In June, we leap

June is the best month of the year. It’s when I feel the most inspired, the most alive.

In the spirit of my favorite season, I’m really kicking off this old blog with its new focus.

You may be wondering what Grand, Gold Year even means. Well, now’s the perfect time to explain.

june-field

For months I’ve thought about how to write about on the things I love most in life. But yeah, this isn’t super-compelling unless you know me or share exactly the same interests I do.

Things I love writing about fall into a few areas: self-improvement, discipline, motivation, health, creativity, and artistic expression. I want to talk about all these things — more specifically, actually doing them.

I used to envy others’ progress on their fitness, art, and projects. Then I realized I’ve been letting months wither away thanks to inaction or by conducting unnecessary research I think I need to get started on something.

What if I shaped my time so that I accomplished more? Where could I be a year from today?

Now is the best time of all to talk about doing and putting plans into motion. Early summertime, like its bounty of produce, is meant to be savored.

summer-berries

Focusing on goals and taking steps to get there means I’ll be making the most of each day. Spending my time, money, and energy in a meaningful, deliberate way allows me to create a more meaningful summer that feels more like those of my childhood — satisfying, joyful, slow.

I want to carry this energy with me throughout the year.

Over the next several months (and hopefully years) to come, I’ll be sharing things that make me happy, projects I’m tackling, great recipes I’ve made, my journey to reclaim my fitness, what moves me to action, and more. 

Reclaiming a lost year, one hour at a time

Before I could run, I had to learn to walk again.

Not in the literal sense, mind you, but in the way that you really have to teach yourself how to put one foot in front of the other and go.

start-again

An extended break from all things fitness/activity/health had taken a huge toll on me. I wasn’t sure where to start or how I was going to break myself out of this funk, this time, after running maybe 20 miles total in 2015.

Lucky for me, one of my best friends recommended Orangetheory after hearing that a studio was coming to New Orleans. Each class is focused on cardio and floor work with weights, TRX straps, and bodyweight exercises. It’s a combination of pilates and what I’d describe as the Caffeine Free Diet Coke version of CrossFit.

Participants wear a heart rate monitor to gauge levels of exertion and effort. The goal is to stay within a heart rate zone just below your maximum, coded as orange on a scale from resting to near-vomiting, for a targeted amount of time per class.

So much of my first class was spent walking, not yet running, in that red zone, the near-vomit one, that I questioned my sanity and why I’d ever allowed myself to stop running.

Over the past three months, I’ve made progress and have regained a great deal of aerobic endurance. Sure, I love/hate the sessions, and the weights portion doesn’t exactly satisfy my athletic side that’s completed a 300-pound deadlift, but that doesn’t matter. This was finally the thing, the solution, it seemed, that helped me learn to love running again. I’ve felt so much more balanced and sane since mid-January, thanks to the work I’ve put in.

But just for a second, back to that part about allowing myself to stop running. I think we all go through periods like this.

The hardest part is taking those first few steps, feeling the soft squish of nearly-new Brooks Adrenalines as you take cautious, baby-deer steps at four miles per hour on a treadmill lit from overhead by an orange lamp. You have to show up and do the work. Start where you are.

Those first steps sucked. The second, third, and fourth sessions sucked. But things clicked and I reclaimed an important part of myself with each session. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel so many times, but I remind myself:

I am becoming more like myself again. And more like the person I really, really want to be.

So here I am, writing again for the first time in months and happily sharing the good news about finding my groove. I’ve filled pages of a notebook with blog ideas since late 2014, but have waited (for what? Who knows) to act and start writing again. Consider these words my first few steps.

I’m near-barfing in that red zone, but I’m showing up to do the work.

A new beginning

Hello again. This is a new beginning. Yes, another.

seedling

It feels wonderful to type those words. I’ve missed this space immensely, and have flipped and flopped for the past eight months on how I wanted to return.

In the time I was away, I thought deeply about privacy, openness, and what sharing creative output means to me. Eventually I realized I love this and need this, so here I am writing again. And then I realized that I want to create more than collections of thoughts — maybe some painting, crafts, that stuff has a place here, too.

Can anyone else relate to the inescapable gravitational pull of a creative outlet?

I am here because I want you to experience a bit of the spark that’s ignited something in me.

There’s also been a lot of personal work going on behind the scenes, the hard kind we know we must tackle when we need to bring change about in our lives but are so underwater we’re not sure where to start. That work was necessary and good. I am here today stronger and happier than ever before. So far, my thirties are pretty great.

Of course, I don’t have life all figured out, but I am here because I want you to experience a bit of the spark that’s ignited something in me, in hopes that you’ll feel it in your own life. We can do better every day, together.

At this moment I’m grateful that I can always return to this space, to refocus my work, to grow, with each of you listening and cheering me on along the way. Thank you for reading today and for sticking around over the past six years.

Welcome to Grand, Gold Year. This is a new beginning of my best year yet. And we’re only getting started.