Good lord, I have a lot of updating to do. Between work, commuting, maintaining my health (working out and meal planning), and squeezing in the “life” in work-life balance on Saturday and Sundays, I feel like I barely have time for anything else. I don’t know how people like Tim Cook, Sheryl Sandberg, or Elon Musk do it. The only way I could would be if I had a time-turner and even then, I’d probably grossly misuse it to finish a Netflix binge or something.
Anyways, a scattered update is between than none I suppose. Here is a mixed bag of anecdotes for a glimpse into my life as of late:
Things that have made life better these past few months.
I got a free trial of YouTube TV so I could watch the Winter Olympics, but ended up getting it for a month afterwards. Worth it? Kinda. You can record a ton of shows to watch later and there’s no storage limit, which was pretty great. I loved having terrible TV shows at my fingertips for whenever I needed something brainless to watch (like Vanderpump Rules, Impractical Jokers, or The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show) while I ate dinner, or lazed around on a weekend evening. In the end, it felt like a luxury so I canceled it. Highly recommended if you can afford it and watch a lot of TV though—easy to use and super convenient.
The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil Collection.
My skin is pretty sensitive and I don’t really like using a ton of product (especially unnatural stuff) so this has been my go-to lately. I stocked up on their tea tree oil face wash, toner, night mask, and daily serum during a huge 40% off sale.
Wooo mental health. The transition down here was a lot tougher than I expected, for various reasons, so I finally tested this app out. I had sought an in-person therapist already last year, but didn’t have a great experience because 1) I’m not a person who expresses emotional things well verbally, and like to take time to think about something before saying it, so I had trouble telling them what was really going on, 2) It takes up a lot of time, especially somewhere as spread out as here, to meet someone in person, and 3) I had a helluva time getting matched up with therapists because many of them are already fully booked and not taking new clients—particularly specialized ones. I decided to spring for Talkspace and I’ve had a great experience so far. I try to check in at least 5-7 times a week, and she gets back to me at her leisure—sometimes within the hour, and other times she’ll reply in the evening. I don’t think it’s necessarily for everyone, but it works wonderfully for me because I find I don’t need advice right away. She’s been great at being supportive and letting me know what she thinks about certain situations. Talkspace is a bit more passive, just because it is only an online-based platform (though you have the option for video chat with upgraded plans), but if you just need someone to talk to and get an objective opinion/advice from once in awhile I think it’s definitely worth it—especially in the name of mental health.
Kayla Itsines’ Beach Body Guide (BBG).
I threw up on the first day—surprise, that’s what happens when you completely neglect your physical health for over a year and get back into things. I remember taking a look at the plan and going, that’s all? Pfft, this will be a breeze! Nope. Winded and hurling after the first 7-minute circuit. It’s pretty amazing how hard circuit training actually works your body. I was a little too gung-ho on that first day but I dialed it back, and have been fine (and getting stronger!) since.
This is a great plan and I like it because I don’t have to think about it beforehand. It’s already all laid out: what you’re doing every day, how long, and they’re all moves anyone can do. It helps to have a gym—you’ll need a bench, medicine ball, and weights for a few of the exercises. I’ve tried not to skip any days and if I do, I make up for it by doing a circuit + LISS day together, or a workout on the weekend which I usually reserve for rest.
Although I think I see some visual results, I’m more interested in how it makes me feel. I think it’s definitely helped me become less tired and happier as a result. I’m currently on the sixth week of this 12-week plan and taking a break (a lot was happening this week, plus I was sick, and I also wanted to dedicate some time to updating my blog) but hopefully I’ll have more good news at the end of May!
Travels, travels, travels.
I got into a space where I started being afraid of things. It’s funny the effects that age and environment can impart on you. My lust for life—previously fueled by spur-of-the-moment road trips and outré events—seriously declined when I moved, rather ironically, to a place where everything is happening all the time. When I was younger, the idea of an investigative journalist always appealed to me because I always wanted to explore. Why go to a place everyone else has been before, to do all the same things? I wanted to be the first to try something unknown; to go into the underground and the seedy underbelly, where all the things people weren’t talking about was happening—but, of course, I couldn’t. A 5 foot 6 (barely), 120 pound (give or take 5 pounds at any given time since age 15) girl heading into parts unknown? Yeah, right.
I was forcibly groped when I was 16 walking down a street in Cairo, and before you ask what I was wearing—no makeup, gross/sweaty hair in a bun, and a long-sleeved sweater and pants. In the middle of a tour group. Next to my parents. So I don’t even want to think about what would happen if I ventured into some dangerous foreign country on my own. Alas, the investigative journalist life is probably not for me.
But, I don’t want to lose that curiosity and adventurousness just yet. I’m not ready to give up that part of me.
I love, love, love learning. Life to me is a series of experiences and experiments to uncover more about the world around us. This guy does a good job of revealing what, or rather, how I sort of think when it comes to traveling/adventuring: Colby Buzzell goes to Rio. One of my favorite travel write-ups from the trusty Esquire. (Side note: Another thing that has made life better recently is free subscriptions from Mercury Magazines. I can’t justify buying magazines unless I’m at an airport about to go on a long flight, so this has been my trusty source for Esquire, AFAR, and TransWORLD Snowboarding this year. Yay for saving money!—and abruptly spending it on something else frivolous, like a latte.)
I remembered that life is too short to let people and external factors get you down. After all, it’s your life and if you’re not living it, it’s nobody’s fault but your own—even if something conspires to prevent you from doing so. Stop being afraid or, even worse, let anyone or anything scare you. You’re a lot stronger than you know, but it’s hard to remember it when someone keeps telling you the opposite. So, fight back. I peeled myself out from a depressive slump in my FRIHETEN, dusted myself off, and got back to my roots. This year, I’ll be back to doing random things, finding that fearlessness again and, even more importantly, sticking to a promise of chronicling these adventures here. Think stories like “What is the legalization of marijuana in California like?” and “What happens when you attend a timeshare presentation?”
Stay tuned. I hope I’ll have some good stories for y’all.
Photo: Sunrise shot of San Francisco peeking through the clouds from Mount Tamalpais, California. Full story coming soon.