Find the “Good Old Days”

I have a ZILLION friends that followed The Office, essentially, from day one. (That’s a lie. I do not, in fact, have a zillion friends period.)

I was not one of those people. Occasionally  I would catch an episode here or there and I really enjoyed it. There is no denying that it was a hilarious show. The actors were great, it was easy to follow and it was HIGHLY relatable. (Apparently, even for those of us who had not yet entered Officeland in our own lives!).

As fate would have it, I happened to catch the series finale and it truly made me wish that I HAD been one of those followers. The last five minutes (or fewer) offered more sage life-advice than I have heard in a very long time.

If any of your Facebook friends were watching, I guarantee that you have already seen this as someone’s status, but you are about to see it again.

In the last few moments of the show, various characters were reflecting on life, friends, The Office… and one quote was particularly memorable. It was Andy who had the money line… “I wish there was a way to know that you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

Brilliant.

Now, granted, The Office isn’t a show that I would (generally) advise you to seek many tips for living your life, but this one, I think can apply to just about anyone, anywhere. Especially yours truly.

Ironically, hearing that made me want to do just that. It made me what to find the good old days WHILE they were happening. And let me tell you, there isn’t a more perfect time that this quote could have crossed my radar.

The day the Brittany Clock struck 22 years (who comes up with these things?), I was suddenly a little blue. I couldn’t believe that I was “already” twenty-two years old. Somehow, I had skimmed right past childhood, the teenage years, college…it was over and I was officially “old” (the kind of old that only twenty-two-year-olds understand. The kind of “old” that anyone over the age of 45 would roll their eyes at, but that when you’re on the cusp of adulthood, feels so very, very real). I missed two years and two decades of the “good old days.”

Is that entirely true? Of course not. I was a kid, I was a teenager, I had a great time in high school. College was…well, an experience. But I did miss a lot. I spent a lot of time living in conditionals—doing the things that I thought I “should” do. I lived according to an extremely arbitrary set of standards that I set up for myself and in doing so, missed a lot of things. It was only when something wonderful was about to end that I ever appreciated what I had. It wasn’t until the last 2 weeks of high school that I realized how much fun being in high school really was.

There are so many things that drive our decisions– money, dreams, precedents, and sometimes, necessity. But I think that every once in a while, we lose sight of opportunities that we may stumble across that allow us to push some of those motives to the sidelines. Even if just for a short time. Of course, you don’t want to lose sight of your dreams, you don’t want to fall off of any paths, but I do believe that you want to be following them for the right reasons.

In the days before The Office finale premiered, I made a promise to myself. I promised that I would stop losing track of the present. It was time to start identifying the good old days WHILE they were happening. (If ever, this would be the time for a “no regrets” comment, but that is just too cliché.)

And then, Andy said it all.

So here’s a challenge for you— can you find a way to identify YOUR “good old days” before they’re “good old days”?? And what exactly IS a good old day.

To me, I think it’s extremely personal, but one thing I know for sure, is that my friends and family are incredibly important to me and that most of the best days that I can quickly recall revolve around them.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to watch one of my very best friends graduate from college. It was a day that I will not soon forget, but it took some serious maneuvering to participate in. For a brief time, it looked like my job was going to require me to be away that weekend and I was heartbroken. Fortunately, I was able to rearrange and to share in the memories. The pictures from that day make me so happy, they nearly bring tears to my eyes. And that was the perfect example of a day that I took the time to appreciate, right then and there, just how special it was. And from this point forward, I hope that I can do that with each and every day, and I hope that you will too.

Can we make ourselves a promise? Let’s make the summer of 2013 the summer where we take a minute each and every day to realize what made it a “good old day?”

Let’s talk again tomorrow. I know what you’re thinking, and no really this time. Maybe with any luck, I’ll land myself at a gym at some point in the day. 😛

The Crux of the Matter

Oh, my friends. Look at this, two weeks later, what is this nonsense about?!

Things that I’ve  been having a little too much fun doing recently: Studying GRE words, watching trees bloom, planning budgets, pinning motivational quotes on Pinterest. (That right there is, essentially, a synopsis of the last two weeks of my life. Make of that what you will.)

