A letter to my 2-weeks ago self

You’re going to be fine.

In hindsight, you knew you would. But that obviously didn’t save you from the restless nights, the panic attacks, or worst-case scenarios playing out in your head. But you can calm down!

Actually, it’s probably okay that you’re freaking out. It’s motivating! Just make sure you’re having these little episodes in front of no one. If anyone must see, let it be the people who are going to love you anyways.

I know you’re sick of the questions. “What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?” “What kind of work are you looking to do?” “What places are you looking at?” Well, you’ll answer those questions soon enough. Unsurprisingly, they’re still annoying, and you still won’t want to answer them, even though your responses have changed. You’ll start to question if all we ever care about is status and identifying ourselves in the jobs we hold.

You’re on the right path to finding yourself. Don’t worry about the job, because God will bring you the right one when you least expect it; and in less time than you think. Or maybe it’s not the right one? It’s too soon to tell, but I have that inkling that we’re right where we’re supposed to be at the moment.

Keep finding yourself, and what makes you happy. It doesn’t have to make you money yet. Even the people who love you most and are desperately trying to help you be happy can’t tell you what it is in the end. But be thankful for them anyways.

Life isn’t any easier once you find that job. Now there is actual work to do. But you’re helping people, and that’s good. It’s not the final destination, either, so just be happy where you are now.

Does this make sense? It’s okay if it doesn’t.

If you’ve paid any attention to this part of the Internet for the past few months, you’ll see I have no business being here. Obviously I don’t know how to keep up a blog, but I’m okay with that. I’ll continue to write as things to come me, whether it’s consistent or static for a while.

I have plenty of excuses to have not written over the past few months, excuses that I won’t bore you with here, but I’ll say that life got busy. Now that I’ve graduated from college and have (currently) nothing but time on my hands, some might say this is the perfect time to write again.

I’ll be honest: this terrifies me. What am I supposed to be writing about? What groundbreaking ideas do I have to share? Will I sound like I know what I’m talking about? Will anyone even care? On top of all these questions, these are the real reasons I haven’t been writing:

I haven’t had anything to say. As much as I enjoy writing, there hasn’t been anything that moved me enough to have to write about it. Yes, some momentous occasions took place over the past few months, but I didn’t feel the need to share them here. Which leads me to my next reason…

I’m still figuring out what this blog is about. I know what things I don’t want to share – like every life achievement or moment of my day. Because really, who needs to know that I binge-watched stand-up on Netflix yesterday? To me, important posts consist of lessons learned or sharing a story that I think people want to hear. That being said, I don’t see myself posing any deep philosophical questions all the time or promoting this blog as a spring of wisdom. This is a learn-as-you-go kind of deal – a revelation I came to recently.

Writing is a way for me to clear the thoughts buzzing around in my head. Sometimes my brain gets too full of crazy ideas that have a bunch of strings attached to them that get tangled, and writing them out helps me untangle the mess. Once it gets straightened out, I usually see a lesson through the nonsense, something worth posting.

Donald Miller says in his book Scary Close that a written work is supposed to do two things: “(1) communicate an idea and (2) make the writer sound intelligent.”

I’ve been wrestling with that statement for a few weeks, and finally realized that I hadn’t been writing because of the second part of what he said. I was afraid of sounding like I didn’t know what I was talking about.

The reason I want to write is not to convince anyone that I know what I’m doing. Because I really have no idea. I write for me. It’s a time to reflect and organize the millions of thoughts in my head. Believe me, this post has gone through numerous edits before being put online, and it’s alright that it’s still not perfect.

Writing has many purposes. For me, it is to clear my head and understand myself better. And that’s something I want to share with people. While not everything I write will resonate with everybody that may read it, the few that it might make sense to can appreciate it. And that’s all that matters to me.

So, here’s to future posts that will come from all the untangled places in my head, and here’s to forgetting what people think about them.

Sometimes you forget… but just for a moment

It seems that these posts are rather sporadic, so sorry about that. Hopefully now that my fall semester has officially ended I will be up for writing more.

