So, This Is the New Year.

Like I said: it all works out. It’s mid-January, and here I sit on the other side of town from where I typed out that last entry. There was a very tear-filled goodbye, a few roadtrips, and lots of boxes in-between and now for the first time in my life I’m living in my very own little apartment. All by my self. It’s kind of strange, after all these years, but it’s also completely liberating. And right now I’m using it to my advantage. I’m delving into the little niches of my brain where my writing thoughts wait, and I’m digging into the little pockets with brainstorming ideas and I’m trying not to let the flame of current creativity blow out. My friend Kylan was right when he told me you truly get to know yourself when you live alone. I thought I knew myself pretty well, but apparently there’s more to know. That’s exciting, in a way – at least I’m not bored yet. The past year is going to be hard to top, but I’m looking forward to what 2014 has in store. There are adventures to be had, friends to be made, curiosity to be followed, spectacular memories to create.

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Ohh oh we’re halfway there…

Well, look at that? How many times have I sat in a room, somewhere in this state thinking about the future? I mean, there’s only so much thinking you can do. Only so much preparation. At some point, it just comes. The future arrives and you’re in it. Right in the middle of it, whether you’re ready for it or not. So, I’m just going to remember how all those other times I didn’t really have much of an idea what was ahead of me then either. The summer when I got that envelope in the mail in Inverness, telling me about who my roommate would be in the all girls dorm at FSU. Freshman year trying to figure out housing for the next year, thinking maybe I’d live in New Hall with my big sister? And then getting a spot in the sorority house and matched with a girl who I wasn’t very close with at the time. Look where that brought me? Two years of an awesome roommate, a lifelong sister and friend. Summer after sophomore year having one of the most amazing experiences of my life studying abroad in London. Living in a “flat” with one of the most amazing girls I know, who would have known then that little lady would be the one to inspire me to run years later? Junior year, after a trying time, and trying to figure out an internship for summer and all kinds of other weird stuff you try to pretend you’re planning going into senior year of college – and then look! I wound up in the senior annex living with another sister would become one of my greatest friends. That whole house brought me all these friendships I might not have stumbled upon otherwise. Friendships that would last years later. A lifetime later. And then when I left Tallahassee and came back, there Camille was again to offer me a place to stay. Then I found Alex and who’d have thought answering a random Craigslist ad would bring me to the position that it did? Another “lifer” friend, an amazing housemate, and it’s been a good run. I don’t know what’s next. I have no idea. But one way or another it’ll work out, and probably, most likely, I think I’d even bet on it that whatever’s next…it’ll be more amazing than the slightly in the back of my head kind of panicky me could imagine. I just have to get there. And I will. Because pretty soon there won’t be a choice, it’ll just…be. But until then! Onwards and upwards right?

Whole Foods: Where Shopping Really IS a Pleasure

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Today was the grand opening of Whole Foods Market in Tallahassee. I met up with my friend Larry (after my morning run – which in hindsight was good after all the free carb samples ;)) in the parking lot across the street around 8:30. We joined the line that wrapped throughout the parking lot, for the opening at 9am. It was a chilly 63 degrees this morning and a hazy, cloudy sky made it look like it was about 7am instead of 9, but it felt wonderful to get a break from the humidity. We mingled with the woman standing in front of us (and her adorable son playing with a plastic ambulance.) Everyone was in great spirits, and they were even handing out baked goods throughout the line! We were 400 and 401 in line.

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When I was little, I hated (hated) when we had to go grocery shopping. Everything about it just felt like a torturous experience. Now, I’m excited about it. I’d been anticipating this opening (and that of Trader Joe’s even closer to my house, on Friday.) It literally felt like a food playground in there today. I’ve never sampled so many different kinds of cheeses in my life. I watched an older man (with a cool old fashioned hat) eat a pie sample like a shot. We ran into old friends. We saw our line mate.

