Get Loud!

As a child, my parents threw me into every sport available on the planet. Soccer, baseball, volleyball, you name it; I’ve taken a crack at it. Throwing me into sports that I wasn’t any good at helped me in my, what seemed lifelong at the time, commitment to not exercising. I told myself that I didn’t need it and that gaining weight was a natural thing. However, there’s some point in all of our lives where the number on the scale needs to stop getting larger.

For those of you who’ve read my previous posts, you know that I’ve been through a weight loss journey, and that even though I could barley jog 5 steps in high school, I turned to running to help me lose weight as an adult. This isn’t the story that I want to retell. This is a summary of a new “triumph” that has taken place in my life recently that I think we can all learn from.

This past weekend, I ran a half marathon that I didn’t intend to run. I’ve ran half marathons before, but I trained for those races. This year, when my cousins asked me to run this particular half marathon, I told them, “no.” There really wasn’t a chance in hell that this would end well. For the past several months, I have been so preoccupied with other life happenings that I’ve let myself backslide into some unhealthy habits and limited exercise. I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m not as motivated anymore.

A few days before the half marathon, I told my cousins, “you know, even though I’m not running, I’d still like to come and cheer you on the morning of.” One of my cousins, Samantha, mentioned that along with the half marathon course there was a 10K (6 mile) course happening at the same time. I thought to myself, well, maybe I am strong enough for the 6 mile course. Sure, I haven’t ran in 6 months, but I’ve done Pilates and a few strength training exercises, I think I’ll be fine.

Even though I had plenty of lead time, race day came sooner than expected. I was scheduled to pick Samantha up at her apartment the morning of. And, of course, she was running late. After she was finally ready, I looked down at the clock when we climbed into the car and realized that we wouldn’t make the start time. “Its fine,” she said, “we’ll just start our 10K race when the half marathon starts. We’ll still run the right course.”

The gun went off for the half marathon, and there we went. “I’ll stick with you so that we both don’t miss the 10K exit,” she exclaimed. Perfect, this chick, who is one of the fastest people I’ve ever ran with, has decided to move her run time to sloth pace, instead of the preferred gazelle, just to make sure poor little me doesn’t get left behind. Wow, how helpless am I?

As we reached the two mile mark, we realized that the exits for the 10K were blocked off. There was no way we were going to be able to do the 10K course. Fuck. At the five mile mark, Samantha ditched me. We both realized at that point that we were going to have to run the half marathon whether we wanted to or not, and she was not about to sloth pace through the rest of it.

***

Mile 7, about half way finished. I could smell the gasoline as I past the local Mobile station. And, I could smell the breakfast menu from the restaurant down the street. I felt disgusted. A man on the sidelines cheered, “Way to go, you’re half way there!” and I wanted to slap him. I couldn’t possibly continue. I felt like I could barely breathe.

As cops and paramedics whizzed by me on their bikes and in their golf carts, it took every ounce of resistance I had not to yell, “Officer, help! I’m on the wrong course. Can I get a lift to the finish line? I don’t feel well.”

***

I’ve made it to mile 8…after walking a majority of mile 7. I notice a pile of vomit on the course. Whoever did that, I get you. We are one in the same.

***

I’m on mile 10 and I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. And then, I realize that I have another 5K left to run before I cross home plate. There is a man running next to me. He’s probably in his late 60’s. He’s decided that he’s fed up too, so he begins to power walk. I have slowed my jog to a crawl…that is apparently as fast as this man’s power walking speed. What’s the point of life?

***

Finally! We’re in the home stretch! There’s a man in front of me who is clearly having issues with his calf. He’s jogging with a limp, and I still can’t seem to pass him with my run/walk/jog routine.

***

Here we are, the finish line. The man with the calf issue is now skipping and limping, but he finishes strong…at the same time I do.