It is probably a no-brainer that my life has gotten the better of me over the course of the last couple of months! If you read my most recent update, there came a point where my practical life was overshadowing my ME life. Finally, I found a way to regain a little bit of balance. I figured out where I needed to make changes, and I started to think about ways to incorporate some of the things that were most important to me back into my life. (IE: running, fitness, reading, spending time with my frieds…. writing. Being a real person).

And then, I got a little stuck.

The nuts and bolts were there: the plan, the desire, the conviction, but something still wasn’t right.

Now, on a (closely related) side-note, I also managed to sprain my ankle last weekend. It wasn’t pretty and landed me relatively immobile for a few more days than I had hoped. Fortunately, my ankle is on the mend and feeling infinitely better than it was, but that little stumble put a serious damper on my gym routine.

Back to my point, so what wasn’t right?

That is exactly what I am trying to figure out right now. And I think I’ve finally got it.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had stopped making time for me. I temporarily lost sight of just how critically important the “little” things in life were to me (reading, writing, gym-going, friend-seeing). So that part was easy enough. A simple matter of figuring out what I enjoyed doing, what I used to do, and what, of those things, I was no longer doing.

Time is scarce, but when something is important enough, I think that we usually make the time for it. (Errrr usually…)

So where did that leave me? Realizing that there was something bigger at work. Saying “I miss going to the gym.” and “I should start going to the gym again.” is one thing, but figuring out what was getting in the way in the first place, and determining whether or not it’s worth the sacrifices involved is another one entirely.

So now is the time to get to the core of it. To get to the crux of the matter!

I am not entirely sure how to go about doing that, but I am definitely ready to start.

I hope that you have all been well. Check in tomorrow for a SECOND CONSECUTIVE POST. Holy cats, what’s that all about?

I hope you have a great night!

When You Think of Things, Do Them

Hello my friendlings. ( <– I probably lost some street cred. with that one.)

I hope you had a nice Tuesday. I had a bit of a chaotic day at work today, I seemed to be bumping into strange little snafus around every corner! Fortunately, it was definitely not just me who was feeling the strange vibes. It’s always a bonus to not feel like the ONLY nutty one around.

Mini Rant/ Word-to-the-wise: About a week and a half ago, I received an e-mail at work that was offering a company step challenge. It’s one of those extended programs that companies can join in on as a team in order to make healthy changes. Every participant is given a pedometer to monitor their steps and there are fun little prizes along the way. I saw the e-mail right away and immediately wanted in. STUPIDLY, I waited, and waited, and waited and didn’t respond so that I wasn’t the FIRST one on board and let the opportunity slip right past my face! I came to this revelation today and flew down to the coordinator’s office to see if I could still sneak my way onto the team. HOPEFULLY they will still let me participate as the actual challenge has yet to begin. It is so “right-up-my-alley” I don’t know how I missed it! And by only a day. 😦 So what’s my word to the wise? DO THINGS WHEN YOU’RE THINKING OF THEM. There have been SO many times that I put things off, or promise myself that I’ll “do it later” and I end up forgetting entirely. It’s THE most frustrating feeling in the world, so spare yourself the agony and just do things when they first pop into your mind! If there’s no particular reason to put them off, then don’t!

Ehem. Sorry about that.

In other news, the weather here in WNY is absolutely ridiculous! It was GORGEOUS and sunny this afternoon (and by “gorgeous,” I mean 45 degrees), but by about 8:00 it was freezing cold and sleeting/ raining/ snowing. The roads are a mess already! Let’s hope things clear up by commute time in the morning!

After work, I made my way over to the gym and raced through an arm/ab circuit and followed it up with about 25 minutes on the elliptical. I really wanted to run again tonight, but for some reason, last night’s treadmill trek left my calves in some serious pain today! I figured I’d go for the zero-impact elliptical today. I  can never really get into elliptical-ing like I do with the treadmill or an outside run. It’s a great exercise and always leaves me sweating and feeling the burn, but I just don’t enjoy it! Not even a little. My arm/ ab circuit was quite a hodgepodge of exercises, but it was a pretty good one and flew by pretty quickly which is always a bonus.

