Social Media Purge

I’ve decided that I want to try a new challenge this month. I’ve been big on the whole 30 day challenges, and when I say that I’ve been big on it I’ve done like two. My step goal and then reading.  But I think that this will be my new thing, in an effort to form better habits and be healthier, I am going to do more 30 day challenges and document them.  Obviously in addition to documenting all my travels.

My new challenge for December is minimizing my social media presence and how much time I spend on social media as a whole.  Why am I doing this? I’ve started noticing that in order to fill my time, I’ve resorted to checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as my main staples of entertainment.  I don’t necessarily feel like I am experiencing any sort of mental shift because of it but I am curious to see if maybe it’s just been so subtle that I didn’t realize I’ve had a major case of FOMO or feeling the need to show off.  I’m not quite sure.  But, I spend so much time checking my phone and checking to see how many likes I’ve received on things that I’ve posted and I want to get away from that.  I don’t think I need the validation of social media users to prove that I am living a good life. I’ve been reading so many articles lately about how social media has started changing the way people think, the way they behave and how it’s really shaped society today so I’m curious to see if I can break the spell for myself.

I was inspired by a few articles that I’ve been reading about people who have deleted the apps from their phones and people who have flat out deleted their accounts.  I must admit that both of those seem drastic to me.  I may be trying to justify making this challenge easier for myself, but here’s why I’m not deleting my apps or my accounts: a large portion of my friends have moved away and social media is the way to stay on top of their lives without constantly having to text them, especially now as they’re having kids and aren’t necessarily as connected to their phones.  Along with that, my core friend group uses things like FB messenger to keep tabs on each other rather than texting because the whole Android vs iOS battle really messes with our phones. Lastly, I love having a place where I can post photos and keep documentation of what I’m doing and my life.

So here is my plan of attack:

I am going to move my social media accounts into a folder rather than have them all spread out separately on my phone (I have an iPhone so you can image the little boxes full of apps).  I am just going to admit it now that I know I have an addiction to Instagram so that one app is going to stay outside of the box.  But the goal with moving Facebook and Twitter will be to stop me from using them as time wasters.  I don’t post a lot in either and the apps are literally just on my phone so that I can scroll through them mindlessly when I’m bored.  So my expectation is that if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.  The goal for this month is to only go into Facebook and Twitter if I have notifications totaling a maximum of 15 minutes a week per app. The goal for Instagram is going to be a little different. I found the “your activity on Instagram” metrics on the app so I can see what my average is per week.  My goal here is to go from 45 minutes a day to decrease it by 5 minutes a week so that eventually I only spend 25 minutes a day.  If I can do this in the month of December, I’d love to get it to a point where I am only on Instagram for maybe 5-7 minutes a day and then maybe just a few times a week to do a check in.

Wish me luck!

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Black Friday Shopping

I have decided that I am the perfect target for all forms of Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday deals. It’s a bit of a problem but it’s a problem I am actually okay with. This Black Friday, I spent the morning scouring the internet for all sorts of deals to see what I could get and surprisingly enough I spent money on practical items. I didn’t think that I would actually get to a point where all my purchases would be all practical items and I feel pretty proud of myself.

That being said, I spent a decent chunk of money because I also realized that I was only a few weeks away from my big trip and I hadn’t purchased any flights or hotels.  So I used Black Friday as an opportunity to find some discounts through Expedia to get cheaper hotels and flights.  But unfortunately, I spent quite a bit of money because I was pairing all of my shopping with the travel bookings.

It’s interesting because what I learned through this entire experience is that I feel more than okay purchasing hotels and flights. In fact, when it is time for me to pull the trigger on a travel experience, it is so very easy for me to decide that it is something I want. When it comes to purchasing anything really tangible, I have a hard time actually making the purchase. Usually I will put a million things in my cart, and then continually shop around until I decide what I want.  This usually ends up with me removing a bunch of items from my cart and then purchasing about one item total.