***

I surprisingly crossed the finish line and was only 12 minutes worse than the time I had the year before. I felt so low and disgusted with myself. How could I let all these people pass me? Why did I stop to walk? I never stop to walk! But, with “tragedy” comes a bit of clarity. I realized why I kept up with running when I started a few years ago. Throughout my younger years, I hated running because I always wanted to be faster than the people around me. It wasn’t until I realized that the only person you truly need to compete with while you run is yourself. Push yourself to finish, take it at your own pace. You don’t have to be better than the others around you, you just need to be louder than the negative voices in your head telling you to stop or that you can’t do it. There are so many people out there who don’t run because they think they’ll look stupid, or that you have to be an all-star athlete to run a mile. I’m living proof that you don’t have to. You just have to take it slow, and push yourself to be better than what you were yesterday.

It’s time to start getting louder than the voices in your head, because you’re worth it.

Granny Smith – over and out

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Moving Out; Moving On

For the past two years, I’ve slept in my room at my childhood home, with my parents and sibling only a few feet away. We were a family again, a team.

Recently, I joined a new team. I moved into an apartment with my boyfriend of nearly seven years. It’s strange because the last time we lived in the same zip code was eight years ago. We’ve gone from living most of our time together apart to sharing the same space and belongings.

My parents helped us move in, and we got most of our items in order fairly quickly. But that first night is when it hit me; just like the day they dropped me off at college. I was almost as sad as they were. Even though I knew I would see them that upcoming weekend, it felt strange not living with them.

And on that first night in our new place, I started shedding a few tears. His head was on my chest, and I quickly wiped them away. But, as the evening wore on, I couldn’t stop thinking about what my family was doing, and how, at this moment, I should be with them. So, more tears started falling, until I eventually couldn’t take it and ran into the bathroom, slammed the door, and sobbed.

My boyfriend, Matt, then opened the door and took a seat on the floor next to me. He tried to wipe away the tears and get me to confess what had made ounces of water stream down my face. I just can’t tell him, I thought, it’s so stupid. I miss my family? Seriously!? We’d been waiting for ages to be able to live together, and now that we’ve finally gotten the chance to, I miss my old living situation?

Instead of asking more questions, he took me into his chest and cradled me like a child. He told me jokes, and I looked up at his face and laughed at each one.

More than two months have gone by, and I’m happy to report that my first night in the apartment was the only night I thought about my family and cried. Thank goodness that didn’t stay consistent, and, neither has other aspects of our relationship.

We argue now more than we ever have in the past. I can’t stand it when clothes and other belongings are left lying around in the open, or when things like toothpaste and other bottles aren’t put back in their original cabinets, yet, these situations occur all the time. We go back-and-forth about what to do for dinner, what’s happening this weekend, upcoming vacations, friends, when we should see our families again; everything is a one, big discussion. Decisions used to be easy for us; maybe it was because we had a while to plan it out before we saw one another.

Sometimes, we come home and go our separate ways. This part is still weird for me because prior to living together, every moment we got to spend around each other was sacred. Now, we’ve become so used to seeing each other all the time that it’s as if we think, eh, we’ll hang out later. And, maybe because it’s summer, we seem to have our own schedules and activities on the weekends. Recently, I booked a dinner cruise for the two of us, just so that we could get the chance to reconnect. The cruise lasted two hours, but it felt like we barely got a, “how you doin?’” in there.

If I’m making it sound like everything has just been awful, it hasn’t! I feel more connected to Matt than I have in the last seven years. I like that we can start making bigger decisions together about bills, home décor, how we spend our time, and more. I also love the fact that I get to sleep next to him every night, even though we’re both bed hogs. And, yes, we can have sex every day if we feel like it! Our neighbor upstairs may not like it, but we can do it if we want!!

More than anything, I just love the fact that he’s here, and that I can feel his presence…even if we’re not in the same room together…like right now. Currently, he’s just a shout away, instead of a phone call and 45 minutes…ah, priceless.

Granny Smith – over and out

Losing My Religion

I grew up with very Catholic grandparents and not so Catholic parents. When I was in elementary school, in an effort to make my grandparents happy, my parents sent me to Sunday school. There are only two memories I have of Sunday school. The first is that there was a lot of coloring, and you were given a piece of candy if you got a question about Jesus right. The second was the singing. At the end of every session, each grade would gather into the main hallway, and an old woman would sit in the middle with her guitar and make us sing songs about Jesus.

I didn’t understand anything that was happening, and I often asked my teachers for proof of the history of Jesus (artifacts, anything), so my parents promptly removed me from classes.