This semester was certainly a doozy. My classes were the hardest they’ve ever been, I completed my senior thesis project, and also helped planned a few events on my school’s Campus Events Council. Needless to say I was pretty busy. So come last Wednesday when it all ended, I was very thankful. There were times that were harder than others these past few months, but God stayed faithful through it all. He provided me with an amazing support system of friends and family that were there to lend a listening ear or a much-needed hug. Also, an immune system that stayed true throughout the semester, especially towards the end where I avoided a bad bug going around my apartment that I just couldn’t afford to catch. Talk about blessings!

While I have thought about this semester daily and the amazing care I am in of such a powerful God, this winter break has also brought on new tasks… like finding a job. Even though I’ve not even been home a week, the sense that I need to figure out what I am doing once I graduate seemed to overwhelm me last night. I researched jobs for about two hours and came up with nothing, feeling completely defeated that I did not figure out my future then and there. I was lost.

I was wallowing on the couch in self-pity from coming up empty-handed when the doorbell rang. The mailman dropped off a package addressed to me. It was a care package from my best friend who had just gotten back from studying abroad in England, and it was filled with goodies that she brought back for her loved ones.

That’s when I started crying. Besides the fact that someone had thought to send me such a lovely gift, for no reason at all, the timing couldn’t have been better. As I rifled through the package, I just heard God saying Calm the heck down! You’re gonna be fine. It zapped me back into the reality that I have an awesome God that is looking after me and knows everything is going to fall into place.

The package from my dear friend wasn’t only the thing that brought me out of my moment of despair, but rather what made me realize all the other things that I’ve been blessed with to get me through the low moments:

A concerned mom, who was readily there to give me a hug when she saw I was down;

An encouraging dad, who provided plenty stories of his own experiences to reassure me that everything would work out;

A wonderful boy who sends me random texts throughout the day that never fail to make me smile;

A Bible verse I had read the night before, Isaiah 58:11:

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

I returned to my spot on the couch later that night to watch the Sound of Music that was playing on TV. Of course, as I begin to tune in, it’s at the part where Maria is frolicking her way to the Von Trapp house, and is singing that song “I Have Confidence.” Like c’mon, what is this timing? As she merrily strolled along and continued with verses upon verses, I was encouraged all over again that everything is going to be fine. I just need to have confidence in me!

While I may tend to forget all the little things every now and then, there are always greater reminders to what God has provided me, which in the end is just the greatest support system ever. I’m sure I’ll feel the anxiety of job-hunting again in the future, but I also know that right there with it will be the calming peace the Lord has to offer me daily.


And mind me with each step I am more certain
Everything will turn out fine
I have confidence the world can all be mine
They’ll have to agree I have confidence in me

I love you more than coffee (but please don’t make me prove it)

I have a love-hate relationship with many things. Packing for vacation, Christmas music before Thanksgiving, the movie Frozen… but I think the biggest love-hate relationship of all is that of one with coffee.

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My rich, versatile, caffeine-infused coffee.

I have a real problem. Well, my roommate might call it a problem. But she only knows of the love relationship I have with coffee. This, usually, is not of huge concern with me. Coffee is great! I don’t understand how some people genuinely do not like the taste of it. You can add as much giphysugar and milk as you want to practically alter the original taste, and you can still call it a cup-a-joe. You can have it hot, cold, in the form of lattes or ice cream, or even eat chocolate covered espresso beans for goodness sake! How many other drinks can you do that with? Don’t say alcohol, that’s cheating.

So now you’re saying, “Wait, Megan, coffee sounds amazing! How on earth is loving this wonderful drink a problem?” Well, let’s start off with the amount of caffeine I am inadvertently putting into my body. Yes, I do benefit from the extra boost in the mornings, but if I try and go one day without my brown elixir, I will wind up with a pounding headache for an entire day from the lack of caffeine. The caffeine also can cause dehydration, if one doesn’t drink enough water. Plus, if it’s being drunk in latte or mocha form, I’m of course adding unnecessary sugars and calories to my diet as well.

