After that, I sat down and did an incomplete statistic.
Just in my dorm room, not including the stuff I have back home.
I have 9 drinking equipment: 4 mugs, 2 straw cups, 3 water bottles.
I have around 50 different earrings, 10 necklaces, 10 bracelets, and several rings, and I am still buying more.
I have over 100 different hair ties: about 10 coil-style hair rings, 20 hair ties with different decorations, 30 regular hair ties with different colors, 50 small rubber bands, and several scrunchies.
I have about 20 different hair clips too, I used to have more but I keep losing them.
I have a hill of plush toys on my refrigerator: a reindeer, a white bear, a yellow chicken, a unicorn, a yellow cat, a brown and white dog, a sloth, a unicorn-like Pusheen, a grey dog, a snowman, an elephant, a rhinoceros, a pink piglet, a goose, an avocado, and a little monkey.
For sunscreen, body wash, face mask, conditioner, body lotion, lip balm and so on, I have at least two of each, and I don’t even know why, probably because they have different flavors and functions from each other?
To my surprise, I even have two blankets, five pen begs, three trashcans, four school backpacks, two large camping backpacks, three exactly same phone chargers, and five playing cards (but I don’t even play poker).
For all the items I list above, one is completely enough, but somehow I have more than I need.
Hmmm… I guess now it’s the time to do some reflection and make some changes.
I was recently reflecting on a past assignment that was given to me in middle school. My memory of the prompt is vague but it went along the lines of, “write down your most cherished memories from your life.” I wrote about the experiences that I thought I was going to cherish forever. But now, four years later, I have matured and so have my memories.
I remember going into kindergarten and meeting a girl who I thought would stay in my life forever.
I remember my parents fighting over the phone.
I remember day dreaming all the time.
I remember the smell of summer in the valley and my blonde ringlets.
I remember being alone in my room but being utterly content.
I remember growing up faster than my friends,
isolating myself, being insecure.
And years later, I remember my self-realization.
I remember listening to different music, wearing different clothes, and becoming myself.
As I wrote my “memory list” 6 years ago, I have grown into (what I think) is a more emotionally in-tune woman. These memories are not actual moments from my life but rather feelings and emotions. In thirty years from now, I know I will not remember all the details from my favorite concert or my first crush, but I will retain the feelings that come along with those situations.
“I was talking about time. It’s so hard for me to believe in it. Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. I used to think it was my re-memory. You know. Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it’s not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it’s gone, but the place—the picture of it—stays, and not just in my re-memory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don’t think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.”
I ran 17 laps over the course of two hours, I was winded, but hardly exhausted. These were the days I lived for. I was in first grade when I first participated in the Terry Fox run, an annual international charity track event meant to raise funds for cancer research in honor of Canadian hero, Terry Fox. This event is where I believe my relationship with sports or athletics in general really began, racing my friends across the long stretches of the track until we collapsed on the grassy ditch to catch our breath, just to do it again countless times.
For the next three years, my passion for sports grew even further. At school I participated in badminton, dodgeball, fitness, swimming, everything they had to offer. I was by no means a stellar student-athlete; outside of school my childhood consisted of next to no physical activity, having busy parents, no siblings, and neighbors I was unfamiliar with, my outdoor activities consisted solely of digging holes in the backyard. All of that aside, I still loved physical activity, making sure to fill my recess with as much tag and soccer as I possibly could.
In fourth grade, however, I found that my affinity to athletics had shifted towards food instead, and as I slowly gained an appreciation for eating, I slowly lost interest and ability to participate in sports. I began an exponential weight gain that lasted, thankfully, only five years, but took a tremendous toll on my body. At my peak in seventh grade, I would strain myself climbing the stairs, I’d wear shirts two sizes too big to conceal everything I could, and I was eating a family-sized bag of chips every day. So to sum things up, things weren’t looking too hot for me. In those five years, my relationship with athletics had become estranged and I intentionally belittled sports as primitive to somehow justify to myself my current condition. However, being the aspiring hypocrite that I was, I still tried desperately to get onto every sports team offered at my school, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, whatever team sport that would have me, but unsurprisingly, every time, I was nowhere to be seen on the lists.