As I got older, my family and I started going to church less and less, and pretty soon, all I knew about being a Catholic was that Jesus rose from the dead on Easter and that his birthday is what we call, “Christmas.” As we were pulling away from God, I questioned everything spiritual more and more, year after year. Eventually, when I was nearing the end of high school and beginning college, I decided that I didn’t believe in the afterlife, heaven, hell, God, anything. I had no proof, therefore, it was not real.

I didn’t think about anything regarding religion until I watched an episode of “Long Island Medium” with Theresa Caputo. I had watched other mediums perform before like John Edward, Sylvia Browne, and James Van Praagh, but they were always positioned in front of a large audience, and everything about it seemed so staged. Theresa, on the other hand, was stopping people in grocery stores, doing private readings, going on cruises and reading groups, and walking in to someone’s home and reading a group of 10 people. She did it all. Every situation she was put in, she came out with a victory. How could you not believe her? But, I still wondered, was it a sham? Were these cameras set up? So, when she came out with her book, There’s More to Life Than This, I bought and read it. Then, my life changed forever.

I started believing again when I watched Theresa on TV, but her book really won me over. She talked about experiences that people have in their everyday lives that are signs from spirit, instances that you can’t write or verbally explain to anyone else. It was as though someone had gotten into my head and described everything I’ve never been able to tell anyone else in perfectly strung sentences. I finally felt normal.

In fact, so normal that I recently began working at a Christian college. Everyone that I work with is obviously religious, and they have been their whole lives…Unfortunately, this is where I fall short. I know hardly anything about being a Christian, and I can safely say that I’m not one. At least, not the type of Christian I’ve come in contact with. Yes, I like everyone that I work with. But, I also believe in gay marriage, the fact that homosexuality is not a sin, that swearing is a part of human nature, and being edgy is what makes you real. I love Lady Gaga! Of course, all of these things are generally not celebrated in Christian faith, and that is why I can’t be a true follower.

Theresa Caputo has stated multiple times that all too often individuals use religion to pull themselves apart from others or as an excuse to “hate” someone. When, really, we should be using religion to spread love, kindness, and compassion. They use God as a symbol of fear, instead of a symbol of understanding. Like the GOP, once Christians can wake up and modernize, then maybe I’ll jump on their bandwagon to Bethlehem. I’m not trying to say that all Christians are bad people, most of them are the most compassionate individuals I’ve ever met, but, it’s time to embrace the new world and remind ourselves that Jesus was friends with a prostitute. So, seriously, is being gay really that awful?

Granny Smith – over and out

A Different Kind of ‘I Miss You’

This past week, my boyfriend Matt embarked on a journey to Hong Kong for business. I missed him A LOT, but I didn’t realize how the ‘art of missing someone’ can have many different layers.

In general, Matt and I live about 45 minutes from each other and see one another once or twice a week (depending on our schedules). When he’s not around during the week, I miss him and wonder how he’s doing and what he’s been up to. But, when he traveled to the other side of the world, I missed him in a different sense of the word.

When Matt’s 45 minutes away, we have email, text, phone calls, you name it, to help keep us connected. When he was overseas, his phone didn’t work and the only form of communication we had was with Facebook. And, seeing as how Hong Kong is 13 hours ahead of our time zone, our communication consisted of shooting a message to each other every day for the other to read during their free time.

It was hard knowing that I couldn’t pick up the phone and text, “what are you up to?” and get an instant response, let alone any response. It was especially hard if I had a bad day or wanted some advice and realized I couldn’t reach out. I was lucky that he was able to use Facebook to connect. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to hear from him at all during the trip and was going to have to sit at home twiddling my thumbs until he made it home.

Needless to say when he came back, I felt a huge sense of relief. I felt a burden of worry lifted off of my shoulders, and I couldn’t wait to hear about his trip and wrap my arms around him. Knowing that he’s safe and home makes me feel amazing.

This instance also made me think about what family members of individuals in the army go through every year. I can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like waking up every morning knowing that your loved one is on the other side of the world facing potential danger and that you might not see them again. I give a lot of credit to those families and thank every member or our armed forces. I went a week without much contact with my significant other, I can’t imagine going for a year (or multiple years) and having the threat of danger weighing over the situation.

