Spiritual Wellness: Death

I tend to be the type of person that needs to listen to something to fall asleep. For the past few months, I put on an episode of Freaks and Geeks and fall asleep within the first 15 minutes of the show. I struggled sleeping last night as it was insanely hot in my apartment from it being almost 90 degrees outside yesterday. So as I was tossing and turning, I was listening to Freaks and Geeks and listening to Lindsey and Sam’s dad use the good old scare tactic approach to parenting. He kept telling them that he knew someone who had done a devious behavior and that person died “because” of it and it got me thinking…

Is death really a scare tactic? We don’t know anything is certain in life except death. Father time is unbeaten. You can go your entire life and live as healthy as possible and you will still die. Sure you can make arguments about your quality of life but to me that is a different discussion. When people say smoking will kill you and that’s why you shouldn’t smoke, is that really the best scare tactic to use? Because I could be sitting here typing up this blog post and could die at any moment or I could go out and sky dive and die. Sure there are things that can increase your chance of dying sooner but regardless of what you do in your life and how you live your life, you are still going to die.

It seems a bit morbid, doesn’t it, to talk about death? The one thing that every single human being experiences – all humans experience life and death and you could argue that those two things are our only true shared experiences in life. From a baby dying a moments after birth to an elderly person passing away peacefully and every single death in between. Once we are born, we are just passing time until we die. What you do with that time makes your life special and unique and I don’t want to make it seem like it doesn’t matter – it does. But death is inevitable. So why does Lindsey and Sam’s dad use it as a scare tactic? Why do we keep trying to outrun it? Why do we feel so scared by it? Why does talking about it seem so taboo?


I’m sure my regular readers will have noticed a large gap in my posting schedule. Today marks my one year anniversary of starting this blog. I started it with purpose, with passion. I loved wellness and everything about it. Those that have been reading for the past few months my sporadic posts know that it has been a struggle determining the direction I want to take with with this blog or even if I want to keep it around.

I keep reading articles and seeing things that get me excited to post but never post them. I feel like I’m slacking at blogging, slacking at consulting, slacking at living a wellness lifestyle. Why would anyone want to take my tips or read articles I think are worthwhile if I can’t even practice what I preach? It’s a struggle. It feels like a struggle that is reoccurring, just a different topic. I keep living my life with the “when x happens then y” mentality and it’s not healthy because x never happens or is constantly changing. They use this analogy w/ people wanting to lose weight. They say once I reach my “goal weight” then life happens but the “goal weight” is never the goal weight. It has nothing to do with the weight. It’s in your mind. You think that getting to x will all of a sudden make y appear but that’s not how things work, that’s not how life works. It’s not a simple when x then y equation.

My director was talking to me the other day and asked me what I want to do with my life. 26 years old and I have no idea. I have forgotten where my passions lie. Forgotten what compels me to wake up in the morning besides an alarm clock and a schedule. I spend most Sundays locked in my apartment, shades drawn, binging and ignoring the world instead of embracing the world and being in it. I’m not depressed, I’m lost. Which is fine when you are 18 years old. But I’m 26. My time for being lost is over.

I’m Still Around.

I’m still around.

I’m still bookmarking articles to review.

I’m still wanting to blog here. 

I’m just feeling uninspired. I’m feeling a drift from the wellness field and perhaps it’s what happens when you get out of a field for a number of years with no hint of getting back into the field. Perhaps it’s being around people who don’t necessarily care that much about wellness or think of it as a joke. 

Perhaps it is more of a realization that wellness may never be a career for me and may only just be a hobby and I need a bit of time to let that sink in. I don’t feel like I have been posting quality blogs lately. And I don’t think it is fair just to post for the sake of posting. I feel like I need to make more time and more of an effort in posting quality over quantity. That might call for a bit of a change in blogging schedule. 

But just know, I’m still here and I still want to be here. 

Physical Wellness: The Bucket List

Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I was sick with something but I’m on the mend and feeling much better. It always surprises me that I don’t do more posts when I am at home sick but I suppose that is because I’m at home sick and sleeping and not playing on my computer.

