Hello, Old Friend.

IT LIVES.

 

In fact, it’s doing quite well.

I’m not sure what this block editor is all about, but hey, it’s been almost two years between posts, so why not try it out?

I’m stopping by because I have a lot on my mind lately and needed to write something down:

  • We bought a house and finally get keys today after a sixty-day rent-back period by the sellers.
  • It’s gray and rainy out.
  • Weightlifting is still fun but I need to do more cardio for my hEaRt HeALtH
  • What kind of snacks do brides pack on their wedding day? (We’re engaged and getting married in April, and there’s just a lot that I don’t know about throwing a wedding.)

Today, I’m mostly wondering about snacks. I guess I should think about bringing along some Epic Bars and Hi-Chews, some sparkling water, maybe some Cheez-Its.

Either way, I bought a tote bag that says “Bride” on it, so of course my inclination is to fill it with snacks. More to come…

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Checking In…

It's time for another progress report on my "30 Before 30" list. Regarding the deadline, let's just say I keep asking for and granting extensions. 23-year-old Ardith is thankful for the more flexible time constraints, I like to believe. (That could be Present Me projecting.)

First, the last update from 2015. If you remember, I whittled my definitive list down to a handful of items. Below is the progress made since then, along with some notes where necessary.

The List
1. Visit theItalian town my Italian ancestors are from (Monastero di Lanzo)

2. Visit Australia and New Zealand

3. Visit Kauai, Hawai’i – Completed in February 2017

4. Learn to swim

5. Learn to ride a bike – Completed as of July 2017 (Well, my three class beginner series ended, and it ended with me being able to successfully ride in circles in a single gear! The learning continues.)

6. Learn more Spanish and Tagalog 

7. Meet my cousins and family in the Philippines – Finally completed as of April 2017 (And I plan to go again. Coincidentally, I returned to SE Asia a month later on a business exchange to our Vietnam office.)

8. Travel to the Oregon Coast again

9. Get my CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Change of plans: Completed my USAW Sports Performance Coach certification in June 2017

10. Visit Iceland – December 2015

11. Have the BEST 30th birthday celebration w/ my closest friends somewhere far away – See #10!

Giving me a little bit of extra time seemed to be the trick to ticking off more of my pared-down dream list.*

To be honest, this check-in was inspired primarily by my bicycling milestone. Can you believe this 31-year-old learned to ride a bike in three Sunday sessions? My goal was to be able to ride a bike at a reasonable speed on reasonably level ground, and I'm tickled that I met it. Now, clear the road and get out of my way–mostly for your own safety, because I'm still not fantastic at riding in a straight line.

*Full disclosure: I have a list of 100 dreams I created during a challenge issued by my work. The 11 items here are just a sliver of the whole. I would also be lying if I said most of my 100 dreams aren't travel-related… More to come.

Routinely

I haven’t gone.

I used to tend to this blog regularly, making time to write and record my thoughts and musings several times a week. Without too much hesitation, I let you all in on my vulnerability, shortcomings, and loneliness; my excitement, achievements, and humor; and sometimes, just my nonsense.

Then I decided to put my energy elsewhere. I moved, I changed jobs, I met someone, I traveled, I adjusted my workout priorities, I traveled some more–in other words, life happened, and I had more time to spend being present rather than being reflective.

I miss writing, and it still feels good to put things down in written words, but things are good. They aren’t perfect. There are still days where I stress about what to do with my life, but as my colleague said yesterday, maybe the question I should be asking is, “What’s next?”

My life has been anything but linear and predictable. I still stress about uncertainty and the future, but that’s who I am. I still lament about being athletically talentless, but I’m having a fine time working on my weaknesses.

Also, I love my partner very much, but I leave my disastrous dating stories up here if only to serve as a reference for others who might be feeling the way I once did. Maybe it will help someone, after all.

I leave my projects and artifacts here to showcase where I came from as a graduate student and as a professional. I currently do not work in higher education, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m able to research, analyze, compose, and assess.

