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zoe & the beatles

just a twenty-something vegan navigating healthy, positive living with a little help from her friends john, paul, ringo & george!

Monthly Archives: August 2010

really, i hate facebook. i feel like a creep sometimes when i mindlessly click from page to page with no real reason. i keep it around to keep in touch with friends from high school. yesterday, however, it proved to be something more useful than a platform for stalkers.

last night, as i scrolled through the forever ongoing list of useless (and terribly addicting) information, i happened upon the status of a girl i know. i am pretty good friends with her ex-roommate and know from my friend how conscious this girl was about her body, her eats, her workouts. i know she too struggles with body acceptance. so when i (quite randomly) read her status (i usually scroll without reading fully), i felt a big old realization bubble up with inside. i felt kind of awed and totally dumbstruck. the statement seemed so simply yet, for me, completely complex. right, you want to know what it said…

“Your body should be your Passion not your Obsession”

dang. i mean, really. how fitting is that? i smiled at the (awesome) absurdity of it all. and the ridiculous coincidence (on a side note, that’s the first time i’ve ever written coincidence without having to backspace and spellcheck. what whaaat!). for the first time, i seriously considered a facebook status. (never thought i’d say that one).

my body should be my passion, not the obsession i’ve made it.

i should be passionate about eating healthfully. not obsessive.
i should be passionate about exercise. not obsessive.
i should be passionate about my body and how it works, looks, and feels. NOT obsessive.

it may seem like a “duh” kind of statement to you, but to me it really altered the perspective i hold regarding my body and my health. i need to take pride in this body of mine and truly acknowledge how far i’ve come. there is no need to feel shame. i need to recognize all the wonderful things my body does and apologize to it for all the awful things i put it through. mostly though, i realized i need to lose control.

up until recently i never considered myself a controlling person. once i surveyed my behavior towards my lifestyle, i recognized the incredible denial i held. i am the most controlling i have ever been in terms of my food and exercise. i mean, come on — i stole the scale back from candace who hid it from me (it’s hiding in my closet now. wow zoe.)? i force myself to eat certain foods at meal times not because i want them but because they are healthy? i work out to combat the anxiety i feel when i don’t sweat? where is the balance in all of that?

so i proposed a way to lose control. because fuck, i need it. although i am a cold turkey kind of person (that’s how i handled cutting coffee out of my life!) i feel like i simply cannot apply the same staunch will power to this situation. i need to take it one step at a time or i will overwhelm myself. i’ve already cut running out of my life (though, no lies here, i did run at the gym the other day. for TWO miles only and at a very enjoyable pace. i stopped when i wanted and you know, it felt okay), i’ve relaxed some of my food “rules” (god that sounds awful), and i’m actually very happy to report i haven’t weighed myself in two days. add this all to the fact that i find myself thinking about food less and less and you’ll find a pretty happy zoe sitting over here on the northern california coast. it feels good to be alive today.

and it felt food yesterday, too. because i devised a plan. i have sundays off at work because of family dinners. i smudged the truth a little and said the dinners happened every sunday when, in fact, they do not. but i need at least a day off a week to do homework and chill out before rearing up for monday again.

so, on these free sundays, i asked candace to do me a favor. i asked her to peruse my cookbooks and pick out a recipe for me to cook for dinner. easy right? well, hard for me. see, i have no control over what she picks. and i have to eat it. and she, being the best friend she is, wholeheartedly agreed. last night, we made minestrone soup from scratch. gotta say, it turned out terrifically. it felt wonderful to actually be in the kitchen again. it felt wonderful knowing i was creating a hearty soup full of whole foods. it felt wonderful to eat it and stop when i was full.

i look forward to all these changes. i look forward to a more positive future. i look forward to my first counseling session on thursday morning. and i look forward to shredding with jillian in a couple of minutes before biking off to school.

it’s been a great day (despite work from 4 am to 12:30) and i only think it will keep getting better. have a great day, too, kidlettes.

namaste

zoe

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honestly, i like honesty. and, honestly, i feel like i only blog half of the person i am. i feel like i succumbed to the invisible rules of the healthy blog world. i understand withholding certain particulars but i feel like i withhold a big part of my life. i feel like i am not being honest with you.