I still like to believe that coffee has a lot of benefits for you, too. Many times I have reread this article on Runner’s World to make myself feel better about my coffee consumption. It does provide energy, antioxidants, and it literally makes me happy!

So why not suffer from caffeine-induced headaches for the rest of my life? Because I hate them and I don’t want to deal with it, duh. And I really shouldn’t be that addicted, anyways. Life with coffee is all about balance (as is life with many other things, but more on that later). I can enjoy a cup in the morning, and that should be enough to tie me over.

But even now, I sit writing this in the bistro of my college library not just to enjoy my warm beverage, but to listen to the sounds of a coffee pot dripping and the smell of espresso wafting through the air. And it’s comforting. Some of my favorite moments in life involve a cup of coffee. Holding a warm mug as I read my Bible on a rainy day, waking up on Christmas morning to my dad brewing a pot for us to enjoy while opening presents, or meeting friends at a local café to catch up on life. Coffee isn’t just a drink; it’s part of an experience, something that can bring people together. And how can you not love that?

It’s just those dang headaches.

I’m back(?)

Well it’s no secret that I’ve been on somewhat of a hiatus with this blog, really taking a break before it even got started. When I got shin splints this summer I got really deterred in terms of my training, taking a break from running for about two more weeks to let my legs fully heal. Here’s a small overview of how the rest of my summer went:

  • Once my shins healed, I started the 21 Day Fix program after 4th of July weekend. With the intense daily workouts, I did not do any actual running, but the exercises obviously included plenty of cardio. I was also very aware of what I was eating and the portion sizes. I lost about 8 pounds and was feeling great. (For the record, I would recommend Beach Body’s 21 Day Fix to anyone. It is pretty intense, but have modified workouts included in the exercise sets for those just starting out.)
  • The week after 21 Day Fix ended, I went to the beach. Thinking I was still going to stay as active as I was on the program, I was a lot more lenient about what I was putting in my body. Thoughts are a nice thing, but thoughts don’t keep you in shape – actually exercising does. Pretty much ruined everything I had just earned in the weeks prior.
  • Spent the last few weeks of the summer working and moving, and just getting ready for the school year in general. I was working out a few days a week, but not as hard as I had been before my injuries.

It is unfortunate that all my hard work ended up going to waste. And I know that only I can be to blame. I was still nervous about experiencing shin splints again those few last weeks of the summer, so I was purposefully taking it easy. Since school has started, it’s been hard juggling two part-time jobs, a full school load, and my senior thesis project – a.k.a. the bane of my existence – while also trying to find time to go to the gym and making sure I’m always mindful of what I’m putting into my body. Oh, and this new thing I’ve been trying out called a having a boyfriend. Yeah, that’s a fairly new development, but he’s been a real blessing.

North Shore Cancer Run 2014

Oh, but I did run a 10K this month!

Anyways, this probably sounds like a lot of complaining (except maybe not the boyfriend part – you’re welcome, Wes) and I realize that people have it way worse than me and still find time to take care of themselves, blah, blah, blah… I get it. I realize that I have let myself down. And that’s why I stopped writing for so long. But as the semester is slowing down, and I’ll have more time in the coming months before I GRADUATE (WHAT?!), I wanted to resurrect this blog and start over.

 

But this time around, I don’t want to limit myself to writing about running and eating well. Yes, I want to be healthier in those aspects, but I want to be healthier in all aspects of my life. In friendships, relationships, spiritual life, and work ethics. So now, I will be writing about whatever I darn please! This will allow me more freedom in my posts, and probably lead to more consistency. I really hope to keep this going. So, my virtually non-existent Internet friends, please bear with me as I try to revamp this blog, as well as my life.

Bum Weekend

Well, this weekend was a total bust in terms of working out and eating right.

Friday during my run I started feeling a pain in my right leg and was only able to finish two miles. It turned out that I have shin splints! I’ve never had them before, not even in 13 years of playing soccer, so I wasn’t really sure how much I could push them. I decided to take it easy this weekend and really didn’t work out at all. I originally felt okay with this plan, since I felt like I had done well in my workouts and with what I had been eating.

