Daylight Savings Time – I welcome you back, but I know a lot of people don’t.

For me, I love the longer days. As someone with an office job, I spend the majority of my time indoors (huge bummer), staring longingly at the window right in front of me, wishing I could be outside and not cast under enormous fluorescent lights. Yes, losing that hour of sleep is a bummer, but if it means I get to take advantage of the longer days and get some daylight in after work, I am ok with that. Besides, it only takes a day or so to adjust from that “lost” hour of sleep.

How was everyone’s weekend? It’s been super rainy here in California, which is rather uncharacteristic this late in the winter, but we are really in need of the water so I can’t complain too much. After about 5 straight days of it though, I’m more than ready for a break – especially after reading Kelly’s blog about how sunny and spring-like it is in Virginia right now! I need a vacation, stat.

While I usually talk about fitness and workout related things, today I wanted to branch off a little bit. Yes, the Open is still going on and 16.2 AND 16.3 kicked my butt, but overall I’m very happy with how I did. However, today I wanted to focus on two little pieces of more mental health than anything else.

This morning my mom sent me an email with some wisdom from Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. The email read as follows:

The following is the philosophy of of Charles Schulz, the creator of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip. You don’t have to actually answer the questions, just ponder them.

  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
  4. Name 10 people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
  6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers; they are the best in their fields. But the applause dies, awards tarnish, achievements are forgotten; accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz.

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  2. Name three friends who helped you through a difficult time.
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

Was this easier? 

The lesson: the people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money or the most awards. They are simply the ones who care the most.”

I liked this a lot. So often, we get caught up in the minor details of our jobs and daily lives. We feel as though unless we are winning awards, getting promoted or other monetary incentives for our efforts, that we are not making an impact. A lot of the time, people are so focused on the future and putting a lot of work into one big effort that they get lost along the way and never really stop to think about the people they are affecting or helping, or the small things they accomplish along the way. Essentially, we are a very “big picture” focused society: we are taught to set big goals “down the road”, whether they be getting married, having kids, attaining a certain job or being X place by X time frame. This culture is extremely prevalent in Silicon Valley, where I live, and to be entirely honest this is one of the main reasons I don’t feel terribly connected to this area. People are so focused on attaining those long-term goals that they never really stop to think about their short-term goals, or to enjoy the moment. We are so determined to make a better life for ourselves “down the road” that we forget to make the most of what our lives are right now. Think about that for a second – five years, two years, even a month away is never guaranteed to anyone; stop focusing so much on those long term goals and saying “I’ll be happy/satisfied/content when I achieve X in X years.” Think about what can make you happy for right now, and enjoy what you have right now.

2015 provided me with a lot of time to reflect on my life, as I went through some tough situations and times in a very short period of time. In the span of 31 days, I ended a serious relationship, moved back in with my mother at age 28, totaled my car a week later, bought a new car, and lost my job two weeks after I made that purchase. Those three major events – the break up, the car accident and get laid off – were hugely stressful events that are bad enough on their own, let alone having to deal with them all in a month’s time. It was terrible, and I really hope I never have to go through those things again. But, it did teach me a few things. One, I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. Two, don’t put so much emphasis on things you can’t control – other people’s feelings, what may/may not happen, and don’t place your sole worth in your job. It’s not worth it. While this period in my life was incredibly rough, it gave me a lot of perspective into what was really important to me, and that in the big picture, the small things like stresses at work are not all that relevant when it comes to your everyday life. I felt lost, but I also had some really good people around me who supported my decision to take time off and to figure out what I wanted to be doing. I had time to focus on me, which I hadn’t had in a long time. My point? It taught me a lot about enjoying the moment, not to worry so much, and that even the roughest moments are fleeting and shouldn’t define you. Is this incredibly corny and cliché? Yeah, kind of…but it’s true.

It also taught me that I have a lot to be grateful for. My friends, my family, my health and overall well-being were luckily not jeopardized, and it forced me to look inwardly a bit and see where I was placing my own worth and what I valued in my life. I realized that the small things in life are what I am most grateful for, and recently I’ve been making an effort to write down five things I’m grateful for everyday. They don’t have to be anything crazy, they can be as small as being grateful the traffic wasn’t as bad this morning, or the free coffee at work. Other days I write down specific people, or their actions that impacted me and made me feel better, or made me feel appreciated. I would really encourage you to do this, as it only takes a few minutes to jot down what you’re grateful for. You might start realizing there are a lot of good things in your life that you maybe were taking for granted, but it’s also nice to have a few minutes where you actively reflect and appreciate the good things in your life. Be grateful for what you have, not envious about what you don’t have.

I’ll talk about the Open and all other fitness things in another post – those things are going well, but like I mentioned, being healthy is not just about back squatting a certain number, or being able to run a mile in a certain time. it’s incorporating your mental health well, and making sure you are happy and healthy, both mentally and physically.

I’d love for you to list a few things you’re grateful for! It could be your friends, your family, food, or something big like achieving a specific goal.

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