And because I know you were wondering, here’s the song that has been fueling my workouts this week:

Are you embarrassed to know me? Don’t be. Embrace it.

(I may or may not also “sing” along to this song in the car. Loudly. Badly. Happily.)

I hope you have a great night and a wonderful Wednesday!

Optimal Challenges

Hello friends!

I hope you had a great weekend. Mine weekend was relatively relaxed, but that was just what I wanted. Once again, I slept in a little later than I intended to this morning, but it was quite a lovely change of pace from my typical 5:00 am rising hour.

I also got to see Jordan this “morning” for a quick workout which consisted of a Jillian Michaels’ video. (Granted, we didn’t actually finish the video, but ended up stopping it halfway through and sitting on the floor catching up instead… don’t tell Jillian.)

The rest of my day pretty much revolved around running 1,000 different errands that took about four times longer than necessary because I kept forgetting things left and right. (My wallet? My debit card? My life?). I have finally returned home and it is time for some reading and  the Oscars! The Handmaid’s Tale is proving to be infinitely easier reading than The Help was. I know what you’re thinking. Allow me to define MY idea of “easier reading.” The Help was a good book. It had engaging characters, an interesting story and was rich with sings of the times– the southern US at a time of serious unrest, change and history-in-the-making. Yet I still didn’t find it an easy read. It took me WEEKS longer than it should have to complete. It just wasn’t holding my interest. In my opinion, it was a lot longer than it needed to be and didn’t accomplish a ton. This book, on the other hand, is captivating. It is not the sort of book that I would ever, ever think that could capture my attention and hold it, but it is a page-turner! The frightening, dystopian environment in which the characters are living is chilling. Moreover, it is a challenging read. It keeps the brain cells jumping as you think about not only the characters and their situations, but also the implications of all of the concepts and the connections to today’s world. It’s an intellectual, scary, riveting read. 

So this novel, along with my recent venture into “the arts” and my new job have all got me thinking about positive challenges.

Back in my psychology days (hey, I took about 4,001 credits in social and clinical psychology. I might as well put it to use somehow!), we learned all about “flow” and optimal challenges. The Cliffsnotes’ version of that whole concept (/ what I remember) is that there is a certain level of challenge that is ideal. Somewhere in the middle of “Ohmygod this is so ridiculously difficult I will never, ever be able to solve this problem” and “This is so easy that I’m pretty sure my cat could do it…” there lies a happy medium. (Or the level of “optimal challenge.”) Tasks that lie within this part of the spectrum excite us, challenge our minds and give us a sense of accomplishment and self-worth when we complete them successfully. They are goals that are not entirely out of our reach, but take some effort and work to attain. When you’re immersed in these activities, you are in a mental state known as “flow,” which is when you are wholly immersed and invested in some activity. It’s fulfilling and you (willingly) offer all of your attention to it.

So what’s the point? The point is that post-graduation and pre-new job, I started to feel like I was losing something. It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted to go back to school (at least not yet), but I DID want the challenge. I wanted to shake up my brain cells and feel like I was exercising my brain. It seemed that upon graduation, I had suddenly abandoned all of my intellectually stimulating hobbies and activities that I used to enjoy: reading, writing, learning random things. But it’s starting to all come back to me. The blog is forcing me to write and to write carefully. I am reading again and my job is so full of new tasks and challenges and environments that I feel like my brain is swinging on mental monkey bars 8+ hours each day!

So here is my challenge for you, find something to do that puts YOU in your “optimal challenge” zone. Read a challenging book, write something, learn how to knit, teach yourself 2 new words each day… It is a seriously rewarding place to be and that is how you grow and learn! The best part of all, is that you feel GOOD while you’re doing it.

And that’s about all I’ve got for you tonight! I hope that your week is off to a great start and I will talk to you all tomorrow!

Balance

Hey there!

Remember when I took that CPR class last month? Well, I have some good news! I just received my official Heartsaver CPR/AED card in the mail! Hopefully, I will never have to use the skills that I learned that day, but I am definitely happy to have it.

