Still Running – One Year of Exercising!

Last year in April, I decided to start regularly working out. I have definitely always had an on again/off again relationship with exercising. At the beginning of 2018, I was in an “off again” phase. I had just started grad school towards a Library Science degree, and as it turns out, grad school added a bit of extra stress to my life. (Go figure.) 

I decided to start exercising mainly as a way to cope with stress. I was in the midst of a stressful group project with school, and I was so stressed out that I had literally started losing my hair. Exercise was one of those things that I knew was going to help my mental and physical health, but I had convinced myself I didn’t have the time. I worked full time, I had a young child, I was tired!!! Until one day I just decided I was done with the excuses, and I would just start doing it. (Read more about how I motivated myself to start exercising here.)

I started out running 2-3 times a week – and I surprised myself when I had kept it up for a month, and then two months, and three… I surprised myself even more when I started to look forward to it. (I also surprised myself when I began having major hip and shoulder pain from running… a reminder I’m not as young as I used to be!) 

I told myself if I made it to the year mark, that I would write a post about it: so here it is. 1 year of exercising. 1 year of staying steady with a goal. 1 year of not giving up on something. It feels good.

I did have one major low point in past twelve months about Christmas-time through February. I had gotten a cold and had stopped exercising to recover, and I had just finished a really stressful semester at school, and things in life kind of seemed like they were falling apart for a bit. My energy dropped, and for a few months even when I tried to exercise, it was hard. I had lost progress and speed on my runs, and even just doing a slow jog felt like I was running underwater. I know my mental health was at a low point too – it’s so interesting how our bodies and minds are so intertwined. I really thought this was the point I would give up running.

During this time, I still managed to go on runs, though some of the time it averaged only once a week, and some parts of the run I would just walk. But the point is, I kept going. Really by the end of February I started noticing the runs were getting easier again. The weather started getting warmer, and I was enjoying running outside again.

Today, I went on a run around ACU’s campus – my normal route. From my house and around the trail it’s about a 2.7 mile run. I don’t run it very fast – I average between 9-10 minute miles. I wish I could say that after a year of running, I’ve made some amazing gains in strength or speed, or even my physique. I haven’t really made any of those gains, but I have stayed steady – which I think is also a worthwhile goal. Sometimes that’s the best we can do – and it’s good enough.

I am good enough. 

 

 

 

Turning Point Anniversaries

I’ve been thinking lately about dates. Important and significant dates. We all have those times in our lives where something significant has happened, and our life is forever separated into the “before” and “after” of an event. Take for example, the birth of a child: like how I now refer to my life in terms of “before Calvin” or “after Calvin.”

I thought it would be interesting to create a collection of all the significant dates and anniversaries in my life, and create some sort of timeline. Below is my list of the dates that represent significant turning points in my life, the pivotal BEFOREs and AFTERs. I may have left a few out, but it is interesting to see them all in one place, and to note that most of my turning point events have been positive. It’s also interesting to note that most of my dates happened when I was at least 20 years old – so as a young child I did not experience a lot of huge changes in my life – aka my life was pretty stable. Maybe this explains my resistance to change… even positive changes.

January 18, 1987 – Birthday – 0 years old

September 21, 1998 – Baptism – 11 years old

June 5, 2009 – Marriage – 22 years old

(mid) June 2009 – Moved to Abilene – 22 years old

June 30, 2016 – Birth of Calvin – 29 years old

July 26, 2016 – Admittance to Abilene Behavioral Health Hospital -29 years old

August 14, 2017 – Started job at ACU Library – 30 years old

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What are your turning point anniversaries? Have they been mostly positive or negative? It’s an interesting exercise to reflect back over your life and see the exact moments when something happened that would forever impact your future.

 

 

 

Real inspiration from not-so-real Characters: My Hero Academia

You know how on YouTube when you are watching a video it usually defaults to “autoplay” so that when one video ends, it automatically starts playing something else? Many times I will go to YouTube to listen to music – a few months ago I was listening to music from Fullmetal Alchemist, and it began autoplaying some music from another anime show: “My Hero Academia.” I liked the music so much (from this show I had never watched), that I bought a few of the songs on iTunes (and yes, they were completely in Japanese) and began listening to them regularly.

