27 Things to do that are more fulfilling than complaining about turning 27…

We’re all climbing up that steep ladder called life, one lap around the sun at a time. My grandma always says, the older you get, the faster it goes. It feels like I was just planning my super hip Laguna Beach-themed 14 year old pool party, and yet here I am, writing about turning 27. Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, and our increase in age is inevitable. So, rather then complain about that slippery slope of getting older, here are 27 things to do that are more productive and fulfilling…

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  1. Get sweaty. Whether it’s running, jumping, lifting, or dancing, incorporate physical activity into your daily life.
  2. Take yourself out to dinner. Or lunch, or breakfast. Get comfortable spending time with yourself by keeping your phone in the car.
  3. Book a solo trip. You’ve mastered the art of dining alone, now go ahead and see the world with the most badass travel buddy out there— yourself.
  4. Drink a beer. A good beer. In the shower. There’s nothing a nice shower beer can’t cure.
  5. Clean your space. Vacuum. Dust. Declutter. Donate the things you don’t need. If you live as if you’re always expecting a wildfire, you begin to realize the material possessions you truly care about.
  6. Cook. Get creative! Try different spices and recipes, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Sometimes they lead to a whole new creation. IMG_6814.jpeg
  7. Meditate. Practice the art of stillness. Developing a mindful meditation practice has been my super tool in combating anxiety.
  8. Stretch. Amazon prime yourself a foam roller, and roll with it. You may surprise yourself with how flexible you are— mind, body and soul.
  9. Read something someone else wrote. Whether it’s a book, blog, or magazine. Fill your mind with the musing of others.
  10. Read something you wrote. I know personally, I’ve got a plethora of old notebooks hiding under my bed. Dust off the cobwebs are tap into thoughts of the past.
  11. Play an instrument. You don’t have the be the best, you don’t even have to be that good. Just try. Activate a new part of your brain.
  12. Organize your photos. You know you have to. When’s the last time you went through your photos from that trip in 2014?
  13. Take some more photos. Go outside. Find a pretty flower. Snap some shots.
  14. Get a pet. There’s nothing better than some unconditional fluffy love.Image-1.jpg
  15. Do your laundry. And then put it away. Don’t leave it in that pile one “the chair.” Be responsible, you’re almost 30.
  16. Write for yourself. Let your mind flow and your pen go.
  17. Write for others. Perhaps it’s a blog about 27 things to do that are more fulfilling than complaining about turning 27…
  18. Buy yourself a nice shirt. It’s got to be a shirt, and it’s got to be a nice one. You’ll feel that confidence dripping when your strutting around in that $30 diddy.
  19. Learn the lyrics to your favorite rap. A little swag never hurt nobody.
  20. Practice a new language. Duolingo is calling, and you should answer.
  21. Draw or paint or sketch. A free flowing creative mind is a peaceful one.
  22. Write a letter. It can be a letter to yourself, or to someone you care about. Whether or not you send it is up to you.
  23. Learn to do a handstand. It’s easier than you think. Engage that coreIMG_6070.JPG
  24. Garden. A little chlorophyl goes a long way. Dig into that dirt, go green. Bonus points if you see worms.
  25. Reflect over the last 27 years, or the last 27 minutes. Allow the lessons of your past to fuel your present.
  26. List your goals. It will bring you that much closer to achieving them. Be proud of your progress and empowered on your journey.
  27. Eat some cake. And eat it for breakfast. Live your life, you’ve made it this far!

RELATED: 26 Things I Learned by the Time I Turned 26 

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A Patient Start

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The keeper of time,

the setter of the sun;

Keep smiling, stay patient,

it’s only just begun.

A seedling in the dirt,

awaits its time to grow,

sprouting when it may;

Good things take time, you know.

In my happy head,

with my happy heart,

I’ll wait & wait & wait some more;

Love grows with a patient start.

