182 Days

182 days through the year; 182 days remaining. July 1st is the half way mark through the 365 days we spin on this planet. (it’s true, I’m posting this with 158 days remaining because I was flying to Alaska on July 1! However, I was able to jot thoughts down on the 5 hour flight, see below).

It’s 12:34 am and I’m currently 30,000 feet somewhere above the Pacific Ocean, on a Boeing 747 a half hour from touching down on one of the many runways in Anchorage, Alaska. It’s 34 minutes past the start of July 1, precisely midway through the year. I usually don’t spend time reflecting on if I’m still dedicated to the New Years resolutions I’ve dictated for myself…because I hardly set resolutions to begin with…nonetheless record them in any formal manner…or remotely follow them thereafter…

With the turn of 2018, I’d been compelled to make lasting changes in my life, and although I haven’t kept religiously to my resolutions this year, at least I began by writing them down. The notebook I brought on this trip happens to contain the list of resolutions I created (I’d almost forgotten about tbh). When is a better time to reflect on your daily routine or occasional habits than in the middle of the night, no where in particular, gliding above the atmosphere, without direction or sufficient leg room? Exactly.

I had recently learned there is a difference between goals and objectives. Most people use them interchangeably. Goals are what you want to become. Objectives are a way to measure those goals. At the start of 2018, I created a list of goals and objectives:

    • Goal: yoga everyday
    • Objective: 20-30 minutes of 3-5 poses
    • Goal: daily exercise
    • Objective: gym 5 days a week for 30-90 minutes, rest 2 days a week
    • Goal: read everyday
    • Objective: read 1 book a month
    • Goal: ride on Saturdays
    • Objective: bike or skate for 30-90 minutes
    • Goal: Success Journal everyday
    • Objective: write 1-2 successes in your Success Journal
    • Goal: kick it on Sundays
    • Objective: spend time with friends on Sundays and relax 2-4 hours

182 days of my goals and objectives: I made it to 2 60-minute yoga classes, hit the gym almost consistently 5 days a week, I injured myself pretty badly from a 10-mile-an-hour crash off my longboard last Saturday, haven’t written in my Success Journal at all.

This year, I’ve come to understand that I don’t always stick to goals, but that doesn’t mean I’ve wasted my time. In fact, 2018 took me by surprise. I accomplished things I’d never imagined. So, now, I reflect on the 182nd day of the year to see how far I’ve come.

      • Roadtripped to Santa Barbara to catch up with an old friend I haven’t seen in a couple years
      • Surprised my sister for Tundra’s birthday party (her cat turned 2 years old in March)
      • Ran a Night Nation Run (5K fun-run to end cancer)
      • Celebrated a close friend’s gender reveal and baby shower

The short-end of 182 days is life offering us opportunities and we take them, whether it be roadtripping to a music festival or running for charity. Spontaneous activities appear same-day, like the classical music performance I attended on a Saturday afternoon, or vacations require months of planning, like the Alaska trip I’m currently on. There are so many aspects of life,  goals and objectives, we never think to write down, but still accomplish everyday. What we don’t write down may even be the most significant things of all…

The long-end of reflecting on 182 days is not only an analysis on my goals and objectives, but also a look into the creation of new ones. I didn’t pick up a book until May of this year – it took me damn-near half the year to begin. Books come in various lengths; if I want to read everyday, I should have created an objective such as “read 60-90 minutes a day,” rather than “read 1 book a month,” because I’ve finished 5 books in 2 months. With the onset of reading, I might have been inspired to investigate more hobbies. In turn, sometime in June, I decided to launch a blog, with the objective to post every week, which was completely unplanned (and pretty much an utterly rash decision all around, if you ask me).

Overall, it’s important to reflect on how far you’ve come. Most times, you forget you had goals and objectives to begin with. Sometimes goals and objectives simply aren’t met, other times they’re replaced by alternate activities. At times, goals and objectives change and even lead to new ones. You are half way through 2k18. What can you accomplish in the next 182 days?

Weak This Week

Monday morning I drove my friend home because she stayed the night. I arrived late to work. When I was off, I drank a beer at the Whole Foods outdoor bar, while I facetimed my close friend, who recently moved to SoCal. By the time we were done catching up (aka when my phone died) I went home to dive into all the sleep I lacked Sunday.

