Springtime Reflections

Springtime Reflections

I love spring; it’s my favorite season. It’s beautiful, colorful, scented, and hopeful. The feeling that the air is warming, the sight of the lengthening days, affects us all. Spring fever is a reality. Mother Nature is reinventing herself, and as tenants of her domain, we wish to do the same.

Spring is a time of year (rivaled only by autumn) when the weather and temperature are pleasant, for the vast majority of days. Spring has something autumn does not: hope and promise. Autumn is the time of year where the Earth takes off her makeup, takes a shower, and gets into bed, leaving us with her often-cruel younger cousin, winter. Spring is the awakening of the Earth, and the time during which she gets ready for the day, which stretches before her full of possibility.

Spring cleaning is an excellent practice for starting fresh. It’s good to get all the dirt, dust, and general grime out of the house when winter is over. But don’t stop there – clean your car, or downsize your wardrobe, or throw out the things you kept because they might be important and turned out not to be. Doing a deep clean before the real heat sets in will allow you more freedom, because all the cleaning to be done for the rest of the season won’t have to be as in-depth.

Spring is a wonderful time of year, especially for those of us without allergies. If you are one of the fortunate allergy-free population, take advantage of the warmer weather to enter the domain from which you were barred for so many months: the outdoors. Feel the warmth of the sun with the lingering chill of winter in the air. Smell the grass being cut and the flowers in the breeze and the oncoming rain. Look at the growing verdancy, the blossoming colors, the little animals tentatively leaving their holes to go about their business. Take pictures. Touch flower petals. Breathe. Enjoy.

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Monthly Goals for April

Monthly Goals for April

Hello! It appears another month has begun, and you know what that means. It’s time for the monthly goals for April!

I don’t know that this is a goal, per se, because the tickets are already bought, but I’m going to Portland, OR the last weekend in April to visit the boyfriend! I’m so excited; I’ve never been further west than Houston, and that only happened last Christmas. I love traveling, exploring new places, and learning new things. If you have any recommendations of things to do, see, eat, or drink in Portland, please leave a comment down below!

In the last week of March I lost four pounds. I don’t know if that was because I’d been bedridden from a bout of bronchitis where I didn’t eat very much, but I’m happy about it and proud of it. I’d like to lose two pounds a week this month. I’ve been eating like crap in the recent past, and I’ve been noticing the difference in how I feel. It isn’t worth it, and I have to remember that.

I want to look at my phone less, pay more attention, listen better, and read more paper books. My phone and laptop are crutches I use to escape being social, and I need to realize that not only do people like me, they want to hear what I have to say. I like to be listened and paid attention to, so I’d like to do the same for the other people in my life.

These are a few of my April goals. Hopefully I meet them. If not, I’ll try not to beat myself up about it. Happy spring!

The Italian Dream

The Italian Dream

I want to live in Italy. I don’t really care where, as long as it’s near an airport and not too far from the coast. It would be easy to do soon, given the boyfriend’s job, if I found a job myself. I am, by virtue of my mother’s lineage, eligible for an Italian passport and dual citizenship, which would make the whole thing so much easier.

I don’t think I’d like to stay there indefinitely, but then again, maybe I would. It’s a discussion I don’t need to have yet. I would love to live there, in “sunny Italy.” I would be alone much of the time, but I could make friends, whether citizens or expats or both. My Italian language skills have increased by leaps and bounds, and I know if I lived there I could even speak passably. My reading, writing, and aural comprehension are decent, I think.

I can only think of three jobs as a native English speaker with elementary-intermediate Italian skills that could help sustain us: tutoring, nannying, and/or freelance writing. Of course, if we wanted to stay longer, I would inevitably learn more of the language, and could perhaps get a regular job, but I think we’d eventually end up returning to the States.

Have any of you lived abroad? What did you do for a job? What did you like about it? What didn’t you? Let me know in the comments!

Lifestyle Change (Hopefully with Weight Loss!)

Lifestyle Change (Hopefully with Weight Loss!)

 

This is me today, at a weight I am not proud of achieving. I had, over Christmas and the new year, lost twelve pounds. Ten are back, unfortunately.

Like I said in a previous post, I was always a skinny kid growing up, to the point where, to me at least, it was a big part of my identity. So gaining 100 pounds in the last three years has been devastating, to say the least. It’s so funny, because three years ago I thought I was fat, with my healthy BMI and 29-inch waist. I now know I was not at all fat, especially because even now I’m not.

Me in 2016.

But yesterday I began, with two friends, a lifestyle change. I will be exercising five times a week, whether on the elliptical, with weights, doing floor exercises, or just walking the dog till we’re both exhausted. I will eat less dairy and avoid excess sugar; no soda, fast food, red meat, or white breads/pastas/rice; more fruits and vegetables, especially the latter; and protein at every meal. I also have added one lemon water to my morning.

I’m trying to learn to love my body as it is, as well. While it isn’t my ideal of what I “should” look like, I am starting to realize that it is still beautiful and capable. I’m also trying to forgive my past self. I’m trying to forgive the woman who fought her mental demons so hard she forgot to care for her physical being, or was too tired to do so. I’m trying to forgive the woman who, in boredom or distress, turned to food for comfort. And I will continue to try to forgive, because I know the days will come when, for whatever reason, I miss a workout or eat something “bad.” But, I hope they will be few and far between.