In what other ways have you missed someone?

Granny Smith – over and out

Passion vs. Paycheck

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Dear Followers,

I’m having another dilemma and could use all of your wonderful advice and experience to guide me through! As some of you may know, I’ve been unemployed for close to five months now and I’m constantly searching for another full time opportunity. Recently, I had an interview with a great organization that has a job title similar to what I’m looking for and the capabilities to train, support, and help me grow! However, the pay is terrible, the insurance benefits are non-existent, and it’s located in a place I’ve never been to (other than for the interview), and is 2.5 hours away from everyone I love and care about. With that being said, let me paint you a better picture….

I have a few strong passions in life: music, animals, writing, and the arts. Over the past couple of months, I’ve tried to figure out what I really want out of a career and what would make me happy. I’m a fairly eccentric person (as you all know), but when it comes to my life style, I’m very old fashioned and thrive on following a routine and have strong family values. But, since I was young, I’ve always wanted to be some sort of famous (hopefully for a good thing). And with my passion for entertaining and music, I thought being a radio DJ might be a great career. However, it’s an extremely difficult industry to get into and very cut-throat. Owners of stations are always changing and individuals are losing jobs left and right. Most of the time, you’re really not free with what you want to do, and have to follow a set format.

But, what a thrill it could be! Currently, I host a show on a college radio station every week and I enjoy it because I’m allowed to play and say whatever I want (as long as I don’t break FCC guidelines). This new opportunity would allow me to get my foot in the door and I would be a real DJ trained on real equipment!

However, current DJ’s and station owners that I’ve talked to have stated that the radio industry has definitely died down over the years and it’s 10 times more competitive.

So, it leaves me to wonder, if I’m offered this position, do I take it and leave everything I love for the chance to join an industry that I’m curious to be a part of, or, do I take/search for a position that involves one of my other passions (the arts, animals, etc) and provides better pay, and keep my show on a college radio station and grow that following and my skills there?

It’s never easy making a crazy life decision, but I know that my choice will impact more than just me (no matter what one I make). If I look at my core values, I realize that being with my family, having time for myself, and doing hobbies/activities that I love come first before any career that I could possibly dream of. But, it would be great if a passion/hobby of mine could turn into a career.

At this point, I just want to hide underneath the covers and continue binge watching Chrisley Knows Best…but at some point I need to really examine my options and think about what’s best for not only myself, but the people I love.

And, this is the part where you come in. Have you ever been faced with a situation where you were struggling to figure out if you should take a position that you were passionate about that provided some flaws or a position that you know you would do well in and receive benefits, but you might not be as thrilled about?

Please comment and share your stories regarding passion vs. paycheck! Thanks in advance!

Granny Smith – over and out

How to be Happy!

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Because I’m a loud, rambunctious, in-your-face type of gal, I’m attracted to others that are very similar..so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that I’m a huge fan of Jenny McCarthy! Seriously, how could you not be? She’s smart, funny, and is simply gorgeous.

Since I’m such a big fan of hers, I read her blog on Chicago Splash’s website daily! I always have a takeaway when I read one of Jenny’s posts, but one of her most recent posts REALLY struck a chord with me. It was all about how to be happy. I know, I know, you’ve already heard this before, and there are plenty of articles and “I think I know everything” speakers who will tell you that they know what the key to happiness is, and that you should listen to them. But, this article wasn’t like that at all! It was so refreshing!

Intrigued? Good, I thought you might be.

So, what did Jenny say was the secret to happiness after all?

Answer: By making peace with the present moment.

I can only guess that some of you are just as confused as I was when I read this the first time. So, what does “making peace with the present moment” really mean and how can you do it?

It’s all about the practice of “being present.” You can practice being present by becoming aware of your thoughts and emotions as they happen. This will help you see that your mind is often stuck in the future or running back to the past to find an issue to worry about. When you become the watcher of your thoughts, you are still in the present moment. You are watching the stories in your head instead of getting lost in them or believing them. The more you become the observer and not the creator of your thoughts, the more you find yourself in the present moment. And guess what? Peace and happiness live in the present moment.

That’s the secret. Become the observer of your thoughts. Watch them play out. Don’t live them out.

