Everyday I remind myself that in September my life will change.  I will have opportunities for a better future.  I will be mentored by wise professors.  I will be surrounded by individuals all striving for the same professional impact for their communities.  I will be working towards an ambition that has restlessly stirred in my heart for over a year now.

These months leading up to the start of grad school have challenged me.  I’ve measured my worth by a part-time job that leaves me feeling defeated, degraded, and stuck.  I’ve sacrificed time with family, Josh, and clients because my availability for my true passions in life have been limited.  I interact with ungrateful, ignorant, impatient customers everyday.  I wish they knew that my future is much brighter than me standing behind a cash register.  They only see me as a girl who is stuck working at a minimum wage job.  If they only knew where I will be in less than 4 months.

I worked at a wine festival a few weekends ago and it was the most fun I’ve had working in a long, long time.  It was chaotic, it was stressful, it was exhausting, but it was wonderful compared to the monotony of retail.  I felt like I was contributing to society in an enjoyable way (because let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy wine?!).

I haven’t logged my runs in my Believe journal in over 2 weeks.  I think my mileage has hovered somewhere between 25-30 miles.  I’ve only been able to get in one speed workout per week (my goal when I made my training plan had been two); however, I feel like my speed workouts have been strong.  Luckily this spring I decided to only compete in shorter races (my longest being a half-marathon next month).  I’m giving myself kudos for not signing up for an ultra.  It would’ve been stressful trying to squeeze in necessary runs to train for a race of that distance.  I run at all times of day – early mornings, mid-day, or late afternoons – whenever I can fit it in.

Josh & I have been counting down the days until our vacation in 17 days.  SEVENTEEN DAYS.  This vacation will be a reset for both of our lives.  It will be the biggest adventure of our relationship thus far.  It will be time spent together that we’ve needed for months now. I can’t wait to board a plane with him for his first plane ride ever.  I can’t wait until he sets eyes on the mountains of Colorado for the first time.  I can’t wait to explore new places with him.  Most importantly, I can’t wait to make memories with him that will last us a lifetime.

I’ve been following OTs and OT students on Instagram and blogs and it just makes me so excited for the future.  I know grad school will be hard.  I know the sacrifices I’ve made these past few months to save up a little extra money will be menial when I get a true career.  I know that my life will be better once grad school starts even though it will surely be more stressful.

Life is a challenge but when you surround yourself with supportive, empowering, loving people the challenges are manageable.  You find ways to overcome challenges with such people.  You learn about yourself.  You learn about the people who love you.  You learn that life can be made better when you stand by your choices, when you look out for yourself, and when every ounce of your body is determined to turn away from your burdens and strive for your aspirations.


You win some… & all others aren’t losses.

You win some… & all others aren’t losses.

Earlier today, I raced the Xterra Brandywine 12k.  I finished 2nd overall female by a mere 40 seconds after leading for approximately 6.5 of the 7.3 mile race.  Should I be upset?  Maybe.  Should I be mad at myself?  Perhaps.  But… I’m not upset.  I’m not mad.  It’s not a loss to me.  I ran 46 seconds faster than last year on the exact same course in similar weather conditions.

I didn’t finish as the 2nd overall female because I ran slower than last year.  My solitary goal going into the race was to improve my 01:06:36 finish from last year.  Any other accomplishments throughout the race would just be an added bonus.  I ran 01:05:50, finishing 16th overall out of a field of 110 (last year I was 44th out of 165).  If that’s not something to be happy about then I don’t know what is.

What I’m trying to say is that not all “losses” are actually a loss.  The woman that finished the last 3/4 of a mile faster than me might think I didn’t pace myself throughout the race or that I’m just “a young girl still learning how to finish a race in its entirety”.  Truth is, that’s not me.

I knew what I was doing throughout that entire race:

I ran the 1st mile in 7:33 because I knew that any time I could gain on the downhill/flat section would be time pocketed for the gruesome climbs to come.

I didn’t power hike the climbs because I knew that the faster I could keep stepping forward, the sooner I would get to the next downhill.

I passed the men in front of me confidently and without hesitation because I was racing against them too.

I didn’t hesitate at the stream crossing because I knew that a moment of hesitation wasn’t going to resolve the issue of crossing the stream without getting my feet wet.

