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I’m finally back! Life gets crazy sometimes huh?

Anyways, we have big news here where I live. We have a winter storm warning and it’s currently snowing outside.

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(My backyard around 5PM)

This is big, and I mean big. And it’s not supposed to stop snowing, with ice mixing in, until 11:00 or so tomorrow night. It wasn’t supposed to start until late tonight but it started snowing around 3:00 (they’re never right…) while I was at work. And I’m sure you can imagine how the children reacted… yep. Mass chaos and excitement. We tried to trick our kids and just told them that it was raining.. really big drops haha.. but that only worked until a teacher, yes… an adult teacher… ran down the hallway screaming at the top of her lungs “It’s snowing!!!” Yep. So much for the rain theory. In any case, I got out of work early because of the rain so that was pretty great. I think the snow is beautiful and I loved it when I was younger but now… I almost wish it wouldn’t snow. Because it never just snows here.. it ices. And what happens when it ices? Well.. we usually lose power. And that’s no fun (so if I go MIA.. we probably have no power). And everyone freaks out when it so much as flurries so a big snow like this… oh boy. Everyone rushes to the store to buy eggs, milk, and bread. I was talking to a friend yesterday and he questioned why this was when we usually lose power.. thereby making the eggs and milk go bad. I’ve never thought about it like that but it’s true… who knows? But I digress… snow or ice means that I can’t really go anywhere because of driving issues (not used to driving in it, nor is anyone else around here, and the roads are awful). And i’d rather not be stuck in my house all weekend. So I’m hoping that it clears up tomorrow 🙂 Or at least the roads be ok.

As for today’s eats.. they went from ok to great to fantastic!

The “ok” part was breakfast. Is it just me or do your oats sometimes turn out incredible one day and not so great another day for no real reason? My oats were kinda.. eh.. this morning. I think what contributed to them was that I used less liquid than usual (only 1 cup, which is actually what is called for on the box..) and my banana was larger than usual and not quite as ripe as I would’ve liked. In any case, the oats themselves were kind of gummy but too un-done for my taste and just not as good as usual. BUT the almond butter rocked.. of course (I promise promise i’ll shut up about this almond butter eventually 🙂 ). IMG_3073 Notice the snowman shining through the bowl? Yep.. still rocking the Christmas bowls 😀

Lunch was better. I had a container of Fage 2% Greek Yogurt with 1 apple and a serving of Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon. Yum yum yum… one delicious yogurt mess!! I could eat this for dessert!!!

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And it was actually more than it looked.. the bowl was pretty big and the apple was gigantic!

With my yogurt goodness I had some cucumber and tomatoes.

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This lunch really filled me up, I guess from the volume of the yogurt bowl. But I was hungry again within 3 hours :/ So I snacked on some pictured grapes when I got home from work.

Dinner was very simple and not extremely creative BUT it was incredibly delicious. Sweet potato fries were calling my name… what can a girl do but answer? 😉 With the fries (which I baked in the oven, drizzled Agave Nectar over when they came out of the oven and sprinkled with cinnamon and salt) I had a veggie burger and some broccoli.

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Now, to some fun stuff!! First, don’t forget to enter today’s yoga giveaway at The Daily Balance!

And now, here are some questions and answers to the anonymous questions I have received. I don’t know about you but this is fun for me!! And I also thank everyone for the nice questions, I have not gotten any bad/too personal/insulting/etc. questions.. they’ve been GREAT ones!! But feel free to ask anything from something silly and random to something serious. 🙂

Question: Do you live alone?

No, I live with my parents (and 2 cats and 1 dog). The reason being that I live all of 10 minutes away from where I go to college so there was never a point for me to live in dorms earlier in my school career. And because I go to school full time, I only work part-time, so I really don’t have the money for an apartment. It’s really not bad living at home and I would be miserable if I lived in a dorm and didn’t have a kitchen to cook in. So it works for now 🙂

Question: How do you balance healthy living while in school?