I remember back when I decided that I wanted to purchase a vacuum for my apartment – I shopped around for days and months and couldn’t pull the trigger to purchase one.  Even though Target had one for about $50 that could do a quick loop around my tiny apartment. I still couldn’t get myself to actually purchase the vacuum until I absolutely needed it because I hadn’t vacuumed my apartment in months.  But on the other hand, I purchase flights without hesitation.  It’s kind of surprising but to be honest, I am totally okay with it. I feel like this allows me to maintain a minimal lifestyle with what I own and I get to experience all the great things.

Anyway, I am so very excited for all my packages to start appearing for the things that I purchased.  I know that there’s a possibility I will return a decent amount of these items but I love opening packages.

Vessi sneakers – updated November

I’ve officially had my Vessi sneakers for a few months now and have actually had the opportunity to wear them during the rain.  Surprisingly enough, Seattle hasn’t had a crazy amount of rain but it’s been great to test out the shoes on a regular basis.  Here are my thoughts:

  • These shoes are actually really comfortable. They do advertise that these shoes will be great for all four seasons but I don’t think I believe that.  Living in Seattle, I think these will work for me but if I lived somewhere that had snow – these shoes would not be great.  They are comfortable but I would never use them for actual fitness activities like running or hiking.  Even light hiking wouldn’t work well with these shoes in my opinion because you can definitely tell that for the fact that they are lightweight, you have to take the trade off of being able to feel things when you step on them.  If you’re hitting the trails in LA, you’ll be fine. If you’re hitting the trails with rocks in the Pacific Northwest, then you’ll have a problem.
  • Yes, the shoes are waterproof but if it turns out you walk heavy on your heels or walk in a way in which water can be kicked up, you’ll get your shoes wet.
  • If you buy the white shoes – they will not stay white.  You’d think that being waterproof, the shoes would be able to withstand getting dirty but that is not the case.  I have two friends who purchased the white ones and they are now just gray/brown. It’s unfortunate.
  • The shoes are still a little hard to put on but you get used to it after awhile. I found that if I put the shoes on while I’m sitting, it is a little easier.
  • If you walk inside after walking in the rain or puddles – be prepared to be heard by everyone. My shoes squeak so much for a solid few minutes immediately after walking into the building. I try so very hard to wipe off my feet as much as possible on the entrance rug in my office but the entire office can hear me a mile away.
  • The black ones are easier to manage and keep clean. I wear them when I walk the dog and have had zero issues with getting them dirty which seems strange after the white ones.

Overall, I would definitely more of these shoes. They’re pretty great.

What am I thankful for?

Today is Thanksgiving. And holy cow has 2018 been a whirlwind of a year.  I am not entirely sure about everything that I’ve seen and experienced this year but to follow tradition, here’s a list of some of the stuff that I am so very thankful this year:

  • My family. I get my love of travel from my parents, I get my love of adventure from my parents.  I get my love of music and books from my sister.  I don’t know if it’s possible to be more thankful for my family.
  • My friends. I know that when I first moved back, I was fearful that coming back would be hard because everyone’s lives had moved on without me but I have the best and most amazing friends in the entire world. It’s been so easy to be back in Seattle and it’s been so easy to maintain the friendships that I have with people all around the world.  I can never really express in words how much I love each and every one of them.
  • My health. Yes, I say this like I am an old person. But this year, I ran 13 miles in one go. Yes, I walked for a portion of it but nothing moved me forward except for my own two feet and my own body. I managed to do it on my own.
  • My ability to travel. I love that I can wander the world and see what it has to offer. I love that I can go to cities where my friends are and visit them.
  • Books. I have finished 53 books so far this year. 53 books of adventures, stories, truths, lessons, and so much more. Things that have challenged me mentally and changed my life for the better.
  • The lessons I’ve learned. Things haven’t always been easy and things won’t always be easy. I understand this and I’m prepared to try and battle it the best I can. That being said, I’m happy where I am and with who I am today. I have no complaints and I will continually try to do better.

