Finding A High When Reaching A New Low

This will be a pretty random and TMI post, but then again it's not like the last five posts I've written have much of a segue. 

I weighed myself yesterday (as I do on a semi-sporadic basis), and before my eyes I saw a number that I haven't seen in a while. In fact, it's probably the lowest weight I've been since junior year of high school

I'm not writing this in an effort to collect compliments about this rather prolonged journey of weight loss since my college years. Instead, I just want to reflect on how my thoughts of body image have progressed.

I find that as my weight goes down, my thoughts on body image become more positive. Indirect correlation. 

Ever since middle school, I've always been hard on my body. It was too wide, too short, too squishy. My image of myself was further deprecated by some pre-teen boys who would ask mercilessly why my legs were fat. I remember burning inside whenever that question was asked, and would dread to wear any shorts in my closet. Coupled with some awkward braces, awkward body hair and a very awkward personality, I dug further into my personal shell and hoped to never emerge. I often would cry in the shower, wondering why I got stuck with a body like mine.

As the stress of high school's social and academic norms became terribly unbearable on my weak esteem, I had to find an outlet. Starving my body and exercising it to the point of exhaustion was the only way I could "punish myself". I felt that if I was not mentally strong enough to handle high school, I may as well take it out on my body. I whittled down my daily calories to ~500 (which consisted of carrots, apples, salad and a lot of gum, which I also tracked) and started to work out for 3 hours a day. 

Jeans became loose. Bones began to protrude. Compliments from family friends started to flow in. Head-aches pounded daily. Obsession with calorie limits made me paranoid. Weighing myself started to become my hourly ritual. 

I will never forget the dichotomy of feeling so miserable when achieving a sought after goal. 

Things have changed now...way better than I would have expected. I picked up a love for the outdoors (thanks to some really great people in my life), and soon my life did not revolve around my weight. I've long stopped reprimanding myself for parts of my body that aren't ideal. I don't understand the point of wishing your body looked a certain way.

I've learned that happiness does not necessarily replace weight that you've shed.

Yes, I've managed to shave off pounds, but that really is the secondary or even tertiary benefit. I've gained a lot more understanding for the beauty of any body and most importantly, a passion.


What Have I Done With My Time

Half of the year has dissolved in front of my eyes. As I get older, my perception of time becomes more pronounced. I focus on the invisible grains of sands filtering through the hourglass, hoping that my intense attention will slow them down. But the opposite occurs—I see them speeding faster and faster and I feel as if I am being pulled into the hourglass with them.

I often think that once my time through the hourglass is almost done (i.e. when I am old and time is finally in tune with my cadence), I want to look at my collection of memories as if they were jewels in a treasure box (actually, the more appropriate simile for me would be chocolate in a candy box). I feel restless when idling my time—it’s like wasting money in my eyes. This is why I’m always on the run, trying new things and seeing new places.

So on that note, let’s see how well I made use of my first 6 months of the year.

#TBT to my 2017 Wishlist:

·      Go on my first mountaineering adventure (for those of you who don't know, that means crossing glaciers with ice axes and shit)—Yes!

·      Try surfing— Yes!

·      Explore Iceland— Yes!

·      Don't dye my hair ever again.....— Yes!….maybe

·      Go canyoneering (rappelling through canyons) in Utah—This will happen

·      Snowboard like mad (that means more than 2x in a year for me)— Yes!

·      Backpack/hike through the Narrows, Grand Canyon, Colorado and Glacier National Park—Planned….definitely won’t do all of this

·      Climb Half Dome and Mt Whitney again (due to a certain request)—This will happen

·      Take my family on a surprise trip—This will happen

·      Weave altruism into my travels—Haven’t weaved it into travels, but I have encouraged friends to start donating! Does that count?

Alright, so 7/11 so far. Here’s to setting goals and going through with the commitment. And that’s saying a lot for someone who tends to bail on plans on a disappointingly regular basis.

Let's see what comes my way in the second half of the hourglass' spin.



On to the Oregon Trail

If any of you were lucky enough to play computer games while in elementary school (yes, they did exist during the late 90's), then most likely you have heard of the game ("Available on CD-ROM!") called "The Oregon Trail".

I recall spending hours immersed in a digitally limited landscape of role-play entertainment, and it was hard work! I had to save my family members from dysentery, cross rivers, and hunt for our dinners. That's a lot of pressure for a child's first introduction to a video game.