i wondered why i felt so hesitant to include more details about my life. i asked myself: what am i afraid of? well, of judgement, i thought. and possibly scaring people off.

the lovely miss jackie, mastermind behind peaces of earth, recently wrote about owning your life. which, basically, translates to finding confidence in all your life choices and not fearing the judgement of others. and, in most cases, i really do not fear the judgement of others. but for some reason, a part of me simply cannot get over the judgement of the blog world, particularly the healthy blog world. sometimes i feel as if bloggers compete (best recipes, most comments, best work out accomplishments yadda yadda yadda). but this could just be an overly sensitive reaction. regardless, i really don’t feel like following the same blogging “rules” i have been following.

i want to share. yet, am reluctant because i am fearing some sort of mass exclusion. so for right now, i’m going to be honest with you all and honestly own some stuff.

like a) i like to swear. a lot. and i hate using replacement swear words like darnit.
and b) sometimes, i eat when i’m bored. oh well.
and c) sometimes, all i want for dinner is ice cream and almond butter.
and d) sometimes, all i have for dinner is ice cream and almond butter.
and e) sometimes, i over eat. oops.
and f) sometimes — sorry vegan police — i get a massive craving for an omelette.
and g) sometimes i don’t wash my hair for four days.
and h) the two things i can’t tell you (but really want to!). hah, sorry.

and much like jackie, i am not sorry. why apologize for being you, anyway :)? so i’m curious now. what are you not sorry for? anything you’re hesitant to share with the blogworld?

you know what i’m not hesitant to share with you? my dinner!
(sorry for the lack of pictures…i even added some flare with my avocado design but then couldn’t find my camera :()

asian inspired lentils
(serves one)

what you need
1/4 cup dry lentils
1/2 cup water
one T olive oil
1 small zucchini (chopped)
quarter of a red onion (chopped. (mine was HUGEEE))

what you need to do
bring the half cup of water to a boil. add lentil, bring back to a boil, turn down low and simmer, covered, for 20 (or so) minutes.

in the mean time, heat one T of olive oil in a small pan. add chopped onion and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. then add chopped zucchini and saute for another 6-8 minutes.

once the lentils are done, add the sauteed veggies to the lentil pot. dump sauce in. combine everything and plate. i added a quarter of avocado to the top of mine. it turned out really well and hit everything i was craving, slightly sweet, rich tasting (from the almond butter!), spicy and tangy. a friend of mine would call this “vegan slop” aka throwwhateveryouwantintoapotandseewhathappens.

oh yes, and you need the sauce.

spicy almond butter sauce
2-3 t almond butter (i’m sure any nut butter would work here, really)
1.5 t bragg’s amino acids
1.5 t asian chili sauce
one T water
a squeeze of lemon

stir the first four ingredients together and microwave for about 30 seconds. stir to make sure consistency is fluid. add the squeeze of lemon and stir again. dump over food!

well, i’m off! i am pretty tired from work (6:45-1:30 pmmmm) and feel like lounging around. i think i’m going to read a little. then finish watching skins! it’s a british teen drama i randomly found of netflix and it’s really good! well acted and the kids are all cuties 🙂

have a good one, kidlettes.

namaste

zoe

hello dear bloggies.

i apologize for the absenteeism and the slight freak out. thanks for rolling your eyes and bearing with me. i feel like i can be a bit dramatic at times but honestly, everything i wrote in the previous post was definitely not over dramatized.

if you’re wondering how i am today, five days after that post, let me tell you. i feel a million times better. a miiiiiillion. funks always eventually disappear this one just happened to take it’s time. which was frustrating and far too emotional. i credit it to PMS. my mood swings kind of spin out of control during my period and the week leading up to it. for two weeks out of the month, usually, i freak. out. my skin freaks out, my body freaks out, my mind freaks out. it is no pretty picture. i am just happy the week ended.

this week brought with it much more happiness. and a few stories. i started school. 20 units for my final semester. what am i taking? intro to novel writing. periods in brit lit (for which i am TAing for AND taking), intro to fiction (i am in love with my teacher already), and advanced poetry (we’ll see how this one goes. i am not very good at poetry). although i’m still not too stoked, my intro to fiction class got me excited for the semester.