Unfortunately, I spent a lot of time with my guy friends this weekend. And you know what guys like to do? Eat and drink. Friday night we hung out, played games and just watched a movie, and I had a beer or two, which I thought was okay. But the next day we went out to eat for lunch and dinner, and let’s just say I didn’t make the best choices there, either. I got the tiniest bit of exercise in when we walked to the park for about an hour and tossed a Frisbee around. I took it pretty easy there since I was still feeling a twinge in my leg.

Icing the shin while enjoying the strawberries from the Festival

Icing the shin while enjoying the strawberries from the Festival

Sunday after church my friend Grace and I went to a Strawberry Festival to pick strawberries and also experience a mini-wine tasting. It was a lot of fun, but again, not the best decisions were made. On top of the wine, I had a small ice cream.

By that point, I was feeling pretty disappointed in myself, so when I made dinner for some friends while we watched the USA-Portugal game, I tried to throw together as healthy a meal as possible that would feed us all. I made chicken tacos with a seasoning mix that was low in sodium, had wheat tortillas and also used brown rice instead of white. I didn’t use cheese or sour cream, which probably helped lower the calorie count, but it still wasn’t the healthiest meal ever.

As I head into this week I am trying to stay positive and get my eating (and drinking) back on track again. I am a little nervous about running, as my shin still feels pretty bad, so I am planning on going easy for the next few days still. If I end up not being able to run today, I will probably walk or bike, and just keep icing!

Although still feeling like I failed this weekend, I need to put the past behind me and keep moving forward. I made some bad decisions this weekend in terms of eating and such, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try again this week!


Week overview (of last week):

  • Monday – ran 3 miles
  • Tuesday – strength training
  • Wednesday – speed workout at indoor track, total 3 miles
  • Thursday – bike for 35 minutes and ab workout
  • Friday – ran 2 miles

Be prepared!

Scar-the-lion-king-31003130-500-281You should have sung-read that to the song Scar sings in The Lion King. I’ll get to the preparedness part in a minute, but first an overview of some workouts!

Well thank goodness for the World Cup, because there is no way I would have stayed on the bike that long today if it weren’t for Greece and Japan. I seriously hate the stationery bike, because I feel like I’m not getting anywhere. Literally. But in terms of a cardio besides running, it was the best option today. If only someone had scored during the game, I may have stayed on it longer! After my 35 minutes of biking, I did some ab workouts that are probably going to hurt tomorrow.

Yesterday I thought my speed workout went really well. I ran around the indoor track, which is 0.1 mile around once. I did 10 sets of 3 laps: my first lap was a slow jog. The second was a steady run, probably around a 9:45 pace. The last lap I tried to run what was just shy of a sprint. I didn’t take breaks between sets, so that first lap was always kind of a recovery, and if I’m being honest, it probably looked like a limping jog towards the end. But I didn’t stop, and that’s what I’m proud of! If you didn’t already do the math, it ended up being 3 miles total.

So now in reference to the title of this blog, something I have learned this week (actually more like relearned) is the benefits of preparing meals ahead of time. As much as I love to cook, I also love to just be lazy and resort to eating cereal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But that’s not always healthy. Last night I got myself up and made a thing of pasta with ground turkey, sauce, and vegetables, which made enough for probably three servings. I also boiled some chicken that I was able to throw on some salad today at lunch, along with some extra veggies I didn’t use for the pasta that were already cut up.

Talk about saving time! It was so nice to have a good meal and only have to take a couple minutes to heat it up in the microwave or throw a few things in a bowl; and it didn’t involve cereal! I hope I can get in the habit of doing this more often, because it will make preparing healthy meals a lot easier!

Little changes, big difference

Happy Tuesday!

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I wanted to share the first healthy recipe that wasn’t my own that I tried for dinner today, which was a flour free breakfast pancake. I found the recipe at fANNEtastic food’s blog, and you can find the link for it here! I went for it today because I had most of the ingredients and was in the mood for something new. I topped it with some Greek yogurt and blueberries. It looked kinda gross when it was cooking, and I had to improvise with some oats instead of flaxseed grounds, but it still tasted so yummy!


