Transitional Choices

Transitions. How do you cope with them? Are you open to the unfamiliar? Or does it scare the hell out of you? Or better yet, do you even acknowledge them?

Life is an ever-evolving series of changes. From year to year, day to day, minute to minute. Some shifts are more conspicuous than others. Seasons changing are inevitably visible. But what about small shifts in our day? Morning to evening is obvious; the sun sets, and our day’s responsibilities adjust. But what about the subtle shifts, like your attitude from your morning commute to finally arriving to work. Or the feelings of an empty stomach, before eating lunch, to the after-math satiation of a meal. And even more to think about: how do your small shifts in attitude or mood affect those around you?

Being affected by others’ variations is relatable. Think about how you feel when a friend or family member is in a bad mood. You probably do not want to be around him or her. You are directly affected by their negativity or hostility. Maybe you inherit that transfer of energy and now you have been inflicted with that contagion. At this point, you have a choice. You have the power to choose whether you will terminate the spread of negativity or continue to afflict others. However, deciding to make this choice is completely dependent on your ability to simply recognize your own attitude. That it exists.

This passage alone has shifted from introducing you to the idea of transitions, to recognizing them, and now to controlling them.  Can you take these ideas and apply them to yourself? As you read this, take a moment to scan your body. What is the quality of your breath like? Is it slow or fast? Deep or shallow? What about your posture? Now, don’t change anything. Just notice it. Do you want to make changes? Will these changes result in something different? How are you feeling today? Are you tired? Are your muscles tense? Are you holding tension in your jaw? The space between your eyebrows? Your fingers? Your toes? Just notice.

Think about the people you have encountered today. Were your interactions positive or negative? Could you have been kinder?

Think about the attitudes you have had today. What has your mood been like? What is your mood like right now? Don’t judge yourself. Just notice it. 

I challenge you to just observe these shifts and alterations. The ebbs and flows of life will continue to advance. Can you take a moment to recognize the implications of these transitions? Can you take the time to consider the adoption of a more conducive mentality?

As you have taken this moment to reflect, you may have felt guilt or shame. You may have regrets in your previous exchanges or actions. Do not judge yourself.

Take a deep breath. Hold it in. Let it go. The past is the past. What happened one minute ago cannot be changed. But, what you do have control over is your next moment. Do you want to choose a different tone to take you along the rest of your day? Make your choice and act. For the moment has now passed.

The Value of Quality and Time

I’ve always been an all-or-nothing type of person. Moderation is hard. I can’t half-ass anything. I’m either all in, or all out.

Recently I’ve been re-evaluating the people I surround myself with. I’ve always had a lot of friends coming in and out of my life. Some have stuck around in the long-term, and some have not. Due to my all-or-nothing mindset, I’ve let many people out of my life.  As I get older, I realize the importance of quality. If my relationships are not conducive to improving my life, or making me feel good, I let them go. Like I said, I can’t half-ass it. Especially with relationships.

We have all heard the saying, “quality over quantity.” The idea behind this, is that it is better to have less friends that are of good quality, rather than many friends (regardless of quality). This truth has never been so evident for me, as it is now.

Now, no one is perfect. Everyone has their flaws. A good relationship forgives these flaws with acceptance. Yet some things are unforgivable.

People say, “keep that friend around for what you do enjoy him or her for.” For example, if you and a friend with have a similar interest, like watching movies together, then keep that friend to fulfill your movie adventures. But this concept is hard for me to grasp. If I can’t fully, 100%, wholeheartedly trust and value a friend, why would I want anything to do with him or her? I’d rather be alone. I’d rather not bother. I’d rather not waste my time.

Another concept you realize as you age, is the value of time. Time is the most expensive currency; you can never get it back. People value money or materials. I value you my time. Because it is limited. And you can never get more of it. Plus, your time here on earth is not guaranteed. It can all end in a moment’s time. And that moment is not pre-defined.

This post isn’t going to end with some magical epiphany or realization.

This post is based on where my mind is churning, my heart is aching, and my soul swelling.

I can say that I am feeling sad and lost. But I can also say I’m grateful for the realization. Grateful for the growth and new understanding. Grateful for knowing the value of quality and time. So here I am, trying to balance these ideas, teetering on the very concept that it can all end by the time I take my next breath. But for the time I do have, I am going to choose a positive outlook. Choose to make the best of what I do have. And choose to use every ounce of my energy to surround myself with those that matter and those that are eternally good.


Work together!

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Nashville to attend my profession's annual conference, the Food and Nutrition Conference Expo (FNCE). In this exciting and busy 4-day educational conference, I learned a great deal. A quote that was spoken really resonated with me and felt the need to share...

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

We must work as a team to go far in life. This applies to all things, whether the task is small or large. Remember to use your resources and those around you to accomplish your goals!

it's all just a balancing act.

People need to live a life in balance. I understand we have a lot of work: deadlines, obligations, and commitments. But that’s just one aspect of our lives. Do NOT neglect the fun and happy things that you enjoy doing. Your days need both. Understand what makes you happy, and do it! And don’t forget to smile! 

embrace change.

When is it too late to change?

Someone recently confided in me and told me she was unsure of what to do. She is having relationship problems with someone she has been involved with for ten years now. She has been having the same problems and ultimately is not completely satisfied with what she is getting out of it all. It is boring and monotonous, a way of life that I personally will never settle for.

“But we have been together for so long…there is so much history.”