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The hot bar has insane amount of different kinds of food. Now I know where to go when I want chinese but don’t want to order like five cartons. There are bacon, smoked gouda hushpuppies! (Right next to delicious mac and cheese, and what I’m sure are equally good collard greens.) My favorite beer, of all time, in a six pack ON SALE! (Bell’s Oberon.) BOGO on gelato. Pumpkin mousse! Macaroons! My Van’s power grain protein waffles! Not to mention the pub style roast beef sandwiches, a million kinds of meat and fish and fruit. Just everything.

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After eyeing the hush puppies, my mind was made up when someone recommended them to me. There’s a bar with beer on tap, cocktails, and appetizers! We talked to the bar tender for a bit. (Yeah, I was the person carrying around a six pack at 930 in the morning.) I mean, this is a good place to meet new friends, haha. You know the guy who makes the awesome hard candy at Lofty Pursuits? They sell it packaged there! And he was doing a sample table today. I’m so excited for him. That means even more exposure for his awesome craft.

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There was a jazz band playing at the front of the store. Seriously, I’m not kidding. Could it have gotten any cooler? And we got free reusable bags filled with all kinds of samples. And when we walked in they gave us free ground coffee!

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Larry got this awesome tall mason jar (I think his was filled with sweet tea,) this morning and I was thinking about it today so after I met Ethan and Megan at Decent Pizza I went back for a second time to get one for myself. Mine’s filled with what I’m sure I’ll enjoy of the “Backyard Brew” iced coffee. Fun fact? You can take the jar back to the coffee bar for a $1 refill! As I perused the aisles I overheard employees talking about how different Tallahassee customers are (as compared to another part of Florida,) and how friendly everyone was today. They were excited and surprised by how so many people wanted to engage in conversation. There were a lot of police officers on site inside and outside the store, I’m guessing for crowd control (and necessary traffic control.) One of the cops who works on game days by the stadium was there and I kept ending up in the same section as him and a friend and they joked about me following them.

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By the time I got to the register with my gelato and iced coffee, I was greeted by a very pleasant cashier and bagger. We talked about it being my second time there that day and about the jars. And did you know that for each reusable bag you use they donate 10 cents (either you get it refunded back to you, or you can give it to a local or world charity!) They found an old receipt from The Fresh Market in my bag and joked about how I couldn’t shop there anymore. And then we talked about how the opening went and everything.

I know this is a scattered entry, but I just had to write it down somewhere. It might sound silly, but I had today off of work and that can be positive and negative. I need a chance to recharge my batteries, but sometimes when I have an empty house and a stretch of day ahead of me without distraction, all the thoughts that flood my mind can be overwhelming. This morning on my run an old friend screamed my name from traffic, and it was the extra motivation I needed to finish that run. Combined with going to dinner with my brother and his girlfriend (and a good interaction with someone working at the pizza place,) and wandering around grocery shopping with a friend (and a visit to my safe haven – the library, downtown) I really needed today. It just turned all my negative energy I felt looming, around. Like it spit it back out as positive instead.

I’m sure I’m a chatty cathy and sometimes I talk too much but I think my most favorite thing is good customer service experiences. It says so much, about an organization, the establishment, the people, and it can do wonders for someones day (and I can tell you personally – that it can affect both sides.) I needed to find some peace today, and I did – I took an afternoon walk in this gorgeous cool temperature we have floating around Tallahassee right now, and the sun finally peaked out for a bit!

Multiple lessons from today: appreciate the little things.
Be nice to everyone.
Go check out Whole Foods when you get a chance!
Take even a minute to step outside, turn your face towards the sky, feel the sunshine and the cool breeze and savor it for a moment.