So, stay present and be happy!

Granny Smith- over and out

“Work, Life, Balance” or “Work, Life, Blend?”

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I stare at my desk, then back at my bed, then back at my desk again. Currently, I’m sitting on my bed with my personal laptop and debating if I should continue to write this post, or dive back into what I was working on earlier, items for my job that are due next week..

Unfortunately, I’m not the only person who has to make these kinds of decisions on a regular basis. It’s a Friday night..and look where I ended up. A recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics illustrates that American’s spend about 8.8 hours per day at work, and 7.5 hours sleeping, while the rest of their hours are spent eating, taking care of others, or for leisure activities. So basically, this means that many Americans are spending a majority of their day doing exactly what they don’t want to be doing..Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep and I’m one of the biggest sleep advocates around..but I’m not talking about “wasted” hours sleeping, I’m talking about wasted hours working. 

In thinking about the hours that I spend on a daily basis committed to my own job, I thought that the average “8.8 hours” was a little low. Let’s take today for example, I left my home for work at 6:30 a.m., got to work at 7:15 a.m., and left the office at 5:45 p.m., no lunch or breaks included. And it’s not like I have the type of job where I can casually check my facebook or personal email!..Seriously, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” And it doesn’t stop there, most nights, like a lot of overworked Americans, I end up bringing my work laptop home, and drilling out a few projects. 

Now you may be thinking, “but Granny Smith, I’m completely in love with my job, and this post has absolutely nothing to do with me..thanks for wasting my time!” But, hang in there, because your thought is EXACTLY what I want to talk about. It’s a little something that I think perfectly describes “Work, Life, Balance vs. Work, Life, Blend.”

For those of you that have been in the workforce for awhile, or know of anything workplace related, you’ve probably heard of “Work, Life, Balance,” aka- once the clock strikes 5 p.m., goodbye, and work is left exactly where it should be left, at WORK. Some would argue that the traditional idea of “work, life, balance” has gone out the window. Or, that if this definition rings true for your current situation, then you have a “job,” not a “career.” 

So, now that you know or have been refreshed to the idea of “work, life, balance,” let me introduce you to the newest sensation, “work, life, blend.” Work, life, blend isn’t about coming in to work at 9 a.m., talking a half hour lunch, and leaving at 5 p.m., it’s about putting in those long hours, and even weekend hours to start projects, finish projects, and add a dash of perfectionism to current projects. But the real catch is that you love it, you crave it, and sometimes, you don’t even notice that it’s happening! This concept is for the person who lives, loves, and breathes what they do, day in and day out. It’s for the journalists who wake up early to review their stories before publication, or can’t fall asleep until 4 a.m., because they’re too giddy about one of their new story ideas. “Work, Life, Blend” applies to the type of people that are genuinely interested in what they do and can’t get their hands on enough information regarding their industry, or how to thrive in their current position.

Now, I’m not saying that all people who work the basic 9-5 are lazy, or that people who spend time outside of the office working on office items are crazy, overworked, slobs. What’ I’m saying is, is that I’ve realized through my own trials and tribulations with jobs, that you should ultimately strive to have a job that you wouldn’t mind incorporating into your daily life, or thinking about outside of work. More than likely, you’re going to be asked to take on extra projects and assignments in your current position, and if you don’t care about the content that you’re writing, researching, or working with, it’s going to come through in the finished product. And plus, why would you want to spend a significant portion of your day and life doing something that you just don’t care about?

It’s not always easy to find the perfect job, because there could be many factors such as timing and location that mess with opportunity. But, I’m not saying that you should sit around and wait for the “right time” either. Too much of our time is spent doing things that we don’t want to do because we feel that we HAVE to do them. And that’s one of the many reasons why I created this blog; it isn’t something that I HAVE to do, but I WANT to do. Eventually, I want to be a writer and share my thoughts on a much larger scale than just a dopey wordpress blog (sorry wordpress)! And right now, I feel too censored and restricted in my current position to express my honest thoughts and feelings. So, here I am now, ready and perfectly able to say whatever I’m thinking or feeling… without getting human resources involved! 😉 

In the end, it’s going to be the small steps that you take today that will end up making you a happier person tomorrow.

Granny Smith-over and out