Even after I got my weight problem under control and ended up going too far in the other direction I found the same issues with sports. I had no strength, no energy, no agility to participate in any activity apart from golf, but I was awful at golf so that was out of the question for me anyway. In the last four years, I’m proud to say I’ve finally gotten my weight under control, I no longer count every calorie that enters my body out of fear of losing control again. I know what went wrong and how to avoid those same mistakes.
Basketball is where I’ve been able to express this change the most. My freshman year I had 12 minutes of playing time the entire season. I can’t blame my coach for any of that, I was 6’4 inches of skin and bone, I didn’t have the strength to shoot a basketball from the free-throw line, and I could jump maybe a foot off the ground. The past few years, I’ve grown taller and stronger and I’ve trained relentlessly. I’m by no means the MVP I had hoped I would be. But now being one of the main contributors to my basketball team after my tenuous past with sports, I can finally look back and feel proud about my athletic ability, something that once meant so much to me, for the first time in nearly 10 years.
I’ve been trying to get my dad to stop eating meat since I was four years old. We traveled to Ireland and I remember watching him eat bacon day after day and wanting nothing more than for him to understand the terrible health risks. I’ve always been worried about his health… His “weight loss” diets would always consist of meats and cheese (protein fads) along with Diet Ginger Ale… He would lose weight and looked fit so it worked for him, but I became more and more worried.
I tried to explain to him that natural sugars are okay and animal products were truly the problem. He was raised in a family of ten siblings so if he didn’t eat what was served (unhealthy crappy foods) he wouldn’t eat, period. Meats, processed foods and dairy was on the menu during his upbringing. So when I was young he was hard on me for my decisions because he simply didn’t have the proper knowledge.
As I got older he started to support my lifestyle more and more, eventually taking me to vegan festivals and even dining with me to enjoy high quality vegan foods. He even asked me where he could get a metal straw to help with plastic pollution. I figured this was as far as he would ever go. I accepted this reality and kind of gave up on him, sadly. I figured he would never change and that was okay…Because everyone is different right?
When I got the call last month…it was my dad on the phone telling me he is going plant based after watching “The Game Changers” documentary on Netflix. I was in utter shock. Out of everyone in my life, he would have been the last person on my list I would ever expect to go vegan. For me, this showed me hope for humanity! He is the most “manly” guy I’ve ever met so for him to make this change is amazing. With all the stereotypes about vegan guys being weak, feminine and all that other nonsense animal product companies endorse, this shows me how anyone can do it just letting go of their ego. My dad said, “All the research supports the vegan diet and this way of life is by far the most healthy. I have always known that you are on the right track. Now I am seeing that eating plant based can even build muscle, strength and healthy blood flow. It seems that it can also lower my cholesterol which is elevated at this time. I am so proud of you for paving the way. You are a great inspiration to me and I’m never eating meat again.”
A lot of the time people will tell me they would totally go vegan if they could, but it would be “too hard,” “I tried and just couldn’t” or it’s not the time and they will eventually make the switch… But the time is now. We have the resources. Nobody cares about getting the right nutrients until veganism comes up. People will be eating McDonald’s all day and act like veganism would just be detrimental to their health. Another excuse is that it’s too expensive. It is simply not expensive to go to your local grocery store and buy a can of beans or some vegetables. Research the right foods and stop saying you “can’t.” Stop making excuses to make yourself feel like a better person because it is total BS.
This is a lifestyle. And yes, changing your lifestyle is a big deal but crucial for your health and well being. This switch will change your life, and the ones in it, but only for the better. I hope my dad can be an inspirational success story and help you and your family on your own health journeys.