I still dream of traveling, and I’m sure I’ll still recollect my journeys in one way or another–through writing or photos on various platforms. There’s so much to see and do still.

This all makes it sound like I’m closing down the blog. It’s not going anywhere, but I might, and I might not record it here. I’m not sure what’s next for my personal record-keeping. Maybe it’s just a layout change; maybe it’s a new site. We’ll just wait and see.

In the meantime, don’t wait up for me. There’s a world out there to explore.

 

In Which She Reminds Herself Why She’s Here

Another mental block. Another dry spell. I haven’t felt like decompressing via my usual online sources like normal. Maybe it’s partially because I’m still bothered about a particular friend/colleague/role model/trusted confidant who ditched me on all forms of networks without so much as a, “I apologize, but you’ve gotten to be too much,” and I feel like I’ve been let down or deceived and like maybe I’m just really not that awesome at the field I chose. I’m hurt by it, but I suppose that’s life, and sometimes that’s what you get when you tell someone, “Hey! It’s been awhile. Let’s catch up!” Of course I have trust issues. No surprise there.

Or maybe it’s just because the shininess of student affairs has worn off or because I’m moving into intermediate ground in CrossFit and the wonder has turned to frustration at stupid skills I still can’t master, as well as celebration for new, more complex skills. Or maybe it’s just a lack of time in my day.

I’m realizing that things I thought I cared the most about in grad school aren’t what I truly, deep-down want I to pursue. I’m realizing that all those times in the working world that I felt energized and inspired were those times when I was involved with athletics and fitness and being active and well. Spirituality, transition, holistic education, experiential learning, identity development, communication, and health and wellness–all off-shoots of the idea of cultivating wellness and developing that idea of purpose by really honing in on what makes an individual move towards a more satisfying state of being.

I want to learn more about what makes our hearts race, what makes our minds clear up, what makes our eyes recapture that gleam they lost at one point or another. When I start talking about exploring how sport can create community, or how coaches’ training and curriculum is possibly missing elements we so respect in student affairs, or how life is not a linear, two-dimensional path but one punctuated by chaos and the unknown–that’s where I come alive.

I obsess over my writing and my skills in the gym. I feel alive when new thoughts about these topics “click” in my head, or when I call out, “Time!” and know my body has accomplished something my mind once called impossible. These things remind me that I am far behind mediocre. I am not average.

And I will push past those barricades, whether they be a careless end to a friendship, a heavy weight, a stupid much-hated skill I cannot for the life of me understand (double-unders can die), or my own self-doubt.

This is the evolution. I love it, and I don’t care.

Everything I Wanted

Note: Someone apparently found my blog with the search terms “cumberpatch oscars” this week. Huh. There’s that.

This is the year that many of my friends and I will mark our tenth year out of high school. I’ve heard some laments of, “Oh, I’m so old now! Where did the time go?” yet I can’t help but marvel at all that’s happened in the past decade.

I moved to the rainy side of the mountains, after enrolling in college. I met great people. I decided to take my major in a completely different direction. I had some adventures. Maybe I even fell in love. I learned to appreciate beer and 80s dancing. I was head cheerleader. I laughed, I cried, I deleted many photos off Facebook because I graduated from college and entered the “real world.” (Not that college wasn’t real–it was transformative, in fact.)

I lived on my own. I experienced depression. I stood crying on the side of the road on Christmas morning when I realized I was snowed in, but I used my distress to my advantage and still made to Wenatchee for Christmas. I decided to take my life in another career direction. My friends got married. I got dumped. I applied to grad school (and was accepted to six out of seven programs). I met someone new. I left the country. I saw places I’d never seen before. I rediscovered my love of airplanes. I learned how to take a subway and navigate countries where I didn’t know the language all that well. I came home. More friends got married. I was deceived and left alone again.

I moved to another state, which wasn’t quite as drastic as another country. I met new people. I learned new things. I worked. I chose partners who weren’t ready for someone like me, but we still had some good times. I lost my father, but I knew he would have told me to continue doing great things. I traveled to the opposite coast for a conference. I finished year one of graduate school. I traveled to another country, this time one with sun and blue seas. I came home and lived in my hometown for the remainder of summer. Friends kept getting married. My mom met someone new. Classmates had children.