What are you thankful for?

Malibu Half Marathon

The day of our Malibu Half Marathon, we woke up at 4AM and then drove out to Zuma Beach to get ready for our half marathon. We arrived at dark which meant that we had the chance to watch the most beautiful sunrise while we were standing along the Malibu coastline. Since we were there about two hours earlier than the race starting, we were ended up standing around taking photos and letting the anticipation build up of having to run 13.1 miles.

We eventually lined up and I decided that I would run in wave 2 which was the 2 to 2:30 group. When it was finally time to start running, we crossed the starting line and I began my 13.1 mile trek.

I first started the right next to the 2:20 pacers and started moving forward. I tried so hard to keep pace and make sure I was keeping steady but kept finding myself moving forward a little faster and eventually I was past the 2:10 pacers and catching up to the 2 hour pacers.  I never quite made it to them but I stayed well ahead of the 2:10 pacers for about 8 miles.

Around mile 5, I started seeing my friends on their way back from turnaround which meant that they were well over half way. I saw a steady stream of my friends running past me which encouraged me because it meant that I was closer to the turnaround which would mean that I was almost half way through.

When I hit mile 6, I had to start walking.  Running up the rolling hills really were getting to me and I had a hard time keeping pace up the hills and that’s when I started breaking down. The heat started getting to me, the hills were kicking my butt and I was starting to feel demotivated.  The 30 minutes I had planned between each of my energy chews felt longer and longer and I kept checking my watch which didn’t help with my motivation. By the time I hit mile 8, the 2:10 pacers had paced me and I knew that I was slowing down drastically.

At mile 9, I hit my wall. And by hitting my wall, I mean I ran face first into a wall of sadness and depression. I’ve heard about this wall but I have never experienced it before. This wall led me to walking and to the point of crying. All I wanted to do was cry and stop. I felt my eyes tearing up, my legs giving away and the blister on my feet starting to form. I felt demotivated, and my mind started to wander away from me into a very dark place. I wanted to call an Uber or a Lyft to come and pick me up, I almost wanted to stop by one of the volunteers and ask for help to get me a ride back to the finish line. I couldn’t stop thinking about how disappointed I would be when I didn’t finish, I kept telling myself that I regretted everything and that I wanted to end this. I was going to be an embarrassment to all of my friends and I couldn’t believe I had let people convince me to do this. That’s right, my wall led me to stop taking responsibility for my own actions and that’s when I realized what I was doing.  I realized that I was in a bad place and I had to move my butt and finish.

Around mile 10, I started running again, slowly but I started running again. The 2:20 pacers passed me, my legs started throbbing more than they have ever throbbed, my knees and hips started screaming but I needed to continue moving so I did. I tried to speed up and pass the 2:20 pacers, so I passed them around mile 11 but at mile 12, I was done.

I saw the line of spectators for mile 12 and so I started running again but I couldn’t catch up to the 2:20 pacers at this point but I knew I had to finish strong. I passed the last line of spectators and there was a brief moment where the we had to turn back around and there were no spectators so I started walking again.  As soon as I was within view of the fences, I started running again and eventually made my way across the finish line.

I ended with an end time of 2 hours and 23 minutes.

It was terrible but so good at the same time. It was terrible because everything hurt and all I wanted to do was sit down. But it was so good because I had just run 13.1 miles and I had finally finished something I never thought I could ever do.

I ran a half marathon

That’s all I have to report.

Actually no, I have so much more to report. I ran a half marathon and I feel crazy.

I decided in August that I was going to run a half marathon because my friends were doing it. I remember the day we decided to do this, we were sitting around the dining table in LA and we decided as a group to run the Malibu Half Marathon in November. So a group of us in Seattle bought tickets to LA for that weekend and signed up for the half marathon.

