I’ve started to realize it’s the little things I change about my day that make me feel so much better.
I’ve started studying outside during my free blocks. Even when I’m not doing work, I just sit outside on my phone instead of inside my dimly lit, stuffy dorm room. It feels so much better having both the sun and light breeze against my skin, keeping me warm and cool at the same time. It’s more refreshing, though I’m not doing anything more than sitting outside.
I’ve started getting up early again. I get up around six a.m. now and, despite sleeping less hours, I feel more awake than when I’d sleep in until 7:40. I get up and force myself to go running because even if I’m tired in the moment, I feel wide awake for the rest of the day. I have time to go to breakfast, less time to rush to get ready for classes, and more time to hang out with friends in the morning. I’m no longer starving by the third class of the day or falling asleep by the fourth.
It’s a good feeling finally being motivated to do the small things that make drastic changes to how my days turn out for me and I’m appreciating every day so much more because of it.
Since I’m currently training by myself, I get to decide where I run. I avoid this road as much as possible. But during cross country season, when I’m at the mercy of my coaches, most of our workouts involve the road in some way.
Going down is smooth sailing. Going up is hell.
The road is more like a hill, a giant, mile-plus long hill. It’s on a constant incline and, as you get closer to the top, it gets steeper.
At first, I absolutely loathed this road.
I always hated it in the beginning, because it turned even my best runs turn into something that made me feel like I was putting myself through torture.
The road is sometimes unforgiving. The more you climb, the weaker your legs feel, the more your lungs burn, the more you feel like your brain is about to explode.
I used to fight it. Each day, I felt like I was preparing for this great battle, in which only one victor would prevail: me or the hill.
But, eventually, I started to realize that it wasn’t really a battle of physicality; it was more so a battle of wit. I learned to work with the road instead of against it and things started to make more sense.
I learned to take advantage of even the tiniest bit of downhill, to take the straightest line possible. I started to read the road, to take note of how it felt when I ran a certain way.
To this day, I still don’t like running it. But, I’ve learned how to do it properly.
The road used to be some foreign, intimidating beast that I thought I would never be able to understand. Now, I realize that it was really just an old, wise mentor for me, my very own Mr. Miyagi.
Last night, I was headed up the road on the bus and, as I looked out the window, I knew exactly what point we were at solely based on the glimpse I caught of the tops of the oak trees. It made me smile, seeing how far I’ve come.
The same miles of curving pavement that used to seem endless to me are now ingrained into my memory, including details down to which tree is positioned where on each corner.
The countless days of practice, all of the sweat-soaked t-shirts and aching muscles really did pay off, in so many more ways than for just my running.
If only I knew back then just how much I would come to understand the road and how much it would come to understand about me.
I’ve been embarrassed of my height for a while. I wear platformed shoes, I sit up as straight as I can, and I do exercises that supposedly help me grow. But, no matter what I try, I’m not going to get any taller.
I’m short and I don’t like it, but I can’t do anything about it, so why not own it?
I’m short, I have a lower risk of cancer.
I’m short, I can wear children’s sizes and save a bunch of money.
I’m short, I can wear heels without towering over my date.
I’m short, I don’t have to worry about hitting my head on doors.
I’m short, blankets will cover my body and my feet, so no cold toes for me.
I’m short, I can fit in small places.
I’m short, I can fit in my dog’s bed and cuddle with her.
I’m short, I can beat just about anyone in a limbo competition.
I’m short, I have a higher life expectancy than taller people.
I could go on and on about the pros of being vertically “challenged,”
I saw this tweet a few days ago and I think it is something we all need to be more concerned with.
And, it’s not just about climate change, it’s about everything involving the environment. We’ve done a lot of damage. When it comes to bettering our environment, it’s too late for preventative measures. We’re just playing catch up now.
Sometimes it’s hard to do the right thing. We’re so used to living the way that we do, it’s not always easy to put the planet first.
If you want to reduce your impact or help the planet but don’t know how, here are a few things you can try implementing into your routine:
Say no to plastic. The next time you eat out, tell your server you don’t need straws. Especially, if it’s fast food. There is no reason for you to take a lid and a straw for your drink. Buy glass bottles instead of plastic ones – they’re easier to recycle. If you’re planning on eating out, bring reusable containers to take left overs home.
Be mindful of product packaging. For example, buy bar soap instead of liquid soap. This can include shampoos and conditioners; there are plenty of eco-friendly options that don’t use plastic packaging. Don’t buy anything with excessive packaging. Cardboard or paper packages are the best options. Buy in bulk as much as you can.
Buy second hand. I understand that, from time to time, it’s nice to treat yourself to a new item and that’s fine. But, for the most part, you can find everything you need at thrift stores and you’ll save money too. There are also plenty of websites where you can buy used items (for those of you who like online shopping).
Keep it local. Shop at farmer’s markets and support local businesses. Buy produce that is in season. This reduces the distances that items need to be transported and causes less fuel emissions.
Don’t waste food. Shop for groceries using a list and only buy what you need. Don’t cook more food than you can eat. It is better to have no leftovers at all, but, if you do, try to actually eat them later.
If you’re looking for more ways to reduce your impact, do some research. There is so much information out there that can help us be better.
I’m not perfect. I try my best to be conscious of everything I do and the impact it will have, but I still have a lot of ways in which I could be better.
To some people, conservation might seem like a hopeless cause. But as long as we’re trying, if each day we do one more thing that reduces our impact, then, there is still hope.
Their entire philosophy is based on the premise that when we start to say yes to things, we open ourselves to experiences that would never have been possible if we had said no. It encourages its followers to be spontaneous and preaches the idea that strangers are just friends you haven’t met yet.
To live out this philosophy, the main people involved are three 20-something, friendly, and fit guys who travel around the world and complete challenges based on the spontaneity and kindness of strangers.
In their latest video, one of the guys is abandoned alone in Slovakia with no money and no phone, where he must attempt to return to his friends in Budapest.
I love everything about this channel and I hope someday I can live my life in a similar fashion.
But, I know this isn’t as realistic for me. Simply, because I’m a woman.
The thought of being dropped off in and exploring a random country sounds like a dream. The thought of being dropped off alone in a random country sounds terrifying.
I hate that just by being female, doing anything becomes more dangerous. I am a strong believer that a woman can do anything a man can. While that is true, it’s also true that women have to take a lot more precautions than men do.
I read a study that asked groups of men and women about the things they do in their everyday life to avoid being assaulted. The responses from women went on for pages. For men, there was one answer: “Nothing. I don’t think about it.”
Words cannot express how much I wish this weren’t the case, how much I wish men and women were really, truly equal when it comes to things like this.
I wish that my mom didn’t have to worry about me going to the beach with my girl friends at 5 PM, even though she is fine with my older brother going to the same place with his guy friends at one in the morning.
I wish that women weren’t twice as likely as men to experience sexual assault or violent crimes.
I wish it weren’t like this, but it is. And let me tell you, it sucks.
To any men who are reading this, appreciate the fact that you don’t have to make sure you have your keys in your hand when you’re walking to your car at night. Be grateful that when you’re running by yourself and a truck drives behind you, you don’t have to stop to let it pass so that you can see what it is doing. Remember that there is a reason why girls always go to the bathroom in groups.
Tell this to your sons. Make them understand what it’s like. Teach them how to make women feel safer.
Maybe someday we’ll live in a world where a young woman can walk through a city alone, the only thing on her mind being how grateful she is to be there, and her biggest concern being what she will eat for dinner.