Just a quick update post, I have officially registered for a full marathon! I will be running in the IMT Des Moines Marathon on October 19! This is something that has been on my bucket list for awhile. I saw on Facebook this week that Sunday, April 20, would be the last day for pre-registration (aka the cheapest fee). So I decided that I would make my decision by Sunday, yay or nay. I talked to a few people and then I talked to my mom and it pretty much sealed the deal for me. I have kind of taken this year as my let’s get things done year. Let’s do things that I am afraid of, let’s push myself, etc. I chopped all my hair off and now, now I am going to be running a marathon.

The things on my bucket list aren’t like the things on other people’s bucket list. There is no marriage or kids on there. There are things like chopping my hair, running a marathon, traveling to certain places…I just have different priorities. So while some may see my bucket list as an odd assortment of things…it’s my life. Not in a “it’s my life, I do what I want” sort of way but this bucket list marks what my life is.

So here I am, signed up and registered to run a marathon. Tips and advice are of course welcome as are recommendations for a new GPS watch!

Mental Wellness: Just Some Well-Written Truth.

Which by the title, you already know…this girl did not write the article.

But seriously, this is going to be one of those posts where I just tell you, just take the time and read this article…because it is … just a gorgeous article. Which I know sounds weird to say, but just read it.

One of my favorite truths in this article is “some kind of failure always occurs before success”. I don’t always like to use the word failure (I prefer set back) but man alive is this true.

Just…all of them…

Just read it. I’m not trying to be lazy with this post. It’s just…when someone writes something that well, you don’t want to mess it up. It’s a good article.


Mental Wellness: What If?

Tonight my mind got a wandering as I impatiently wait for an alert saying that I don’t have to go to work tomorrow and I get another snow day (I’m spoiled, I know). I had one of those “what if” moments and wondered what my life could have been like had I never left my hometown. About 2 weeks before I left for college, the owner of the restaurant I had worked out since I was 14 offered me the restaurant to run. At 18. I obviously turned it down and went on to college which lead me to grad school…

But what if I had stuck behind? What if I had decided to take the offer and just go to community college and maybe get my Bachelor’s online or via distance learning? What if I just stayed behind? Who would I be friends with? Where would I have lived? What would my daily schedule be like? Would I buy all my groceries from the one grocery store in my hometown? Who would I have dated?

Now I know that it does no good to go down the what if path. And I don’t for one second regret not staying in my hometown. I honestly have no idea what my life would have been like had I stayed there. I went to college 3 hours away and then I moved to Kentucky for grad school and now I live in Kansas while plotting out a move in a couple years. I cannot imagine staying in a 3 stop light town. But sometimes it is a little funny/interesting to think about what could have been. What could have transpired had you made one different decision.

Emotional Wellness: The Thrill.

Since I have spoken about wanting to move to Canada, I have had a number of people contact me offering help and words of advice. I think I have narrowed down that Toronto is where I would like to move and it seems like a good fit based on my conversations with people and research. Some people have asked me, “Why are you wanting to move?” or “Why Canada?” And honestly, it has been a little hard to respond to that beyond the simple fact of…I like the challenge. I love moving to a new place and learning a new city. And even though for my extremely introverted self it is difficult to find new friends, I actually have come to enjoy that challenge as well. I’m definitely someone who gets intimated my challenges but that feeling that you get after you conquer a challenge? Oh man, it is just unmatched by any other feeling! I’m terrified of having to meet new people. I’m socially awkward and I get really nervous having to do it. But every time, it gets easier and easier to do and I don’t make as much of a fool of myself as I did before.

It’s the same with learning a new city, a new job, a new neighborhood…all of it. I love the thrill of having a challenge and being able to conquer it. As I move forward with this new challenge and new goal, I’m excited to work on conquering these obstacles. I know it isn’t always easy and success doesn’t come quickly, but that feeling when it does come is sooo worth it.

Intellectual Wellness: Arnold Said What?

Last week das boy sent me a link to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Instagram, specifically to this post. While Arnold posted this in regards to how do you workout in unfamiliar gyms, it resonated with me in more ways than just working out. He mentioned that your workouts aren’t always going to be under perfect circumstances and you have to make due with what you have. Get a solid hour of lifting and cardio in and you won’t regret your workout.

But think about it beyond working out.

Ok. Now you aren’t always going to have perfect circumstances in life are you? You won’t always live in the perfect city and have the perfect job with the perfect apartment and have this perfect life, right? Right. But you go to work and bust out a good day of work and you go home and make your apartment/home something that you love and you spend your time doing things that make you happy and that you love.