Eventually, I decided that I wanted to watch the actual show, hoping that my love of the music would translate over the the show.

Fast-forward to now: Dean and I are on season 3 of My Hero Academia, and it is literally one of my favorite shows! I had been a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed Fullmetal Alchemist, seeing as I am semi-new to anime – but when it was over, I was ridiculously fan-girling the show, and even wanted to be Edward Elric for Halloween (which didn’t work out because, adult life is busy and lame and I didn’t have time to make my costume!)

So anyways, even though I didn’t think it was possible, I will say that I am now a bigger fan of My Hero Academia than I was of Fullmetal Alchemist.As Dean would say, I have “forsaken my first love.”
Sorry, Ed. Image result for sad edward elric gif

I think it is so interesting that one can gain so much inspiration from a fictional character, although this certainly isn’t a new phenomenon. I have always been a big fan of reading fiction, and I can easily get wrapped up in the lives of my favorite book characters. When I was in college, the last few Harry Potter books were just being released, and I was definitely on board the Harry Potter fan train (the Hogwarts Express, I suppose?) I remember one of my classmates talking about how she had gotten so wrapped up in the books, that during one of her prayers she had actually prayed for Harry, that God would keep him safe from Voldemort! Sometimes it’s easy to blur the lines between reality and fantasy.

The character that inspires me the most from My Hero Academia is, not surprisingly, the main protagonist: Izuku Midoriya. image (1)So, what is it about him that inspires me? I think he has some similarities to other characters I’ve admired, such as Hermione Granger and Edward Elric. But let’s talk more about Midoriya. P.S. – there may be some spoilers ahead for those who have not watched this series yet!

To give a bit of background to the character, Izuku Midoriya lives in a time where 80% of the population has what they call a “quirk,” or basically a power of some sort. Many people develop these quirks to become professional superheroes, and some go on to use their powers for evil and become super villains. Izuku as a young boy wanted more than anything to become a hero, but no quirk ever manifests itself. He gets made fun of and bullied by other kids because of his “quirkless-ness.” Later on however, as Midoriya is about to go into high school, a quirk manifests itself in a bit of an untraditional way. He gets accepted to UA High School where he gets a chance to become a pro super hero.

Okay, back to the question: What about Izuku Midoriya inspires me? I think we can be inspired either by things we feel are lacking in ourselves, or that we feel a sense of connection to. So basically: things we value and want to become, or things we already are. Here are 5 things I value about Midoriya’s character:

Hero Trait #1: Amazing Perseverance – Midoriya never gives up. Period. End of statement. Even if it means giving his life for someone else, he would rather do that than give up. He never fully gave up on his dream of becoming a hero, even when it ultimately looked like he would never develop a quirk. He didn’t let his failures or others kill his dream.

Hero Trait #2: Bravery – This is a trait I admire in others, probably because I feel lacking in it most of the time. I fear failure, looking incompetent, making mistakes… One of the biggest ways Midoriya exhibits bravery in the series is before he gets any powers, when he goes up against a super villain to save his friend’s life.

Hero Trait #3: Passion – This trait is the thread that combines all the others together. When you’re passionate about something, you usually give it your all and persevere at it. Maybe passion eventually transforms into a mission over time. Obviously, Midoriya is passionate about his dream, otherwise he wouldn’t risk so much to achieve it.

Hero Trait #4: Always Gives it His All – Midoriya will never finish a task and say to Image result for plus ultrahimself, “I should have tried harder.” He’s always trying the hardest he can at everything. That doesn’t mean he succeeds all the time, but he never has to wonder if he could have done better. The motto of U.A. High is “Plus Ultra” – which means pushing past your limits and going beyond what you think you’re capable of.
Hero Trait #5: Mission, Purpose and Moral Duty – Midoriya has an incredibly strong sense of mission and purpose in his life, and everything he does revolves around it. He wants to be a hero and help others. I have always thought it would be cool to know what my main mission in life was. I suppose as an aspiring follower of Jesus, it is (in a broad sense) to serve God. But more specifically, I still feel like I am finding out exactly what my calling in life is. Midoriya is also like the sweetest and most selfless person in the entire world, and is probably the most deserving person on the planet to become a hero. I keep telling myself that Calvin will be just like him when he gets older (right???)

What not-so-real characters have inspired you? Let us know in the comments!