I woke up naturally because I forgot to set an alarm the night before. I was late to work again Tuesday, but I left the office around 1 pm to help my manager prep for a retirement celebration. I was late because we spent the morning texting about what “resort casual” means and “no, I couldn’t wear jeans to dinner.” I spent 30 minutes deciding which slacks “I would wear at a resort in Hawaii” and even packed two extra shirts (if the original one I planned on wearing didn’t gain approval from my manager). Set up for the celebration took an hour in the baking Los Gatos sun, the evening was pleasant and clean up took another hour. I didn’t get home until 10:30 pm, in which I knocked the fuck out.

I wasn’t late to work Wednesday but I slept in an hour longer than I would have. After work, I ate too much with my mother at dinner so we spent the remainder of the evening on a stroll. Once again, I was home around 11 pm and immediately fell asleep.

Let me back up.

I have a strict schedule because I’m a grandma, where I’m in bed by 10 pm, so I can exercise at 6:30 am, before my full time job at 8:30 am. This routine has kept me alive for a while so I figure I’ll hang on to it…or do my best. It’s weeks like these that I find myself far off track, coming home at (or after) my bedtime, sleeping in instead of hitting the gym, and paying the price.

It’s weird how the human body works, actually. I work out 5 days a week, take 2 days of rest, but go absolutely mad if I skip proper exercise for longer than 3 days. I literally feel like my life is in shambles and the lack of endorphins is detrimental to my physical and mental health. I’ve felt so weak this week. In addition to not exercising, I’ve been eating out, food I wouldn’t normally eat. This combo has just created a feeling of grotesqueness and instability…which is why I’ve backtracked these last few days, looking for any sign of normalcy, in search of when I first strayed so far from my routine and why I haven’t got back to it.

I slept in last Friday. I had every intention of skateboarding when I was off work, but once I got home and laid in bed, there was no getting up. Saturday is usually my rest day. I spent the day at the beach on Sunday. That brings us to the beginning of this blog post. Therefore, it’s been exactly 7 days since my last sweat sesh. It’s Thursday. I just got home from spending 2 much-needed hours at the gym.

It’s really weird how the human body works, actually. Only 1 exercise session and my brain already feels as if it’s re-entering my body from a week-long vacation. I feel as if I’ve come back to life, or have been reawakened from an out-of-body experience. Did you know your brain releases chemicals when you exercise? Endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) all keep your brain and body working properly. A natural dose is all I needed to feel better and get back on track.

Life is hectic. There are times when everything occurs simultaneously, when we’re too busy to enjoy usual activities, then we’re too tired to hit the gym. Life passes us by like this, where it’s one thing after the other, and hours pass like days do, then we realize a whole week flew by and we’ve been slammed by so many festivities that other priorities fall by the wayside. I get it. That’s how this week felt. And last week. And the week before.

Juggling everything at once is what life is all about. But sometimes our brains don’t get the dosage of chemicals needed to keep us happy, alert, focused, refreshed, motivated, alive. Sometimes, we lose our minds along the way. It may seem a little contradictory, but it’s times like these when we’re living at twice the speed of life, that what we really need to keep us going, is to get up and moving. Even a little exercise is better than none at all. Being active rids depression, provides motivation, keeps us healthy, but, most importantly, keeps us sane.

My mind goes fishing (well, my mind goes somewhere) on continuous days without working out. Then, I feel as if my whole life is out of whack. I’ve realized the quick and easy solution to get my life back is exercise. Hook, line, and sinker.

Colors of Healing

IMG_8078This is the view from Little O’Malley. 3258 feet above sea level. Anchorage, Alaska.

Somewhere near the top, the trail ends and you’re forced to wriggle up vegetation, jumping dirt patches littered with sharp rocks, all the while hitting at least a 50° – 60° incline (I’m inclined to say 90 because it felt so steep! But that’s more than an exaggeration – it’s flat out lie). It took 2 bug bites, 1.5 hours, and 1 can of unused bear repellant to climb to the top, which peaks, by far, the most strenuous and dangerous hike (considering the bear attack possibility) I’ve ever summited. For this reason, I feel as if the view was that more beautiful – reveling in the glory of exhaustion to get to the top. Side note: my sister, Brittany, and I were at Fred Meyer an hour prior to this hike, asking the clerk if bear repellant was really necessary for this area.

“Oh yeah, you’ll want bear spray…or a firearm,” was his response.

