Overall Wellness: Checking In

Today is going to be my check-in post since tomorrow I will set my goals for 2014.

Let’s review December’s goals, shall we?

  • Water! You know, I did do a better job at consuming more water but I still rely on soda/pop/diet coke a bit too much. 
  • Continue to make progress on my consulting project. I had big plans to work on this a lot while I was home for the holidays…those plans did not work out. So now I’m scrambling a bit. 
  • Budget! I actually created some excel spreadsheets to use for 2014 to track my spending so I have actual data and numbers to base my budget off of! 
  • And finally, breathe and relax. I took a few “me” days off around the holidays so I got to spend some time doing nothing, which was nice. But now it is time to kick back into high gear. 

Since I will be setting overall 2014 goals tomorrow, I won’t set monthly check-in goals like I usually do in these posts.

Stay safe this New Year’s Eve!!

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Mental Wellness: What’s So Wrong with Being Average?

As I was enjoying my week off for holidays and seeing friends and family, I had a reoccurring thought that was spurred originally from watching Good Morning America. They were getting ready to feature a story of a little baby boy born at only 14 ounces and how he finally got to go home just in time for Christmas. Now that seems like a nice warm and fuzzy story, right? But I immediately thought of my friend and her little baby boy who tragically passed away about 12 weeks after he too was born at just 14 ounces. And it just made me angry that we would broadcast this story. Because babies born that small and that early have such a small percentage of survival, so airing that story seems like it would bring unrealistic hope to parents in that similar situation. But honestly, I do not know. But I do know that we tend to celebrate the stories of being above average. Being in the top 1%. Being unique.

But what about the rest of us that are average? What about the people that day in and day out live a normal, average life with no extraordinary claim to their name? Are they any less successful or valuable to our society than a 20 year old mega millionaire? Is there anything really wrong with being that average person? Is there anything wrong with being the person that lives a quiet, calm life? With no excitement or near death experiences? The person that chooses to stay in and read instead of sky dive or summit Mt. Everest? Should we be chasing normalcy or the accolades?

Mental Wellness: Opinions.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I was oblivious to the Duck Dynasty comment that had happened I guess Wednesday night (I don’t watch the show). But after reading many people’s opinions and thoughts on his comments regarding homosexual individuals, I have to say that I agree with two of my friends.

1.) I appreciate freedom of speech, but I also appreciate the good old fashioned, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” (My friend Anne posted that as a facebook status).

2.) If I want to have freedom of speech, then that same liberty much be granted to those who disagree with me. (Clint posted that)

And I have to say, I agree with both of them. This is also one of the biggest reasons I have a hard time getting on board with religion…to say there is a god that loves everyone…except for this group or that group or whatever it may be…to say that someone who is living their life is sinning by doing so…to constantly use the bible or other religious documents as proof of how you should be living your life even though times have changed and we have allowed some of those changed (no slaves, women have equal rights, etc.) but not others….that’s a rant for a different day…but still. I still think that those that are religious and feel that strongly against a group, as wrong as I personally think it is, they have their right to their opinion and I have my right to my opinion. Where I have an issue with it is when a person’s (or group of people’s) personal and religious opinion becomes law and becomes the standard. Especially in the United States. Where, I learned that the pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution.

And yes, we DO have the freedom of speech and the right, the amazing, right to have opinions and to discuss these opinions. And that in it of itself is truly just amazing. If I were in a different country…I quite possibly may not have this right, at all.

But where does freedom of speech, personal beliefs/values, and religion cross the line into government and laws? Where is the line? Is there a line?

Occupational Wellness: Always Be Prepared.

Yesterday, one of my alum student workers stopped in to chat (and for other reasons). She let me know that she was working on updating her resume and cover letter because a company she had applied too and never heard anything from (or just didn’t get pulled through to an interview or something like that) had personally contacted her to let her know that there was a position opening up in their company and they wanted her to apply for it. Just another example of how important it is to keep you LinkedIn updated and professional and to keep your resume updated. I personally like to keep an updated version of my master resume updated.

Even when you are established in your career, you never know when a new opportunity might come up. As you move in your career, make sure that you are periodically going back to that resume and keeping it updated. Any other professional websites/social networking that you do, keep that updated as well.

Spiritual Wellness: For Good.