I didn’t flinch bombing down the rockiest downhill of the course because I’ve ran down that hill hundreds of times; I knew the best lines to take.

I didn’t try to navigate carefully around the muddy sections because I knew the quickest line was straight through them.

I ran the fielded, non-technical sections of the course with all the energy I had left because I knew there wasn’t much further to go.

I finished 46 seconds faster than last year because of all of these decisions, all of these moments, all of these intrinsic race instincts.

Races are just like life:  if you try your hardest every single day to accomplish your goals, you will achieve success.  Nobody can take away your successes.  Nobody can diminish your accomplishments because their accomplishments seem “bigger” or “better”.

If you take initiative, if you take your goals into your own hands, if you make decisions to better yourself, than you are on your way to your own personal win – and sometimes that can be the best way to lose.

Lessons from a 1-year-ago-graduate:

Lessons from a 1-year-ago-graduate:

Approximately one year ago, I graduated from college.  Although I did not participate in the commencement ceremony, I was done with my college requirements and tossed into the adult world of searching for that “all-important” job, adjusting to the “grown-up” life, and handling financials in the form of repaying those dreaded student loans.

Here I am now, scrolling through endless posts about graduation.  Graduates are posting about their happiness for finally being done school.  Two posts down my news feed, the same person is posting about their sadness for being abducted from their college social life and all the “unforgettable late nights” they’ll be craving in a few weeks.  Oh honey, if only I can tell you what else is going to change in the next few weeks….the next few months…the next year.  Welcome to the real world that everyone has warned you about for the past 22 years of your life.

Being a college graduate is far from easy – at least my experiences this past year can vouch for that.  We think that when we graduate we need to find that one job that encompasses all that we’ve been educated for.  I can honestly tell you that unless you are the luckiest person in the entire world and all the stars have aligned in your favor, you aren’t immediately going to find that one job that fits you just right.  Honestly, it’s probably going to take you a lot longer than you think to find a job that you enjoy in every aspect.

In the past year since graduation, I’ve had 3 different jobs.  I’m on my 4th now actually.  The first two jobs had nothing to do with my college education but I worked them because I needed a source of income.  Even though my third job had potential to be related to my college degree, my mental health was struggling.  I was in an environment that thrived on people with my college education, but a position wasn’t available for me to actually use my schooling. Instead, I was sitting at a receptionist desk staring at a computer screen and saying hello/goodbye to everyone that walked by my desk.  I was put in situations in which I felt paranoid for my safety.  Through all of this and more, I resigned.

Here I am, on my fourth job since graduation.  I’m self-employed now and I help out with my family business.  I am a health coach seeking more and more clients to work with (I currently have a consistent four).  I am an aspiring occupational therapist who will be applying to graduate school this upcoming fall.  I am craving knowledge.  I am craving a better career path for myself.  I am craving opportunities to work hands-on with individuals who aspire for continued independence.  I am a limit-tester and goal-seeker.

Post-college life is by no means easy.  Yes, you don’t have to take exams on a weekly basis.  Sure, you most likely don’t have papers to write.  Of course you don’t have to sit in 90 minute lecture halls trying not to doze off.  But there’s going to be more challenges ahead of you.  These such moments might make you question your confidence.  These moments might knock you down and hold you down.  There will be other moments though that lift you up and make you feel invincible.

There will be speed bumps.  There will be walls you have to break through. There will be hard choices to make. There will be decisions that you will ponder for days only to feel like you should’ve been given a map after graduation just to understand the road called “life”.  Although it may seem that each decision you make seems to be getting harder and harder, each decision you make can be changed by making another decision. The rest of your life will be decision after decision after decision.

Never limit yourself.  Never value your worth based on the recognition you do not receive.  Never sacrifice your mental health for other people’s ignorances. Never give up your daily happiness because of a job that you force yourself to get up for day in and day out.  Never stop limiting your future.  The world we live in today is full of potential.  Don’t be afraid to take risks.  Work hard for what you want most in life and trust that everything will work out somehow, someway.

There is no clear cut definition for success.  My success will be different than your success but I assure you that success will come to you.  Success might come to you at a time that you least expect it to.  Success will always be something to strive for.  Congratulations class of 2017….remember to value your happiness, never settle for less than what you deserve, and always always ALWAYS strive for what you want the most in your life; life is too short to be unhappy, do what you like and like what you do.