So what. If you aren’t happy, especially after ten years, why spend another ten years continuing such miseries? I am empathetic of wanting to resist change; the familiarity and sense of comfort we develop with someone or something feels good. Disrupting the cycle of what we know is challenging but ultimately tests ones’ strength. We all know the theory, “survival of the fittest.” Those that can adapt to the ever-changing circumstances we experience in life, are the strongest. So if you are leading a life full of habituation, and are not fully satisfied, change! Embrace the change and don’t be afraid of it! Because once you do, you will find yourself happier and stronger. Who wouldn’t want that?

Speaking of change… 
I recently quit a job that I loved. Keyword: loveD (past tense). I realized that my boss and I did not completely see eye-to-eye on some things. These things were uncompromisable for the way I work, my goals, and reasoning for obtaining such a job. I want to advance in my career in Nutrition, learn as much as possible, and work to ultimately help others accomplish their health-related goals. I felt that the job I recently resigned from prohibited me from ultimately progressing. The established methods and the system of how the institution was run, hindered me from doing the best I could for my clients. Furthermore, I did not feel that I was obtaining the respect that I know I deserve. I have too much integrity to submit myself to such abuse, so I left–just like that. 

It has only been a few days thus far, but I already feel amazing; I have my priorities in line, I know what I want, and am exposing myself to bigger and better opportunities that will set me up for success.

No job or thing defines you and/or your intentions. They are only accessories that (should) help you reach your ultimate self. You define you. Be in control of your actions and reactions.

So how do my experiences relate to you? How can you use my insights to better your own life?

Let’s go through the process together:

1. Realize your priorities. Make a list of what is important to you, what makes you happy, and one of your short-term goals. This should be a short list- only one or two items for each prompt listed above. 

2. Evaluate your life. Make a short list of things you don’t like about your life. Your job? The way someone makes you feel? An aspect you dislike about yourself? This short list should include things that are not permanent. You can change them. And if you cannot change them at this point in time, you can change your perspective on them and the attitudes you have toward these components. You can change the way you react.

3. Prepare for change. Compare and contrast the two lists you made (in points 1 and 2). How do they overlap? How do they not? Can you find a relationship between the things that you’ve listed? I’m sure you already know what and how to change your life. Take the step and do not resist change!

4. Set a goal. How can you improve yourself? Set a short-term goal to reach success in changing your behaviors and reactions. These may be so small– maybe just the way you react to something that doesn’t go your way. Just take a breath. Re-focus. And react accordingly.

5. Work at it and don’t give up. Changing something about yourself is not easy. Evolution is a process, not immediate. But you must start somewhere if you want to see transformation. 

Obviously these instructions may vary depending on your individual circumstances. If you need further guidance, I would be happy to help you. Feel free to get in touch with me!

And back to the initial question, prompting this post… When is it too late to change?

The answer should be obvious. It is never too late. In order to induce change, start RIGHT NOW. If you don’t take the necessary steps to improve your life, don’t expect anything to be different. Set yourself up to succeed. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Written: January 13 2014

your purpose.

Why must we define ourselves? Define our purpose in life, who we are, what we do, who we are to become. Who says that this is the way life should be? Who, I ask? And more importantly, why?

I recently read The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was an excellent read and it made me contemplate my purpose in life. Currently I am finishing my Master in Education and am working as an educator (four part-time jobs. Crazy, I know). But I don’t know if this is what I want in life. I don’t know if it is not what I want in life. I don’t know because I don’t know what else is out there for me. But why must we limit ourselves to one thing? Or to one location? I have always wanted to travel without a purpose. Just to see and meet and embrace different people and cultures. I want to….just. go.

Is that realistic? Is this insanity? We make up excuses for ourselves. Why we cannot go somewhere. Or be someone. Really we can do whatever we want. We just have to let ourselves reach that level of clarity. Or is it insanity. Who knows what it is but I hope to reach it very very soon.

Written: November 14 2012

the little things.

How are you? These are words I hear and/or say everyday of my life. When you meet someone, when you are passing a friendly stranger, when you are talking to your best friend,  or even a family member. This phrase is overused and has lost its meaning. Rather than asking a question, we are stating a habitual phrase. Why have we done this? Asking about others is not only an affable greeting, but a selfless and caring gesture (if you mean it, that is). In addition, we have to remember to ask ourselves, how are we? Are we happy or are we sad? Are we stressed or are we carefree? Ask yourself: how am I?

How am I? I’m wonderful. I feel that I lost myself for awhile. I forgot who I was and what I wanted in life. When we get comfortable or used to a particular lifestyle, we forget to think. We forget to think about our life process. I feel I have recently found myself and am enjoying life to its fullest. I am working extremely hard but still manage to make time for a social life (which is awesome!). And of course, I have been paying more attention to the little things. This is important! The little things make up who we are. They make up the details of our lives and they are not to be ignored!

Do yourself a favor this weekend. Stop what you are doing. Stop stressing out or running around. Just take a moment wherever you are and enjoy something simple. Something that you easily neglect on a daily basis. For example, a smiling baby. Or maybe the flowers on your neighbors tree. How about the old man walking down the street with a pull cart full of Miller High Life (yes I did indeed witness this today!)? These things are crucial for our sanity. Although we are living in a complex and digital world, we must stop and enjoy the things that are natural and real. They cannot be made up nor are they simulated. They are so ordinary, yet when you take the moment to recognize them, they are extraordinary!

Written: January 27 2012