I would really love to do. Again — stay tuned — I’ll give you all more details when I figure them out myself! I’ve got some other ideas as well, but I think I’ll keep those under wraps until I think it’s the right time 🙂

…. That’ all for now! I’ve got some other life goals that really have nothing to do with nutrition or fitness, so I’ll leave those off of here, for now at least. I hope everyone had a marvelous New Year’s Eve, whether you hit the town or stayed cozied up in your jammies on the couch!

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Happy New Year, blog world! Here’s to 2014! 

Birthday Musings of a 30-something

Holy Crap.

Today I turn 31.

No but seriously. When did I get to be 31? (today). How is it that each year we get older, the time seems to fly by quicker and quicker? I swear I was just writing my 30th birthday blog post..

Turning 31 is a funny thing. When you turn 20, you’re finally in your twenties (woo!), and then 21 is amazing just because.. well… I won’t share any stories from my 21st birthday. Then you sail through your 20s, and finally hit the big 3-0. 30 hits hard for some folks (me), but eventually you just get used to it. Although I do still sometimes start to say “twenty–” when people ask me how old I am. I swear I forget. But anyway, then you hit 31, and all of a sudden the novelty of turning 30 has disappeared. You’re actually in your 30s. You’re dangerously close to being middle aged.

 No, I know that 31 is still very young. I know that. But I also know that working with people in their late teens and early twenties every day really puts 30 in perspective. It’s funny because I’m still close enough to my early 20s that I remember exactly what it was like, yet I’m far enough removed to realize how much of an idiot I was.

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Maybe I’m still an idiot. I don’t know. Ask me when I’m 40.

So hmm… what have I learned over the past year as I’ve officially commenced (somewhat reluctantly) into my 30s? Well, for one, that I apparently need to live in a bubble. I’ve had more injuries in the past year than I’ve ever had in my life (most of which were documented here on the blog). I’m not sure if this is because I’m just getting old and falling apart, or because I’m actually becoming klutzier over time. I’m leaning towards the latter, considering the fact that I fell down a flight of stairs yesterday. In the rain. (I’m fine, and really it was probably a hilarious fall).

Don’t think this is going to stop me from training like a beast, running stadiums, or running obstacle course races just yet, though. Despite these injuries, my 30s have been a time to thrive in terms of training. I’m stronger than ever (if you account for the injury setbacks), I’ve found an amazing group of people to train with in the November Project (Can’t wait to get back out to that stadium once this ankle heals up!), and I feel that I’ve only just begun to test my limits on what I can do with my training. Will I take after Tara and try to find a strongwoman competition during my 30s? I’d love to, so we’ll see. Will I run a Tough Mudder, and up the ante a little bit on my OCR resume? Maybe if I have two properly functioning ankles I’ll consider it.

I also have learned throughout the past year that I’m not pushing myself enough. Sure, I have a great job that I do well, but I know that I have more to offer in terms of this blog and other opportunities that I’ve been considering lately. I want to take my writing to another level, and I want to start making a difference for more people. I have ideas about how I’m going to do this, and it’s not going to happen overnight, but I’d say my 30s are a damn good time to really get my ass in gear and make things happen.

I think the biggest realization that I’ve come to since my last birthday is that the future is coming a lot faster than I expected it to. I’m getting married next July (Wee!), and I’m pretty sure that means that real life is actually here. There is no more “Oh, I’ll worry about that when I need to”. “When I need to” has suddenly turned into “now”, and I find that  equally terrifying and exciting. Sure, I’ve got a retirement account and some money saved, but it’s always been for the hypothetical future. Obviously I’m not retiring (or having babies) just yet, but things like that are slowly becoming realistic pieces of my future, instead of vague ideas that live in the land of make believe.

 For all of my readers who are still in college or still in your early twenties, realize that your future will be on you before you know it, so be ready. Your twenties are a heck of a ride, but despite all of my kicking and screaming about crossing over to the other side, I’m starting to think that maybe heading deeper into my 30’s won’t be so bad after all. Real life has it’s perks too 🙂

birthday dog