Happy almost Christmas, friends! I have a feeling this may be my only post this week due to general holiday busyness and a whole pile of freelance work I’d like to finish before taking a much needed break with my family and friends for the rest of the week. My holiday plans consist of Christmas eve at my parents’ house with my brother, sis-in-law and niece and nephew followed by more festivities at a family friends’ house; Christmas day with Matt and his parents; Boxing Day at my parents’ house with the rest of my family; and the day after Boxing Day at Matt’s parents’ house for another holiday shindig. Somewhere in there I need to do a few strength sessions and tempo runs, as well as a long recovery run on Sunday. I ran a decent 28 km this past weekend in anticipation of a recovery week this week, before I plan to build my marathon training mileage back up again next week.
Although I’ve been pretty good with fueling and eating lots of nutritious food throughout December to help keep my body healthy, I’ve definitely indulged and enjoyed myself at various get-togethers that have occurred almost twice a week since the end of November. I’ve tried to plan my long runs around late nights, but sometimes a post-too-many-glasses-of-vino-and-food-that-my-stomach-can’t-handle-the-night-before run is inevitable. I’m proud of myself, though, for not missing a single training run so far. I knew training for a marathon throughout winter and the holiday season would be tough, and although I love the holiday season, I’ll be happy when I can get back to a normal routine.
I plan to do a 2016 goals blog sometime before the New Year, but I want to do a bit more reflecting back on this past year before it comes to an end. I’ve already shared how I did with my 2015 goals, and below I’ll be sharing my most-read posts of 2015. But I can’t move forward without recognizing some of the challenges I faced this year and the incredible growth I’ve experienced that I had no idea was in the cards for me in 2015.
At this time last year, I was optimistic about 2015 despite my 30th birthday looming on the horizon. November and December of last year was tough, with various close family members battling illnesses and conditions, Matt’s dog having to have surgery to remove cancer from her leg, and my own health issues that involved regular biopsies at the hospital. Then I turned 30 in January, and despite having a wonderful birthday week, things seemed to go downhill from there.
There was that incident in March that set me back both physically and emotionally. Work was challenging due to organizational changes and office moves, and I was struggling to find a balance with blogging, strength coaching and freelance writing. I spent most of the first half of this year trying to figure out what I wanted to do – with my relationship, my life, my career, and my true passions.
Where am I going with all this personal training stuff? Do I really have time to do this and do it well? Why haven’t I written a book by now like I wanted to? What would I even write about? Why do I feel like I’m putting so much effort into my blog and only getting about half the views as other bloggers in the same niche who have been blogging for half the time that I have? Should I blog more? Should I blog less? When am I going to have the time to pitch more articles to magazines? What comes next after I run Boston? Should I apply for a new full-time position at work? Why does it feel like my body is turning against me? Why am I still in so much debt? Why can’t I get a handle on my finances? How can I stop my anxious thoughts? Why do I worry so much? Should I go vegan? Am I not compassionate if I eat meat? Why am I struggling to fit meditation into my routine? Where is my relationship going? Will I ever get married and have kids? Am I destined to be a crazy cat lady? Why haven’t I travelled more by now?
I read self-help book after self-help book, went to therapy, made pros and cons lists, journaled, and had many a discussion with my mom and best friend over the past 12 months.
I came to a few realizations during that period of time, some of which I sort-of shared on my blog. I’m not quite sure if there was a specific “a-ha” moment that helped me shift my perspective, or if it was a culmination of what I learned by reading Kasey Arena and Heather Waxman, Brené Brown, Gabrielle Bernstein, Lama Surya Das and Eckhart Tolle; going to therapy; or just finding my way out of a dark place in my own time. They say change happens at your most desperate times, when you hit rock bottom. I think 2015 was my rock bottom.
To be honest (and blunt), things began to turn around when I stopped giving a f*ck.
I considered and honoured, but stopped caring about how others perceived me. I made note of, but stopped worrying about things that were out of my control. I valued, but stopped internalizing others’ opinions and issues. I respected, but stopped comparing the work of others to my own.
I realized we’re all the same spiritual beings, with similar issues, needs, wants and desires that comes with life on Earth. Everything we think, feel and do is a projection of our ego mixed with the culture system we grew up in, which can sometimes mask who we were deep inside. I think, for the greater good of humanity, we all need to pause and take a look inside at who we really are; to let the mask fall away. To be our true selves. To be vulnerable.
I made a decision at some point over the summer to live outwardly who I was inwardly. I wasn’t afraid of repercussions anymore, because I realized there were no repercussions to experience. Just life. And I decided if I wanted to be confident, compassionate, happy and at peace, that’s exactly what I needed to project: happiness, compassion, confidence and peace.
A noticeable shift happened sometime between September and November. Even Matt noticed it. I became more driven and confident in myself and less afraid. My relationship improved. My anxiety decreased. My outlook on life improved. I became a freelance writing machine and landed three regular writing gigs, plus a new, challenging (and better paying) position at work. Even though I didn’t get into Boston as hoped, I’ve got a plan in place to get me there in 2017. And although I’m busy, I feel like I can handle it all and don’t feel stressed out when I block time off to relax, like I am this week.
2015, thank you for all the lessons. 2016, I’m ready.
So that was the other stuff that happened this past year that I didn’t really discuss on my blog. But now on to what I did discuss that you visited my blog to read!
My top 5 posts of 2015
Here are the most-read blog posts I published on my blog in 2015. Thank you all so much for your readership, comments, questions and e-friendships this past year; you have no idea how much this blog and all of YOU haven helped me get through tough times. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my ramblings. Wishing you all love, peace and happiness over the holidays and in the year to come <3
- Are wellness bloggers doing more harm than good?
- Activity tracker preview: The LEAF by Bellabeat review
- How I finally cleared up my skin after 15 years of cystic acne
- 6 awesome apps for mental health
- Ultramarathon strength program for trail runners (Part 1)
What challenges did you face this year? What were your favourite moments of 2015? Do you feel like it was a transition year as well? Did you discover anything about yourself this year?