i also scheduled an appointment at the counseling center for next thursday before class. i already feel some amount of stress and anxiety leaving. i know i am not an extreme case of anything, but i need help managing my anxiety and overcoming my disordered eating. i got to discuss a lot with candace (who stole the scale from me. although…i’m pretty embarrassed to say i stole it back without her knowing…) but discussing all this with a professional will be incredibly beneficial because (hopefully) they’ll know how to counsel me through it.

now let’s talk work. it’s been a good five days and not anything too noteworthy has happened. that’s because of work. i worked 30 hours this week. i work 37.75 hours next week. on top of a 20 unit schedule. yeah…how am i going to fit in homework and a regular life are two questions on my mind, too. i’m going to work it out and hopefully (seriously, fingers crossed) i won’t have such a heavy work load the week after next. hopefully.

in terms of yoga well…thanks to work my lower back has been killing me. i’ve tried staying off my mat for the most part but yesterday i did an hour core flow and it felt aaaaahmazing. no back pain. it really only sparks up when i’m on my feet or walking. it kind of sucks. because i feel like i tweaked something and it just won’t heal unless i take a good like…week and lay on the couch. ugh.

at least it’s friday today. work is over (i opened. 4 am to 8:45 am. quickest shift ever!). i’m fitting in some type of work out and i plan on relaxing for the remainder of the day. but who knows…maybe i’ll sneak an adventure in there.

i’m sorry again for the craziness. i just wanted to be honest with you and let you know where i was mentally. the fog has cleared (for the most part) and i’m back. i just need to remember everything passes eventually. and choosing happiness over unhappiness is always, always, always an option.

thanks for reading this rambling catch-up post, kidlettes. i promise more interesting posts will be coming. have a great friday.

namaste

zoe

whoa.

it’s been…well, it’s been a week i can tell you that.

i am not a ball of positivity while i type away over here. let me explain.

my week shifted from one extreme to the other. allow me to sum it up like this: good day. bad day. better day. horrid, terrible, no good day. slightly better day.

candace got home on friday. friday happened to be on the better spectrum of the week. we talked a bit about the summer and my personal struggles. she patiently listened like the best best friend in the world. and i guess the intense emotions stuck with me through the night and into the early morning.

because yesterday dragged on. and on. and on. it felt like it never ended and it started at seven in the morning (the universe only knows why). the minute i opened my eyes i knew it was going to be one of those days. i felt negativity soak into my bones and burrow deep. i tried to wrestle it out on my mat for an hour. no good. i ate a good breakfast and took a twenty minute walk in an attempt to exercise the funk out. it refused to budge. i even forced myself to smile. the feel-good vibes never came.

i tried. i tried so hard to feel happy, excited and ready for the day. but my disposition matched the grey bleakness lurking out my window. the sun woke up late yesterday. it popped through the clouds around noon — a few hours too late. candace left for the day with her girlfriend. i did not want to wallow in my living room all day in front of the computer screen so i visited a friend in the city. i put on a cute outfit and pretty make-up to feel nice. i never felt nice. i felt anxious. i felt emotional. i felt heavy. i felt childish, irritable, frustrated and all the negative words those words associate with. on the car ride over to my home away from home, tears did not stop leaking from my eyes. i felt like a zombie. all i wanted to do was curl up into a ball under the covers and do nothing.

i enjoyed seeing my friend but still found escaping the oppressive unhappiness in my chest impossible. i left only after a few hours. a friend threw a party yesterday for his birthday. i baked him a cake. however, i messed up the decorating and proceeded to feel like a failure. so when i left for the party, i left cakeless. yup. i know. no part of my weepy, wallowing self wanted to socialize last night. i ended up in bed before eleven. i found talking hard.

i know i need to relax. i know i need to acknowledge i am not perfect. i know i need to acknowledge a lot. and i am. but i am just realizing too many things at once. i do not want to discuss it all — i’m not there yet. i know i am an honesty fan but some things need to be worked out first. as a bit of a clue in, know the majority of this…shit stems from my food and body issues. don’t worry: i won’t mention it again. i know no one wants to hear it anymore so. just providing some of a base for you regarding my state of being currently.

