You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose….

I can hardly believe that it’s already been a month into the semester, yet at the same time, I can’t believe it’s only been a month into the semester! With it being the last semester of college before I graduate, I am absolutely inundated with daily readings for most of my classes, researches, synopsis, papers, and also working on writing for the college paper. I’ve posted a link to my recent article about “Weighing the Myth of the Freshman 15” where I talk about how to avoid weight fluctuation during significant life changes and creating a healthy, active, and balanced lifestyle.

Weighing the Myth of the Freshman 15

I also realized that I never announced what the hints led up to for my surprise last summer extravaganza with Luke! For those of you who don’t remember the hints they included
– Bikes
– DIY (pinterest may or may not be involved, though it didn’t spark my idea for this one!)
– Enjoying one of the last nice summer evenings
– Ants would ruin this
– I would prefer that it “wasn’t hot” while we were partaking in this

I had planned a DO IT YOURSELF date where we road our BIKES during one of the LAST NICE SUMMER EVENINGS to have a self-made PICNIC with homemade sandwiches…….while watching Some Like It Hot outside on an inflatable screen at the Botanical Gardens. It was such a beautiful evening and the most perfect way to spend one of the last lovely summer evenings.

Since then, I’ve been trying to make it through the semester in one piece and take everything one day at a time with a highly organized day planner and an abundance of hot yoga.

The morning started off, well, to say that it started off to a great start would be slightly exaggerating. But it didn’t start off terrible. I had set my alarm to wake up before the sun came up so that I could enjoy the beautiful sunrises over the Boise Foothills during my long run. I’ve decided that I’m going to start working on crossing a few things off of my bucket list and it’s about time I finally put myself up to training for a half marathon. So today I was shooting for a 9 mile run with a new play list I had made for myself. The alarm went off, I lazily set it for another half hour later. Then realized, “Gen, you’re being lazy and procrastinating. Get out of bed, and get your tush out the door and on the road!” and allowed myself three minutes instead before rolling out of bed and grabbing my pile of running attire.

I try to lay everything out the evening before when I know I want to wake up early to get a work out in. I lay out everything from my running shorts, top, head warmer, ponytail and bobby pins, headphones and Ipod, and a sock in each running shoe (I was not going to allow any excuses for why I not making it out the door. At 7:00 am it’s amazing the reasons one manages to come up to get out of being up early. Just the thought of having to unroll my socks and decide what foot they should go on??? Nope, too much work, I’m going back to bed. That’s why I lay one in each shoe). I’ll also prepare whatever pre-workout meal I want to have before heading out the door. Today I had made rolled oats the evening before with a mixture of

2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup frozen berries

and my own homemade oat concoction which consists of flax seed, wheat germ, and 5-grain rolled oats.

This is a great mixture because it’s a high source of energy with enough carbs to fuel my body back up in the morning plus it is full of protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Bonus, it tastes pretty fantastic! I laced up my shoes, slid my headphones into my ears, and started up my new playlist, eager to begin my run. But no music came on.

Dun Dun Dun, I make it sound as if it’s the end of the world right? I’m one of those runners who can not, and I repeat, CAN NOT as in am incapable of placing one foot in front of the other at a quick pace and stay at a good rhythm to run for an extended period of time without music. I have a slight case of asthma so no matter how good of shape I’m in, at times I still have a difficult time grasping for air which can make for a not so enjoyable sound effect if it isn’t covered up by some noise such as music.  Highly organized old me had forgotten to make sure my Ipod was charged the night before. So I decided to go to my back up plan and take my lunky heavy incredibly undependable cell phone and listen to Pandora stations instead. So off I tried again.

I was about a mile and a half in, getting to a pretty good pace and feeling good. Remember how I mentioned my phone wasn’t the most reliable? Well, my phone decided at that moment to shut off. I rolled through the decisions in my mind, I could turn around and see if my Ipod had recharged enough to get the rest of my run in. But then who knows if I would actually make it back out the door. Or I could prove to myself that I actually am capable of running to utter silence. I decided to rise to the challenge and see what it felt like to run in silence.

In order to find silence, I had to run out by Cartwright road, a couple miles past where I was right then. The road itself was long and windy and followed the rolling of the foothills. There wasn’t a whole lot of traffic which made for a very peaceful run. I figured I probably wouldn’t last long since the most I have ever ran by myself with no music was maybe a couple of miles or so. But I was shocked at how enjoyable it was. I would even go as far to say that it was one of the best runs I’ve had.

The sun was just beginning to peak up over the foothills making a warm, orange and pink glow. There were cattails along the edge of the road where the sun would peak out from between them and a refreshing sweet smell mixed with a shocking pumpkin spice aroma. Maybe it was because I was suddenly craving my roommates delicious pumpkin seed muffins. I began noticing little things that I never took the time to look at when I had music playing and I realized that the silence and absence of civilization made me want to soak it all in.