I just want to look in the mirror and be happy about the appearance of the woman I see again. I want to feel beautiful and womanly and dainty and capable again. I want things to fit me more easily.

I don’t know where this is going to go. I don’t know what the results will be. I’m hoping that by telling all of you that will help me to stick to the plan. But, I hope when I check in again, I will be healthier, stronger, and more fit. Ideally I will be thinner also.

I love you. I’m trying to love my physical body, too, as I am. I’m getting healthier for me, because I do love me.

If you have any tips or tricks, please leave them in the comments – I’d love to hear them!

Perfection and Contentment

Perfection and Contentment

“I’m never satisfied.”

It’s not just a line from Hamilton. It is also true for me. “I’ve never been satisfied.” Something in me is always reaching for more, more, more. Sometimes “more” means it is reaching for something different, and sometimes it is reaching for something better. But it always means that I am constantly on the lookout for the next thing.

It is truly a gift to be able to be content with what one has. If I, for one moment, could be satisfied with my life, with my situation, I would know a small peace. Peace and contentment are what I long for most, I think, and they are what most eludes me.

But there are benefits to a lack of satisfaction. It means I am always striving to better myself, whether by learning, gaining experience, or anything else. I always want more – more knowledge, more experience, more practice, etc. It means that I am always improving not only myself, but the things I create. I’ve never gotten further than fifty pages in writing a novel because I am given to editing and re-editing much too early in the process.

Discontent can mean perfection, or, more often, for me, it means perfectionism. Perfectionism isn’t great because when something is nowhere near the arbitrary par one has set for oneself, one (when one is me) tends toward giving up instead of realizing that not everything can be wonderful, and often things are the opposite of wonderful, at the outset. I’d be more content if I realized this fact, and let myself be bad at things without giving up on them entirely without trying more than once.

I need to be productive. I am a human being, and all human beings have that need – the need to feel as though they matter to something, someone. But I also need to learn to let go. Let go and let things fall as they will.

Small-Town Spring Break

Small-Town Spring Break

I’m sitting in a cute little place called Cafe Chocolate in downtown Lititz. I’m writing, and I’m happy. I’m seriously toying with the idea of interior design, but I know I have to finish this English degree before I do anything else.

It’s slower here; I know that goes without saying, but it’s nice not to be in a huge rush all the time. Even just being at home in D.C., everything must happen quickly: getting where you need to go, getting what you need to get, etc. At home, everything, including my life, seems to need to happen quickly. I need my degree yesterday and I need a full-time job today and I need to be married and soon there need to be babies and BOY! – It is exhausting.

I think I’d like smaller-town life. As a lifelong city kid, I don’t know that I could stay forever in a completely rural area, but Lancaster is utterly charming to me. You get all the benefits of living rurally, with a city nearby that is just big enough to satisfy most cravings. Food, nightlife, proximity to bigger cities – you name it, Lancaster has at least one.

I’m also, dare I say it, happy to be out of the South. It’s different up here. The South is so full of those old-fashioned rules and niceties – sir and ma’am and miss, an in-depth conversation with the waiter, small talk – and while those are nice up here, they’re not necessary or expected. It makes me look very good when I am in a place where my Southern manners are unexpected but usually welcome.

I know that part of my contentment here is the knowledge that my love will come home at the end of the day, and that I have no obligations, as it is spring break. There’s also the fact that the days are lengthening, and the air is warming. I love spring the most of any season. It is rebirth; it is beauty and youth and goodness. I’m going to enjoy it.

Monthly Goals for March

Monthly Goals for March

A new month has begun. How is it March already?! Here in the DC area March is practically spring, though yesterday and today have been bitterly cold. Next week should be better, and hopefully from there, as they said in the new Mary Poppins movie, there’s nowhere to go but up.

I have a few goals for the month of March. I hope to accomplish them in the next twenty-six days. It’s a reasonable request, but we’ll see. I’ll try not to beat myself up about it if I don’t accomplish them all.

This month, I’m going to try to blog five days a week. I’m shooting for Monday-Friday. I’ve noticed that when I sit down, determined to create, I typically do, almost prolifically. Writing leads to more writing, which leads to more content.

I’m also going to catch up on my journal entries. As a busy woman, I have a habit of typing my journal entries, promising myself to write them out in the paper-and-ink journal soon after. You can imagine how well this has gone lately, I’m sure. I just checked, and my last written entry is from September 14, 2018. I don’t journal daily, perhaps on average weekly, but it has been a few weeks since that one in mid-September.

I am going to finish the two library books that I checked out and mentioned in a previous post, and get more, and finish them too. Along that line, I am also going to read more blogs, a habit I have never truly had, but probably should begin.

Lastly, at least for this list, I’m going to begin working out at least three times a week again. I’ll work my way up to five days. I don’t care how long it takes. I need to exercise, for my physical, mental, and emotional health. I do exercise at work, where I regularly walk a few miles while lifting ten or more pounds over my head. But work doesn’t supply me with as many hours as I need to exercise.

These are some of my March goals. Do you have any monthly goals? Let me know how they’re going in the comments!