In any case, I finally made the journey out to Oregon (albeit, it did not involve hunting or dysentery). Instead it involved 12+ hours of driving each day, covering the lush landscape that the state has to offer.

If you're the slight bit interested in the route, it went something like this:

Portland-->Mt Hood-->Bend-->La Pine-->Crater Lake-->Salem-->Portland

And along the way, I was taken away on a visual journey that could never be replicated by "The Oregon Trail" even if remade with virtual reality. Waterfalls cascaded down cliffs like white streamers, rivers ran by the roads gushing with fresh water, and lakes served as giant mirrors, reflecting the forest-green hills and deep blue sky. 

I felt happy. What a simple yet rarely used statement. I've gone through a sort of "attitude adjustment" if you will. The past few months have been difficult emotionally, and for no specific reason at all. I've just been hard on myself and somehow managed to become more so of a pessimist. 

All of the anxiety and self-deprecation peaked at an event that was meant to be monumental for my brother. Selfishly, I unknowingly stole the glowing spotlight, put a dark grey filter on it and turned it towards myself. I still feel guilty for bringing up self-imposed problems at a time when I was supposed to be proud of my brother's accomplishments.  

After slowly consoling myself day by day and really forcing myself to adjust my tendency to be negative, I shifted my outlook from South to North...literally. The trip up to Oregon and being surrounded by a group of people who were simply enjoying the present made me change the filter that was previously dampening my outlook.

The sky seemed bluer that weekend, and not just because the air was actually cleaner (although that helped a bit).

I sometimes long for those days to where my only worry was how I would win "The Oregon Trail" after school...but then again, who's stopping me from adopting that attitude from time to time? 

Living For Yourself

I would love to say that I'm an independent woman.

Yes, I pay my own bills.

Yes, I live away from family.

Yes, I decide what health insurance I want every year.

But lately, I've been feeling dependent. As much as I try not to admit it, I still rely on my others' judgement for crucial decisions. I've come to now think that every large decision I want to make has to pass through them as the final filter. 

Sometimes I forget how to navigate through the fog by myself, using my own compass. I bring in the special forces to help me get to shore. I'm thankful that I even get that support, but I easily lose the capability to live for myself.

I write this as a reminder for me be more cognizant of the crutches I use sometimes, and to remember that I have my own compass that I can trust.



Losing a Friend

So I've done some internal empirical analysis on my mean time to friendship. I have quite a bit of data now (it's all stored in the mother database called my memory, of course), so I think I can make some strong observations with confidence.

On average, it takes me one full year to develop a good friendship. Even when inebriated, I can't just call anyone my best friend...they have to be a someone. There is a lengthy process it takes for someone to dutifully peel my shell and uncover a more raw and loving side of me. We can spend hours trying to figure out why I'm still encased by a shell since at this point I should have escaped from its confines. But that is a post for another time.


In any case, since the friendship acquisition time is so long, the reward of my friendships is that much better. I've come to feel truly lucky in the random souls that have crossed my path and gradually became intertwined in my life. I try my best to hold on to that attachment for as long as possible, just so I can bask in the comfort of a radiant personality. 

So when it comes time for that friendship to slowly unravel, whether it is due to a move or difference in passions, I'm left with a slight indent. The impression of what was once a good friend takes a while to fade away. Mild Sorrow and Nostalgia have front row seats to the memories that are now on replay. 

We all must lose a friend, especially at this point in our 20's. I ask myself if my mind will be ready to play those memories each time.

What Are You Dreaming?

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

Having a dream is one of the most precious liberties some of us have been granted. A lot of us have been raised thinking that chasing after your dream is your right since birth. Even then, it is appalling that I meet so many people who groan about their current situation, claiming that they are stuck.

One particular co-worker I interact with is very consistent with interjecting some complaint about his stagnant career. I used to laugh it off, thinking he was joking (as I usually am prone to), but the more he complained, the more affected I became. And he's not the only one. Several of my friends voice that same fear, as if we do not have the freedom to make our own decisions and determine our next steps. I, too, have found myself lamenting to my parents of my fear of stagnation that my coworker instilled in me.

Before we allow ourselves to surrender our drive to be caged up by discouragement, just remember that you have the power of making a decision. I think that statement needs to sink in more.

In our minds, we exaggerate every parameter in life--especially time. Our lives are moving fast, yes. But we don't realize how much more is left for us. Stop wasting time thinking that you are wasting time. There are decisions to be made, and there are dreams to be realized.