I’ve mentioned a few times that I am working on a side consulting project. Last week, I had to express my religious views, which for those of you that don’t already know, I am not religious. By choice, I do not believe in a higher being or an all knowing force. (Read:  that absolutely does not mean that I do not respect those that have chosen to be religious. The overwhelming majority of my closest friends and family are religious.) One of my main hangups with religion and one that I have spoken about in great detail with religious friends is the sense of hypocrisy that seems to go with religion. “Love all…except this certain demographic”…it always feels like, to me, that someone or some group is getting persecuted because they aren’t in the “selected” group.

I find religion fascinating. Some of my favorite conversations are simply learning about religion and having respectful conversations about differing views. One of my nearest and dearest best friends is Mormon and I remember visiting her in Alaska and asking her and her now husband about their religion and just simply wanting to learn about it. Not because I was interested in becoming Mormon, but because I wanted to learn about her religion. I follow the Dalai Lama on twitter, not because I am Buddhist or interested in becoming Buddhist, but because I am fascinated by him and his religion and want to learn more. But at the same time, I cringe at the thought of placing my life in someone else’s hands. I see friends all the time with status updates about putting a decision in whoever they believe in’s hands.

The summer in between my freshman and sophomore year of undergrad, I took a few college classes at a community college. One of my classes was a psych class and almost immediately my professor recognized that I have a very strong internal locus of control (meaning I control my actions and what happens in life; my success are a direct result of the work that I have done). We actually took locus of control test in his psych class and when we finished, he immediately asked me what my score was. It was a 3. Low scores indicate an internal locus of control. Upon hearing my score he said, “I figured it was around that range.” (Side note:  apparently doctors tend to score in the 10 and under range for this) (also if you are interested in taking the survey, you can HERE)

The point of this is that, even though I find religion fascinating, I will never be a religious person, and that is ok. But respecting others that are religious is important. And I believe to my core that religion is something that should support good things and not something that people use to persecute others. But I know that’s not the case.

Physical Wellness: Christmas Lights Run

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I finally got to go on a Christmas Lights Run last night! I got home from work after an extremely long day living in data (my big survey of the year closed Sunday so I finished coding results and then started analyzing the data and writing up my reports) and was surprised to be greeted with 50 degree weather! So I decided to forgo my gym workout I had planned and hustled home to run. (Note:  missing from this picture is one very obnoxious blinking light, that I love).

I didn’t take any pictures of the houses I ran by because I don’t run with anything but my key, but I really, thoroughly enjoyed getting to run around and look at Christmas lights. I will do this again on Thursday as I will be heading out to run club! My shoulder has been acting up a lot lately making running almost impossible because of the pain but I push through it for running during this time of year. Well, that and I have no problem/shame in stopping to walk and starting to run again. I do what I do.

Mental Wellness: The Journey

On Black Friday, I picked up the BBC documentary series, Frozen Planet. I have been watching it pretty much on repeat since I got it and one of my favorite things about this documentary is the journey. One of the things I love most about documentaries and even research papers is the honesty that you get from them. This specific documentary does a really outstanding job of giving the viewers an inside of look to all the work that goes into filming a documentary. And beyond that, the failures that come with it. As I was watching the special features yesterday afternoon it really got me to thinking that my generation sort of struggles with embracing the journey of life. We are kind of known for wanting our instant gratification. And part of that can perhaps be a testament to the fact that we get those instant gratifications. Because if you think about it, we go to school from age 4 to … for me 24. So I had 20 years of school. And we get into the routine of being in a quarter or a semester and even a year and at the end of the year you know. You know if you did good enough to pass, to be on the honor roll, to graduate etc. You get that instant gratification. You finish the project in a semester and it is done. But the real world doesn’t function on semesters. And it can take years and years and years to finish a project. It can take many failures to get the right one.

In this documentary, there is a video diary of a guy who was filming ducks. And he really wanted to get footage of the ducks leaving the nest for the very first time and going into the water. The first group of ducks he was filming made their journey when he was away (I believe sleeping), the next set got eaten by a polar bear, and finally on the third set he got it. But not after experiencing the disappointment of him missing the first set and by things outside of his control making him miss the second set.

Documentaries and research papers own up to failures but never dwell on them. Failure is a part of life, it happens. But it doesn’t do any good to dwell on failures. Failures don’t tell the complete story, they tell part of the story – they are part of the journey, not the entire journey. The journey of life isn’t just about instant gratification (although making sure you get some gratification is a good way to keep yourself motivated ahem, small wins anyone). But you reframe your failures into learning opportunities. Figure out what went wrong and move on.