anyway…

all this unhappiness is taking its toll. i am making myself physically sick. i ache. the stress in my shoulders is ridiculous. my skin looks awful. i cannot sleep. i cry at the drop of a hat. binges have occurred. i am uninterested in seeing friends or family (family dinner tonight was miserable. i left early). i am so uninterested in the thought of school starting wednesday. or work tomorrow morning (5:45 am). the thing i am excited for?

committing to a weekly counseling session the minute i step on campus. and the promise of a new week.

i am forgetting the simple things in life. i am forgetting to choose happiness. i am forgetting to breathe. i am forgetting to let it be.

the next few days anticipate light words on the blogfront. i need to step back for a second and sort a few things out. i have to crawl out of this hole i dug. until then…bear with me. i’m working on recovering that whole positivity thing — i just misplaced it is all.

namaste.

zoe.

i am a libra. which means i love peace, harmony, and balance. it also means i am easily influenced. but i am also zoe, the human being, meaning too that i am easily influenced. i know this about myself. whenever i catch myself in a situation considering something new or out of the ordinary, i like to pause and ask myself: why am i doing this?

as a young woman in the early stages of adulthood, i am forever shape shifting. in our 20’s i believe we try on several personalities until we find one we actually jive with one hundred percent. in the process of creating the foundation of what will become our final person (because no one ever truly stops changing, unless they allow themselves to settle), we pick up bits and pieces from the people who enter our lives and intertwine them into our own in our individual, unique way. for example, you dig a person’s laid back style and aim to mirror it. or you love how positive and carefree another person is and attempt to become more positive and carefree in your own life. influences such as these help create our selves. but at what point do you lose your individualism, if you do at all?

when i first started this blog i intended it to be a healthy living blog. i posted pictures of my breakfast, my lunch, and my dinner. i wrote posts dedicated to a hot and sweaty work out session. i posted recipes.

notice something, well…familiar?

everything about my blog and its contents merely blended into the entire blogshpere. it looked like any other typical blog. i modeled my blog after some of the first (and coincidentally the most popular) healthy living blogs i discovered. hell, i tried modeling my life after these same blogs. i started eating oatmeal for breakfast. i started running. i adopted a more strict vegetarian (now vegan) diet.

sure, it all seemed so positive at first. regular exercise! healthier food! a more positive attitude! but what started out so positive quickly spiraled into negative. i mentioned before how easily influenced i am. suddenly, whenever confronted with “unhealthy” foods (re: desserts, wheat, gluten, sugar) i felt guilty and panicky. i thought, “healthy bloggers don’t eat this!” so i cut out a lot of my favorite foods. and replaced them with foods suggested by bloggers: raw foods, sugar-free foods, low-carb wheat free breads.

and while i do not aim to be different, i do aim to be me. and dammit, i am not a runner. i am not a post-every-meal-i-eat person. i am not post this-is-what-i-did-today person. i am me. and “me” is honest, real, and hates skipping over the “dirty” details. “me” has a sweet tooth and sometimes loathes the word “healthy.” “me” craves in depth, thoughtful conversation, not endless bowls of oatmeal and exercise stats. and i think i forgot all that for a second. this is no fault of the blog world — this is all my own fault. i think i got caught up in an overwhelming amount of influence.

i am finally striking a balance. i ditched running already. and i am continuing to ditch the ideas i picked up from the blog world which just do not work for me. over the course of these few months i have been blogging, i have learned so much positive information about food and nutrition and health. please do not think i gained nothing from the blog world. because i gained a new understanding of food and of myself. i am just putting all the pieces together is all.

and while we’re on the subject of “different”…allow me to introduce you to last night’s dinner. yesterday i did not eat three square meals. i snacked. all day. on veggies and smoothies and more veggies and finally, this gem:

sweet potato fro-yo smothered in my home made magic shell (melted coconut oil mixed with some raw cacao powder).

the other day i overbaked a sweet potato, leaving it soft with a banana-like consistency. a light bulb went off and i immediately froze it in chunks. fast forward to a few days later and a spin through the food processor with a few splashes of almond milk, and BAM! my delicious frozen entre. chemical and preservative free. if you love anything and everything sweet potato like i do, i seriously, seriously recommend this.

how’s that for a little different :)?

now i need to resist the urge to make a pizza (anyone else notice about 15 million other bloggers posting pizza recipes these past few days? was there a contest i didn’t know about? whatever — i’m sure i’ll get around to making a pie of my own soon enough!), run a million errands (graduation papers, depositing my paycheck, baking a cake, cleaning more!) and remember to breathe.

have a most excellent day!