Lately, life has given me some not-so-subtle reminders of the joy that patience can bring. There is a quote that says, “It was sunsets that taught me that beauty sometimes only lasts for a couple of moments, and it was sunrises that showed me that all it takes is patience to experience it all over again.” I think that the power of mindfulness is the ability it gives us to trust patient timing, and not try to force life to fit within the schedules that we so often are governed by. So many of us settle for the things that we think we should have by now, because they are within our reach. But I believe that it is the things that we have to stretch for, and practice patience in order to attain, are the things that make life so beautiful.

“When Enough is Enough”

In that weird post-college, transitional time; before the land of “professional career” exists: the part time job. These varying work roles are important on many levels: helping to pay off student loans, giving you experience in different fields, and teaching you how to work with people of all personalities.

As the term “transitional” implies, these jobs wont last forever. In many situations, you leave them behind with a smile on your face as you march into “the real world.” In other situations, you’re asked to leave, in which case, the journey into the real world is a bit more winding.

The toughest case scenario, and the one that I consider my freshest wound, is the one that ends in these two words: “I quit.”

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While quitting a job may sound liberating, it is an extremely emotional decision to make. While the “cons” may outweigh the “pros”, that does not mean those “pros” do not exist! The decision to leave those great things behind must mean that the negative side is pretty bad.

There is a quote that reads, “Pay attention to whom your energy increases and decreases around. That’s the universe giving you a hint of who you should embrace or stray from.”

For those who know me, describing myself as “high energy” can be considered an understatement. I give a whopping 110% with a smile on my face, excitement in my soul and passion in my heart. In my most recent job endeavor, I felt this energy colliding and increasing with the members I worked with, and instructors I taught with. This was the pro that made the job so wonderful.

The quote I just referred to also has a darker side to it; paying attention to whom your energy decreases around. Now, for someone with a lot of energy, feeling it decreasing is one of the most draining sensations. It then becomes physical. It’s a tension in your neck and shoulders. A headache that makes you want to cry. You feel like you just got beat up, but no on has laid a finger on you. This type of feeling is not cohesive to a healthy work environment.

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My Grandpa once told me, “whatever you are, be a good one.” I hold his wisdom near and dear to my heart, and put my 110% into the world of group fitness classes. In my time at this job, I felt myself growing, learning, and truly making a difference in the lives of the members that walked onto the mat. I’ve seen people lose over 40 pounds, drop dress sizes, and have thanked me for making the fitness process fun and exciting. In accordance to Grandpa’s rule: I was a fitness instructor, and I was a good one.

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Now, there was another side to this job that I am a complete stranger to… the business side *cue evil music*. Growing up, my dad was a salesman. I’m pretty sure if you look up salesman in the dictionary, the definition is something along the lines of “manipulates others in order to better themselves.” Because of this, I always had a bad taste in my mouth when it came to salesman jargon. Words like “leads” make me cringe, and in my heart of hearts I believe that the truest way to sell a product (such as a gym membership), is to give a damn good class, and if the product (such as a gym membership) is what the potential buyer is looking for, they will purchase it. No fancy speeches necessary. No annoying phone calls or emails. If you build it, they will come.

Naturally, as a business owner, your main concern is revenue. As a main supporter of a household, your business is how you feed your family. The issue becomes when this main concern trumps other aspects of your business. In the field of fitness, human betterment is what keeps your business running. As someone who is working these transitional period jobs in order to afford my goal of earning a doctorate in psychology, human betterment is right up my alley. I loved every moment of working with each member, learning about their lives, their goals, and seeing them fight for what they wanted; whether they had a 12 month membership, or were on a 3 day trial. My genuine passion to help each individual better themselves was the best I could do on the business side of things, because as I said before, if the individual enjoyed the workout, and had the funds to afford it, they would sign up. But, unfortunately, my best was not good enough, leading to a severe case of energy drainage.