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Change, Change, Change

Life can change so quickly. We, as humans are more adaptable than it seems sometimes, or maybe more than we can remember when we’re feeling like we’re not. I did one thing for so long, and the parts of it I liked, I really liked. But you know that whole, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing repeatedly but expect different results? That’s where I was in life for quite a while. I have all these complexes – loyalty, responsibility, ethics but you can’t expect things to change when they keep on showing you they’ll stay the same. And when things don’t change, it’s just like that South song “if we don’t make it, nothing changes.” It’s true. It’s the truth. So sometimes we have to figure out how to make some changes, whether they’re temporary or permanent or circumstantial and it’s hazy how long they’ll be around for – they can be pretty necessary. Just one step to tip the scales. So all of this is how I wound up working at a friends store about two months ago, and finding out I really, really like it. It’s shown me things I’m capable of that I probably wouldn’t have envisioned if you asked me two months ago. There are so many things about me, as a person, that don’t change regardless of the situation you put me in. Like group projects – I passionately hate group projects, but I’m always going to want to put in as much work as I can before it’s done. If an area is lacking, even if it drives me crazy, I’m going to want to do what I can to balance it out. And even if I hate group projects, I’m a walking contradiction because I love team work. I love a clean operating partnered effort. The thing is, I know it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people right now, but that’s not important. For right now, it makes sense to me and that’s enough.

And so it begins again…

When I stopped running, I stopped blogging as much. I know, that sounds kind of ironic because you’d think with more time on my hands, some activity would increase. But it’s been a touchy subject in the cobwebs of my head. I’ve tried to distance myself from it because I thought what I used to know was over, and I had to move on. I know, that sounds dramatic but I have to give myself a hard truth to face sometimes, or I’ll convince myself otherwise. So back in April when I was hurting really bad, I took time off. I was trying to do it the right way, underwater running, other strength training, rest days, etc. I did it for the 8weeks, maybe even a little longer. And I eased back in and I was so slow, and it was so discouraging, but I was trying to just be grateful for the whole act of running itself. Then I ran a 5k on the Fourth of July. It was raining, and by that I mean it was more like hurricane conditions. They decided to do it untimed. I was like oh hey, I don’t care I won’t be competitive, but it’s impossible – it’s some innate quality that ignites when they scream “go!”

So, whatever, I thought I was back at it, slow as a turtle – but still moving. And then I started getting worse pains than before and I couldn’t really figure it out. It didn’t matter about stretching, or swimming, or rest days or what. I couldn’t get more than two tenths of a mile without having to turn around and walk (and wanting to cry.) So, lately I’ve just been trying to deal with that. Accept it for whatever it is, and think that maybe two-ish years of running started to take a toll on my body that was just now starting to appear? And I tried not to feel bitter towards the people trotting around the neighborhood, when Running Times showed up in my mailbox, when raceday photos appeared on my Instagram. And then something in me, one morning this week made me decide to just try again, lace up some different shoes and see how it went. Somehow I managed two miles, and the air was cool and breezy and it was so beautiful and perfect I wanted to scream with joy, after being so frustrated.

That’s where I am now. Just taking it one day at a time. And being infinitely grateful for every single run. Every step I take that doesn’t hurt. And I’m not exaggerating. I thought I’d be fine without it. But there’s something about that sport that has a strong hold on me. I can’t quit. I can’t let it go. I ordered new shoes, and I’m hoping that that might have been a factor, that my others needed to be retired. Before I had half marathons (like the Rock n Roll in Savannah) in my starry eyes, but now I’m just thankful for the recreational activity. Maybe one day I’ll go back to races.

I was thinking about it this morning. Tallahassee was graced with this incredible weather this weekend. Fall surely has arrived. The humidity has been low, the sun shining, a breeze in the air – just absolutely gorgeous. I forgot the mindset I get in with running, nothing else clears my head in quite the same way. (Like when I’m swimming? I’m concentrating on breathing and if I’m keeping a good form too much to be thinking about anything else.) Especially when it’s just me, an early morning, an empty neighborhood, clear skies, cool breeze, and some thoughts or dreams. I forget about the emotions, I access when I’m running. It’s like an inner layer pealed away that I leave covered up the rest of the time. Facing all my insides, ugly or not.  Anyway, maybe another day I’ll have to deal with it, but at least for right now I don’t have to because I don’t want to. I don’t know how yet to start over with something else. It’s an addiction, sure, but it’s the only good one I have. I guess I never realized how much it all became engrained in me. I need running for so many reasons. And sure, those PRs I reached, or finish lines I crossed brought a certain sense of accomplishment I’ve never experienced from anything else, but right now it’s not about that anymore. You know that part in “Wear Sunscreen” that goes “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.” 
Well it’s true. It’s just an inner battle right now, (and for the record? Right now, I’m winning.)