“nothing of me is original. i am the combined effort of everybody i’ve ever known.” –chuck palahniuk, invisible monsters

namaste

zoe

(also: averie is graciously giving away some AMAZING tempt items! i LOVE tempt hemp milk “ice cream.” honestly the best i’ve ever had — and i’ve experienced “real” ice cream. check it out!)

a few days ago, a friend of mine shared a link to a website showcasing a book his cousin helped write. the book, eat, taste, heal, is an ayruvedic cookbook. never heard of ayruvedic?

Ayurveda is India’s traditional, natural system of medicine that has been practiced for more than 5,000 years. Ayurveda is a Sanskrit word that literally translated means “science of life” or “practices of longevity.” It emphasizes prevention of disease, rejuvenation of our body systems, and extension of life span. Ayurveda views each and every person as unique, with a unique mind-body constitution and a unique set of life circumstances, all of which must be considered in determining either natural healing approaches or recommendations for daily living. This view is in alignment with the modern science which views individuals as unique in the universe with a unique DNA. According to Ayurveda, because we each have a unique constitution, our health prescription must be unique to us. This means that in order to be healthy, you need to eat certain foods that are beneficial for your body type and stay away from others. Your exercise program must be personally suitable as well. Your constitution determines very much about you – your body, your personality, even how you relate to other people. Understanding it lets you know what you need in order to be healthy.

last semester candace returned home from san diego a wealth of information on the subject. she seemed really into it and encouraged me to check it out. so i did. and i’ve been interested ever since. i am a bit skeptical of the authenticity of the ayurvedic diet, however, when my friend shared the link with me, he also explained to me how his cousin used to be resigned to a wheelchair from debilitating joint issues but since adopting the ayurvedic lifestyle and diet, he now walks and no longer suffers from his joint issues. to which i say: amazing!

and also: but was his ayruvedic diet what lead to his increase in health?

because the ayruvedic lifestyle acknowledges each body’s peculiarities, participants are encouraged to eat according to their dosha. what is a dosha, you ask? great question! this is the part i find most fascinating.

In Ayurvedic philosophy, the five elements combine in pairs to form three dynamic forces or interactions called doshas. Dosha means “that which changes.” It is a word derived from the root dus, which is equivalent to the English prefix ‘dys’, such as in dysfunction, dystrophy, etc. In this sense, dosha can be regarded as a fault, mistake, error, or a transgression against the cosmic rhythm. The doshas are constantly moving in dynamic balance, one with the others. Doshas are required for the life to happen. In Ayurveda, dosha is also known as the governing principles as every living thing in nature is characterized by the dosha. The three active doshas are called Vata, Pitta and Kapha.

according to ayurveda, vata, pitta, and kapha all reside in each of us but one or two are the dominant forces. instead of detailing the specifics of each dosha here, i am going to encourage you to investigate for yourself.

i will share with you what i found. i took a little online test to loosely determine which dosha was most prominent in me (i know, i know. online test = ridiculous. just bear with me here and just try i know how to apply my critical thinking skills!). after answering a long list of questions, the test results showed my dominant doshas to be vata and kapha. and, after reading the vata and kapha descriptions, i completely agree with. allow me to summarize:

vata

Creativity, mental quickness
Highly imaginative
Quick to learn and grasp new knowledge, but also quick to forget
Sexually easily excitable but quickly satiated
Slenderness; lightest of the three body types
Talk and walk quickly
Tendency toward cold hands and feet, discomfort in cold climates
Excitable, lively, fun personality
Changeable moods
Irregular daily routine
Variable appetite and digestive efficiency
High energy in short bursts; tendency to tire easily and to overexert
Full of joy and enthusiasm when in balance
Respond to stress with fear, worry, and anxiety, especially when out of balance
Tendency to act on impulse
Often have racing, disjointed thoughts
Generally have dry skin and dry hair and don’t perspire much
Typical health problems include headaches, hypertension, dry coughs, sore throats, earaches, anxiety, irregular heart rhythms, muscle spasms, lower back pain, constipation, abdominal gas, diarrhea, nervous stomach, menstrual cramps, premature ejaculation and other sexual dys-functions, arthritis. Most neurological disorders are related to Vata imbalance.