I do this by making it a priority. If I have a schedule where I’d be on campus during lunch, I will pack a balanced lunch that is also portable. If your schedule is usually like this, it’s a good idea to invest in an insulated lunch box. Some lunches may be an almond butter/jam sandwich, salad, yogurt, fresh fruit, pasta salad, etc. I would try to have some protein, whole grains, veggies, fruits, and a little fat.  Some of my go to snacks are apples, grapes, dry cereal, yogurt smoothies, bananas, carrot sticks, and bars. Now with the bars, I try to stick with those that have plenty of protein and fiber to keep me full. Now though bars are most likely going to be processed (with a few exceptions), I still choose ones that are lower and sugar, have more natural ingredients, and have a short ingredient list; these are things I look for but i’m not saying that all of my choices fit these criterea. Some bars that I like that really keep me full are Cliff bars, Cliff Mojo Bars (this are a-mazing), Odwalla bars, Balance Gold Bars, Glo Bars, and Kashi bars. If it was a day where I didn’t have a break between classes during mealtimes or I didn’t have a long enough break to eat lunch, I would have a Cliff bar and some fruit. And I would always pack my lunch the night before, which really helps. It’s also extremely important to have a good, filling breakfast. Yes, this may mean you have to get up a little earlier but it’s worth it, your body will thank you. Because you certainly can’t do your best in school if you have a growling tummy 😉

As far as exercising it, you have to make it a priority. I would get up 30 minutes early to go for a run or do a workout. I actually found I had more energy when I took the time to workout in the mornings instead of sleeping in. I would feel alive, energized, and ready to go! It was hard at first but I got into the routine, my body adjusted and I would feel weird if I didn’t do my workout first thing. You just have to make the time. You are worth it. Also, getting plenty of sleep is very important. I am one of the few college students who have never pulled an all-nighter, it’s just not something i’ve ever had to do. Plus, it’s not for me. My best time for studying is in the morning. Once it gets past 8:00, it is really hard for me. Past 9:00.. it’s pointless for me to study because I won’t remember it. I’ve fallen asleep studying several times. But if you stay up all night studying, how are you going to even remember it in the morning? I know some people swear by this but honestly, if you plan and study beforehand, these all-nighters aren’t necessary. And your body needs sleep!!!

Question: Do I date a lot?

Now this question is hard to answer because it’s very complicated. I must warn you, this answer is going to be a long one. And I don’t think the person who asked this is expecting such a long, drawn out answer but I am going to share this with you because it may help someone who is in the same position that I was at one time and this is a big part of my history that has made me who I am today.

So, do I date a lot? Yes and no. I’m not one of those people who can “casually date” several people at once. Nor do I want to date someone who does that. If i’m dating someone, I don’t like to have to think about them going on other dates, that’s just not me. In the last 5 months I have been on a lot of dates with a lot of different people. Why the last 5 months, you ask? Well here’s where the answer gets complicated. I dated one person for 4 years of my life (keep in mind I am only 21 so that’s a big chunk of my life). We started dating when I was a senior in high school and it lasted up until last July. Before him, I had “gone out” with 3 other guys but he was my first serious boyfriend. And we were very serious. In retrospect, we got way too serious way too fast. I was young and in love and I just knew we were going to get married. I would never have to date again. We talked about getting engaging, our life together, our kids… He was it, he was the one. Until I realized that he wasn’t.

About 2 years in, things started to fall apart. Now, i’m not going to say that he was a bad person, I won’t do that. But our relationship was bad and unhealthy. We brought out the worst in each other. Things happened… I changed, he changed, and our relationship wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies anymore. When you are young and in love, you think that’s it. Nothing else matters. Who cares if you barely know what love means? Now I know it does happen where you meet the love of your life at 16 and you do end up married and live happily ever after. And that’s great! But that is not usually the case with most people. And when people told me that maybe I need to date others to see what I really wanted, I told them no way… I’m in love. I know what I want. But I didn’t.

I can only speak for myself but the last two years of our relationship were.. well they were hell, to be honest. I will not go into too much detail because it’s not appropriate to share with the world but let’s just say that I was not treated good, to put it mildly. I was not only unhappy but my self-confidence was gone, I lost most of my friendships that I had had before, I had no passion for anything, no hobbies, nothing that didn’t involve him. My life revolved around him.. what he wanted, what would make him happy, what would keep him with me, what would make him marry me… looking back, I cannot believe how pathetic I was and how I didn’t stand up for myself. I had no life outside of him because he never supported anything that I did and God knows I couldn’t do anything that he didn’t encourage. I was unhappy but I couldn’t figure out why. I would look around me and see all these people in love and in happy, healthy relationships and wonder we weren’t like that. Eventually I figured out something was missing. I mean heck, you’re supposed to be happy when you are in love right? And it’s not to say he didn’t love me and I didn’t love him, I did and he did. But it wasn’t a healthy love and it wasn’t a normal love.