Leading up to that run, I only half prepared myself to run thirteen miles. But as we got closer to November, I started upping my mileage and not really following a training plan as much as just trying to run more miles. I got to 7 miles then I eventually got to 9 miles and then two weeks before my race, I needed to prove to myself that I could get to double digits in preparation for the race itself. I got to 11.6 miles and I knew that I could do it. I would be able to run the full 13.1 miles or at least run 11.6, then walk the last mile and a half. So after that, I only did one run and really enjoyed the tapering weeks.

On Friday, we flew in Burbank, sat down for our carbo load dinner of homemade delicious pasta and then prepared ourselves for the weekend. The entire weekend was spent with people that I adore and we tried to be off of our feet as much as possible. Even though a bunch of fun activities, I knew that running 13.1 miles was running through the back of my mind the entire time and I was getting more and more nervous.

On Saturday we spent our time eating regular food, going to the beach and eating decently healthy food that night.  We didn’t do anything too strenuous because we needed to make sure we conserved our energy for our run.

I would say that even though I had run 11.6 miles leading up to this run, I felt entirely unprepared.  I regretted not working out more or running more leading up to this run and the fear was really setting in prior to the run.

The things that were running through my head:

  • Would I even finish?
  • What time would I finish in?
  • Would I get blisters?
  • What if I don’t finish?

I knew that leading up to this race, I had actually done really well with time and had finished my long run with an average pace of 10:04 per mile so I thought that I could actually average that for my overall 13.1 mile run. I personally told everyone that my goal was to get done before the car had to pick me up so I would need to average a 17:45 mile. But deep down, I wanted to do well. I wanted my adrenaline to kick in and that I would actually maintain the 10 minute mile or even be better than a 10 minute mile. I wanted so badly to actually get done in less than 2 hours and 10 minutes. It was a goal I didn’t share with anyone but it was what I wanted to do.

But the closer we go tot he race, the more I wasn’t sure this was actually going to happen. The nerves were really setting in but what I wanted to believe was that my adrenaline would kick in and I would do so well.

Along with that, I was running this with four other friends and we had a cheer squad so I wanted to make sure I ended at a decent time so that people wouldn’t be waiting for me for too long. I had this fear of embarrassment of making everyone wait for me for longer than necessary. I definitely had a fear of embarrassment and I wanted to prove to everyone and myself that I could do this. But I kept wavering between believing I could do this and being terrified of failing epically…

Finding your people

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on life and especially life back in Seattle.  As mentioned before, I moved back to Seattle over a year ago and recently started the whole online dating thing to try and meet new people. What I didn’t realize was that this experience would remind me of just how luck I am to have all of my friends in my life and how luck I am to have people who are so supportive of every decision I’ve made so far. That being said, I’ve been having lots of conversations with people about the friends in my life and what we do on a regular basis. Talking about it and thinking about it, I feel like if you had talked to me about it five or six years ago, I probably wouldn’t think that what I do now is really that cool.

I remember when I was younger, I felt the need to be doing the most social things and I felt that I needed to be cool. But that being said, nowadays, what we’re doing is all that I really care about. I don’t care if it’s really that interesting or if it’s that cool because it makes me happy. At this point in time, I’ve seen so many people do things for the ‘gram’ and for posting all over social media which really kind of makes things very different. I feel like things that I’m doing with my friends and family should really just be for me and us to enjoy. It shouldn’t be for other people’s viewing pleasure.  While I may actually post it on social media, it’s less about trying to show I’m cool but rather just showing the fun things that are happening in my life.

When I think about it all, I’ve realized that I’ve found my people. I found the people that I can show up to brunch with to go over the awesome books that we’ve read.  That I can have brunch surrounded by amazing people who love to read as much as I do. I’ve found the people I can sit and watch trashy television with on a regular basis.  I’ve found the people that I can text every awkward moment that happens in my life. The people who appreciate the awkward spellings of my name, the people who I can celebrate every win with. The people who will help me swipe through the online dating profiles. I’ve found the people who will give me so much crap for how terrible my fantasy football team is. The people that I can legitimately cry to without explaining why I’m crying. I have found the people where I can tell them one thing and no questions asked, they will defend me and be supportive.