As the sun came up over the hills, I enjoyed the warm glow on my skin and soon the pain in my calves had started to become nonexistent which hadn’t happened in an incredibly long time. I also noticed my mind was much more clear and my breathing patterns were surprisingly relaxed given the fact that I had been running up and down steep hills.

That was when I thought to myself  “What would happen if we all took just an hour away from our electronics each day?” No phones, no computers, no music. Just time to be at peace with everything around us. Would we be more relaxed? Would the cliche of being appreciative for the simple things in life actually occur on a daily basis? Would people be more genuine, more sincere, more likely to be friendly and kind to one another instead of rushed from one thing to the next?

I had no idea what time it was or how long I had been running. But given the fact that the sun and completely risen above the hills and my belly was starting to rumble from hunger I decided it was time to make my way back. About a mile from home I decided to check to see if my phone would turn on so I could just check the time. It did, and it decided to even play music finally. Go figure! But I think the universe was trying to send me a sign this morning that I needed that time to myself to really just have silence around me. When I had made it home, I decided to see just how far I had made it that day, and to my surprise it was longest stretch I had ever consistently ran in my life. A whopping 10.5 miles, and all to silence. I guess it just goes to show that we truly are the only ones that set limits for ourselves and when we remove those limits, we are capable of more than we imagined.

So instead of just setting 3 goals today. I am going to also challenge YOU to set aside 30 minutes to an hour of silence. Go read a book, take a run or a bike ride, maybe even get some journal time in. Whatever you feel you need to do or wherever you feel you need to go to be able to reflect on what’s going on in your life.

Happy Thursday everyone and I hope you have a beautiful rest of your week!

Much love and hugs!


Smile and the whole world smiles back at you!

School is officially back in session, and it’s very clear from the hustle and bustle around the house and the way my day planner has gone from blank pages to scrawled out black masses of illegible writing. The lack of blogging the last couple weeks has also been proof of this. And to think I had been so on top of my number one goal, more consistent posts! I’ve decided that in order to try and stay on top of that goal I will make my entries more concise and to the point in hopes that this will keep my entries brief yet intriguing, and also make for a quick read which I’m learning in my journalism classes that this is what readers want today anyways. Looks like it’s a win-win for everybody, except for the fact that I am a rambler. This could be a challenging goal but with a little revision could also help with that matter as well then.

Today’s entry is going to be short and sweet since in reality, I really should be doing research on my Advanced Media Studies class and reading up on current events for my Newswriting class later today. And even then I should be preparing for the busy week that I have coming up. I suppose that I have the events that took place this morning to thank for my shockingly and lately very rare, relaxed attitude. Since school started, I have been trying to go to hot yoga almost every day so I have at least an hour and a half of peace and quiet time to myself where I am literally forced to think about absolutely nothing, and love it. But this wasn’t what brought upon a revelation for me this morning.

Those who have known me for even a brief period of time know that I’m typically a patient person (unless I’m rushing from one place to the next and the person in front of me doesn’t realize that you can turn right on red. With the increase in my awareness of horrendous drivers, I’ve been wondering if they just give license out to anybody now. No written test, no driving, just a “oh, you would like to be a hazard to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians? Well that doesn’t sound too terrible! Here, let’s just skip steps 1,2, and 3, take your picture for your license, and we’ll send you out the door. But here’s a little brochure on safe driving, you know, if you want to read it while driving and add it to the millions of other distractions you have on the road.”) That’s the rant I would continue with if it weren’t for the kind actions that took place this morning when I was headed to the gym to do my readings on the stair climber for my Advanced Interpersonal Relationships class. (I’ll explain my reasoning for this, what same may say “bizarre”, action is in my next post).

I’m not going to rant about the crazy drivers, or the girl next to me in yoga this morning who couldn’t seem to stay with the instructor’s words and had to be 5 steps ahead of everyone the whole time, the lady who cut me off while grocery shopping, or even the young man who turned right in front of me and then stopped causing me to nearly run my bike into the side of his shiny new red truck. Nope, you are all free of being in my rants and I hope you each fulfilled whatever purpose you were hoping to achieve through these acts and go on having a lovely rest of your week. Because lately I will admit it, I have gone from a patient, optimistic person who believes that everyone is truly good at heart and their intentions are positive despite how negative their actions may be. To a ranting, impatient believer that everyone is out for themselves and their actions are selfish and designed to get in the way of the flow of everyone elses day. And I must say, I am not proud that the day has come where I rant more than I go on blissfully enjoying life.