I started looking for jobs. I created a portfolio of work. I immersed myself in internships and papers. I quit going to the gym. I spent too much time at Happy Hour, but “too much time” can’t be measured against the company I kept and the stories we shared (and the broken glasses and scolding words the waitress gave my friends). I defended my portfolio. I went to more conferences. I got my first higher education job. I moved to a city I admired. I met more people. I began to work with students in a full-time professional capacity. I received my Master’s degree.

I decided I was too fat, so I joined a CrossFit gym. I didn’t cry, but I couldn’t walk for several days. I traveled to different states. I tried online dating. I had a nice, straight-forward relationship. I realized we weren’t a good match. I broke up with him. I devoted more time to the gym. I visited my friends up north on weekends. I learned new skills. I traveled to more states. I had my first workshop accepted at a national conference. I came in second or third or maybe fourth in a dating race, and that was enough for me to swear off dating for several months.

I needed more time in Seattle, so I started looking for jobs up north. I deliberately spent the summer single. I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I found a new job. I left people I loved who I would visit on weekends as much as possible. I moved. I met even more people. I joined a new gym. I presented at that national conference. My friends and family members got married or had kids or got new jobs or bought new houses.

As for me, I’m not sure what happens next. I’m being forced to move into a new house, and the competition is fierce. I might be living on a couch for a bit. I might be looking at PhD programs, but not for a few years. I might be fighting Sallie Mae over my student loans, which aren’t even really that bad, but they’re enough that sometimes I feel ashamed, even though the work that I put in to both my degrees was priceless (and I do fully believe that). I want to travel to many more countries. I want to write more, and cook more, and spend more time in the gym. I want to meet even more people.

I finally let go of the loneliness that had plagued me since junior high and high school. I don’t feel the urgency in finding someone. I don’t graffiti my blog with sadness over being on my own anymore. I feel it sometimes, on cold nights especially, but it is not painful nor crippling; it is just my current state of being.

Somewhere in the last ten years, I became my own person, and I became enough for me. Everything I thought I needed was just something I was too afraid to do myself. The traveler. The writer. The fitness junkie. The cook. The person who appreciates great food and drinks. The funny one. Even the one with great hair and the one with a good smile. The smart one.

These weren’t partners I was searching for. It was me I was searching for the whole time; I had it wrong. Even though I don’t have the house or the husband or the shiny new car or the kids (or even the pets) that suit so many other people so very well–and even though my current situation is a little bit more turbulent than expected–I can tell you one thing about the last decade:

I learned how to be happy being me.

First Time for Everything

I’m going through a week where I haven’t blogged because I have so many things I want to write about. I feel like I’m doing a disservice to each topic by even starting a blog post. I’m going to have to settle on something, though, because writing is my passion and currently my greatest talent, and I feel strange letting it sit there, unused, unnoticed, unproductive.

I went to the Puget Sound Colloquium yesterday at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. The Colloquium is an annual event for student affairs professionals in the greater Puget Sound region. Yesterday, the topic revolved around metacognition and teaching students how to learn–a distinct skill from “how to study.” As we went through the day, there were many great points, many of which I tweeted or typed into my phone; I came away with a lot of good thoughts and ideas about how to encourage my students to think about their education in different ways.

However, as a life-long learner and a CrossFit fanatic, I realized a lot of what was discussed could easily be translated to coaching and training. There was one specific takeaway that I am incorporating into this evolution, the notion that people often times believe that being “good” at something is solely the result of innate talent and skill. Applied to CrossFit, it’s this mindset that dictates because I don’t understand a skill right off the bat, I am not good at it, and it would make the most sense to accept such–or even walk away.

Now, let it be known, I am surrounded by many, many athletes who have a natural gift for athletics. They are incredibly talented, and some of them had many years in related sports, and some of them are just good at picking up new skills and excelling.