A reminder to myself:

A reminder to myself:

Yesterday I tweeted this:  “Daily Reminder:  take a risk even if it scares you.  Your happiness is worth more than the fear you feel taking the risk itself.”  Even though I’ve tweeted it to remind myself of this more positive mindset, I’m still fearful of taking risks that scare me.  I’m the type of person that likes everything structured, planned out, and crystal clear.  I like to see some sort of direction in where my life is  headed, but lately I haven’t seen a direction.  I feel like I’m stuck in the middle of an intersection where I could choose between 10 different roads.

A lot of people look forward to the weekends.  Everyone celebrates “TGIF”.  But to me, “TGIF” becomes “here we go again, I have work while everyone else gets to relax and enjoy themselves”.  I’m not trying to throw myself a pity party – I’m just stating the facts.  I get bummed out every Friday because I know I’m stuck.  I know I’m going to be miserable for the next 2 days.

So, after feeling all of this and complaining about it, why am I still so hesitant to make a change?  Honestly, I just don’t know.  I don’t have an answer.  I want to have my weekends to do exciting weekend-y things.  But I’m fearful of taking a risk because what if I fail?  Then what do I do?  Then, I’m back to square one. Back at the bottom of the totem pole where I’m currently stuck.  But then again, if I succeed, I won’t be at the bottom of the totem pole.  I won’t be miserable every Friday knowing I have a miserable weekend of work ahead of me.  So…I need to take a risk.  My potential happiness should outweigh my current fear.

I looked back at my last blog post and saw the goals I had typed out to the blog world.  I wanted to start my own health coaching services this month.  I’ve done more talking than doing.  I wanted to paint my room…I don’t even have paint.

But does this mean February has been a fail?  Not necessarily.  I still have that deep down expectation for myself to do bigger and better things.  I just need to take a leap of faith.  I’ve been encouraged by many friends (near and far) to get moving on this leap of faith.  I even received an email this week from a friend from Bloomsburg who sees potential in me to succeed and do great things in life.  Knowing that is reassuring.  Knowing that is a source of encouragement for me.  Knowing that is enough to get me to closer to taking that leap.

So as I stand at this figurative intersection surrounded by 10 different roads, I need to focus on one road, one direction.  I need to choose the road that will take me towards happiness and away from my own self-pity.  I need to choose a road with obstacles in the way so I can become a better person.  I need to choose the road best for me – the road that moves me closer to my goals.


15 Things I learned in 2015 (part 3 of 3)

15 Things I learned in 2015 (part 3 of 3)

If you missed part 1 and 2 check them out here and here!

#11:  Be yourself.  This seems pretty straight forward but I’ve seen people change they way they talk or act when they’re with others.  It’s extremely frustrating when dealing with someone with a double-sided personality.  The best thing to do for personal growth and life enjoyment is to just be yourself.  If someone doesn’t like who you are then so be it.  And if you don’t like how someone else is behaving or treating you, you have no reason to feel ashamed to cut them out of your life.  Cut out the negative people in your life and I guarantee your state of happiness will increase tenfold.  When you cut out negative attitudes in your life you’ll find yourself drifting more towards people who are like-minded.  These people are similar to yourself in work ethic, motivation levels, and approach to life.  When you embrace your own individual personality you’ll be happier and more truthful to those around you.  Don’t hide who you are because most likely you’re limiting your friendships and relationships with others.  Be yourself – you have nothing to lose!

#12:  Trail running is my favorite:  I think I’ve known this for awhile but this year I’ve become even more appreciative of the trails.  There’s something about being outside, breathing in fresh clean air, and getting lost in the woods that is mentally refreshing.  I’ve found it easy to lose myself while trail running.  I’m not sure what I’m thinking about during a trail run but when I’m done running I feel instantly less stressed and less anxious.  Perhaps I’ve become more appreciative of the trails this year because at college 90% of my runs were on the roads. There’s something special about the dirt shifting beneath your running shoes and leaping over roots and fallen trees.  I may not be a strong climber (and several of my trail running companions will probably agree with that) but I just love being outside surrounded by trees.  Here’s to hoping both me and whomever if reading this blog right now will find new trails in 2016 and that we’ll follow the trail where ever it might lead us.