…every single one of those aspects are so entirely true. especially the health problems. imagine my surprise when i read about kapha…

Easygoing, relaxed, slow-paced*
Affectionate and loving*
Forgiving, compassionate, nonjudgmental nature Stable and reliable; faithful*
Physically strong and with a sturdy, heavier build*
Have the most energy of all constitutions, but it is steady and enduring, not explosive
Slow moving and graceful
Slow speech, reflecting a deliberate thought process
Slower to learn, but never forgets; outstanding long-term memory*
Soft hair and skin; tendency to have large “soft” eyes and a low, soft voice
Tend toward being overweight; may also suffer from sluggish digestion*
Prone to heavy, oppressive depressions* (not heavy, but definitely not light)
More self-sufficient, need less outward stimulation than do the other types
A mild, gentle, and essentially undemanding approach to life*
Sexually Kaphas are the slowest to be aroused, but they also have the most endurance
Excellent health, strong resistance to disease*
Slow to anger; strive to maintain harmony and peace in their surroundings
Not easily upset and can be a point of stability for others
Tend to be possessive and hold on to things, people, money; good savers.*
Don’t like cold, damp weather*
Physical problems include colds and congestion, sinus headaches, respiratory problems including asthma and wheezing, hay fever, allergies, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

kapha came after vata and it totally makes sense as to why. i do not have all the aspects of kapha though i do have a good amount of them (i starred them just incase you were wondering :)). food choices and exercise recommendations are also suggested. the food choices between kapha and vata are conflicting (i.e: nuts vs. no nuts). and vata’s are encouraged to avoid raw foods. uhh…not happening 🙂

it did say this about exercise though:

Regular exercise should be relaxed and moderate. Hatha yoga practice in a meditative mood is good, as are t’ai chi, walking, and swimming. Avoid strenuous, competitive, frantic activities. When possible, associate with people who are calmly purposeful. Meditate every day for deep relaxation.

to which i say: A HELL YES. it makes so much sense to me. competitive sports have always stressed me out (i tend to be overly-competitive) and yoga ignites this feeling of enlightenment within me, something i never felt while playing soccer or running. and in the past year, i have shifted away from people who live hectic, stressful lives. what did i see in return? a much more happy, lighter me. and i love meditation. i did some yesterday, in fact! (i’ve had to stay off my mat the past two days because i tweaked my back at work. it. blows.)

what do you think? do you think there’s any merit to the claims ayurvedic lifestyles support? or do you think it’s all a bunch of BS? did you look up your “dosha” type? what did you think?

it’s intriguing enough for me to at least test it out. i think i am going to do a little more research and try eating according to my doshas for a week. no use in not trying, right?

well, that’s it for the day. quite rambling, i do apologize. now if you’ll excuse me, i have an apartment to (deep) clean (CANDACE COMES HOME TOMORROW!!!!), a documentary to watch, and some meditating to do. have a good one!

namaste

zoe

oh toy story. you spanned nearly my entire life (1995-2010!). how i love thee.

but really, think about buzz lightyear. think about his preprogrammed catch phrase: “to infinity, and beyond!” as a kid, it inspired imagination. heck yes to infinity and beyond, where ever “beyond” might be!

then i grew up. and, much like little boy andy, forgot my imagination. forgot my passion. i forgot how to simply enjoy life. suddenly life turned into goals. better do well on your STAR tests (standard education tests done in all california public schools). you best score high on high school entrance exam (for private schools). and don’t even think about messing up the SAT. oh, and please, know what you want to do with your life by age 17 (the age i was going into college). by the time senior year rolled around, i found myself a tightly wound ball of anxiety. i peered down the road marked “future” and saw nothing. nothing at all. just a big, wide open void. no matter how hard i squinted nothing ever materialized.