After all those years of unhappiness and what have you, after four long years.. I finally, somehow, found the courage inside of me to get out of it. I’m not even sure now how it happened, how I just woke up one day and realized hey… this is not love. I can’t marry him and live my life like this. And it was honestly the closest thing to an out-of-body experience that i’ve ever had. I picked up the phone and ended our relationship and when I hung up, it was almost as if I couldn’t remember doing it. I have no idea how I found the strength to do it. And when I hung up the phone was when I realized the hard part was only beginning. I thought to myself “now what?” In a span of a 5 minute phone conversation, my life abruptly changed. Yes, it hurt, and the tears came instantly but the funny thing was, at that point I was not even sad; at that point, all I felt was freedom. For so long, he had had all of the control; he had power over me. No more… no more. It was like this giant weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. My life was mine… all mine, finally. I could do what I wanted. My life was just spread out in front of me… like a book waiting to be written. And I got to write it!

Unfortunately, the feeling of freedom only lasted until he realized that I had actually ended things and he no longer had any control. That’s when it started… to put it mildly, he did not take it well. And I won’t go into more detail about what happened after that but I will say that I ended up changing my phone number and I almost had to take legal action against him. But he finally let it go and finally left me alone. For a while I actually did not feel any sadness. I was happy and free. And when I thought about him or about being in a relationship with him again, I would almost have an anxiety attack. For so long, I had nightmares that breaking up with him had only been a dream and I was still with him.. these were some of the scariest nightmares I have ever had. And these two things in themselves told me that I had did the right thing. But eventually, after a while, the pain started. The sadness. And I sank into a deep depression. And it’s not that I wanted him back or I thought I had made a mistake, I just missed him. I was grieving him and our relationship. Someone told me once during that time that it was ok because I lost him, someone who was a huge part of my life for so long.. it was almost like a marriage ending.

But I got through it. Eventually, I could be happy again. And the thing was, it took a lot of time. I’m talking months. And it’s still hard now, today. But the difference is, I choose to be happy. I choose to live my life and not let him affect me anymore. I don’t regret it because I wouldn’t be who I am today if I had not had that experience. And I am here to tell you that if you are in a relationship, be it a romantic relationship, a friendship, whatever it is, if you are not happy and you are not treated like you should be, get out of it. Find the courage deep inside of you and get out. No one deserves to be with someone who hurts them, in any way, shape, or form. Because believe me, there is someone out there for you. Someone who will treat you like the king or queen you are. Someone who will value you and treasure you. That person is out there, waiting on you, and you can’t find him or her if you are with someone that you shouldn’t be with. And I know that it’s not always easy to get out of a bad relationship. If you have to, tell someone you really trust and let them handle it, let them help you. But somehow, some way, save yourself.

In any case, back to the original question… I have dated a lot of people since July but it took me until November to be able to date someone and really put myself into it. Before that, I didn’t trust guys, relationships, or love. I would always look for the bad in a person and write them off because of one small thing. And I didn’t even realize I was doing it. The thing was, I wasn’t ready to date yet. I forced it and that is always a mistake. But eventually, I was ready. And I knew I was ready. So date I did. I’ve had some great experiences and some not so great ones. I’ve had my heart broken a couple of times and have been let down. But you know what? I get right back up, each time. And I learn from it. And then I move on. There’s no point in resentment or anger. And i’ve made mistakes myself. But you know, i’m finally happy. I know that I don’t need a man to complete me. I can be happy on my own. So yes, I do date. But I don’t date for fun, I date to find the person that I want to marry. And while I am dating someone, I still keep myself intact. I am still my own person. I am never going to lose myself again. And no I do not date hundreds of people and I do not date every single person who asks me out; I have my standards. But I also don’t refuse to date someone because they don’t hit every criteria on my check-list. I keep myself open to new opportunities. And you know what? Sometimes what you think you want is not what you want at all. Sometimes, someone will steal your heart and they might not be as tall as you wanted or have the color eyes you wanted but they will sweep you off of your feet and you will realize that they are everything you ever wanted but didn’t know you did.

Things and people happen in your life that you didn’t expect or plan for. Sometimes these things are good and sometimes they are not. Dating is not always fun and it’s not always like it seems in the movies. It hurts sometimes. But you know what? It’s worth it in the end. And if I have learned anything from all of this it’s that real love, true love, is rare. When you love someone with everything that you have and they love you like that as well… well that’s not something you find everyday. Real love, true love, should be treasured.

Well this just might be the longest post that I’ve ever written… OK, it is for sure. But I hope you have a little more insight into who I am and why I am like I am. Please, keep the questions coming! (And I promise, no more long-winded answers haha)

I am now going to go watch the snow come down. There are not many things in life as beautiful and peaceful as watching it snow at night.. It’s amazing how so very quiet it is when the world is asleep under a freshly fallen blanket of snow 🙂 Good night friends!

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