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Stan Kimer, president of Total Engagement Consulting defines effective leadership as “providing the vision and motivation to a team so they work together toward the same goal, and then understanding the talents and temperaments of teach individual and effectively motivating each person to contribute individually their best toward achieving the group goal.” This may seem like a difficult and time consuming task when managing a business, however, when you have a staff of 3, there are no excuses. No where in this definition does it say, “discuss what you are unhappy with about your employees to your other employees in a negative and derogatory way.” An effective leader is not passive aggressive, but a wonderful communicator. They are not unappreciative, but will praise you for what you do right, and will give constructive criticism on what you can improve.  

I am writing this post for several reasons. First, because I did not get to give a proper goodbye to the wonderful members I worked with. You are all such incredible people and I am so proud of your hard work and dedication each time you hit the mat. My other reason for writing, is to let others know that if you feel your energy being drained, then it probably is. You are entitled to your feelings, and deserve your best to be recognized by your employer. I hate the words, “I quit”, because quitting implies giving up. Looking out for yourself and your mental well being is not giving up, but staying in an unhealthy work environment is. When one door closes, another opens… so when push comes to shove, close that door with dignity, stay true to yourself, and never let anyone make you feel like less than you are.  

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Love Your Enemy & You Won’t Have Any

Nothing makes something more intolerable than hatred. Whether it is a person, place or thing; hatred makes the heart heavy, mind cloudy, and soul discouraged. 

The Dalai Lama has told us, “in the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” Examples of this have been slapping me in the face lately.

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Let’s take, for example, wintertime. Me and the winter have not been on good terms. There is nothing that I love more than being outside in the sun, and I have always blamed winter for stealing that from me. The bitterness of the cold wind has been matched by the bitterness of my attitude walking through it. I have been as salty as what’s used to melt the snow on the road.

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The fact of the matter is; hating the winter isn’t going to make it go away. The sun still shines in wintertime. While I always considered snow to be an inconvenience, I started to look for the beauty in it. Aesthetically, it could be actually be quite pleasing. I began using shoveling as an activity that allowed me to get some fresh air, rather than a tedious chore. Winter will never be my favorite season, however, I’ve learned to appreciate it’s fleeting presence rather than loathe it… and I am a happier person for it.

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Another relationship that started out rocky… feelings towards working out. Does anyone really enjoy sweating, moving, grunting, lifting, squatting, jumping, running or any combination of the aforementioned? How does anyone find the motivation to dedicate time to put themselves through something so uncomfortable…. and do it daily?!

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The key, once again, is learning to love it. While you may never skip to the gym saying to yourself, “I just LOVE burpees!”, you will grow to love the feeling of success in your endeavors. Embrace the burn by recognizing what it all represents: strength, growth, determination, and surpassing the boundaries you have previously set for yourself. True motivation can only come from within. Once you can cultivate this for yourself, you are capable of anything!

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“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.“

The bottom line: you are the one in control of your own perspective, so why not have a positive one? 

While it can be difficult to find an enticing aspect of something you dislike, isn’t it even more difficult to harbor hatred in your heart? In looking for silver linings, the raincloud seems to disappear. Things become less foggy, and you are able to better navigate along the path of your life.

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Laughter: The Best Medicine

During this trip, I was lucky to be visited by two of my best friends: one from elementary school, and one from high school.

Now don’t get me wrong, I have been having quite an amazing solo adventure. However, I have not laughed nearly as hard as I did when I was reunited with my best friends.

I don’t know what it is, but I think your mind works differently when you’re in the company of your loved ones. This open hearted, non judgmental environment is the breeding ground for never-ending giggles. 

Things that may not be so funny when you’re alone turn into the butt of all your jokes. And, you never know where a joke will take you. Something that happened on a Thursday can escalate to the topic of all conversation by Friday evening…

The beauty of a genuine friendship? The ability to feed off of each other! If you are lucky enough to have best friends like I do, you know exactly what I mean! Nothing is better than belly laughter. Cherish these friends and these memories… for they are what life is all about!