I feel so honored and lucky to meet so many amazing people in my life. I know that I have a tendency to rant and rave about how awesome my friends are but sometimes, I just feel like I need to put it out there in the universe.  Because sometimes, I just don’t think there’s enough time in the world to call each and every single one of them to tell them how much I adore them.

Respecting women

Recently, I have started online dating.  I started this because I decided that I wanted to put myself out there, especially given that I’m not new to Seattle and I’ve come back to a community of people I love.  I mean, when you’re surrounded by all these people you’ve known for over 10 years; it’s a lot harder to meet new people (romantically or not) unless of course it’s through work. So I decided to try this out and see how it goes.

Interestingly enough, this also happened to be around the same time that a lot of information has been coming out around people at work regarding women not being respected or treated like they should be.  This includes inappropriate things being said, inappropriate behavior and just overall not respecting women and their roles.

I recently sat on a panel at work for a bunch of middle school and high school females talking about what it’s like to be a woman in a predominantly male industry.  Given that I come from manufacturing and tech, it was an interesting panel to sit and share my experiences with a bunch of girls who are going to be the future. That same week, I had one last meeting with one of my mentees talking about how my perspective on how I got to where I am today and being taken seriously, especially as a non-technical employee and a female.

What I’ve realized is that over the last year, I have become more sure of myself and more confident in fighting the misogyny. I had an experience in 2016 where my manager… MY MANAGER told me that I was going to be removed from a supplier relationship because I couldn’t talk football or relate to the leadership team since I didn’t drink.  It was the hardest thing to hear that because I am not well versed in a sport and because I have mild health issues with alcohol, that was justification for not working with a supplier. My other teammate who was male was never told this and he doesn’t care about football or drinking either.

So now, I am more confident to stand up for myself at work and in relationships.  I recently realized just how much more confident I was after sitting on those panels and then going on a date with someone who questioned my reasoning for not wanting to do something. I understand that it may be difficult for some people to wrap their head around certain things but to question me on whether I want to do something that triggers me, means that the guy put his needs/wants over mine. It wasn’t a matter of trying to understand why I didn’t want to do it or why I have made the decision to not partake but rather the question was “well have you tried it?” and “I mean, do you think you’ll want to later?”

I’ve officially decided that what I want in my life is to feel confident enough to stand up for myself in all situations.  I want to help out as many people as I can learn from my experiences so that they don’t go through the same thing. I hate the idea that sometimes when I travel or walk home at night, I have to take precautions that other people don’t have to take.  It breaks my heart that there are girls growing up today that are automatically learning behaviors to protect themselves from things they shouldn’t have to worry about.  We shouldn’t have to worry about being stared at while walking down the street, we shouldn’t have to worry about being grabbed at or harassed.  And we need to all ban together to support each other.  We need to stop judging each other but rather looking out for each other and being there for each other. With that, today is the start of a new era for me. I will never let fear prevent me from standing up for myself or others.

Adulthood – I’m sad

We live in a society today where everything you post on social media is your way of showing the world just how okay you are and just how awesome your life is.  And we judge those that express anything other than pure joy on their status updates.  I will admit that I am guilty of judging people who overshare on social media. I will also admit that I only show the cool things that happen in my life on my social media.  But today, I’m trying something a bit more honest and real.

I am sad.

