Ask any one of my closest friends and they'll tell you I've been a little all over the place for the last couple years. Not sure what I want to do, where I want to go, what or who I want to be, taking and leaving the advice and guidence my parents gave to me as a child, making sense of teachers and professors advice, etc.... Mid 20's are quite a challenge sorting through most of this crap, some of it is great and some can be left at the door. There is one thing though that remains a constant and reoccuring theme that I've been learning as I keep trecking on; and that is that life is a tapestry.
A tapestry, for those who don't know, is "a piece of thick textile fabric with pictures or designs formed by weaving colored weft threads or by embroidering on canvas, used as a wall hanging or furniture covering." (Wikipedia) Or we can reference a quilt as well for this blog post.
Let me explain. I've been the kind of person to look for and pursue the BIG moments. Working at Juilliard, conducting musical productions, losing 150lbs. While these are big achievements and have taken a great deal of time, education and persistance, these moments are only one piece of fabric within the whole stitched together with time and doing. They aren't the end-all, be-all, nor should they be.
I was at the gym the other day and was flipping through the basic cable channels; Rachel Ray was on. She was being interviewed about her life and career as a celebrity and well-known TV personality. The interviewer asked her, and I'm powerphrasing, what she would change or do differently about her past if she could. She said she wouldn't change anything, even the things that were a struggle or that, at the time, seemed to be the worst moment of her life. She said that life is like a quilt and that if she were to change one stitch, it could change everything about the course of her life so far. Which reminds me, it's kind of like those time-travel episodes in Family Guy where if one little thing is altered in the past, it causes a chain reaction of events that can make life very different in the present and going forward.
It's not 2017 yet and I'm not a resolution type of guy. I'd rather set 3-5 big goals to work on for the year and achieve them. I keep learning that life is meant to be explored, evolve and unravel from moment to moment without us as human beings messing with the process and trying to control the direction of every stitch and aspect of our quilt/tapestry. Focus on each moment and enjoy the highs, lows, unsure areas, the scary parts, the happy parts, the confusing parts... it ALL makes up the quilt and tapestry of life; to resist these things is to resist what is and to delay putting together a fullfilling and rewarding life, whatever that means for you.
Try new adventures, make new friends, step outside of the box and attempt things and situations that are interesting, fearful, rewarding and exhilerating without hesitation.
I leave you with my favorite quote:
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever" - Steve jobs
Life would be much easier if we didn't have to work hard to get what we wanted. Well... life isn't like that at all. If you want something, you have to work hard to get it. For a toned body or to lose 10 pounds, you need to work at it and exercise.
I found it to be quite hard starting out with working out. It's hot, sweaty, sometimes strenuous but can make you feel like a million bucks once you finish. Not a lot of people have time, money or the drive to get up everyday and hit the gym, but once you see progress, then the reward is sure worth it.
I have a few tricks to help you get moving and motivate you to keep going back to the gym:
1. Little at a time - Don't start off doing crazy amounts of weights and hours of cardio when, and if, you start working out. Take it a little at a time. Maybe start with 10 minutes on the elliptical (elliptical is a low impact machine that won't be hard on your joints) for a few days and slowly add 5 minutes to it. Hey, I didn't say this will be a fast process and you lose the weight instantly. Not to mention, losing weight fast hurts your metabolism and your body's ability to maintain a steady weight. You should be losing 1-3 pounds per week at most. Though, once you start, you will see a lot of weight come off first. I like to use the analogy of boats; It takes more fuel to move a cruise ship than it does to move a tug boat. You will be burning a lot more calories if you are heavier and therefore will lose more weight to start. Just don't get discouraged or feel like you have to match the person on the machine next to you to get results. Go at your own pace and listen/be mindful of your body and what it is telling you. If you're on a machine and after 10 minutes you start to feel pain, stop your workout. Pain is NOT gain, pain is your body's way of saying "this isn't right we need to stop!".
2. Track your progress - This may seem tedious but it works wonders for me. I use a FREE tool called MapMyWalk to track my workouts. You can create an account online. They also have apps for mobile devices so if you decide to take a walk outside, you can turn it on and your mobile device uses the GPS to track your distance, calories burned and time. This is a great motivator because it gives you a visual representation of what you are doing and can help you try and top your last workout. I know I try to beat my time at the gym everyday so I can improve on my stats. Not to mention I feel great after a hard workout.