for high school, i attended a private, catholic college preparatory. as a public schooler my entire life, i found the private institution challenging, especially academically. in addition, i went to school with (A LOT of) type-a overachievers (if this is you, keep on rocking. no judgment!) whose intelligence i found intimidating and whose grade records far out shined my own. i never quite did extremely well in school. i have a math learning disability, one my family and i discovered conveniently the second semester of my senior year. regardless, i struggled in math, science, and foreign language (same side of the brain, or so i am told) no matter how much effort i put in. any subject involving words, however, and i flourished. luckily for me, my (amazing, supportive, loving) parents understood i did try, and happily accepted my C’s in math and science and my A’s in english and anything art related. i accepted them too, though definitely envied the straight A’s tons of my classmates got.

so, when it came time to apply to college, i was surrounded by kids with ivy league stars in their eyes. they had life goals. they knew what they wanted to do, to become. me? well, i just tried to remember how to breathe when anyone asked me what i wanted to do. first i wanted to write screen plays. then i wanted to teach. then i wanted to simply write. oh, and be a social worker. i set all these goals for myself to reach. but what did i know then anyway, at 17 years old? (hell, what do i know now at 20 years old? (almost 21!!!!))

i did not know i would not be accepted to my first choice school. or my second. or my third. i did not know i would abandon the idea of grad school, which i some how always believed i needed to go to achieve anything in life. i did not know i would learn just how smart i actually am and that book smarts do not mean a person is incredibly intelligent. i did not know much about passion and thinking for yourself.

via no meat athlete, i found this wonderful article about setting goals.

i am so done setting goals.

i find i often get caught up in working out how to get from point A to point B. it only stresses me out. i am so done working myself up, up, and up only to crash back to a “bleak” reality in which i only blame myself for not achieving more. i am done attempting to live my life under other people’s expectations. i am going to do what i want to do, not what i think i should do. (i remember mentioning the career path of a social worker once to a family member. instead of a “good for you” response, i got a “you know how little money you’re gonna get?” i get this response a lot too when i describe my passions: “cooks don’t make much” and “teaching yoga?…cool…” dang, when did money become such a focal point in our lives?)

the author of the article, leo babauta, wrote a few tips at the end of the article. three really connected with me.
one:

Not just work. Giving up goals works in any area of your life. Take health and fitness: I used to have specific fitness goals, from losing weight or bodyfat to running a marathon to increasing my squat. Not anymore: now I just do it because I love it, and I have no idea where that will take me. It works brilliantly, because I always enjoy myself.

i totally agree! sure, i want to become stronger and more flexible in yoga, but concentrating solely on that only makes me unhappy when i cannot go further in my practice (case in point: yesterday. it was a difficult day on the mat and i berated myself for not “doing better”). i want to enjoy my fitness, not see it as something i need to set goals for.

two:

Let go of plans. Plans are not really different than goals. They set you on a predetermined path. But it’s incredibly difficult to let go of living with plans, especially if you’re a meticulous planner like I am. So allow yourself to plan, when you feel you need to, but slowly feel free to let go of this habit.

this is something i started practicing before i read this article. i recently noticed that, often times, i get tangled up in plans and expectations and am usually disappointed when things do not go according to the “plan.” it caused unnecessary stress for me. so i slowly started letting go of “meticulous” plans. i started living in the moment. in doing so, i realized i want to live in the now, something i have tried to do since returning home last summer. i want to enjoy each moment of time i am alive instead of fretting over how well my plans will unfold. why worry about a future which has yet to happen?

thirdly:

Don’t worry about mistakes. If you start setting goals, that’s OK. There are no mistakes on this journey — it’s just a learning experience. If you live without goals and end up failing, as yourself if it’s really a failure. You only fail if you don’t get to where you wanted to go — but if you don’t have a destination in mind, there’s no failure.

this is the hardest tip for me to achieve. i am, and always have been, incredibly hard on myself. i truly am my own worst enemy and harshest critic. when i mess up, i usually allow my mistakes to sink me into a lethargic funk. my mistakes become the center of my day. but, it has gotten better. i am learning to accept the fact that i am human and humans make mistakes. it really is just a learning experience. “You only fail if you don’t get to where you wanted to go — but if you don’t have a destination in mind, there’s no failure.”

so that leaves me here, in the now. i am excited for the future (for traveling, for teaching yoga, for cooking, for experiencing). but i am even more excited for the now. because it will eventually bring me to infinity…and beyond! (or lunch at cafe gratitude with my mom and brother :)!)

namaste

zoe