I am sad because I live in a city without family. I am sad because my life is so dependent on the interactions with others and sometimes, I feel loneliest when I am surrounded by my friends.  Sometimes, I feel lonelier when I am sitting alone in my apartment with absolutely no plans with another human. I know that I shouldn’t feel like this because I am constantly reminded of just how wonderful my friends are and that I’m not alone.  But regardless, I still feel alone.  I feel sad because I am the token single friend of all of my friends.  I am sad because I am constantly wondering why I don’t have a significant other.  I am sad because I constantly make up excuses to other people and myself that this is by choice, but sometimes I do wonder if it is really a choice. I’m sad because I don’t know what I want to do with my life. Because no matter how much I focus on self care, there’s still more to do to help with my mental health.  I’m sad because there are things in my life that I cannot help.  I am heartbroken because I know that there are people in my life who are suffering and I don’t know how to help them.  And there’s no one I can share this with.  I am sad because I’ve seen my mother cry more times than I’d like to admit and I don’t know how to stop her sadness. I’m broken because I’ve mentally decided that the more I pull away from people, the less things will hurt and maybe that’s okay. I’m sad because I’m mentally preparing myself to be alone forever. And sometimes, this is my way of defending myself from the sadness that I am alone and that other people don’t want to hang out with me and I’m not a priority for them.

But.

I am happy.  I am happy because I am independent. I have a job at a company that can pay me a paycheck on a regular basis.  I have stability in my life where I am not worried about being able to pay my bills.  I am happy because I am challenged every day by my job, myself, my friends, my physical ability and my need to learn. I am so thankful because I am sad.  I am thankful that I have emotions that drive me to figure out what will make me happy.  I am thankful that I can hurt because it forces me to focus on self-care. I am happy because I have my health. I have the ability to travel, I have the urge to learn, I have the desire to see what the world has to offer.  I am over-the-moon proud of myself for going to 13 countries on my own. I am so happy because I have proven to myself that I actually don’t need anyone else. I moved from Seattle to LA and back to Seattle on my own. I am happy because I can eat foods that I enjoy, I can find the positive in the little things and I can appreciate everything I’ve done.  I’m so happy because sometimes, the happiest moments in my life are standing by myself in my apartment dancing to music, the perfect dance party.  I am thrilled because one of my favorite things is to stand outside, just stare and listen to music.  I am so happy because it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy. I am so happy because I have met amazing people in my life. I am blessed because there are people who have entered my life, stayed and taught me more than I ever thought possible.  I am lucky because I have met people who have left me permanently but they shared a portion of their life with me and I would never trade that for anything in the world.  I am happy because my parents raised me to be who I am today and they don’t worry about me. I am happy because, no matter how sad I actually am, I exist and I have the chance to make a difference. I have the ability to make someone smile, I have the chance to make someone’s day just a bit better, I am capable of controlling my next move and I get to try whatever I want.

I am sad.  And I am happy.

Things I’ve learned so far…

In my new decade:

  • reading true crime novels before bed is a BAD idea. Get ready for some weird dreams.
  • I may be addicted to reading and I am okay with that
  • The best things I can be doing for myself would be focusing on reading/learning, exercising and eating healthy
  • Exercising really does produce endorphins and serotonin.  Or at least that’s what I think is happening.  I feel more calm and excited about everything after making sure I exercise every single day and hit my step goal
  • Walking every day, even if it isn’t a full dedicated workout, is helping improve my mental health
  • I’ve developed a new love of mussels and clams.  I’ve taken to making sure I order them when I see them on the menu
  • My body is slowly shutting down with old age.  I woke up one morning, stepped wrong and had shooting pains down my hip all day long.  I walked with a limp all day long and it was a permanent reminder that I am getting older
  • Cooking really isn’t as difficult as I always thought it was
  • My skin is revolting due to my old age.  I’ve noticed that my skin isn’t retaining moisture as much as it used to.  I don’t think it’s necessarily something that just magically happened on my birthday but it’s been a slow and gradual process by which now I’m blaming it on old age.  My pamper Sunday routine is turning into a pamper Sunday and Wednesday with some additional night routines to make sure my skin is feeling happy and healthy.
  • I’m more comfortable with sitting on my couch playing phone games. I’m really love Two Dots and it may be becoming an addiction.
  • I don’t understand the changes with social media and with all these various updates, it takes me a very long time to get caught up and understand what is happening.

The new decade has already had a lot of pros and cons.  I’m curious to see what the rest of this decade has in store for me.