First Impressions of Fall
To many, fall signifies the end of an era, closure to the warm waves of summer. The sun departs earlier and earlier each day, and the landscape glows ever brighter until one day, it has faded into the darker browns of the Earth, and you wake up to a different world. To me, this fall felt significantly, different. As I pass my third month in the Pacific Northwest, fall comes at a moment when I've awakened to my surroundings. Of course, the discovery of the last remnants of fall in Pioneer Square certainly helped, but my heart tells me that I've finally arrived at the beginning, the beginning of the rest of my life.
And you may ask, what does this look like? In August, it bothered me, the absence of my answer to that question. It wasn't that I hadn't engaged in thought about what my future may be, but rather, I had no schema for life in Seattle, no idea of the shifts that would be required of me. I spent my early days grappling with the change from red-bricked Boston and packed New York streets to the quiet roads of Redmond. Here, there is little transportation and a paucity of cafes, at least in the eyes of a latte junkie. Here, I am far removed from the close friends I made in college, away from family, and away from my boyfriend.
Faced with these obstacles, and also headed on a path to Seasonal Affective Disorder (due to lack of sunlight), I made a conscious decision to start looking for meaning in small wins. I realized that I had had enough of waiting for life to reveal itself to me. I came to understand that the way I live each day will add or subtract from the sum of my life. A good day is day lived. A bad day is also a day lived, but many bad days don't have to end badly. I started wanting to make each day better, to make each day count, no matter if it was inherently a good or bad day. I wanted to start respecting the value of every single day as an opportunity to make a small step towards my best life.
And what are these small wins?
- First, I bought multivitamins with 100% DV of Vitamin D. It was an easy solution, but why hadn't I considered it before?
- I started bullet journaling. I don't do anything as fancy as the Youtubers, but planning each week has brought an immense calmness to my life. I believe that writing down plans, goals, dreams, and the mini steps has brought so much focus into my life, and allowed me to be more mindful of my time. It became easier to schedule time to hit the gym, to see friends, and to relax without worrying about the next day. I have added this planner to my wishlist so I can plan for 2018!
- I added a Gratitude Page to my bullet journal! Every day, I write down what I was grateful for. Instant happiness boost.
- I became more serious about meal prep, and it surprisingly has increased my enjoyment of cooking. When I meal prep, everything is about efficiency and time management. Meal prep allows me to minimize cooking during the week so that come Saturday, I'm rather ready to try a new, more complicated, delicious recipe, and expand my cooking skills! Recently, I've been getting good at making a mean mushroom risotto.
- By consistently hitting the gym three days per week, I've made incredible gains in personal fitness. When my gym benefit options for 2018 were open to re-election, I considered canceling the membership because the cost is higher than other gyms, but ultimately I decided to stay. I made a contract with myself that in order to make the membership worth the pricetag, I'd have to go. The classes are high quality, and make it so easy to get in a hard workout without the mental labor that usually comes with planning my own workouts, something that would hold me back in the past. Also, as a positive incentive, I attached the purchase of my future iPhone to my workouts. $5 per workout goes to the new iPhone, so you bet I'm hitting the gym often.
- Every morning I do x+1 pushups given that I did x yesterday and x-1 the day before that.
- I started a new Instagram account, @seattlelattegirl (follow me!) This achieves multiple goals which include pushing me to visit new cafes in Seattle, helping me to hone my photography skills, and finally allowing me explore whether I'd want to build a creative business someday.
And that's really it!
Small changes, but life is really so, so different already.