Thankfully, I was brought back to the calm, composed, and collected person I really am when I walked into the gym this morning and the front desk employee took the time to genuinely ask me how my morning was going and if I had any fun plans for the day. Initially I thought to myself “It’s 7:30 am on a Wednesday, I’m walking into the gym with my books and highlighters looking to study the next hour away while dripping sweat on a stair climber next to a grumbling old man who keeps glancing over my shoulder to see what’s going on. Then, I get to consume my thoughts in more hours of studying and listening to lectures while it’s beautiful outside. How do you think my day is going?” But when I realized how genuine he was with his big smile (Judging by his fresh, naive grin and “My mom still tells me how she wants my hair to be cut” trimmed hairstyle, I’m thinking he has to be a freshman. He’s way too bright eyed this early in the morning to not be.) I couldn’t help but change my perspective. So I smiled back, joked about how this was one of my few free hours of the day and I was using it to study. But then put a positive twist on it and talked about how we were halfway through the week and that was all the reason I needed at this point to be happy we’ve made it this far. He laughed and told me to have a great work out which I did, and was put in my place yet again. But this time it was from that older gentleman I talked about earlier. The one that grumbles and makes excessively loud noises during the hour that we share on the stair climber together in the mornings. Because this time I actually took the time to talk to him when he glanced over my way the 10th or 11th time to see what I was reading or how many calories I was burning. Oh wait, that’s the other annoying girl who has to constantly make our cardio time a non-stop competition. I’ll try to change my perspective on her another day. I’m sure she has equally good intentions. He told me how impressive it was that I could read and climb stairs at the same time and how he was just happy he could climb without stumbling. I laughed and told him that honestly reading was one of the few ways I could get through an hour of this, and I had definitely caught myself stumbling a few times. He laughed one of those laughs that you can’t help but laugh with yourself. I felt incredibly guilty for once being annoyed by him, I should be hoping that when I’m his age I have the ability and determination to be up every morning working as hard as he is. From now on I’ll greet him with a smile the next time he peaks over my shoulder.

After the placement of these events, I had to give myself a little talking to and remind myself that the only way I was going to survive my last semester of college was if I gave myself a little mantra. Breathe, relax, remember, be thankful, be excited.

Breathe- Nothing is worth getting worked up over. We will all get to be where we need to be if we’re just patient and work with everyone. I will not get worked up over the chaotic drivers, cyclists who nearly take me out on my bike everyday on campus, and pedestrians who can’t seem to take their eyes off their phone for 2 seconds to watch where they are going.

Relax- I have found the time to give myself an hour and a half of relaxation every day, I’ve put that much commitment and drive into making this time so make the most of it and let it carry out through the day.

Remember- Everyone has been in a situation similar to yours and you’ll probably be a situation similar to theirs sometime. I was once a freshman, so I need to be understanding that all the freshman on campus are still getting used to the rules of campus and how the college life works.

Be thankful- I have been given a pretty fantastic life full of amazing opportunities, even more incredible friends and family, and I should feel blessed and thankful of the abundance of gifts life has given me. The next time I feel like ranting, I’ll think of some of the many things I’m thankful for.

Be excited- Last but not least, I will remind myself why I’m working so hard. The potential internships, traveling, job opportunities, and future experiences that I have yet to learn about; even the thought itself is enough to make me enthralled with exhilaration. Because of this, I decided to plan a little surprise date night with Luke to give us something to look forward to after our busy day! I can’t give it away but it involves
– Bikes
– DIY (pinterest may or may not be involved, though it didn’t spark my idea for this one!)
– Enjoying one of the last nice summer evenings
– Ants would ruin this
– I would prefer that it “wasn’t hot” while we were partaking in this

So here’s my goal for this week, and my thoughts of encouragement to all of you since we all have busy and hectic lives.

1. Every time someone cuts me off, makes a rude gesture, or does something to offend me I will just think to myself “You don’t know what happened to them this morning or what they are going to go home to tonight or why they chose to do that. And by me reacting negatively to their actions, it could make theirs and my day worse. And I do not want to be responsible for that. ” And I will do my best to just brush it off!

2. Be patient and not rush from point a to point b. Take time to enjoy what surrounds me.

3. Smile more (I love to smile so this shouldn’t be difficult, but sometimes people sure do like to test that!) and when all else fails force a friendly smile and walk away from the situation!

4. To make up for the impatience and possibly negative attitude I’ve had the past couple weeks, I will do one random act of kindess every day this next week! (I challenge YOU too as well!)

So much for short and sweet right? I will admit, I tried!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Wednesday! Oh, and here is my first random act of kindness. Take a GIANT smile from me to you and pass it forward!

Much love and hugs!