I can’t believe how much more energy I feel like I have since last week. I’ve tried eating less at meals instead of eating until I felt full, and it still feels like I’m getting enough, and I’m not starving myself the entire day. I’ve also cut back on the in-between meals snacks, and I realized that I’m really only eating them because I’m bored. Whenever I turn to go get something quick, I just drink some water instead and see if that curbs the need first.

When I began running on a regular basis last week I had also tried giving up caffeine at the same time. At first it was hard. Really hard. Like going-to-bed-at-7-pm hard. I was so tired. But after keeping up with it (and just two coffees since last Tuesday! It’s a big accomplishment, I promise), I feel like I don’t need to rely on caffeine in the morning to get me through the day. Now the exercise is actually training my body to need less sleep! Getting a routine down and my body used to the work and a few diet changes has really helped me to stop hitting that wall of exhaustion around 5:00 everyday. I am excited to see what more workouts and healthy eating will do for me!

Excuses Broken: My friends are nice!

A Past Excuse: “My friends are more important to me than running.”

Well, that’s actually not an excuse. That’s a fact. But guess what I found out this week? My friends are extremely nice people. I could give you many reasons why, but one reason specifically is because they have supported me in my efforts to run, whether they realize it or not.

One of my many worries about committing fully to running was about missing out on times with my friends. This past week I was challenged to tell my friends that I wanted to run before seeing them. I didn’t tell them flat out, “I’m trying to change and get serious about running, so I can’t hang out with you.” But when they wanted to get dinner, or hang out after we got out of work, I simply asked them if we could push whatever we were doing until after I ran. And they were okay with it!

Prioritizing this week was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be thanks to my wonderful friends. It could be that they really just didn’t care that much about hanging out with me, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt 😉 Just because I wanted to run didn’t mean I had to give up spending time with my friends. While it’s important to remember what things should come first in your life, it doesn’t mean you can’t do other things that make you happy, too!


 

Week Overview:

  • Monday – Ran outside, 2.28 mi.
  • Wednesday – Makeshift speed workout at track, total of 2 mi.
  • Friday – Ran on indoor track, 2 mi.
  • Saturday – 8 minute abs workout
  • Sunday – Ran outside, 2.33 mi.

This week obviously started out a little slow, and my runs were not very long. Next week I will be adding in some strength workouts/cross-training.

Training Plans

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During my first Princess Half Marathon

As you’ve probably caught on, my main form of exercise is running. I’ve been “running” since fall of my senior year of high school, but I’ve been actually running almost my whole life due to playing soccer for 13 years. When I gave up soccer my last year of high school I decided to start running on my own, and my mom helped me keep going by giving me the incentive of taking me down to Disney World and running in the Princess Half Marathon with her in 2011. Since then, I’ve tried to keep up with it, but I really feel like I only start training around September or October when I know the Princess is around the corner. After it’s over, I’ll stop for a few weeks. Or months.

Signing up for races has been a great motivator for me to continue to run, knowing I am working towards a goal. As of right now, the next two races I will be running in are the 5k during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, and the half during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Yeah, I like Disney, but I could write a dozen other posts about that, so I’ll save it for later. But I will say – if you ever get the chance to run in a Disney race, do it. It really makes running fun!

Since the 5k isn’t until January, and I haven’t decided yet if I am signing up for another race before this, I’m really going to have to stay disciplined in my running schedule. The plan is to run at least three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and do my best to fit it in on Saturday or Sunday as well. Off days (Tuesday and Thursday) will be cross training in some type of way, whether it’s weight lifting, swimming, or biking. I haven’t started any of that yet, but plan to add that next week (it should be easy too, since my roommate is going to be out of town and I won’t have anything better to do). This will at least be my schedule for the summer; once school starts, it could get a little tricky! But I won’t worry about that until I have to.

Races are usually what motivate me to run regularly, knowing if I don’t I am going to do poorly come race day. Right now I have the excuse to say I don’t have a race until January, but I’m not going to use it. If I start now, I can do the best I’ve possibly ever done in a 5k. All it’s gonna take is a little faith and some pixie dust!