Now you may be asking yourself, “Now Vanessa, I thought this week was a week of personal posts?” It is indeed! Because everything that I just said above, is what I do everyday. I am not at the point in my career where I have a dream job but I make sure I do things in my job that I love and that make me happy (running data/statistical analysis), I make my apartment a place that I love to be (very slowly, but I do make it a tranquil place), I make sure I do things that make me happy (running, swimming, playing in the park), and I spend time with people I care about. Because guess what, if I keep waiting for the perfect train to come and take me to the land of perfect, I’m going to wait my entire life and die disappointed. But if I take imperfect situations and make them work for me, I get to experience happiness and joy. When you let go of “well, when x happens then I will be happy” or “if y then yes” then you can get to enjoy the imperfections that are in your life and love them for being imperfect.

Intellectual Wellness: You’re Gonna Want to Hang This Up Somewhere.

Or at least save it. It’s not often that I find (or in this case someone sends) me an article that excites me to the point of me sharing the article with everyone I know…and then re-typing it up (for formatting mainly) to print out and have with me. THIS article, oh this article. Practically every single point made in this article I agree with. Really the only one is the getting on the phone to talk to someone or when you run into trouble just call someone. Basically the whole premise of using a phone terrifies me and I would rather not have to call anyone ever…but I can see where it can be useful to instead of just emailing back and forth to just pick up the phone and actually talk to someone.

But all of the other things that Jason Nazar writes about are just so spot on. I made sure that I kept “Take responsibility for your mistakes” in mind last night when the lady who I’m helping with her leadership program did a quick check in with me to see where I was at with progress. And she let me know she appreciated that I was taking responsibility for not making this project more of a priority. I by no means want to shrug this project off, I just need to be better at my time management and ensure that I make this project a priority. I also love how (possibly indirectly) this article ties into my FAVORITE organizational development concepts brought to you by Benjamin Schneider (who I one time met at a conference-and by met I mean I sat in the room of his discussion and completely fan girl-ed because he is just one of the most influential groundbreaking OD researchers ever…that was the best day). Dr. Schneider came out a loooooong time ago with his People Make the Place research and it is still holding strong. This article reminds you that you will be working with people more than you will probably be enjoying perk packages. So when it comes to deciding on where you want to work, keep in mind the people that you will be working with on a day to day basis rather than just the perks that come with the job.

Basically what I’m saying is stop reading my writing and GO read this article. And then let me know if it was as life changing for you as it was for me. (Furiously scribbles in free-reading time into night time to-do list).

Intellectual Wellness: Who Gets to Decide?

You’ll notice a trend on my blog, I will rarely answer my own questions. Instead, I prefer to ask questions to get my readers thinking on their own terms. This is not a self-help blog or a blog that has all the answers. I am one girl who poses questions to help others. But this is one question you will get a definitive answer from me. And it is spurred from some backlash that has occurred in the gymnastics fan base with Al Fong releasing his statement in regards to Brenna Dowell. For those of you that don’t know (or don’t care), Brenna was named to the World’s team this year only to be moved to an alternate at some what of the last minute giving a teammate the chance to compete in the All-Around. I won’t go into the politics of the decision, that is just what happened. Al (her coach) finally released a statement and in his statement he wrote, “Rio—-get ready for Brenna Dowell!” And this is where we come full circle.

The gymfan community seems to be harping on Al for making such a “bold” comment (those of you that know gym know that the top gymnasts changes almost with the seasons as injuries and more talent are a constant with USA gymnastics). But it got ME to thinking that we don’t get to tell Al or Brenna if their goals are realistic or not. Because when it comes down to it, YOU get to be the decider of YOUR life. YOU get to decide on your goals and ambitions. YOU get to decide if you are successful. YOU get to decide. Not some catty people sitting behind a computer screen, not your neighbor, not even your family or significant other. I’m not saying that these people don’t have some input on your decision but what it boils down to is you making the decisions. If you decide to do what someone else tells you to do, that’s still YOUR decision.

I usually like to end blog posts with a series of questions to leave my reader pondering life’s evolving meaning, but today is different. Today I will end with this, if you aren’t in the proverbial driver’s seat of your own life, you need to kick out the driver and get in there. You can’t control much in this world-weather, politics, even what gymnasts get to compete, but you CAN control what you are doing with your life and what decisions you are making.

You get to decide.