Brittany and I had planned for a “long hike” which usually means 3-4 hours, but our itinerary on this trip to Alaska (more to come) was rather tight. We were able to fit in a short hike before dinner, which allotted 2 hours to climb a mountain. I summit at 5-something and the reservation was at 7 pm. We agreed to be back at the trailhead by 6, giving us 30 minutes to drive to the vacation rental, 10 minutes each to shower & whatever remaining time to dress and look presentable for a decent restaurant.

“I want to go to the end of the ridge but we have to get back to the trailhead” Brittany said.

“We should just go to the end of the ridge”

“We don’t have time”

“We’re never coming back here to do this hike again,” I said with enthusiastic urgency, “it’s now or never!”

Little O'Malley Ridge

We jogged down the ridge and took these amazing shots of the view. Brittany really wanted a picture laying in the snow, with the peak of O’Malley in the background. It was 5:24 pm. We were supposed to be on the trail heading back but I formed a small snowball and threw it at Brittany, which missed her by 2 feet. I blame my uncoordinated subordinate left hand, even though my intention wasn’t to hit her in the first place. I threw the snowball so I could write the folks back home to let them know Alaska is where to go for snowball fights in the heat of summer.

As we began our descent, two very athletic young men jogged passed me. I tucked my elbows in and took short, quick steps down the mountain.

“What are you doing?” Brittany called out.

“Jogging like those guys were”

“You look funny!”

Down the hill I went in zig-zag formation. Here’s the thing about jogging down a hill: eventually you pick up some momentum which makes it difficult to slow down (mega duh, physics genius). My left foot couldn’t grip a pile of rocks, sliding into the dirt, jagged rock edges sliced into my shin. I remember screaming but standing as quickly as possible, distracting myself by continuing with the hike, tricking my brain into eliminating whatever pain I felt (or fucken tryin’ to). Brittany couldn’t see me at that that point, but thought I broke my leg because she heard me shrill in horror hahah. Luckily, I didn’t (rolled out of that like a Ninja).

Fall on Little O'Malley

Not long after my fall, and a very rigorous jog down a fucken hill, we hit the valley floor. There was about a half mile between us a the trailhead, a small river in between. I filled my empty bottle with the rushing melted glacier water and cleansed my filthy leg of the bug spray, dirt, sweat, and blood. We arrived at the trailhead by 6:03 p.m. practically on fucken time.

Colors of Healing

I took this picture a couple days after I got back to California. The swelling in my thigh subsided and the bruises began to show. Another side note: I’m a weird person and man enough to admit it. One of the things I think makes me weird is my likeness to getting bruises. No, I don’t like getting hurt. I don’t purposefully throw myself against walls (or in this case, down steep mountains) on purpose to form bruises.

I like bruises because they come with phases. You see them pass through each stage until they finally disappear, the pain is gone, and the only thing that remains is the memory and the smile on your face from reminiscing the stupid idea that formed the bruise. In a couple days, a week would have passed since that hike and the bruises are already less visible than when I took this picture.

There’s a unique joy that awaits me at the sight of healing bruises. I find a small pleasure in knowing that my body is working properly, that all functions to heal bruises are at full capacity, that I’m (for the most) part “healthy” in that sense. What I enjoy more is  the progression, with each passing day, as the bruise changes from hues of dark blue and purple to faded greens and yellows, eventually matching my natural skin tone. The colors of healing are, of course, interesting to witness, I mean, the human body is pretty flippin’ incredible…but I appreciate knowing that pain is temporary.

Watching bruises heal is physical evidence that what we go through is what makes us who we are. We absorb experiences, trauma, hardships. Even if bruises fade, we’re still continuing to heal inside, in unseen ways. Physically. Mentally.  Emotionally. All of  the above. We don’t choose our scars, sometimes they’re not inflicted by our own selves, but perhaps by others. Some scars may not even be visible the naked eye. Maybe they’re metaphorical for the emotional and/or mental pain we’ve endured. Either way, we must adjust. Our bodies must function at whatever capacity we can, to soak in pain, to digest and molt, to transform and restructure. To heal.

I don’t mind the scar on my shin, in fact, my sister’s boyfriend calls it “punk rock” lmfao.  It’s times like these I look at bruises on my legs and know this is another experience that shapes my foundation, shifts my perspective on the world, and reminds me to slow the fuck down on treacherous mountainsides.