A Day in the Life

So, today is a perfect example of why I need my own reality show. I promise it’d be entertaining. My mom is super quotable, and you’d probably wanna make GIFs of her commentary. I find myself in the middle of ridiculous situations all the time that will make you feel better about your own life. A few weeks ago when I was in Athens, Kaylynn asked me if I thought it was bad that crazy things always happen when we’re together? But both of us are used to nonsense occurring on a regular basis in our separate lives, so it only makes sense for it to happen ten-fold when we’re together. Why not experience it together?

This morning I had a Skype interview. First of all, there was a mix up with the time zone. (When I say mix up, there wasn’t one specified, so I was imagining mine so I was on there an hour early.) Once that got sorted out, and the actual Skype conversation happened (where the interviewer was rocking an AWESOME fishtail braid, and honestly I wish I could’ve asked for some tips!) the insane cat decided it’d be a great time to jump on the table. He waltzed in front of the screen, so I put him on the floor and apologized. She thought it was hilarious. (In case you’re wondering about my strategy – I had already considered this possibility but the cat is OLD (by old I mean like 15,) and I think he’s losing his mind. He does all this weird stuff lately. So if you shut him out (like if I put him outside) he starts making these absolutely AWFUL noise, like a shrill cry and it’s creepy and horrible so there was no way I was risking setting that off.) Once I put him on the floor he proceeded to start biting my hand, and attacking my leg like his own personal scratching post. 

Not even kidding. What are the odds of that? I texted Kaylynn afterwards, and she was like “I am not at all surprised any of this happened.” Of course you’re not! (I’m sure you’re not, either.) Anyway, all things considered that could’ve gone a lot worse. At least it’s finished. 

Today was my first day off since last Friday, and I woke up at like 4:45am unable to go back to sleep. I laid awake awhile, and read more of Fire with FireThen I looked at the movie app on my phone, only to find out that we got The Spectacular Now early in Tallahassee! So, I took myself on a date and went and saw the noon showing. Not gonna lie, I cried a little. But according to all the awesome YA authors I follow on Twitter, I wasn’t the only one emotionally effected. I saw it coming anyway, do you not remember how much reading the book wrecked me? How I said it felt like watching pieces of my life on screen? But it’s so beautiful. And it was shot in Athens, Georgia and the scenery is just stunning. I love when films are authentic, and true to the book and this was both. 

I did some laundry, I finished reading my book, and I took a nap. I went to some stores (and somehow didn’t buy anything?!) And this evening, I scheduled an appointment for Safelite to come by work tomorrow to fix this pesky crack in my windshield. It’s been a good day, I’d say. It started with a run. I’ve been listening to a lot of Rilo Kiley. Texting several of my friends, and just chilling out. It’s nice to have some space in my mind to think if I want to, but not have ninety million thoughts taking over my brain either. 

I know it’s been a while, but I’ll work on keeping more up to date. I’m sorry for my long time hiatus, and still not sharing trip photos yet. In due time. Promise. 

Don’t Do That

Stop. Just stop it. The moment you start letting someone else’s opinion of you creep in, that’s the very moment the castle will begin tumbling down. I say this from my own experience. Because there I was perfectly happy, floating along in my own little world, (not a bubble – I was plenty aware of my surroundings,) but in a perfectly happy place. And I can pinpoint the shift in tide, I can tell you when the bubble burst and the edges grew sharper. And I’m telling you, just don’t do it because it’s not worth it. Someone who makes you second guess yourself, someone who makes you wonder if you’re flawed in someway that had never even occurred to you before is not someone you should keep around in your life.