CPR CardWoohoo! This is actually pretty exciting because now, as soon as I decide that I have enough time/ money/ investment I can begin to pursue certification for group exercise classes which would be such a kick. I’d love to be able to do personal training, but at this point in my life, I am not certain that it would be a wise investment. (Have any of you looked into this? The textbook alone for that costs more than my car. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but only a slight one!) Before I jump on that boat, I want to be pretty positive that I am very serious about actually training and have something specific lined up for myself.

And now let’s talk about balance.

Balance-quote

 

Source.

So although I have previously alluded to the fact that (along with my coordination and flexibility), my sense of balance just is NOT what it used to be in recent years, that is not actually what the title of this post is about.

As you have probably noticed, I have a new vibe for 2013. A vibe of positivity, growth, and improvement and I am working to share that with you through the blog. (Hey, something needs to fill the void when Brittany goes AWOL from the gym for days on end, right? Might as well make it something meaningful!)

So today’s, let’s talk about maintaining (or perhaps initially finding) balance in your daily life.

I am a firm believer that the key to true happiness is finding balance in all that you do. That is not to say that I have always, or even now always do that. I recently described it as a set of scales– the old fashioned ones with the weights on the balance bar. If you think of your life as having one of those for just about every aspect, it’s actually a pretty good visual. There are so many dimensions of life that you must work to find the perfect balance: the work-life balance, a balance of healthy living, fun and seriousness, socializing and solitude. The list could go on and on. For me, I seem to have the most trouble with the work-life balance. From my years in high school when I took too many classes and worked too many hours, all the way through college, where those same habits followed me until the bitter end. As strange as it sounds, I never made time to be a stupid teenager and I really do regret that now.

But there is always time to change for the better, right? So things have been happening quickly in the land of 5ks & Coffee Beans, but I have decided that now is the time to commit to finding and fostering that critical balance. So here is my question for you, what do you do to maintain the yin and yang of your life? Do you struggle with keeping your work and outside life in check, or something different? What do you do to help keep yourself sane and to get the best of all of your worlds?

In other news, Happy Groundhog’s Day, three days late. 😛 (Thank you, Pinterest for the adorable Groundhog’s Day dessert idea.)

photo (32)

 

Hope you have a fantastic night and I’ll talk to y’all tomorrow!

Things Work Out

Hello, hello!

First, let’s quickly debrief on the fact that I ate 2 Clif Builder’s bars today. I didn’t mean to, but I always keep one in my purse for “worst case scenarios. Evidently, I wasn’t really around much “real food” today and ultimately scarfed two of those magical little bars. Including the emergency supply that lived in my purse! Who thinks I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning as this guy?

the hulkSource.

No one thinks that? OK good.

Once again, my weekend plans have taken me away from home, so I am left to my own devices for sustenance! Apparently, my abilities to feed myself on the go leave something to be desired.

Let’s move on to some more serious matters (not that food isn’t a serious matter. Don’t get me wrong!).

Today, I have been doing a lot of thinking.

You know how sometimes, there are those little moments in life where you step back and think about the things that have happened in the past? About places you’ve been, things you’ve done, things you wish you did, things you wish you didn’t do. You get frustrated and upset. 2012 brought me a lot of those moments.

But then, something clicks. Just enough things begin to go your way and suddenly, a switch flips. Things begin to make a little more sense. You see a little more reason in the how and why and you start to truly believe that everything is going to be just fine. And just like that, things begin to be just. Fine. 

As I start to get a little older and a little more post-grad-y, I am beginning to realize the truly wonderful things that come from keeping a positive attitude. Positivity makes you  resilient and resilience makes you stronger– it makes you a better person, and it is infectious.

I think that’s enough of the Musings for now, however. So let’s move along to the Look du Jour!

(Please be prepared for not only the look on my face (which despite the creep factor, is actually the look of shame that it took me about 175 to get a picture that was even remotely acceptable to share with the world and that picture was this and also for my hair.  Hi hair!)