3. Weight yourself once - You all know who you are, you who step on the scale every day hoping that the number will miraculously plummet in 24 hours. Well stop that! You are causing yourself harm by doing that. Scales are a horrible guide to weight loss because a scale can't tell you if you lost fat weight, water weight, muscle weight or if your arm was chopped off. A 5 pound brick and a 5 pound bag of feathers weight the same, but are not made up of the same material, but a scale doesn't know that. It just takes a measurement. So why use the scale if it is so inaccurate? Because, it gives you an idea of the direction you are headed towards. The trick to getting an accurate reading is to weight yourself at the same exact time, ONCE per week in the nude. Resist the urge to do more than once per week. Pick a day that you would like to weigh yourself, my day is Friday, and commit to that time. Write down your weight and track it from week to week.
4. Workout Buddy - Nothing screams motivation then someone else working out next to you. You feed off of each other and sometimes try to top each other which motivates you to push yourself through your workouts. Find a friend, co-worker, family member, fellow gym member and create a buddy system that will motivate you to get moving.
I never said it was going to be easy, but if you are willing enough, these tips will be sure to help you get started and motivated to join a gym or even workout in your own home (which I don't recommend). A gym atmosphere helps to motivate you as well. With everyone there for the same purpose, you wont feel so alone. Happy lifting!
I really love psychology and human behavior. I find it fascinating and love to learn and educate myself on my own about it by reading articles online, listening to audio books and watch people at the mall and other public places.
Humans tend to go to extremes and then bounce the opposite direction (the pendulum swing) or what some call all-or-nothing thinking. We grow up with it as a child, think about the conversations surrounding a child in the Western world: "Good behavior or bad behavior"... "Right or wrong"... "black or white"... "yes or no"... "this or that"... "good witch/bad witch"... "good cop/bad cop"... "smart or dumb"... "happy or sad"... you get the picture. These are all polar opposite examples of what should be a spectrum, and when we aren't careful, can fall into those extremes when talking about anything. Facebook for example.
Many love it, many hate it, some have a love/hate with it and go from "I'm going to delete it" where they write a beautiful farewell status claiming they are jumping ship because they can't take the stuff in the newsfeed, friends getting married and engaged, babies etc. etc. etc... to the "I can't NOT be on Facebook".
How can we find a nice middle ground? Forget the fact that the newsfeed is tailored by Facebook's many algorithms based on who you interact with, what you write, who you like, what you click on etc.... The answer is simple. Observe how you use Facebook and make small, achievable changes.
About 2 months ago, I was noticing how unhappy I was with what I was doing, where I was going and who I've been spending/not spending time with. I also noticed how often I was on Facebook scrolling through the newsfeed and comparing my life with the ones portrayed in the newsfeed. I can't deactivate my account as I use it for gigs and networking with other musicians, but I can't spend hours on it either feeling like I'm lacking something or need to be MORE to keep up with the other people, more or less doing the same crap. So I found a healthy, workable compromise.
Here's what I started to do:
1. I started by deleting the app from my phone. It takes up a little over 600MB which is a lot considering I have 2 weeks worth of songs for my listening pleasure that need the space!
2. I started using the safari app on my phone instead to open Facebook and check notifications with musician and gig groups.
3. I stopped scrolling the newsfeed. How is this possible?! Simple. I have Facebook bookmarked in my safari across all my devices to go to my Facebook page instead of the www.facebook.com page. This way, the first thing I see isn't the newsfeed where it's very easy to get sucked into a photo post, then video, then a status and then 3 hours go by. Setting a bookmark to point to a page that is different than the main page where the newsfeed lives is a reminder to you that you are abstaining from scrolling. I still get my notifications at the top of the page and if ever I need to go to a group of friend page I use the search feature at the top.
Doing this has helped tremendously with not comparing and getting sucked into the void that is the Facebook newsfeed. I still use Facebook for my own networking/work purposes but find that time spent scrolling is time taken away from you.
Thanks for reading and check out my other blog posts on the right!