#13:  I don’t like gambling.  This year I turned 21.  For my 21st birthday, I opted to visit Atlantic City’s casinos.  The appeal of possibly winning money seemed great!  Two of my guy friends and, unstereotypically, my parents came to AC with me to celebrate.  After dinner and some wine, we went to Tropicana to play the slots.  (I know nothing about table etiquette in casinos so we avoided the tables).  I didn’t win any money that night – I walked out with less money than I walked in with.  Granted, I don’t like spending money anyways so I really didn’t even lose that much money, but I was still unhappy that the casino “stole” my money.  That’s when I knew I would never have a gambling problem.  My brother and I also visited family in California this summer and one night we decided to go to a casino.  My brother is only 18 but we went to a casino on an indian reservation where the legal gambling age is indeed 18.  I don’t even think I spent any money that night because I knew that I would probably walk out with less money than I went in with.  On the other hand, I think my brother gambled $5 and walked out with like $30.  Just my luck.  He gambles for the first time in his life, at age 18, and instantly earns money.  This was the second occasion where I realized I would never have a gambling problem.  Casinos and betting of any sort does not appeal to me.  I can at least say I went to a casino to celebrate being 21 but I probably won’t be returning to the slots any time soon.

#14:  Make new friends and keep good friends:  This year, with so many new adventures, I got to meet a lot of new (and awesome) people.  A lot of new friends came from the running community.  As I’ve mentioned before, people from the running community instantly earn my stamp of approval because 99% of runners have the same work ethic and approach to life.  Runners are also extremely easy to get along with.  (That’s why I swear if I ever get married, I’ll probably be marrying a runner.)  There’s some special bond that runners instantly share whether you’ve ran with them once or twice or countless amounts of time.  I probably sound like a broken record, but I am extremely grateful for all my friends who I’ve met through running – you all have a special place in my life and I look forward to the miles that lie ahead of us.  Likewise, I’ve come to learn this year to keep my good friends.  These are the people that look out for each other, give you advice when you need it, and check up on you at random.  These are the people that made this year survivable because without them I would probably be mentally lost.  These are the people that I was excited to share good news with.  There comes a time in your life when friends you thought would be by your side for eternity are no longer there for you.  Or maybe these people were poor influences on your behaviors and actions.  It’s ok to say goodbye to these people.  You deserve the best life possible – after all, you only get one lifetime.  I’ll say it over and over again, I’m the kind of person that would rather have four quarters than 100 pennies.  Choose your friends wisely.

#15:  Be a goal-setter and a goal-achiever:  Thanks to my Believe journal (which I encourage all (female) runners to buy), I set and achieved all the goals I established for 2015.  I had a life-changing year of running that will be hard to beat in 2016.  After running the Broad Street 10 Miler, completing 73 miles on the Appalachian Trail in three days, and completing my first marathon in under 4 hours, I realize the importance of goal-setting.  It’s easy to say “oh I want to run a 10 mile race” or “I want to go on a hike this summer” or “I want to run a marathon one day”.  By writing it down, making a plan, and then actually doing it you’ll feel an irreplaceable sense of accomplishment the day you reach your goal.  There’s a lot of preparation that goes into achieving a goal but it’s the feeling of accomplishment that occurs in the days following a completed goal that make you realize how powerful goal-setting is.  A lot of people will start 2016 with New Year’s resolutions (me included), but by writing it down and putting it somewhere where you see it every day you’ll having a greater chance of sticking to that resolution.  Find someone to hold you accountable for your actions (or lack there of).  Find a new workout buddy or drag your family members into your goal to keep you in check.  And it’s equally important to remember that you can be flexible with your goals.  If an injury comes along, you can alter your goals and then come back to your ultimate goal when you recover.  Set goals.  Work towards your goal.  And achieve your goal.  Let’s make 2016 another great year of goal setting and achieving!

I hope you learned a lot about yourself and your life this year.  Don’t lose sight of your dreams and aspirations.  Love your friends and family and, most importantly, yourself.

Wishing you a very happy new year with many blessings and good health in 2016.