Polka Dot Sweater

The thing I really liked about this outfit was the fact that it included several wardrobe staples. Things that were relatively inexpensive but can convert into about 1,003 different ensembles. (Minus maybe the funky cardigan, which, despite the fact that I couldn’t wear it every day without getting a lot of weird looks, is actually one of my prized possessions!) 

The Staples:

  • Grey Tank Top: Aerie (I originally bought this as a workout tank top, but it ended up being the perfect weight and color to wear under lots of different sweaters!
  • Navy Blue Pants: The Limited. (They’re the “Exact Stretch”, ankle-cut style that the store is promoting heavily right now. I also have a couple pairs of the Exact Stretch pants in the boot-cut style, which I actually prefer– especially for a professional look, but I can get behind the ankle-cuts as well. I think they’d look especially cute with pumps in the spring, but it is not spring yet!)
  • Ring: Lia Sophia (I actually wouldn’t suggest going the Lia Sophia route to anyone, however as my order was kind of a disaster and their customer service was far from helpful.)

So I think that’s it for now, folks! Sorry for the somewhat jumpy post, but I think we’ve covered lots of stuff! …Except for maybe where I can get my hands on 12,000 pounds of pasta. What? Who said that?!

Have a great night, and Happy February!

Calendar Quotes

Hello, my friends!

Unfortunately, I don’t have any exciting workout updates for you today. (Also, I’m not certain that those are ever “exciting,” per se.)

I had quite a packed day and spent the morning running around like a chicken with its head cut off as I tried to knock a couple of errands off of my to-do list.

Needless to say, I don’t have a ton to update you on today period, so instead of a recap of my day, we’re going to talk about the calendar that I made last night!

I’m sure that you are all familiar with Shutterfly. I’ve heard a lot about this website throughout the last few years, but until yesterday, I had never used it myself. 

love pictures. I take pictures of everything (including food, since I began this blog!), but now that they’re all digital, I rarely print any of them out. I often flip through my pictures on my various devices, but that’s just not the same as seeing the real deal! When I was in college, I made it a yearly tradition to make picture collages with 12 x 12 pages of scrapbook paper that I covered in some of my favorite photos of friends, family, pets and places. Seeing those hanging on my wall would cheer me up with the going got rough. As cheesy as it sounds, seeing my friends’ goofy, smiling faces reminded me that I was never alone and reminded me to count my blessings.

So last night, as I tried to come up with a way to incorporate some more recent pictures into my daily life, I decided to hop over to Shutterfly and put together a desk calendar for myself!

I had far too much fun selecting special pictures and fun little backgrounds to piece together. 🙂

I also decided to incorporate a quote on each page.

So here’s a not-so-dirty, dirty little secret: I love motivational quotes. I have always loved them and when I find one that’s extra good, or speaks to me for one reason or another, it makes me very happy! My freshman year, I had the Dr. Seuss quote “Be who you are and say what you think, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” plastered to my wall. It sounds silly, but it greeted me every morning and reminded me to stay true to myself even in the face of outrageous pressure to be someone very different from that.

In my perusing, I found some quotes that are definite keepers and I thought I’d share them with you! Hopefully something speaks to ya. If not, well then, at least you’ve had your daily (weekly? monthly? yearly?!) dose of motivation. 😉 At the very least, this is all very fitting for my life mission of 2013 which is working to be the best person I can possibly be.

  • “Happiness is not something ready made, it comes from your own actions.” Dalai Lama
  • “Happiness is when what you say, what you think, and what you do are in harmony.” Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Rumi
  • “Believe in impossible things.” Source unknown/ one of my favorite daily mantras, but I’m sure I didn’t make it up so let’s call it “source unknown.”
  • “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” Dalai Lama
  • “Always desire to learn something useful.” Sophocles
  • “I have never had a policy; I just try to do my best each and every day.” Abraham Lincoln
  • “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Dalai Lama
  • “Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” Henry David Thoreau
  • “Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life.” Albert Einstein
  • “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Theodore Roosevelt
  • “Give light and people will find the way.” Ella Baker

Quite a range of thinkers there, but for one reason or another, each line popped out to me and made it onto my new calendar that should be in the mail soon!

I hope you had a fantastic day and I will talk to you all tomorrow for Fashionista Friday!