I’m not really either of those people. My years of dance do lend some help in things like flexibility and short, explosive workouts (All out for three minutes? That I can do!), but my lack of coordination deterred me from many other sports, and thus, it now hinders my fast progress. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to hit myself repeatedly with a stupid jump rope practicing double-unders, or to pull myself towards a bar as hard as possible and still not feel my chest make contact, or to fall over and over and over out of handstands. It’s awful being as uncoordinated as I am.

However, I also know that given the right settings and given the right amount of practice, I can excel. I never considered myself a particularly gifted dancer when I was younger, but I will say that I got much better in college. All the years of practice paid off into something; again, I still didn’t have the most beautiful leaps and turns, but I achieved a whole new level once thought impossible.

Same goes for CrossFit. It takes a lot of effort to go from awful to “just okay.” But the knowledge I have gleaned and the hours I’ve put in are paying off. I have a vast amount of knowledge at this point, and I crave more. This desire to learn, to immerse myself, to analyze what works and what doesn’t work–well, these things aren’t necessarily what will make me better, but it’s the processing. It’s assigning a deep meaning to the things that I do and the things that I learn that will stick with me.

That’s why I was so happy to land at HEL initially; the mission and the vision of making my training purposeful and holistic stuck with me. I didn’t know anything about CrossFit going into my time there, but I came away with a whole new fire–and a whole new me. I’ve taken that mentality with me to Seattle and my new team here, and it’s helping me achieve the next level. Granted, it’s slower than others’ paths, but that’s okay.

Skill and talent can only take someone so far. Passion, curiosity, and the ability–and desire–to find deeper meaning, these things will change lives. Learning from failure and prevailing in the face of hardships and disappointments also make the difference. My journey hasn’t been without its valleys; those of you who know me are acutely aware of this. But though the road has been winding, it has been filled with lessons and moments that make me think, and process, and ultimately decide to keep moving forward, constantly exploring.

I’ll likely never be an elite CrossFitter. I’ll be average at best. But my attitude, my love for learning, and my desire to help others achieve their goals and improve themselves will set me apart–and we’re also talking outside the box.

There are many great things ahead of me. And if it means I come crashing in, flailing, uncoordinated, yet with the biggest smile and the loudest laugh, then so be it.

Thoughts from October

“If you just keep going after the really pretty ones, believe me your happiness will be at most temporary and the fruit you will bare will not be worth your labor. Worst of all, we will continue to neglect the rest of the beautiful women out there. Women who have so much more to offer than just really good looks. Women whose beauty is matched, inside and out. Women who believe that love, when truly found, is unconditional. They understand that it, like everything else, requires work, from both sides. These women are smart and talented and awesome in every way. They are the ones who deserve our love. Believe me, Olympus may never fall but there is far more beauty here on the Earth, we just need to stop staring up into the heavens.” via Thought Catalog, “Why the Really Pretty Ones Are Just Not Worth It

Hello. I like what you just had to say, author of the quoted article.

But, let me remind you… let me remind you what Earth has to hold; those complicated women are scary, too.

Because the one I have in mind has lived in five different cities in just under ten years.

Her heart belongs to two, three, or maybe more, men who live in different corners of the world, and who they really are beyond the stories she’s made up to fill the in-between remains more of a mystery. But she loves mystery and much more than only a mental challenge.

Some things come easy to her; others are elusive. Love is the latter.

She can’t quite settle down yet. In fact, she left a city she saw a future with because she wanted to make sure it was the one. She’s full of restless energy, and she’s always running from one place to the next. No one has been able to give the chase their full focus, either. And in the end, who is really chasing whom?

Is it even a chase? Probably not.

Because the ones she wants are probably running the same restless race, and when their paths cross, no one’s sure if it’s just for a passing moment or if those paths will wrap back around and suddenly run parallel to one another.

She’s not sure what she’s running to–at least, she’s not completely sure.

And if that’s okay with you, then that more-than-just-a-pretty-face woman might be someone you want to get to know.

Better find her. Better get her attention. Better keep up with her.

Or, at least make it worth her while to slow down and match your pace.

(She’d probably enjoy the company.)